Jewish Journal


October 4, 2013

October 4, 2013



The Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC
Photo by Reuters

The US

Headline: Shutdown Hinders Iran, Syria Sanctions Enforcement, Treasury Official Says

To Read: Dov Zakheim points out that President Obama needs Netanyahu's blessing if he is serious about reaching a deal with Iran  -

In order to have sanctions lifted, Obama will need to persuade Congress to pass legislation to that effect. Yet as the government shutdown has demonstrated once more, the President’s relations with Capitol Hill are in reality virtually non-existent. Indeed, if as Mr. Obama himself put it, “one faction of one party” could force its party, its chamber, and the Congress, to torpedo any agreement with the White House that would keep the government open (leaving aside the fact that neither the White House nor Congressional Democrats were prepared to reach any agreement that did not involve total capitulation by the other side), how much less likely would he be to get a Congress that overwhelmingly supports Israel on a bipartisan basis if Bibi Netanyahu stresses that easing sanctions will endanger his country’s survival. In other words, to have any sanctions lifted, the President will need Mr. Netanyahu's blessing.

Quote: “We do believe it would be helpful for you to at least allow this meeting to happen on the 15th and 16th of October before moving forward to consider these new sanctions”, State Department Undersecretary Wendy Sherman opposing new Iranian sanctions before negotiations.

Number: 13, the number of points by which Hilary Clinton leads against her strongest potential republican rival (Chris Christie) in the recent 2016 presidential polls.



Headline: Israel, PA negotiations set to resume

To Read: When it comes to Iran, could Netanyahu be called the US' 'bad cop'? Elliot Abrams raises the metaphor but believes it is somewhat incomplete-

The Israelis have a difficult task ahead. They do not wish to play the bad cop role in an American game with Iran -- and, in fact, the metaphor is misleading. In the good cop/bad cop routine, both officers are on the same team and are carefully coordinating their approaches. In this case, the Israelis fear, the bad cop wants to see the criminals jailed, and the good cop is open to a sweet plea bargain. If that’s what the Iranians get, they will sit back and smile while the United States and Israel end up in a bitter argument.

Quote: "We're going all out to win", Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, commenting on Israel's bid for a seat at the 2019-20 UN security Council seat.  

Number: 64, the percentage of Israelis who believe Iran will get its atomic bomb.


The Middle East

Headline: Turkey will 'pay dearly' for rebel support, al-Assad warns

To Read: Victory Davis Hanson reminds us that, not so long ago, Bashar Assad was also hailed as a reformer, just like Rouhani-

 It is old news that for Iran, the long-term advantages of obtaining a nuclear bomb have always outweighed the temporary downside of economic sanctions. But what is new is the Syrian model, which has excited the Iranians as never before. “Game changer” threats are now seen as empty. Posturing as a “moderate” works. Sugary op-eds in American papers beguile the public. And Vladimir Putin is always ready to come to the rescue.

No wonder that Iran believes it can finally have its WMD and woo us, too.

Quote:  "[The documents] look promising", The UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expressing its mild optimism about the chemical weapons inspection mission.  

Number: 12,000, the number of people who live Moadhamiya, a subusrb of Damascus which was gassed by chemical weapons in August and which is now being denied basic supplies.


The Jewish World

Headline: Israel: European stance on circumcision ‘intolerable’

To Read: Rabbi David Wolpe examines what the pew survey means for liberal Judaism-

Over half of American Jews identify as Conservative and Reform (53 percent while Orthodoxy is 10 percent) but the trends are discouraging for Conservative and Reform Judaism.  Long term, can the more liberal branches survive?  The answer will lie in the quality of the core and whether it can expand.   Reform and Conservative Jews who go to Jewish day school and summer camps have very high rates of retention.  But the investment in Jewish life is America is costly in both time and money, and requires powerful motivation.  For many non-Orthodox Jews, it proves too much.

As a countercultural tradition in America, Judaism asks a great deal of its adherents.  Judaism is a behavior-centered tradition.  It is primarily enacted in a language strange to most American Jews (Hebrew) and requires an extensive education to understand its fundamentals. Americans are not distinguished by diligence in acquiring cultural literacy.  That which is continually diluted will eventually disappear.

Quote: “Women are more than half of the population, and their voices ought to be heard clearly on ever topic”, Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, commenting on an ordinance she signed, according to which every rabbinical judge selection committee has to have at least one female member.

Number: 100, over one hundred women participated in Women of the Wall's prayer at the Kotel (amid jeers and spitting).

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