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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 24, 2011 / 20 Adar I, 5771

Will Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah's bribe of $36 billion in benefits work?

By Caryle Murphy





King Abdullah returned home to a Saudi Arabia seemingly moored in the eye of the storm howling from Libya to Bahrain. But reformers are intensifying calls for political change


JewishWorldReview.com |

cIYADH, Saudi Arabia — (TCSM) After three months away, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz promised his subjects billions of dollars in new benefits as he returned home today to a region roiled by revolt.

As other leaders across the Middle East scurry to appease discontented citizens, the king introduced 19 new measures estimated to cost 135 riyals ($36 billion), according to John Sfakianakis, chief economist of Banque Sausi Fransi. The measures address inflation and housing, expand social security benefits, and ease unemployment and education costs — two areas of particular concern to Saudi youths. (Editor's note: The original version of the story underestimated the cost of the measures.)

King Abdullah's nation is seemingly moored in the eye of the epic storm howling around it. But it is also clear that the octogenarian king, who went to New York in late November for back surgery and then to Morocco to convalesce, is returning to a realm touched in significant ways by the youth rebellions roiling the Middle East.

More than ever before, Saudis are openly calling for change, including political reforms. The most vociferous are tech-savvy youths who have obsessively followed their peers' historic movements, especially in Egypt, on Twitter and Facebook.

True, King Abdullah — whose oil-rich coffers provide the country with generous benefits and material development — is genuinely liked by most of his subjects. And the government is shielded by a religious culture in which rebellion is deemed illicit and public street protest considered gauche.

But those agitating for change have made the Internet their virtual Tahrir Square, with locations like #EgyEffectSA on Twitter acting as a public forum for how they see Egypt affecting Saudi Arabia.

DEMANDS INCLUDE WOMEN'S VOTE, YOUNGER LEADERS
In a move timed to the king's return Wednesday, a group of 40 young Saudis, mostly journalists and rights activists, signed an open "Letter to the King."

The signers say they were inspired by Arab youth elsewhere, and by the king's encouragement of national dialogue. They asked for elections for the advisory Shura Council, the right of women to vote and run as candidates, strong anticorruption measures, and greater fiscal transparency and accountability.


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In addition, they want the cabinet reshuffled so that ministers' average age, now 65, is reduced to 40.

In another effort — albeit one that did not get very far — 10 moderate Islamists, including university professors and lawyers, defied the ban on political parties and announced they were forming the Islamic Umma Party.

"We think the royal family is not the only one who has the right to be leader of the country," Abdul Aziz Mohammed al-Wohaibi, one of the party's founders, said in an interview. "We should treat the royal family like any other group…. No special treatment."

Asked if the group had been launched because of events in Egypt, Wohaibi replied that they "had created an environment for a movement like this."

And last week, the king's half-brother, Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, said in a BBC TV interview that unless the king made further reforms the kingdom risked future revolution. Although Talal is a maverick with little support within the royal family, his remarks are being widely discussed by Saudis.

Significantly, these calls for change do not include an end to the monarchy, which most Saudis believe would spell disaster.

"Most people, including the young, really do believe in the monarchy, especially King Abdullah — everybody adores him," says Eman al-Nafjan, a prominent Riyadh-based blogger. "It's just a matter of pushing for reforms" such as an elected parliament and "more transparency and accountability when it comes to the country's budget."

CHIEF CONCERNS: UNEMPLOYMENT, CORRUPTION, DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL
There have been some fleeting demonstrations: By college graduates who want the Education Ministry to give them jobs; by Jeddah residents angry about flood damage, and by about 50 women demanding the release of male relatives held for years without trial for alleged terrorist-related activities.

Unemployment, corruption, and these long-term detentions are the issues fueling the most discontent here.

"We need a total reform regarding the dignity of the citizen," says Mohammad al-Hodaif, who has three male relatives detained for long periods without charges.

A religious conservative, Mr. Hodaif took his daughters to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate the fall of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. Egypt, he said, was "a revolution of freedom and democracy. People are eager for freedom and democracy. Not just in Egypt. In all Arab countries."

Riyadh attorney Abdulaziz al-Gasim also avidly followed Egypt's gripping transformation on Twitter and on TV. Its affect on his own government, he says, is clear.

"It has put them in the most difficult situation in their lives because this is a clear battle," Mr. Gasim says. "The goal now is very clear…. It is for good governance and guarantees of that by a constitutional state."

NO SIGN THAT GOVERNMENT WILL LISTEN
There is no sign, however, that the government is ready to listen to any political demands. Founders of the Umma Party were arrested and several remain in detention.

In a meeting last week with Saudi newspaper editors, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, another half-brother to the king and a likely heir to the throne, said that events in Egypt were the work of outsiders and would have no effect on Saudi Arabia, according to a participant and others who got reports on the seven-hour gathering.

Prince Nayef also warned his audience about liberals trying to make Saudi Arabia like the West, they said.

Many Saudis agree with Nayef. They are deeply conservative and leery of change that would dilute their religious identity. And even those who want some reforms are worried about jeopardizing their domestic stability.

"I'm afraid of chaos, like in Iraq," says Suliman Aljimaie, a Jeddah attorney who thinks change is coming too fast in the Arab world. "The United States said it would move Iraq to democracy and now you see what happened there… Change should be [introduced] slowly, not with this speed."

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© 2011, The Christian Science Monitor