With President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry planning to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority next month, speculation proliferates as to whether Obama plans—once again—to push for "peace" between Israel and the PA, or has learned from his first term that such an outcome is hard to attain and still more effort in pursuit of it is not likely to be rewarded.
Meanwhile the French Jewish community reports a record rise of 58% in anti-Semitic incidents for 2012—a total of 614 compared to 389 in 2011. While seemingly not directly relevant to the question about Obama's visit, the situation in France—and Western Europe generally—in fact tells much about the Middle East and Israel's position in it.
Amid the general increase in anti-Semitic activity in France, then, there were almost twice as many physical attacks on Jews there in 2012 as in 2011, and 25% of those involved a weapon. Why the dramatic rise? While anti-Semitic behavior is known to burgeon during and after major Israeli military operations, 2012 saw only the eight-day-long Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza rocket fire in November.