Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, photo by Reuters
Headline: Kerry pushes economic plan for peace
To Read: Leon Wieseltier writes about America's obsession with 'Moving on':
Moving on is of course one of the quintessential expressions of the American spirit, and of the American shallowness. Our religion is the religion of movement; stillness offends our sense of possibility. We dodge the darker emotions by making ourselves into a moving target for them. We feel, but swiftly. This emotional efficiency, this cost-benefit calculus of the heart, is at once a strength and a weakness: you cannot be damaged by what cannot sink in. And so we acquire resilience through transience, and stoicism through speed. We cling desperately to the illusion of our immunity, even after it has just been disproved by experience, and to the fiction of the pastness of the past: we call it “closure,” which is just a decision not to care anymore, and not to let experience intrude any further. We need desperately to know that our insulation is intact. Hence the haste to get the marathon massacre behind us, to hold the memorial service and plan the next marathon. We are sometimes so anxious not to overreact that we underreact. Perhaps some people worried, in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, that if we lingered too long over the outrageous fact of what had been done to us, if we were patient with fear and tolerant with anger, then we, I mean our government, might be tempted to do something, and some airborne division might be dispatched for some more shock and awe.
Quote: “The United States did not discourage us from this direction”, Dutch envoy to Israel, Caspar Veldkamp, claiming that the US tacitly agrees to the European labeling of West Bank settlement products.
Number: 60, the percentage of Americans who believe that the measures taken after 9/11 have made the country safer.
Headline: Olmert announces: I will run for prime minister in next Israeli election
To Read: Amir Fuchs examines Israeli founding father Ze'ev Jabotinsky's vision of Jewish Arab relations, a vision which he believes to be under attack these days-
Current public discourse in Israel reflects an increasing belief that Zionist nationalism is incompatible with a commitment to liberalism, democracy, freedom, and equality. But the writings of of Ze’ev Jabotinsky – soldier in the Jewish Legion in WWI, ideologue, and leader of the nationalist, pre-state Revisionist Zionist movement – attest that no such contradiction exists.
Jabotinsky’s commitment to equality was total and complete. In particular, his attitude toward the Arab minority in the Land of Israel and his vision for the Jewish State stand in stark contrast to the philosophy underpinning recent attempts to introduce illiberal legislation in the Knesset.
Quote: “As a human being and as a Jew, I am deeply ashamed that an issue of such basic principle and ethics has been turned into a pawn”, Professor Yair Auron, Israeli genocide scholar, about the political calculations surrounding Israel's age-old policy of not recognizing the Armenian genocide.
Number: 6.5, the percentage of Israel's GDP which is spent on Defense.
The Middle East
Headline: Minaret of ancient Aleppo mosque destroyed
To Read: RAND's Alireza Nader takes a look at Iran's alliance with the Assad regime, an alliance which he claims is based on power and politics rather than religion:
The Syrian-Iranian alliance has largely lacked an ideological or religious dimension. The secular Syrian regime is dominated by members of the Alawite sect, which is distantly related to the Shi'a religion practiced by the majority of Iranians. Yet the Islamic Republic, the world's only theocracy, has displayed little religious affinity for the Assad regime. Rather, Tehran views Syria as a strategic gateway to the Arab world, a bulwark against American and Israeli power, and, perhaps most importantly, a crucial link to Lebanese Hezbollah. Syria is also a buffer against internal instability in Iran.
Quote: "Controversial and tasteless statements, slogans and charades damaged us and weakened our rightful position", Iranian Presidential candidate and mayor of Teheran, Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, criticizing President Ahmadinejad's holocaust denial.
Number: 355,000, the number of members in 'YaLa Young leaders', a Facebook group for Middle Eastern youth which has made an optimist out of Aaron David Miller.
The Jewish World
Headline: KKL-JNF transfers millions for Holocaust restitution
To Read: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes about the mitzvah of job creation and Jewish tradition's warning against the perils of unemployment-
Judaism recognises that unemployment has a psychological as well as economic dimension. Jewish law represents the sustained attempt to create a society that honours human dignity, and an essential part of this is that everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to the common good through their own endeavour. As Psalm 128 says, "When you eat from the labour of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well for you.
As a matter of religious principle, job creation must be at the centre of any long-term welfare policy. Human dignity requires no less.
Quote: “The reason why Maharat needs to exist is because unfortunately, we are not capitalizing on the talent of half our population by only giving men the spiritual roles in the religious community”, Ruth Balinsky Friedman, graduate of Yeshivat Maharat, Orthodoxy’s first institution training women as spiritual and religious leaders.
Number: 79, the percentage of British Jews who believe that the BBC is biased against Israel.