Pictures in a Damascus hotel of Syrian President Assad and his father.(Louai Beshara/AFP/GettyImages)

• In a rare move, President Assad took to Syrian television, where he denied he had any real opposition and blamed for foreigners for causing all the unrest. [NYT]

• Walter Pincus reports on the latest U.S. funding for the Israeli military, particularly Iron Dome, much of which is already enshrined in the ten-year Memorandum of Understanding, but which still constitutes adding to the U.S. deficit while the United States is trying to cut its own defense budget. [WP]

• The replacement for the Tal Law is expected to increase Haredi enlistment in the army or civil service while still allowing yeshiva students to defer—and is expected, still, to be fiercely opposed by Haredi rabbis. [Haaretz]

• It was a less lighthearted Hasids versus hipsters scene last night as a fundraiser in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a Hasidic man accused of sex abuse was meant with a counter-protest standing up for the alleged victim. [NYT]

• Egypt has resumed its natural gas shipments … to Jordan. Israel will have to wait for a new deal, it seems. [JPost]

• Prime Minister Fayyad was replaced as finance minister (by another independent, university-trained technocrat). Is he scaling back, or having power taken from him? [Reuters/Haaretz]