Israeli government meeting today, photo Flash 90
Headline: Senate bill would exempt Israel from visa waiver requirements
To Read: Ray Takeyh thinks that alleviating sanctions in exchange for nuclear concessions isn't enough and that the US must carefully consider Iran's regional ambitions and historical pretensions:
But a conclusive resolution of the prevailing impasse is unlikely to be achieved through an exchange of nuclear concessions for sanctions relief. For the great powers to continue to make progress on this issue, they need to consider not just Iran’s economic distress but also its security predicament.
An important facet of America’s strategy of pressure that seldom gets much notice is the massive naval deployments in the Gulf and sale of considerable arms to the Arab sheikdoms. The conventional balance of power in the Gulf is decisively tilted to Iran’s disfavor. For a nation with historical pretensions of playing an important role in its immediate neighborhood, such a disadvantageous position only enhances the lure of nuclear arms. An important constituency in the Islamic Republic has long suggested that the only way the regime can negate the existing imbalance of power is through acquisition of the ultimate weapon.
Quote: "This is an attempt to reach an understanding between the prime minister and the president, who do not have a high level of trust between them", former IDF intelligence chief describing the Obama visit.
Number: $238 million, the cost of each of the 25 possibly flawed F-35 Jets the US is going to sell Israel.
Headline: Coalition to be sworn in this week
To Read: Harvard Professor Noah Feldman takes a look at the seemingly 'meshuga' political stance of Rabbi Froman as a possibly valuable thought experiment in Middle East peace-
In essence, he was gambling that if Jews in a future Palestine could give up their claim to be the majority power, they could be accepted by Palestinians, in the same complicated way that most Israelis accept the equal citizenship of Arab Israelis.
The lesson for the rest of us, who lack Froman’s religious imagination, is not that the practical challenges of a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state can easily be overcome. It is that the only route to a two-state solution comes through rejecting the absolutist idea that either side must have absolute sovereignty -- and imagining new and creative possibilities for coexistence.
To accept the settlements as a fait accompli that will prevent peace plays into the hands of those who would like to stop it from happening. At its best -- which is also often its strangest -- religious thought allows us to reimagine the world through new and different ethical lenses. That has great value even for those of us who have trouble seeing God at work in today’s politics.
Quote: "When Lapid moves on to his next mission, harming the settlers and Judea and Samaria settlements, our brothers the settlers won't have to knock on our doors for help. We will report without waiting for the call. We have always been there and we'll always be there. Shas has no intention of turning the knife stabbed in our back in your direction. We will prove to you that, even from our new place, that we remain loyal to our perception and faith that we are real brothers", Shas leader Eli Yishai, vowing to come to the rescue of the settlements.
Number: 70, the number of Knesset members who will be support the new coalition
The Middle East
Headline: UN peacekeepers freed after Syria captivity
Read: A Washington post editorial blames Egyptian opposition leaders for boycotting the elections and excluding themselves from Egypt's important political game:
Sadly, many opposition leaders have demonstrated no greater fealty to democratic principles. Having repeatedly lost free and fair elections in the past two years, secular politicians including Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League, have adopted a self-defeating boycott strategy. They refuse to attend the political dialogue convened by Mr. Morsi; they say they will boycott the parliamentary election now scheduled to begin in April. Several even refused to attend a meeting in Cairo with Mr. Kerry. It’s hard to see where this strategy can lead, other than to turning the nascent political system entirely over to the Islamists.
Quote: “The westerners are more concerned about the length of our beards than the human suffering in Syria”, Syrian opposition leader Moaz al Khatib in an interesting interview for Al Monitor..
Number: 21, the number of death sentences given by Egyptian courts to football rioters, causing massive unrest.
The Jewish World
Headline: Austrian Jews still wary of anti-Semitism
To Read: Gil Troy recalls legendary feminist Betty Fridan's firm stance on Zionism:
Despite Friedan’s efforts, and despite the eloquence of U.N. Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s opposition to “this infamous act,” General Assembly Resolution 3379, which labeled Zionism as a form of racism, passed on Nov. 10, 1975. The next day, Friedan made a surprise appearance at an anti-3379 protest, where she identified herself “as a woman, as an American, and as a Jew.” She proclaimed: “All my life I have fought for justice, but I have never been a Zionist until today.”
Subsequently in an American Jewish Congress Symposium called “Woman as Jew, Jew as Woman,” Friedan would root her feminism in her Judaism. She often wondered, “Why me?”—what prompted her to confront sexism? Eventually, she traced “this passion against injustice” to the values she absorbed and the mild anti-Semitism she experienced “as a Jew growing up in Peoria, Illinois.”
Quote: 'I'm a Zionist and oppose boycotts of Israel', leading PM contender Ed Miliband talking to Jewish leaders.
Number: 42, the percentage of Austrians who believe that life under Hitler was 'not all bad'.