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  • Interview with MO02 Candidate Noga Sachs

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  • Abe Foxman on Trump’s Helsinki comments

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  • Interview with Sen. Dean Heller

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Aug
17

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Daily Kickoff: How Trump realized Turkey’s Erdogan is not his pal | Meet Congressional candidate Lena Epstein | Atlanta’s hidden Israeli restaurant

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ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — The 37-year-old Republican Jewish Woman running for Congress: Meet Michigan’s Lena Epstein — by Jacob Kornbluh: If elected in November, Epstein would be the only Jewish Republican woman in Congress. Epstein is a third-generation owner and general manager of Vesco Oil Corporation, the business her grandfather Eugene Epstein founded in Southfield, Michigan in 1947.

Epstein is vying for the seat of retiring Congressman David Trott, a two-term Republican, who handily won his reelection bid in 2016. President Donald Trump carried the 11th Congressional District in the last presidential race and RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel lives in the district. Nonetheless, the seat is rated as a “toss-up” by Cook Political Report.

“I believe that I am being called to be the champion of the relationship between the United States and Israel once elected to the United States Congress,” Epstein declared in a phone interview with Jewish Insider when asked why she’s leaving the business world. “I am an unapologetic Republican Jewish woman who loves Israel, who loves the Jewish community, who is a business owner and a job creator.”

Epstein served as the Trump campaign co-chair in Michigan. Similar to Trump, Epstein has had her own share of Twitter controversy. Last year, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon circulated screenshots showing Epstein’s Twitter account to have “liked” posts by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke that praised the Charlottesville white-nationalist rally. Epstein claimed her account had been hacked and demanded an apology from Dillon.

In June, Epstein made headlines after a Michigan country club canceled a scheduled fundraiser to be held for her at the club. As a fourth generation member of the Franklin Hills Country Club, Epstein says she was deeply hurt by the decision. According to Epstein’s account, she was informed about the cancelation by phone on Friday night.

“The club’s board of directors’ representative was screaming into the phone at me and he said, ‘Your event has been canceled. It is because of your political views.’ And I said, ‘It’s Shabbos. Is there an emergency?’ He said, ‘What does Shabbos have to do with this?’ And I said, ‘It’s Shabbos. I’m holding my baby daughter in my arms. I just finished a Shabbos dinner with my family. I observe Shabbat, and I’m very uncomfortable that we’re on the phone right now, and I would ask that you treat me with kindness and respect.’ And he just repeated, ‘Your event has been canceled, and it’s been canceled because of your political views.’ He would not allow my campaign manager to join us on the call.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

— We asked Epstein for her thoughts on her fellow Congressional candidate from Michigan Rashida Tlaib who has been making waves recently for her comments on opposing U.S. aid to Israel if elected to Congress.

— Epstein told us, “I don’t know a lot about that race. I have been focused entirely on Michigan’s 11th District. I am not speaking today on any other race. I’ve been advised by the people who love me and care for me and want my success the most to focus on my own race so that I can be the champion of the Jewish cause. I can’t… I don’t know enough about the race.”

From Two States to One: Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib Shifts Position on Israel — by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “J Street’s Senior Vice President of Public Engagement Jessica Rosenblum told Haaretz the organization is “currently seeking clarification from Rashida Tlaib’s campaign regarding her recent comments on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” .. According to Rosenblum, “support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” was the most important considerations in the group agreeing to offer its endorsement.” [Haaretz

DRIVING THE DAY — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of a new task force yesterday to coordinate all “Iran-related activity” across the State Department and the federal government and counter Iran’s “malign” activity in the Middle East. “Our hope is that one day soon we can reach a new agreement with Iran, but we must see major changes in the regime’s behavior both inside and outside of its borders,” Pompeo said in remarks at the State Department.

The Iran Action Group will be headed by Brian Hook, who has now been named Special Representative for Iran. “We will continue to build on those areas where we are in agreement with our allies and partners around the world and we will work to find consensus on those areas where we are not,” Hook told reporters. Hook also indicated that the U.S. would issue waivers from sanctions to countries that have made efforts to reduce their Iranian oil purchases.

HOW IT PLAYED: A New U.S. Post to Pressure Iran, and a Stark Challenge Ahead — by David Sanger: In an interview before his post was to be announced on Thursday, Mr. Hook conceded that the administration’s withdrawal from the accord has strained relations with Europe. But he argued that it also opened new avenues of diplomacy.” [NYTimes]

— Mark Dubowitz, who heads the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Iranian regime was counting on “a distracted Trump administration to lose focus on Iran.” “They will be sorely disappointed,” he said.” [BuzzFeedNews]

Dennis Ross said Hook’s new post might be a bureaucratic maneuver to try to inject more clarity into Washington’s policy toward Tehran. “It creates an address within the administration for … making the approach a more coherent one, with someone being given broader responsibility across departments to try to shape the policy,” said Ross…”The real question is … is the policy going to continue to be just, basically, strong tough rhetoric and sanctions … or is it going to be something more to curtail what Washington sees as Iran’s destabilizing actions in Syria, Yemen and Iraq?” he added.” [Reuters]

THE SYRIA DEAL: Trump and Putin Agreed That Iran Should Exit Syria, Official Says — by Justin Sink: “President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s July summit in Helsinki was largely dominated by discussion of the crisis in Syria and Iran’s role in the conflict, according to a U.S. administration official… The two leaders agreed in principle that Iran should exit Syria… Russian leadership, however, said accomplishing Iran’s withdrawal would be difficult… Trump and Putin also discussed… disputes over Golan Heights… Both arms control and Syria are expected to be on the agenda as White House National Security Adviser John Bolton meets with Russian officials next week in Geneva.” [Bloomberg]

TRUMP TURKEY: In Trump’s standoff with Turkey, two tough-guy leaders and a deal gone wrong — by Anne Gearan: “President Trump on Thursday appeared to publicly acknowledge for the first time that his administration helped negotiate the release of a Turkish national being held in Israel as part of a broader deal that would have freed an American pastor jailed in Turkey. “We got somebody out for him,” Trump said, referring to Erdogan. “He needed help getting somebody out of someplace; they came out.” “They want to hold our wonderful pastor,” Trump added. “Not fair. Not right.”

