Jewish Journal


September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013



U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani during a phone call in
the Oval Office at the White House in Washington
September 27, 2013. Photo: Reuters

The US

Headline: Israel and Others in Mideast View Overtures of U.S. and Iran With Suspicion

To Read: Doyle McManus urges the US to do its best to (quickly) figure out what lies behind Rouhani's charm-

And it's very good news that Rouhani wants to move fast, even if that's only because Khamenei has given him limited time to prove that sanctions will ever be relaxed and that the United States isn't simply seeking regime change. Until now, the United States, Israel and their allies feared that the Iranians were merely playing for time, time to work toward a nuclear weapon while the diplomats talked. If Iran's leaders agree that time is short and act accordingly, real progress is possible.

For all the haziness of Rouhani's rhetoric, at least one of his bromides was true: This is a window of opportunity, and we should seize it — if only to determine whether there's substance behind the charm.

Quote: "In the coming days, we will be outspoken in our support for furthering sanctions against Iran, requiring countries to again reduce their purchases of Iranian petroleum and imposing further prohibitions on strategic sectors of the Iranian economy. We proceed with an open hand, but there can be a deal only when Iran’s actions align with its rhetoric", Senators Robert Menendez and Lindsey Graham promising to promote tough measures against Iran in an Op-Ed for the Post.

Number: 1,131, the number of American citizens abroad who gave up their US citizenship in the first quarter of 2013 (up from 189 last year).



Headline: Shin Bet arrests Iranian spy allegedly sent to Israel by Revolutionary Guard

To Read: Daniel Levy wrote an interesting piece on the tough decisions Netanyahu faces amid the possibility of US-Iran negotiations-

If diplomacy survives this initial onslaught and the contours of a deal take shape, Netanyahu will face the choice that he has most wanted to avoid throughout his years in office: to acquiesce to a Western rapprochement with Iran or to stand alone in diplomatic and, presumably, military defiance. The ideologue in Netanyahu will counsel defiance, while the risk-averse politician in him will recommend a climb-down.

Quote: "Israel shouldn't be portrayed as a serial objector to negotiations uninterested in peaceful solutions. We must make the Iranians be peace objectors. Leaving the UN Assembly is reminiscent of the ways Arab states behaved towards Israel", Yair Lapid criticizing the Israeli UN delegation's decision to boycott Rouhani's speech.  

Number: NIS 1.5, the amount of bribe money former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is accused of receiving to authorize the infamous Holyland project.  


The Middle East

Headline: In Tehran, surprising news of presidents’ conversation greeted largely with optimism

To Read: TNR's Julia Ioffe believes that despite the US' attempt to sell it as a success, the Syria deal reached on Friday might be quite a step back- 

After the unanimous vote on Friday night, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon delivered a speech praising Resolution 2118 for breaking the deadlock. It has. Its esoteric compromise has also delivered massive political wins to Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Bashar al-Assad. He praised the effort that would lead to Syria destroying its chemical weapons program. “A red light for one type of weapon is not a green light for others,” he warned. Except that this is exactly what Resolution 2118 does.

Quote: “Work is under way, in line with the roadmap, on several tracks. It has so far succeeded in establishing the principles of justice, freedom and democracy, as a basis for governance. This will be followed by parliamentary elections, then presidential elections, so that the transitional phase ends by next spring”, Egypt's interim FM, Nabil Fahmy, announcing the deadline for the end of the interim government phase.

Number: 50%, nearly half of the children in Syria are not in school, according to the UN agency for children.


The Jewish World

Headline: Greece arrests leaders of neo-Nazi party

To Read: According to Rabbi David Wolpe, Malcolm Gladwell has misrepresented the message behind the David and Goliath story in his new book-

Why does David show up at the field to challenge the giant? His father has sent him there to check on his brothers. Saul, who is the failing king, is without resource. No fighter would take his chance against the Philistine champion. There is in David’s challenge—as in the mythical echo of King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone—an affirmation that this battle is in accord with the unfathomable designs of God.

The relentless demystification of human behavior represented by Gladwell’s book carries with it this danger: that we feel ourselves on the verge of figuring it all out. Which we’re not.

Quote: “Among the great painters, I admire Caravaggio; his paintings speak to me. But also Chagall, with his ‘White Crucifixion’, Pope Francis endorsing Chagall's painting of Jesus as a Jew at a time of pogroms.

Number: £150million, the estimated value of the legendary 'Amber Room of the tsars', which people are digging into holocaust victims' graves to search for.

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