John Kerry with Arab League delegates, photo by Reuters
Headline: Kerry meets Arab ministers on peace process
To Read: The New Yorker's Steve Coll discusses the resemblances between Obama's drone policy and Eisenhower's problematic low key political coups-
Obama’s enthusiasm for drones—which he believes minimizes the risk to American forces and non-combatants on the ground—is unnervingly reminiscent of Eisenhower’s enthusiasm for poisoning schemes and coup plots. (The President’s foreign-policy advisers periodically cite Eisenhower as an inspiration.) Drone strikes are also defended on the ground that they have killed terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen before those terrorists could kill Americans in Times Square or on the Mall, in Washington. There is no way to assess these claims: the official secrecy surrounding the program makes it impossible to judge the results.
Quote: "they are going to litigate hard against the death penalty. They are not going to put on a Jihadi defense", Alan Dershowitz about the implications of the appointment of death penalty attorney Judy Clarke to the defense team of the Boston bomber.
Number: $300,000, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's monthly payment from the CIA.
Headline: IDF airstrike kills top terrorist in north Gaza
To Read: An Ultra-Orthodox educator raises a possible problem concerning Yair Lapid's policy toward Haredi education-
The significance of the proposed reform is that ultra-Orthodox institutions will no longer be funded by the Education Ministry. The more severe problem, which will cause damage to the country, is that these institutions will fall right into the loving, wealthy hands of hasidic sects such as Satmar - in the US, Europe and Israel. These sects made their fortune after the Holocaust from real estate deals all over the world.
Outside funding for haredi education institutions that are currently in the center of the map and are the vast majority in Israel (97%), will lead in less than five-six years to a shift in ideology among the haredim and will completely tear them away from Israeli society. If today the haredim are a part of society (when it comes to the job market, education, and mainly the recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state), the reforms will lead to the full control of the yarmulke by sects such as Satmar. This poses a grave danger to the Israeli public.
Quote: “We are not at war with Israel. [But] if the Arab countries are at war with them, we’ll help them”, influential Iranian leader and former President Akhbar Hashemi Rsfanjani, about Israel-Iran relations.
Number: NIS 250 billion, the cost of evacuating isolated West Bank Jewish communities outside of the settlement blocs, at least according to the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
The Middle East
Headline: Deadly bomb hits Damascus district near interior ministry building
To Read: The Telegraph's Phoebe Greenwood reports from Gaza about its increasingly harsh modesty patrol-
During their six years running Gaza, Hamas security forces have used thuggish tactics against political opponents.
But a violently enforced public modesty campaign is new. This latest trend of punitive head shaving has shocked a conflict and poverty hardened community. Gaza is gripped with a palpable fear that Hamas is driving the population towards unapologetic, militant, Islamic fundamentalism.
Quote: "We have been hearing appeals to us to change our position. All the time the official representatives of the State Department or the White House will be saying, "We call on Russia and China to change their position," which meant the conviction of Washington that their position was right. And I'm gratified to note some positive change which occurred on the part of those who have been denying any possibility for a dialogue as long as President Assad is in Syria. We have been consistent. We have been saying that for us priority No. 1 is to stop the bloodshed and to save lives, and therefore cessation of hostilities and dialogue without any preconditions is the best way to achieve this desired goal. And when people were telling us, "Well, we can support you only if President Assad disappears," that meant one very simple thing: that for them priority No. 1 was not saving lives but removing the president and changing the regime", Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, discussing Russia's position on the Syria crisis in an interesting FP interview.
Number: $3b, the worth of the Egyptian bonds the Qatari government is going to buy at 5% interest.
The Jewish World
Headline: Hungary activist attacked before Jewish Congress
To Read: Judaism scholar Zach Mann claims that today's important Rabbis are unfortunately less scholarly than the important rabbis of yore (mid 20th century America)-
On March 21, The Daily Beast released its list of the top 50 rabbis in America. The overwhelming majority of the honorees earned this accolade by creating innovative organizations, engaging in social action, or successfully building spiritually fulfilling communities. Only a very few had risen to prominence through intellectual or scholarly achievement, though many are learned, some are published authors, and others are pioneers in the field of Jewish education. This is not surprising. Today’s American rabbi must preside over religious services, attend committee meetings, balance budgets, officiate at all sorts of life cycle events, and participate in social action, and consequently has time for little else. But was this always the case?
Quote: “What you’re doing to the survivors is a crime and a disgrace. Ben-Gurion made a pact, promising we would receive money for the rest of our lives”, Holocaust survivor Dora Roth's high profile diatribe against the Israeli government yesterday at the Knesset.
Number: 843, the number of holocaust survivors who attended the 20th anniversary of the DC Holocaust museum yesterday.