The highly misogynistic society still won't let women drive or become lawyers, yet several female sports teams are forming in Jeddah and are hoping for public support to play in the open.
Zvi Bar'el is the Middle Eastern affairs analyst for Haaretz Newspaper. He is a columnist and a member of the editorial board. Previously he has been the managing editor of the newspaper, the correspondent in Washington and has also covered the Occupied Territories.
Bar'el has been with Haaretz since 1982, and has written extensively on the Arab and Islamic world. In 2009, he was awarded the Sokolov prize for lifetime achievement in print journalism.
Bar'el has a Ph.D in the History of the Middle East. He teaches at Sapir Academic College and is a research fellow at the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as at the Center for Iranian Studies.
But Turkey's demand is also surprising. If it wanted to impose sanctions on Israel because of the blockade, it didn't need the flotilla or the investigative committee.
Chief adviser to Turkish PM nevertheless cautions that normalization will not happen unless Israel apologizes, offers compensation and lifts the blockade on Gaza.
As in Syria, Israel is quickly progressing to a situation in which the minority controls the majority.
In Syria, a murdered singer/sloganeer and cartoonist are carrying the flag for the anti-regime demonstrations in Hama. But where are all the other artists?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says President Assad has lost all legitimacy, indicating that instead of supporting reforms, Washington may now push for regime change.
The peace activists of the flotilla, or flytilla, represent a point of view that Israel has been trying to eradicate for years, that Israel is not immune to outside pressure, and that when Israel declares itself to be the only democracy in the Middle East it means it.
It took Lebanon's prime minister from January until just last week to put together a new cabinet and obtain the parliament's approval for it.
Censors in Lebanon fear a new film exploring the deep and still-present wounds of the civil war could reignite tensions. But suppression is no substitute for justice, the filmmaker says.
Perhaps U.S. dialogue with Hamas is not as far-fetched as current American policy toward the group makes it seem.