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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Sivan 12, 5767, 5/29/2007

      A Landslide in Damascus!!

      what is surprising is that 2.38% of Syrian voters actually had the courage not to vote 'yes' in this farce masquerading as democracy
      Well, the results are in, and they are quite surprising.

      Syrian President Bashar Assad won a whopping 97.62 percent of the vote in a referendum aimed at "confirming" him for another 7 year term of office as Dictator of Damascus. This was actually an increase from the 97.29 percent that he received 7 years ago when he inherited the throne from his late father, Hafez Assad.

      The outcome, of course, was hardly unexpected, as Assad was the only candidate allowed to run. But what is surprising is that 2.38% of Syrian voters actually had the courage not to vote 'yes' in this farce masquerading as democracy.

      Speaking to reporters, Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majeed said - apparently with a straight face - "This great consensus shows the political maturity of Syria and the brilliance of our democracy and multi-party system."

      In fact, what it shows is that Syria remains a backwater of authoritarianism and repression, one that is not worthy of being courted or cultivated (Nancy Pelosi please take note).

      Syria is a dangerous dictatorship that has a penchant for stirring up trouble throughout the region, whether it is interfering in Lebanon, allowing fighters to cross into Iraq to join the insurgency, or hosting terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Damascus.

      And as the results of the referendum make clear, Syria's neighbors aren't the only ones who are chafing under Mr. Assad and his regime.