U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry places his notes
on the table before testifying on agreements over
Iran's nuclear programs, before the House Foreign
Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington,
December 10, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Headline: Congress assails Iran nuclear deal, but new sanctions appear unlikely
To Read: John Allen Gay thinks that Obama's handshake with Castro was no big deal and that Americans should generally not put their leaders on such a high pedestal-
Peres’ approach is the correct one: while there are ethical and tactical elements to be navigated in meeting and addressing foreign leaders, these elements must always be grounded in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Our own democratic system and our own freedoms are not endangered by a meeting between our president and a dictator. But they are if we start to think of our president as a god, and our diplomacy as his gift.
Quote: "As a result of this situation, the United States has suspended all further deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria", US Spokesman in Ankara announcing the suspension of non-lethal aid to Northern Syria.
Number: 42%, the Democratic Party's favorability rate (the GOP is at 32%)
Headline: Knesset gives initial approval to more aid for needy Holocaust survivors
To Read: According to veteran journalist Nachum Barnea, John Kerry's security plan has taken away Netanyahu's excuses-
Kerry, in his hectic efforts to advance the negotiations, is imposing quite a difficult problem on Netanyahu. The military plan devised by a huge team of experts, led by General Allen, robs Netanyahu of the immediate argument he has raised every time he was required to discuss the outline of the future border between Israel and Palestine: Security arrangements. Now there are security arrangements, and they include a long transition period before we leave the Jordan Valley, international supervision over border crossings, and more.
Quote: “At the moment it looks like even in the rest of the world, they understand that they cannot replace the Assad regime as long as they don’t know who will take its place. Right now it looks like the alternative is forces that will endanger the stability of the region", former IDF Chief Dan Halutz implying that Israel might prefer for Assad to stay in power.
Number: 30-40, the Galilee and Sharon region received 30-40 millimeters of precipitation last night.
The Middle East
Headline: Iran nuclear freeze start date elusive
To Read: The Washington Institute's David Schencker makes some grim predictions regarding the future of the Iran-Saudi relationship-
The real question is what comes now – and I expect a surge in regional violence. Paradoxically, the international “first step” nuclear agreement with Iran increases rather than diminishes the chances that the Shiite theocracy in Tehran will take steps that exacerbate the regional sectarian conflict.
Quote: "The GCC [The Gulf Cooperation Council] states have expressed their comfort towards the preliminary Geneva agreement pertaining to the Iranian nuclear programme, and we look forward to its success to lead to a permanent pact, that drives away the specter of tension from our region", Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, welcoming the deal with Iran.
Number: 27, the number of women who have died in 'honor killings' this year in the Palestinian Authority.
The Jewish World
Headline: Measles vaccine developer warns Jewish anti-vaxxers
To Read: Aaron Gilbreath describes his failed pilgrimage to his grandmother's Lower East Side-
The Lower East Side was ground zero of the Jewish Diaspora, a homeland before Israel, for it was here that many of the Jews who fled Europe’s anti-Semitism in the late 19th century and early 20th century started their new lives. Like most new immigrants, Jews associated largely with fellow Jews, acclimating to their new home by seeking the old country’s food, language, and customs. The Lower East Side became a neighborhood where, in the words of historian Hasia R. Diner, “Jews lived in a universe of almost total Jewishness.” Yiddish was primarily spoken; the hybrid language helped bridge communication gaps between Russians, Germans, and Poles. It also helped create “a foreign land right in the midst of America.” In 1900, these Jewish tenements contained 640,000 people in one square mile, the densest population at that point in history.
Quote: “Today our country took a major step forward toward addressing the needs of many Holocaust survivors”, Michael Siegal, Head of the Jewish Federation of North America Board of Trustees, commenting on Vice President Biden's announcement on the appointment of a government Holocaust survivor liaison.
Number: 120,000, the estimated number of Holocaust survivors in the US.