“The Washington Post reported on July 26… that Trump had directly intervened with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to win the release last month of a Turkish woman accused of being a smuggler for… Hamas… Trump’s July 14 phone call to Netanyahu came two days after the close of the NATO summit, where he singled out Erdogan for praise and fist-bumped the grinning Turkish leader.”

“Trump took the collapse of the negotiation as a personal slight, and is furious at the appearance that the United States was duped, U.S. officials said. Trump has complained that Erdogan is trying to make him look “weak,” one official said.” [WashPostWSJ

THE BIG DEAL — Egypt finalizing details of long-term Hamas-Israel truce: source — by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ali Sawafta and Jeffrey Heller: “Egypt is finalizing details of a long-term truce deal between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian security source said on Thursday… “We are putting the final touches to the terms of the truce that will be signed by all sides, and we expect to announce the terms next week if Fatah helps us to do so,” the source said… A Palestinian source in Ramallah said… Abbas had informed Egypt that Fatah representatives would join the Cairo talks later this week or next week.” [Reuters

Barak Ravid reportsIsrael’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with Qatari envoy for Gaza reconstruction Mohammed Al-Emadi in Cyprus on June 22 to discuss the Gaza stabilization deal. Al-Emadi briefed Lieberman about Qatar’s proposals to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the return of captive Israeli civilians and fallen soldiers. The proposals were later rejected after the Egyptians refused to accept any Qatari involvement in talks over a long-term settlement. While accepting Egypt as the sole mediator with Hamas, Israel, the U.S. and the UN continued to talk with Qatar over funding.

REPORT: Ambassador David Friedman tells Israeli MK ‘no reason to evacuate settlements’ in peace deal — by Jacob Magid: “In a meeting with several settler leaders Wednesday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that he saw “no reason to evacuate settlements” in a peace deal… MK Yehudah Glick, who organized the sit-down with Har Hebron Regional Council chairman Yochai Damari, recounted the statement to the Times of Israel and said that the ambassador was “very explicit” in his remark.” [ToI]

Israeli minister sees end to ‘stupid’ airport grilling of leftists — by Dan Williams: “This is stupidity,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said when asked about the airport interrogations of left-wingers. “It cannot be explained. It is folly, ridiculous. I am certain that now there will be someone who stands there and will check that such stupidity does not recur.”[Reuters]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Israeli police again question PM on corruption allegations: “Israeli police are again questioning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of their investigations into corruption allegations. Two police vehicles arrived on Friday at Netanyahu’s residence while protesters at the entrance waved a large banner reading “crime minister” and chanted slogans calling for justice.” [AP]

Why Wasn’t Netanyahu Invited to Inauguration of New Adelson-funded Medical School in West Bank? — by Judy Maltz: “A new Israeli medical school, located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, will be inaugurated on Sunday. It will be named in honor of American-Jewish casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who donated $20 million towards its construction. Conspicuously absent from the event, however, will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not invited. His exclusion is all the more glaring considering that he was the guest of honor just over a year ago at the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the school.” [Haaretz

STATESIDE — Florida gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Greene pledges to stand against bigotry, racism, hatred — by Scott Powers: “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene said Thursday that his Jewish identity triggers revulsion for the levels of tolerance President Donald Trump exhibited toward rising hate groups… Greene was speaking before a gathering at the Roth Jewish Family Center in Maitland… “With the president saying, ‘There’s good people on both sides,’ it made me sick to my stomach,” Greene said. “I have a very, very deep and strong Jewish identity, and I can tell you if I’m governor of Florida, I would never tolerate any kind of bigotry, racism or hatred in this state.” … Greene faces Democrat Philip Levine, who’s also Jewish… in the Aug. 28 Democratic gubernatorial primary.” [FloridaPolitics]

2020 WATCH — Los Angeles mayor: Trump doing ‘racist things’: “Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, considering a 2020 presidential run, said Thursday that President Donald Trump has done “plenty of racist things” to divide the nation… In an interview with The Associated Press, the two-term Democratic mayor said he intends to make a decision on his candidacy by March…” [AP]

HAPPENING TODAY — President Trump is heading to Southampton for a campaign fundraiser hosted by Manhattan real estate developer Howard Lorber. The event is expected to raise about $3 million for the Trump Victory Committee. Rep. Lee Zeldin is expected to join the president on his visit to the Hamptons, according to a spokesperson.

TOP HEADLINE: “Trump, the Only Thing That Could Make Hamptons Traffic Worse, Is Heading to the Hamptons” [VanityFair]

** Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Powerhouse agent Ari Emanuel pays $12M for neighbor’s house [TheRealDeal]  Kushner buys more Long Branch beachfront properties [APP] • Philanthropist couple Audrey and Martin Gruss donates $25K prize to charity [NYPost] • Israel’s Bank Hapoalim Delays Dividend Amid U.S. Tax Evasion Probe [BNA]

DOJ Sues Ivanka’s Ex-Business Partner for Massive Fraud — by Ben Schreckinger: “The suit, which seeks more than $60 million in unpaid tax liabilities, was brought in the Southern District of New York by lawyers in the Justice Department’s tax division. It alleges that [Moshe] Lax, his sister Zlaty Schwartz, and his late father, Chaim Lax, engaged in a series of complex “sham transactions” designed to fraudulently evade tax liability. The government alleges the family members undertook 10 separate schemes “designed to hide the Lax family assets from the IRS and other creditors and make it appear as though the Estate was insolvent.” … Though the complaint does not mention Trump… Madison Avenue Diamonds, the business that Trump helped run for years under the name Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, figures prominently in the government’s case.” [PoliticoMag

