OUR TRIBUTE TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH Join us in February for programs celebrating the rich history, culture, and traditions of African diversity - including theater performances, arts, crafts, music, photography, films, exhibitions, and guest lectures.
We are launching an Israeli culture club for our Facebook fans! Every month we will choose a book, movie, or other cultural tidbit to send to some of our fans. Join us on Facebook at SFIsrael for a chance to win, and tell us which Israeli book (translated into English) you think should be the first item up for grabs... ________________________
News from Israel & the Middle East
PM Netanyahu addresses the situation in Egypt Prime Minister's Office "Should the forces that wish to carefully reform and democratize Egypt prevail, I am convinced that such positive change would also buttress a wider Arab-Israeli peace. But we are not there yet. First of all, this battle has yet to be decided. Second, it is possible that it will be a long while before one of the forces achieves victory, and we may have many years of instability. Third, recent history shows us many cases in the Middle-East when extreme Islamist elements abused the rules of the democratic game to gain power and impose anti-democratic regimes."
Ha'aretz Several thousand people have joined the Facebook group calling for a protest against Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. Another Facebook group is calling for protests against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Far fewer people have expressed interest in that page, but Palestinian leaders in the West Bank also recognize that the protests in Tunisia and Egypt could spill over into Palestinian territory.
The story of how Mr. Mubarak, an Arab autocrat who only last month was the mainstay of America's policy in a turbulent region, suddenly found himself pushed toward the exit is first and foremost a tale of the Arab street. But it is also one of political calculations, in Cairo and Washington, which were upsetrepeatedly as the crowds swelled.
As it braces for the likelihood of a new ruler in Egypt, the U.S. government is rapidly reassessing its tenuous relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition movement whose fundamentalist ideology has long been a source of distrust in Washington. Although the group has played a secondary role in the swelling protests that are threatening to topple President Hosni Mubarak, U.S. officials have acknowledged the political reality that the Muslim Brotherhood is poised to assume at least a share of power should Egypt hold free and fair elections in the coming months.
New York Times King Abdullah II, struggling to stave off growing public discontent, widened his political outreach and met with the Muslim Brotherhood for the first time in nearly a decade. He also asserted in a statement that he would fight corruption and foster a broad national dialogue. The Muslim Brotherhood is estimated to have the support of 25 to 30 percent of Jordan's six million people.
Ha'aretz Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the international community's Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, announced a series of gestures that Israel will make to the Palestinians, including a promise to support Arab construction in East Jerusalem. The meeting between Netanyahu and Blair comes a day before a summit of the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers - the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia - for whom Blair is the envoy.
Yossi Klein Halevi in the New York Times Israelis want to rejoice over the outbreak of protests in Egypt's city squares. They want to believe that this is the Arab world's 1989 moment. Perhaps, they say, the poisonous reflex of blaming the Jewish state for the Middle East's ills will be replaced by an honest self-assessment. But few Israelis really believe in that hopeful outcome. Instead, the grim assumption is that it is just a matter of time before the only real opposition group in Egypt, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, takes power.
Ari Shavit in Ha'aretz Processes that have been roiling beneath the surface for about a decade are suddenly bursting out in an intifada of freedom. Modernization, globalization, telecommunications and Islamization have created a critical mass that cannot be stopped. The example of democratic Iraq is awakening others, and Al Jazeera's subversive broadcasts are fanning the flames. And so the Tunisian bastille fell, the Cairo bastille is falling and other Arab bastilles will fall.
Associated Press Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, is teaming up with Google to make its photographs and documents interactive and searchable on the Internet. The project launched with a collection of 130,000 photos that can now be searched directly from Google, using standard keywords and other data that make it far easier than in the past to find desired information.
Israel21c Tel Aviv's restored port has become the city's entertainment hub, with trendy shops, bars and cafes. That it recently won a prestigious European landscape prize only adds to its appeal.
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