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Midday: Former Pres. Convicted of Rape

Plus the Leviathan field is just that, and more in the news

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Former President Moshe Katsav leaves the court today.(Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

• Moshe Katsav, the Israeli president before his 2007 resignation, was convicted of raping a Tourism Ministry employee while he was in-charge of it in the late ‘90s. [NYT]

• An official estimate of the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel’s northern coast proves it to be worthy of its name: Its roughly 16 trillion cubic feet of the potential fuel could make Israel a net energy exporter. [JTA]

• Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch (whose father was Jewish) who has come to symbolize both the privatization of the Yeltsin era and the authoritarian crackdown of the Putin era, was sentenced to an additional six years in prison. [NYT]

• A minister acknowledged that Israel now believes Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been delayed, such that it is likely at least three years away from a bomb. Stuxnet: The best Christmas present of all! [AP/NYT]

• A free iPhone app provides a live feed of the Western Wall, a function that works with the device’s compass to tell you which direction to face, and—naturally—a way to send a message to HaShem. [JTA]

• A fantastic article on the burst of activity this fall that saw the renaming of the final three streets in France named after Vichy ruler Philippe Pétain—all located near the Verdun battefield, at which the marshal proved his heroism during World War One [Forward]

• A wealthy Palestinian businessman trying to buy a dysfunctional real estate venture in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem is being fought by Jewish settlers. [WSJ]

• A newly released cable—albeit not from WikiLeaks!—shows that in 1980 Great Britain feared Israeli use of nuclear weapons against potential Arab enemies. [JPost]

• Blake Eskin, the founder of Tablet Magazine predecessor, eulogizes Denis Dutton, whose Arts & Letters Daily helped (and continues to help) “prove that the Web could be a platform not only for fast-paced celebrity gossip and pictures of cute animals but for long and serious writing and the exchange of complex ideas.” [New Yorker]

• The Swedish neo-Nazi who tried to facilitate the theft and fencing of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, briefly stolen from Auschwitz, was sentenced to 32 months in prison. [JTA]

• Sandy Koufax, arguably the greatest Jewish athlete of the 20th century, turns 75 today. [Kaplan’s Korner]

Two smart Muslim Americans discuss how the Islamic community in America can use the Jewish community in America as a model.

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Midday: Former Pres. Convicted of Rape

Plus the Leviathan field is just that, and more in the news

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