Soros foundation to quit Hungary by end-August: “The foundation run by US billionaire George Soros said Thursday that the last of its operations in Hungary would cease by August 31, with its activities being transferred to Berlin… “There are still some colleagues working here in the office, but we will have closed for good by 31 August,” the Open Society Foundations (OSF) spokesman in Budapest Daniel Makonnen told AFP.” [AFP]

Top Jewish Agency Executive Outside Israel Quits — by Judy Maltz: “In the Jewish Agency’s first shake-up since its leadership change, Joshua Fogelson, the CEO for international development, has stepped down. Fogelson, who is based in New York and served as chief fundraiser for close to three years, tendered his resignation this week during a visit to Israel. He was the most high-ranking Jewish Agency official in North America.” [Haaretz]

ACROSS THE POND: Anti-Semitism is so bad in Britain that some Jews are planning to leave — by Laura Smith-Spark: “Yigal Palmor, communications director for the Jewish Agency for Israel, told CNN that 213 Jews had moved from Britain to Israel between January and June, up 9% compared with the same period last year… Palmor said the agency’s UK office had also received more calls and that more people had opened files than last year but cautioned that this would not necessarily translate into more people moving to Israel… Nonetheless, he said, “Aliyah has become a popular conversation theme among many British Jews and many more are talking about it.”” [CNN]

DESSERT: Chamblee’s Tip Top Kosher Market has a hidden Israeli restaurant in the back — by Jennifer Zyman: “Israelis David Malka and Yehonatan Hazot opened Tip Top Kosher Market last August. Tip Top sells hard-to-find treats such as crunchy Bamba, a peanut-flavored bagged snack, and fun items like kosher Doritos. The real treasure is in the back of the store, where there’s a kosher restaurant you might mistake for a stockroom if you didn’t know it was there.” [AtlantaMagazine]

REMEMBERING: The Secret Jewish History Of Aretha Franklin — by Benjamin Ivry: “To understand the close ties between the singer Aretha Franklin, who has died at the age of 76, and Jewish musicians, writers, and performers, one need not have seen the 1982 TV special starring Rodney Dangerfield (born Jacob Cohen) in which the comedian who famously got no respect feigns singing backup on Franklin’s 1967 recording of the song “Respect.” … Franklin’s choice to cover “Respect” … was due to the American Jewish producer Jerry Wexler (1917–2008), born in the Bronx of Polish and German ancestry.” [Forward]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYCo-founder of Oracle Corporation, Larry Ellison turns 74… Former CEO and current Chairman of J.Crew Group, he was previously the CEO of Gap Inc. and a director at Apple Inc. (1999 to 2015), Millard “Mickey” S. Drexler turns 74… US Senator from Minnesota from 2003 until 2009, currently chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Norm Coleman (family name was originally Goldman) turns 69… Chairman, president and CEO of Continental Airlines at the time of its merger into United Airlines in 2010, he then held those same three roles at United until 2015, Jeffery Alan “Jeff” Smisek turns 64… Founder and managing partner of SBNY, a first and second stage venture capital firm, he is a past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, Jordan Levy turns 63…

Communications coordinator at Temple Beth El in Longmeadow, Massachusetts since 2013, Deborah Peskin turns 57… Member of Knesset since 2015 for the Zionist Union party, Revital Swid turns 51… Israeli journalist who serves as the Arab affairs correspondent and head of the Arab desk at Israeli News Channel 10, he also anchors a program on Channel 20 related to Judaism and spirituality, Zvi Yehezkeli turns 48… Former program coordinator in AIPAC’s NYC office (2015-2017), now in investor relations at MSD Partners, Amanda Horwitz turns 26… Deputy regional political director at AIPAC for the Southern Pacific region, Aaron Taxy… Sonya Culler… Eli Diamond… Gabriel Berger… John Kohan

SATURDAYPresident of Baltimore’s Seabark Insurance Agency, Jerome Seaman turns 85… Teacher of Talmud at Jerusalem’s Yeshiva Torat Shraga, Rabbi Noam Gordon Ph.D. turns 74… Former two-term mayor of San Diego (the first Jewish mayor of San Diego), now CEO of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation in San Diego, Susan G. Golding turns 73… Judge of the Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Court of Common Pleas, Gary S. Silowturns 67… President at Benefit Connections, Raphael Schwartz turns 63… Labor law attorney representing employers, he is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Stuart Douglas Tochnerturns 59… CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, a DC-based think tank and advocacy group focused on issues of data privacy, he was previously a member of the New York State Assembly (1994-1997), Jules Polonetsky turns 53…

Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, he served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, Jason Furman turns 48… Sarah Bronson turns 46… Washington director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, he was previously a partner in the law firm of Covington & Burling and general counsel of the House Armed Services Committee, Roger Zakheim turns 41… Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, he made aliyah in 2008, he is now a fellow at The Jewish People Policy Institute, Noah Slepkov turns 37…

SUNDAY42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clintonturns 72… One of the first venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, Arthur Rockturns 92… Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (2001-2005) and then a member of the South Dakota Senate (2005-2007 and 2009-2013), Stanford “Stan” M. Adelstein turns 87… Retired as president of Ono Academic College in Israel, she was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (2008-2010), Gabriela Shalev turns 77… Co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Marc J. Rowan turns 56… Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (2009-2013), he was a law clerk for Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and David H. Souter, now a Managing Director at the Carlyle Group, Julius Genachowski turns 56… Managing editor of The New York Times, Joseph Kahn turns 54…

Partner and talent agent in the motion picture department at William Morris Endeavor, Dan Aloni turns 54… Former member of Knesset (2003-2006), he is the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Omri Sharon turns 54… Actress and producer, best known for her starring role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the TNT crime drama “The Closer,” Kyra Sedgwick turns 53… Borough President of Queens since 2014, she was previously a member of the New York State Assembly (1994-1999) and the New York City Council (2002-2009), Melinda R. Katz turns 53… Founder and CEO of NYC-based government advocacy, public relations, media relations and political event management firm, The Friedlander Group, Ezra Friedlander turns 50…

Businessman and investor, he and a partner successfully managed a hedge fund for his father Carl Icahn, Brett Icahn turns 39… Managing partner of Handmade Capital and founder of Liveset, a digital platform for streaming live concerts, Ross Hinkle turns 39… Private equity investor, he holds leadership roles in numerous Jewish organizations, Yehuda L. Neuberger… Communications manager at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Cassandra Federbusz… Jerry Epstein

Aug
16

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Daily Kickoff: As Israel and Hamas reach ceasefire deal, Abbas lashes out at Trump admin

VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the app-based Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 6:57 AM EDT and then updated throughout the morning. 

