Chuck Hagel yesterday at Yad Vashem, photo by Reuters
Headline: Arms deal with Middle East allies signal to Iran: Hagel
To Read: Longtime Itzhak Rabin Advisor Eitan Haber is impressed by the American vigor following the Boston Bombing-
Well, we could say that the terror and manhunt in Boston concern us in the State of Israel as well. What can we learn from it, if we want to learn anything? That with the Americans there are no shortcuts. When they want to achieve something, to create facts on the ground, they have no problem recruiting thousands and tens of thousands of people for the mission, bringing life in a city of millions to a halt, raising hell. Even God won't stand in their way when it comes to a matter that seems important to them.
Quote: “We have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence, when something that happens when you lose people that are near and dear to you", John Kerry provocatively comparing the victims of the flotilla incident to those of the Boston bombing.
Number: 5.3, the surprising percent increase in the value of the Bloomberg index of the top 10 Defense stocks since March 1st.
Headline: Report: Jordan opens up skies for Israel Drones to Syria
To Read: IDF chief Benny Gantz reminds Aluf Benn of 'Mad Men':
Gantz is the kind of figure who inspires nostalgia for the Israel of the Mad Men era: a secular, unified nation that was dedicated to achieving its mission and which saw the IDF as a sacrosanct organization. His conservative, cautious nature is what brought him to the apex of the IDF pyramid, and his record since assuming the post of chief of staff more than two years ago has proven those expectations correct.
Quote: “Whenever I try to convince them to learn the language, it only gets them angry. I explained to them how important it is to know the language of our neighbors, but they insist on correcting me. ‘Enemies,’ they say, ‘not neighbors’”, an Arabic teacher from Haifa lamenting the fact that young Israeli students aren't interested in learning Arabic.
Number: 6,000, the number of Israeli employees of British company G4s which has decided to partially divest from Israel.
The Middle East
Headline: Syrian activist group: Record number of dead bodies found
To Read: Ali Hashem tries to understand why the Hizbollah has taken a risk and entered the Syrian conflict-
When the Sayyida Zaynab neighborhood was attacked, religious Shiites from around the world asked both Hezbollah and Iran to intervene. Hundreds of Iraqi Shiites rushed to Syria to defend the shrine. Even clerics who opposed Hezbollah urged them to do something to avoid seeing the sacred Shiite site destroyed, keeping in mind the famous attack on Iraq's Sameraa city that saw a shrine of two of Shiite imams turned into rubble. "Hezbollah wasn't waiting for anyone to urge them to act. They knew what to do, and the decision was made to defend the shrine, whatever the cost," says our source, adding, "Hezbollah is not like any other organization. When the Shura council agrees on a decision, everyone will have to bow to it. Even if there were some who had objections, whenever the decision is made they will defend it."
Quote: “President Abbas is hoping to convince Erdogan to cancel the visit or delay it until the Palestinians achieve national unity”, a Palestinian source talking about the apparently futile PA attempts to ask Turkish PM Erdogan to postpone his trip to Gaza.
Number: 60, the percent increase in the Iranian prices of staples such as cooking oil, chicken and red meat in recent days.
The Jewish World
Headline: Hungarians protest anti-Semitism in rally ahead of WJC
To Read: A fascinating interview with 91 year old Polish Statesman, Nazi-resistance veteran and long time friend of the Jewish people, Władysław Bartoszewski-
Let me just say that I am by no means a philo-Semite. In my opinion one cannot be a philo-Semite, because one can like dogs of a certain pedigree or birds of a certain species, but one cannot adopt the same attitude to people. One can be either a humanist or an anti-Semite, but not a philo-Semite. I’m interested in what people are like, I’m interested in justice, I’m interested in whether the dignity of people is being respected, and whether they respect that of others. When some events occur in the State of Israel that I dislike, it affects me more than if it were taking place in Albania or even in France, because I care about the state of Israel. If a Polish Jew is a bad politician I am highly irritated. I would prefer a bad Polish-French, or Polish-Dutch, not a Polish Jew. Just to make sure that there isn’t the shadow of a doubt, I want to stress that ethnicity or roots have nothing to do with the evaluation of the person. It seems to me that after the 20th century we owe this to the victims of World War II.
Quote: “I became very concerned that the Holocaust became more or less the beginning and end of Jewish history. I felt that being victims was too much a part of Jewish life”, Polish born philanthropist Tad Taube talking about the importance of the newly opened Jewish Museum in Warsaw.
Number: 500, the number of Jewish markings found in Portugal, remnants of 16th century Jewish converts.