Smoking is bad for you!()

• Happy Independence Day, Israel! You are now 63. Your population has grown two percent since last year to over 7.7 million, 75 percent of whom are Jewish. [JPost]

• Organizers of this year’s Gaza flotilla say it will be twice as large as last year’s and depart in the third week of June so that it is after the Turkish elections—not that Turkey’s government is officially connected. [AP/WP]

• Normally retrograde Shas spiritual adviser Rabbi Ovadia Yosef cited doctors in encouraging his followers to quit smoking. Progress! [JPost/Vos Iz Neias?]

• Mideast expert Gilles Kepel advises President Obama to invest his “political capital” from the Bin Laden killing into resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [NYT]

•The Simon Wiesenthal Center is anti-Washington City Paper and just honored Tom Cruise. I’ll never understand Los Angeles. [JTA]

• Todd Gitlin offers an original and important perspective into the Kushner-CUNY mess: Namely, why should somebody like Jeffrey Wiesenfeld be a trustee of a major public university in the first place? [Chronicle of Higher Ed.]

Fred Karger, undoubtedly Tablet Magazine’s favorite Republican presidential candidate, has an ad that truly can only be described as trippy. But surely even conservatives dig Frisbee?