SPOTLIGHT — Trump Staffer Tried to Recruit Lobbyists for Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich — by Betsy Woodruff: “Two lobbyists… told The Daily Beast that [Daniel] Gelbinovich approached them and told them he was trying to help Roman Abramovich… find a lobbyist to help keep him from being added to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list… Gelbinovich was a low-level staffer on the Trump campaign… frequently booking travel for senior staff…  John Mann, a spokesperson for Abramovich, said the oligarch did not sign off on any outreach to D.C. lobbyists… Gelbinovich, for his part, claimed that none of the lobbyists he contacted agreed to represent Abramovich.” [DailyBeast]

GOOD DEAL — WhatsApp Co-Founder’s ‘Rest and Vest’ Reward From Facebook: $450 Million — by Deepa Seetharaman and Kirsten Grind: “After WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced he was leaving Facebook in late April, he has continued showing up at least monthly at the social-media giant’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. His incentive for making the appearances: about $450 million in stock awards, according to people familiar with the matter.”

“A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Koum’s schedule, but said he remains employed at the company, working on “various projects and helping transition WhatsApp leadership.” As part of selling WhatsApp to Facebook, Mr. Koum earned about 24.85 million restricted shares… The stock has vested in quarterly increments, with the final period taking place in mid-November of this year.” [WSJ]

TOP TALKER — Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett responds to Ron Lauder’s recent NYT piece critical of Israeli government… “Israel Is Proud of Who We Are: While I normally would happily respect the views of Jews all over the world — as different or as similar as they may be to my own — on this claim I cannot remain silent. Keeping Israel as the Jewish nation-state does not threaten the future of the Jewish people; it safeguards it. Protecting Jewish traditions, just as they safeguarded our people through two millenniums of exile, is the only way to be sure that Israel can continue to be a strong and vibrant democracy in a very difficult region.”

“While I welcome the concern of our Jewish brethren, alongside many friends of Israel around the world, and while I have full faith in their love for Israel and the Jewish people, I would urge all to remember that disagreement isn’t dangerous. But what damages us is when we forget what binds us together, what would happen if we were to or run away or turn our backs to one another. And Israel will never turn its back on its brothers and sisters around the world.” [NYTimes]

Flashback — March 19, 2018: Bennett to Lauder at the opening session of the 6th annual Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: “What are you doing? What are you doing, man? What are you doing?” Lauder: “You are my inspiration.” [Video]

Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni in a letter to American Jewish organizations: “It is no secret that there is a deep debate within Israel about her identity and the meaning of being a Jewish democratic state. Jewish communities around the world should be able to take part in this debate. I know that the concern of those of you who are worried about new political trends in Israel and legislation in the Knesset comes, like mine, from a place of deep love for Israel.”

REPORT — Shin Bet has denied 250 people entry into Israel this year: “The Shin Bet security service has denied entry into Israel to some 250 people since the beginning of the year, citing reasons such as involvement in terror or fears they would engage in spying while in the country, the Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.” [ToI] • Detentions of US activists raise questions about whether Israel has ‘blacklists’ of its critics [CNN]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH: Trump’s Mideast peace team — Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Jared Kushner and special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — in a joint statement: “No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities.”

ON THE GROUND: Truce goes into effect on Israel-Gaza border, and goods flow into Palestinian enclave again — by Noga Tarnopolsky: “A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas… went into effect Wednesday evening, ending four months of conflict along the volatile border… The agreement provides for a halt to rocket firings and the launching of incendiary balloons and kites on the part of Hamas, and, on Israel’s side, the reopening of Kerem Shalom, the only commercial crossing into Gaza, and the lifting of limitations on a permitted fishing zone of nine miles…” [LATimesHaaretz] • Head of Egyptian intelligence reportedly visits Tel Aviv to discuss Gaza truce [ToI]

— “Egyptian officials and the United Nations envoy in the region are now trying to broker a broader arrangement for a long-term truce that would allow significant investment in development projects in Gaza.” [NYT

VIEW FROM RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the opening session of the PLO Central Council: “We were the first to fight against it and we will continue to fight against it until it falls. This is the ‘slap of the century.'” [JPostWafa]

— Palestinian president lashes out at US over Gaza situation: “Abbas… said of U.S. officials: “I swear to God, they are liars.” Abbas added that he believes the U.S. is trying to promote Gaza aid projects to serve its own interests.” [AP]

Max Boot writes… “I’ve been visiting Israel since 1998. The path to peace is shrinking: Uprooting 8,000 settlers from Gaza was traumatic enough; moving at least 80,000 out of the West Bank would be far harder, especially given the political strength of the settler lobby. The religious right is more powerful in Israeli politics (and the Israeli army) than it was in 1998, while the left is weaker… Among both Israelis and Palestinians, support for a “two-state” solution has waned since 1998.”

