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Must Read, February 8, 2012

by Shmuel Rosner

February 8, 2012 | 3:20 am

Benjamin Netanyahu and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan. (Reuters)

Is Time on Israel’s Side?

Writing for American.com,  Lazar Berman present his observations after two weeks of conversations with Israeli security experts, academcs and journalists, touching on topics ranging from Iran and the Arab Spring to extremist Israeli Jews and the peace process.

As usual, Israel’s national security is not as imperiled as many experts abroad would have us believe. The Iranian nuclear program is a dangerous and complicated problem, but for now Israel is choosing a mixture of diplomacy, cooperation with the United States and European Union, and covert action. The Arab revolts present huge potential problems in the short term for Israel, but they do open a window for real peace down the road. For now, Israel is best served by staying out of the fray altogether.

Iranians Expect to Feel Sanctions

The world is stepping up its efforts to the Iran regime’s nuclear program, but how are its people coping? A new poll by Gallup looks at the Iranian street’s response to sanctions.

Almost half of Iranians (48%) now say there were times in the past year when they did not have enough money to buy food their families needed, more than tripling the 15% who said so in 2005. Forty-eight percent also currently report there were times in the past year when they didn’t have enough money to provide adequate housing for themselves or their families, up from 29% in 2005.


Iran’s Achilles’ Heel

There is an effective way to thwart Iran’s nuclear asporations without going to war, argues former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy in an opinion piece for the New York Times.

The current standoff in Syria presents a rare chance to rid the world of the Iranian menace to international security and well-being. And ending Iran’s presence there poses less of a risk to international commerce and security than harsher sanctions or war.


U.S. Jews Should Heed Top Israeli Soldiers Who Oppose Bombing Iran

Writing in the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart says that an attack on Iran is far from the concensus among Israel’s defense elite, and the voices of opposition to Netanyahu must be heard.

Israel today is witnessing the same struggle that Washington witnessed in 2002 and 2003, a struggle between people who think practically and people who think ideologically, between people trying to soberly assess a given adversary and people who can view that adversary only by analogy with the mightiest, most demonic powers the world has ever known. One of the most appalling features of America’s invasion of Iraq was how ignorant top policymakers turned out to be about the country they set out to conquer and remake. Netanyahu doesn’t seem much better.


Shrinking Presidency: Don’t expect too much of the next US president

In a piece for Chatham House, Aaron David Miller looks at what makes a great leader, and why there has not been such a president for decades.

The absence of greatness isn’t all that surprising. Roosevelt was an impossible act to follow, setting a standard no modern president could hope to match. Indeed the political environment in which the post-FDR presidents operated made the alignment of crisis, character and capacity almost impossible to achieve.

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