Featured right now on the website: Robert Mickens's latest Letter from Rome, in which he reports on preparations for Holy Week at the Vatican (Francis will "wash the feet of inmates at the Rebibbia Detention Centre on the outskirts of Rome. And, as in the past, some of them will be women"), as well as on new comments from Cardinal Kasper on mercy, expectations for the October synod, and Francis's feelings about clericalism ("he hates it!"). Read the whole Letter from Rome here.

Also, our editors on the electoral victory of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the "ugliness of democratic politics":

As happens all too often in democracies, Netanyahu’s scorched-earth politics won the day. ... However, building bridges to his domestic political rivals may be easier than repairing his relationship with the Obama administration.

Predictably enough, Netanyahu has already retreated from his pre-election rejection of a two-state solution and apologized for his remarks about Arab Israelis. How sincere his recantations are remains to be seen; the White House appears skeptical. Netanyahu’s credibility could hardly be lower. His cynical and expedient rejection of a Palestinian state made a mockery of the Obama administration’s efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Allying himself with congressional Republicans to sabotage negotiations with Iran put traditional bipartisan support for Israel at risk. Should the administration and its international partners succeed in striking a deal with Iran, Netanyahu’s opposition is now a foregone conclusion. In other words, although the U.S. commitment to Israel’s military defense is not in jeopardy, it seems clear that the interests of the two nations are beginning to diverge in important ways.

Read all of "An Ugly Business" here.

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