“But not all is gloom and doom. One of the most hopeful things I saw on my visit was a matzoh factory in Jerusalem where Palestinian employees happily work alongside Orthodox Jews, showing that, on a human level, coexistence is still possible.” [WashPost]

Israeli Military Clears Itself of Wrongdoing in 2014 Gaza War’s ‘Black Friday’ — by Isabel Kershner: “Known as “Black Friday,” Israel’s assault on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Aug. 1, 2014, was one of the deadliest and most scrutinized episodes in the 50-day war that summer. On Wednesday, the Israeli military cleared itself of wrongdoing in the bitterly contested episode.” [NYTimes]

ARGUMENT: Former Ambassador Dennie Ross writes that Iran may be throwing a tantrum over the reimposition of U.S. sanctions but will likely seek a way to indirectly renegotiate a deal with the Trump administration as the economy falters and pressure rises in Iran. [ForeignPolicy]

MIDTERMS — Democratic Michigan House candidate Rashida Tlaib in an interview with In These Times: “Palestinians are attacking me now, but I am not going to dehumanize Israelis. I won’t do that… Many [Israelis] are marching, saying no to Netanyahu’s apartheid policies. There’s a movement in Israel I support that wants an Israel that embraces Palestinians… I do not support aid to a Netanyahu Israel and I’m pro-humanity.”

Tlaib on BDS: “I‘m an ACLU card member. I stand by the rights of people who support BDS. Allow the students to be a part of the movement.”

What about a two-state solution vs. one-state?

“One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work.” [IntheTimes]

Batya Ungar-Sargon writes… “These Women Of Color Are Poised To Make History In Congress. But What Does It Mean For Israel? What the Jewish diaspora community needs from its elected officials is no longer unconditional support for Israel; it’s fair criticism… These are all questions that the Jewish community is currently grappling with – just like these new soon-to-be congresswomen. It seems wrong to hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.” [Forward]

Christian United for Israel (CUFI) has launched a statewide, six-figure TV and digital ad campaign urging Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to support the Iran Hostage Act. The ad, titled “Take a Stand Against Iran” highlights Heitkamp’s support of the Iran nuclear deal. Cpl. Grant Neal, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, says in the ad, “Thank God President Trump ripped that deal up. But Heitkamp sided with Obama. We’re less safe because of it.” The ad concludes, “Tell Senator Heitkamp to get tough on Iran.” [Video]

STATESIDE — GOP Governor Candidate John Cox Shares Story Comparing Long California DMV Waits To Holocaust — by Nick Miller, Andrew Nixon and Ben Adler: “Republican gubernatorial candidate and businessman John Cox told a story during a California DMV visit on Wednesday that compared the much-criticized long lines and waits to surviving concentration camps during the Holocaust… “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?” Cox says.

“Campaign spokesman Matt Shupe said Cox mistold the story… “He was saying that it reminded him of pre-war Germany” when Jews had to wait in lines to be processed.” “In no way does he mean this as a slight to the Jewish community,” Shupe added. “He misspoke. It’s very unfortunate. But it’s nothing more than that.” [CapRadio]

Polis just dropped $3 million into TV ads in the governor’s race — by Joey Bunch: “Jared Polis is demonstrating the perks of being rich. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee and tech millionaire on Wednesday announced a jaw-dropped television ad buy: $3 million for October… Polis has put in more than $12.4 million so far toward his campaign, compared to about $2.5 million raised by his Republican opponent, Walker Stapleton.”[ColoradoPolitics]

2020 WATCH: Trump confidant sees Michael Bloomberg as potential 2020 threat — by Steve Holland and Ginger Gibson: “Corey Lewandowski, who remains in close touch with the president after serving as his campaign manager during part of the 2016 campaign, told reporters that Bloomberg has the advantage of not being a Washington insider, has the wealth to finance a campaign and holds policy positions popular among Democrats. Bloomberg is an “American success story” who would be “very competitive.” [Reuters]

Harvey Levin Is Casting the TMZ Primary — by Felix Gillette and Gerry Smith: “Levin’s chumminess with Trump was hardly a secret to TMZ’s staff… TMZ’s coverage has since become more critical. According to the two former editorial staffers, sometime around the start of 2018 the restrictions on anti-Trump stories mysteriously loosened. They never got a memo explaining why, but TMZ’s website is now rife with clips of celebrities criticizing the president. Recent videos have included actor Mickey Rourke calling him a “garbage can” and Levin referring to Trump’s July closed-door meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a disaster.”

“What changed? According to a person with knowledge of the relationship, not long ago Levin and Trump talked on the phone regularly. But they had a falling-out over the president’s repeated efforts to ban transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military—a policy Levin finds repugnant… According to the source, Levin and Trump haven’t spoken for months.” [Bloomberg

** Good Thursday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: New CEO at Ben & Jerry’s Plans to Whip Up Activism, ‘Whirled Peace’ [WSJ• Elliott Lawyer Warns Korea Better Brace for More Activist Funds [Bloomberg] • DJ David Guetta Buys Miami Condo From New York Billionaire Richard LeFrak [WSJ]

INTERVIEW — Rabbi Abba Cohen, Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director and Counsel at Agudath Israel of America, talks Trump in an interview with Mishpacha: “We’ve had a very productive relationship with the administration, particularly in the area of religious liberty…  We have also found the administration to be very supportive in regard to our top domestic priority — working to help and protect Jewish schools. At the same time, we have differences with the administration. Certainly, some of the positions that they’ve taken on legal immigration — particularly in regard to refugees — are not positions that we share.” [Mishpacha]

ACROSS THE POND: Labour prepares the ground for compromise on antisemitism code — by Jessica Elgot and Heather Stewart: “Labour is preparing the ground to amend its anti-Semitism code of conduct to align with International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance guidelines… The Guardian understands the party is open to adopting the full IHRA definition, with all its examples, after it has finished conducting a consultation with the Jewish community. Labour hopes to settle the issue before its party conference at the end of September.” [TheGuardian]

What France Means When It Talks About ‘Anti-Semitism’ — by Karina Piser: “Focusing on Muslim antipathy towards Jews lets the rest of the country off the hook… Violence between French Muslims and Jews has also routinely corresponded to upticks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The notion of a “new anti-Semitism,” then, overlooks both anti-Semitism’s endurance in France—including among non-Muslims—and the way more than a half-century of Jewish-Muslim hostility in the Middle East has played into this trend.” [NewRepublic]

