Israel's UN envoy Ron Prosor, whose comments on government policy sparked a furious response (Photo: Reuters)
Headline: U.S. Budget Compromise Deal Reached
Quote: “People say that Netanyahu understands American politics, but judging from [his staff’s] behavior, they don’t understand American politics. When you have a president like Obama with an opposite worldview, you cooperate as much as possible, but it seems like Netanyahu is fighting.” Eytan Gilboa on senior Netanyahu aide Ron Dermer
Number: 89-8 The Senate vote to pass a last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff
To Read: 1991 Victory Over Iraq Was Swift, but Hardly Flawless (Michael R. Gordon in the New York Times)
The gulf war appeared to have it all: a foreign tyrant who committed an indisputable act of aggression, a president who rallied the international community to roll back the occupation of a defenseless oil-rich nation, and an American military eager to prove itself in its most demanding test since Vietnam.
Headline: Top security adviser to Israeli diplomats: If you don't like government policy, quit
Quote: "Today was a really hard day since aside from going to work, we didn't leave our homes. We are afraid of the police and afraid of the Israelis, hatred is felt on the streets." Salman, a 32-year-old Sudanese asylum-seeker, talks about life in south Tel Aviv
Number: 3,300 The number of trees to be planted in Be'er Sheva in memory of the victims of the Newtown school shooting
To Read: After Rocket Attack, an Israeli City Seems Resigned to More in the Future
After enduring their first rocket attack from Gaza, the residents of Rishon Letzion, some 12 kilometers from Tel Aviv, are pessimistic about the chances for peace with the Palestinians.
The Middle East
Headline: Syrian PM says Assad ready for peace talks
Quote: “The state media in Egypt has to be the media of the public rather than serving the state” Rasha Abdulla, Associate Mass Communication professor at the American University in Cairo
Number: 35 The number of foreign journalists killed in Syria in 2012
To Read: The Year the Arab Spring Went Bad (F. Gregory Gause, III in Foreign Policy)
…my guess is that many of those watching the Arab Spring unfold did not really believe this year would be as bloody or fraught with risk as it has turned out to be. Transitions to democracy in Eastern Europe after 1989 were pretty quick and pretty successful. Latin American and East Asian transitions in the 1980s and 1990s had long and troubled backgrounds, but once democratic systems were established, most of them turned out to be stable and peaceful. Why should the Arab world be different? Well, there are two big reasons.
The Jewish World
Headline: Rift between oldest synagogue, Jewish congregation
Quote: “I should thank Mussolini for having declared me to be of an inferior race. This led me to the joy of working, not any more unfortunately, in university institutes but in a bedroom.” Nobel-Winning Biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who died Sunday, aged 103
Number: 6 million The number of Jews living in Israel at the start of 2013
To Read: Searching for I.B. Singer (John Lingan in Tablet)
There were always two stories about my first name. Mom liked to say it was an homage to John Lennon, while Dad stressed that it honored his older brother who died in the hospital in 1951, only 3 days old, a year before Dad was born. About my middle name, however, there was never any question. Mom had spent two years on a kibbutz in the late 1960s, where an English friend lent her a novel by the man who later became the only Yiddish-language Nobel laureate for literature. She grew to love his books so much that she named me John Isaac Lingan—for John Lennon and lost baby John, and for Isaac Bashevis Singer.