HOLLYWOOD — Israeli ‘Tzeva Adom’ film named semifinalist at NBC festival — by Amy Spiro: “Tzeva Adom: The Color Red, a short film about an unlikely relationship across the Gaza-Israel border, is one of the semifinalists at the upcoming NBC Universal Short Film Festival. The 20-minute film was written by C. Ashleigh Caldwell, directed by Michael Horwitz and stars Shani Atias, the younger sister of Moran Atias… Earlier this month, the film was named one of the 15 semifinalists at the festival… Finalists will be selected and screened in October in Los Angeles.” [JPost

Jerry Seinfeld talks about the 10th season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and Seinfeld in an interview with screenwriter Dan Amira: “Jokes are not real. People assume that when you say something that you believe it. It’s purely comedic invention… You use Twitter mostly for self-promotion. Why no Twitter jokes? I don’t hear the laugh. Why waste my time? It’s a horrible performing interface. I can’t think of a worse one. I always think about people that write books. What a horrible feeling it must be to have poured your soul into a book over a number of years and somebody comes up to you and goes, “I loved your book,” and they walk away, and you have no idea what worked and what didn’t. That to me is hell.” [NYT]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Isaac Mizrahi: Studio 54, ‘Clutchy’ Parents and His Big Brown Cadillac: “Before Isaac Mizrahi was a fashion powerhouse, before he was a judge on Project Runway: All Stars, he was a schoolboy in Brooklyn raised by parents he describes as both “religious religious” and “clutchy clutchy.” It was in this backdrop that Mizrahi first started to feel out his own identity and explore New York’s thriving ’70s club scene. As is still the case with so many American teenagers, Mizrahi’s ticket to freedom came in the form of his first car: a second-hand Cadillac Deville.” [Ozy]

DESSERT: Inside NYC’s most dramatic restaurant wars — by Beth Landman, Steve Cuozzo and Lauren Steussy: “The Four Seasons finally reopened Wednesday after a two-year construction saga. The most fabled restaurant in New York City history is reborn — shrunken but beautiful — three blocks south of the Seagram Building that was its home for nearly 60 years… Four Seasons owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder claim to have a waiting list of old-timers clamoring for reservations…  Since Seagram landlord Aby Rosen booted the Four Seasons when its lease was up in July 2016 and replaced it with Major Food, there’s been no love between the restaurateurs.”

“Once, during the long closure, Henry Kissinger — a devotee of the old house’s $40 baked potato — called Niccolini and von Bidder over to his limo, which was stopped on Park Avenue. “So when are you going to open your place?” von Bidder recalls Kissinger growling. Preview meals over the past week drew fashion designer Joseph Abboud, philanthropist Charles Bronfman, famed residential broker Dolly Lenz and practically every big commercial real estate dealmaker in town.” [NYPost]

REMEMBERING: Moshe Mizrahi, 86, Who Won an Oscar for ‘Madame Rosa,’ Is Dead — by Richard Sandomir: “Moshe Mizrahi, an Israeli director whose “Madame Rosa,” one of several movies he made in France, won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film in 1978, died on Aug. 3 at a hospital in Tel Aviv… Two films that he shot in Israel — “I Love You Rosa” (1972) and “The House on Chelouche Street” (1973) — were nominated for Oscars for best foreign-language film. (Neither won.)” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Former member of Congress from New Jersey, Richard Alan “Dick” Zimmer turns 74… Sportscaster who is known as the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” he has broadcast the Cowboys since 1976, Brad Sham turns 69… President and CEO of the Business Roundtable, he was previously the White House Chief of Staff (2006-2009) following three years as OMB Director (2003-2006), Joshua Brewster “Josh” Bolten turns 64… Gerald Platt turns 64… Former IDF fighter pilot, he served as commander of the Israeli Air Force (2004-2008) and then as CEO of El Al (2010-2014), General Eliezer Shkedi turns 61… Senior partner in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and an AIPAC board member, Steven C. Demby turns 60… Founder of Value Retail Plc and co-owner of the New York Islanders professional hockey team, Scott David Malkin turns 60… Sports journalist and executive, she spent 17 years on-air at ESPN/ABC and CBS covering Super Bowls to NBA and MLB playoffs, now she is a founder of Walk Swiftly Productions, Bonnie Bernstein turns 48…

Senior staff writer for Politico Magazine and editor-at-large of The Agenda, Miami Beach resident, Michael Grunwald turns 48… Senior editor of Kol HaBirah (a Jewish newspaper and media company that serves the Washington and Baltimore Jewish communities), Kami Troy turns 44… CEO of digital marketing agency 360i, Sarah Hofstetter turns 44… Co-founder and co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s largest advertising agency, in 2014 he was named by GQ as one of the Best Dressed Men of the Year, Gil Oved turns 43… Events Director for the Republican Governors Association, Patricia W. “Tricia” Moffatt turns 40… Producer for CBS’s Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show “The Talk,” Matthew Silverstein turns 37… Project Manager at Tel Aviv Global, she was the executive assistant to the ambassador at the Embassy of Israel in Washington (2016-2018), Galit Tassi… Associate at Blackrock, founder of Music Matters, Phillip Schermer… Staffer in the New England office of J Street, Cooper Boyar… Ellen Weissfeld… Marshall Cohen… Dave Jacobsen

Aug
15

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Daily Kickoff: Congressional candidate who labeled Israel ‘apartheid’ wins Minnesota primary | Sean Rad, Justin Manteen sue Barry Diller’s IAC for $2B

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VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the app-based Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 7:03 AM EDT and then updated throughout the morning. 

RJC Chairman and former Sen. Norm Coleman’s cancer returns — by Dana Thiede: “Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman is again fighting the cancer that threatened his life. Coleman posted on his Facebook page Tuesday that the squamous cell cancer that was originally detected in his tonsils, throat and lymph nodes has returned. “The beast that is my cancer has returned. It has reasserted itself,” Coleman wrote… My physicians at the Mayo Clinic remain optimistic that the beast can still be contained. My hopes and prayers are for a very long time.”

“I won’t lie to you. Cancer has shaken my soul. But, it has not broken my spirit. I firmly believe in the genius and care of my Mayo Team. I believe in the power of prayer…. I am an optimist. Every fiber of my being throughout my life has had me believe that for every today we live, there will always be a better tomorrow. There is plenty life ahead of me.” [KARE11StarTribune

PRIMARY RESULTS: Ilhan Omar Wins Democratic Primary For Congress In Minnesota — by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman: “Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar… defeated four other Democratic candidates in a crowded race to fill the seat that opened up when Rep. Keith Ellison (D) announced his bid to become the state’s attorney general… If Omar wins the seat, she will become one of the nation’s first Muslim women in Congress ― she’ll likely be joined in the historic feat by fellow Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who won her primary for a House seat in Michigan last week.” [HuffPost]

— “Omar has been an open critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, calling its government an “apartheid” regime. She vigorously denied charges of anti-Semitism, tweeting that her criticism “is far from hating Jews.” [CNN]

INBOX — Jewish Dems Oppose Rashida Tlaib’s Pledge to Slash U.S. Military Aid to Israel: “JDCA disagrees with Michigan House candidate Rashida Tlaib’s comments suggesting that she would oppose U.S. military aid to Israel if elected to Congress… JDCA believes that threatening to cut military assistance to Israel is inconsistent with the values of the Democratic Party and the American people…”

Ellison wins Minnesota AG primary despite abuse allegations: “Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Tuesday won his party’s nomination in his bid to be Minnesota’s next attorney general…” [Politico]

Senator Bernie Sanders easily won Vermont’s Democratic primary for Senate, but he is expected to snub the party and run instead as an independent.[NYTimes]

In Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, anti-Semitic candidate Paul Nehlen came in third place with 11% of the vote in the Republican primary for Speaker Paul Ryan’s House seat.

Jewish Democrat Wins Primary In Washington Swing Congressional District — by Ben Fractenberg: “Jewish Democrat Kim Schrier eked out a narrow primary victory against Jason Rittereiser to take on Republican Dino Rossi in a key Congressional race in Washington state.”[Forward]

Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier, is running for Congress. One of his constituents would be Auschwitz prisoner No. 27,276 — by Kristen McQueary: “Stasia “Stella” Dorna was prisoner No. 27,276. The tattoo on her left forearm near her elbow is a bluish stain that once drew laughter and humiliation at a Chicago department store where employees didn’t understand what it meant…  She shudders at the thought of someone, a candidate for elected office in her district, just down the road, believing that the Holocaust was a hoax. “It happened. I was there,” she says.” [ChicagoTribune

2020 WATCH: Nathan’s Hot Dog Honcho to Host Trump Campaign Fundraiser in the Hamptons — by Jennifer Jacobs: “Howard Lorber, a Manhattan developer and executive chairman of Nathan’s Famous Inc., the hot dog company, is hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump in the Hamptons… on Friday… The fundraiser will benefit Trump Victory, a joint committee for Trump’s 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee.” [Bloomberg]

Stephen Miller’s Uncle Says ‘Dozens of Family Members’ Wanted Him to Call Nephew ‘Immigration Hypocrite’ — by Jessica Kwong: “White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s uncle David Glosser… noted that he penned the editorial Politico published Monday because “the administration has had an increasingly hostile posture towards desperate people trying to get into the country.” “I have a huge family. I wouldn’t offer to speak for my entire family, but dozens of family members encouraged me to push forward with this,” Glosser said.” [Newsweek] • Stephen Miller’s Great-Grandfather Sam Was a Chain Migrant and a Fine American [DailyBeast]

Marc Thiessen writes… “Trump’s failure to condemn the bigots of the alt-right tars his presidency: [Trump’s] failure to condemn the alt-right has also prevented him from expanding his support beyond his core supporters. With his record, he should be winning over millions of Americans who did not vote for him in 2016 but whose circumstances have markedly improved under his presidency. Instead, his support is stagnant and his disapproval numbers are growing.” [WashPost]

Tom Friedman writes… “What if Mother Nature Is on the Ballot in 2020? If in 2020 we’re in the midst of even more damaging droughts and storms than we are today, Democrats may be able to run against Trump’s make-America-polluted-again environmental strategy and his refusal to either acknowledge the threat of climate change or seize the incredible opportunity it offers America to become richer, healthier, more secure and more respected by leading the world in clean energy technologies… That message can play today in Rust Belt battleground states like Michigan and Ohio.” [NYTimes]

IRAN SANCTIONS — Iranian VP: U.S. is trying to make Iran ‘surrender’ through sanctions: “The United States is trying to make Iran surrender through the imposition of sanctions, Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri said on Wednesday.” [Reuters]

FDD’s Behnam Ben Taleblu writes… “Tehran’s return to highly public missile testing can be seen as a response to the U.S. reinstating of penalties waived by the nuclear deal. Should the Fateh Mobin missile be mass produced, it would serve as further proof of Iran’s commitment to qualitatively improving it’s already quantitatively robust ballistic missile arsenal in the face of U.S. pressure.” [Axios]

Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator of the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015, writes… “How We Got the Iran Deal: “I always expected that the greatest challenge to the deal’s success would be violations by Iran, not the political machinations of the president of the United States… I don’t know if the Iran deal can survive the reinstatement of sanctions…”

Sherman shares her experience with Iranian negotiators: “One day, during a break, I turned the conversation with [Abbas] Araghchi and [Majid] Takht-Ravanchi toward our inability to shake hands. I explained that I had grown up in a Jewish neighborhood outside Baltimore and that many of my neighbors were strictly observant Orthodox Jews—some of whom, like some conservative Muslims, avoid touching anyone of the opposite sex…  Araghchi and Takht-Ravanchi were at first slightly mortified, but as I continued my story, they began to listen with great interest. They had not known that they shared this custom with Orthodox Jews, and talking about the awkwardness of our greeting transformed its significance.”

On Bibi’s speech to Congress: “The speech was the equivalent of throwing a grenade into the negotiations. The Iranian negotiators had grown accustomed to Netanyahu’s hyperbolic rhetoric but were incensed by the fact that the U.S. Congress seemed to be endorsing it… Still, a good diplomat never wastes an opportunity, and we managed to use the [GOP] letter and Netanyahu’s congressional appearance to our advantage. When the Iranians claimed that we were asking for too much and that they could never sell the deal in Tehran, we reminded them that they were not the only ones taking political risks. “Look at this letter, and the joint session of Congress,” we said. “We have problems at home, too.” [ForeignAffairs]

LongRead — Daniel Sobelman writes in the Texas National Security Review: In asymmetric alliances, a superior state provides security to a weaker ally, who in exchange surrenders its autonomy to its stronger protector. But what happens when the weaker state’s vital interests clash with its stronger ally’s preferences? In 2011 and 2012, as Iran continued to develop and harden its nuclear program, Israel feared becoming dependent upon the United States to defend it against this potentially existential threat. To escape this scenario, and to enhance its leverage over the United States, Israel led its principal strategic ally to infer that a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran could be imminent… This article explains the outcome of this strategic interaction. [TNSR]

ON THE GROUND: Israel reopens Gaza crossing as truce talks press on — by Sakher Abou El Oun: “Israel reopened its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after closing it to most deliveries on July 9 over months of border tensions, as relative calm returned and truce talks pressed ahead… Israel’s security cabinet was reportedly meeting Wednesday to discuss the indirect talks.” [YahooNewsWSJ]

— Trump Administration Wants to See a Gaza Cease-fire ‘With or Without the Palestinian Authority’ — by Amir Tibon: “A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council told Haaretz… that “we would like to see an end to fighting with or without the PA,” but emphasized that the administration still believes “it would be best if the PA reasserts control in Gaza so we can get on with making lives better.”” [Haaretz]

Palestinian Succession Talk Heats Up as PLO Council Convenes — by Jonathan Ferziger and Fadwa Hodali: “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas… will outline his vision for contending with hostility from Israel, Hamas and the Trump administration at a meeting that starts Wednesday of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah… The two-day gathering this week is aimed at “trying to reinforce Abbas’s legitimacy, which is fumbling in a way that is apparent to all,” said Sam Bahour, a Ramallah business consultant.” [Bloomberg]

Blocked by Israel for years, Palestinian mail finally arrives: “Palestinian postal service employees are working overtime to sort through some 10 tonnes of letters and packages blocked by Israel for up to eight years… The parcels, dating from between 2010 and this year… were released in a one-time deal.” [YahooNews]

National Security Advisor John Bolton will visit Israel next week “to discuss a range of important national security issues,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday.

Israel denies US author’s account of interrogation: “The Shin Bet issued a statement Wednesday confirming its agents briefly detained and questioned Iranian-born Reza Aslan at a border crossing, saying his “behavior there raised suspicion.” It denied Aslan’s claim he was questioned about his politics.” [AP]

David Horovitz writes… “Israeli democracy isn’t broken, but it is under assault: Uniquely in the Middle East, we in Israel have enjoyed free speech, freedom of religion, a free press, equality before the law, an independent judiciary and more. But in this Israeli summer of 2018, there’s a chill in the air. There’s a danger — and it’s not only from Damascus and Tehran, Hamas and Hezbollah.” [ToI]

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Alphabet invests $375 million in Josh Kushner-founded Oscar Health [CNBCWired] • Stanley Druckenmiller Buys Facebook While Former Boss Soros Adds Tech Bets [BloombergBusinessInsider] • Carl Icahn Discloses Positions in VMWare and DVMT Worth $535 Million [Bloomberg] • David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit’s Bossert Hotel awning removed for touch-ups after latest scrutiny of hotel’s makeover[BrooklynPaper] • Warren Buffett boosts bet on ailing drugmaker Teva [ToI] • Elliott Takes New Stakes in Devon, VMWare, 21st Century Fox[Bloomberg] • The Wing’s Audrey Gelman On Building A Feminist Co-Working Empire [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: Carbyne raises $15M as Founders Fund invests in its first Israeli startup — by Ingrid Lunden: “Carbyne, a startup out of Israel that has developed a new emergency callout platform that helps providers pinpoint a callers’ exact location and enable other services to improve and speed up communication and response times — by some 65 percent on average — has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Previous backers of Carbyne have included the former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, who is also the company’s chairman, and the company has now raised about $24 million, with a valuation that I understand to be in the region of $100 million.”[TechCrunch]

PROFILE — The Woman Behind the New York Times’ High-Risk, High-Reward Business Strategy — by Alexandra Bruell: “Meredith Kopit Levien got her start in the ad industry a few years after college, eventually landing at a digital marketing agency in New York. After publishing posts at Atlantic Media and Forbes, she joined the Times in 2013 as head of advertising. At the time, the seemingly inexorable decline of print advertising wasn’t the paper’s only problem; digital-ad revenue was dropping, too… Ms. Levien has become a fixture on the Madison Avenue scene, schmoozing at the industry’s major events and private gatherings. She hosts exclusive and eclectic dinners with chief marketing officers and editorial talent like Ms. Dowd.” [WSJ

SPOTLIGHT — Barry Diller’s IAC Sued by Tinder Co-Founders for $2 Billion: “Former CEO Sean Rad alleges that Tinder’s parent companies intentionally undervalued the popular dating app to deny early employees billions in stock options.” [HollywoodReporterNPR]

How Long Will Student Housing Be Big Business? — by Noah Buhayar, Kristy Westgard and Gillian Tan: “Isaac Sitt and Elliot Tamir had been investing in real estate for years when they stumbled onto the idea. They’d bought a few apartment buildings in Brooklyn in 2008 and, after the financial crisis, were struggling to rent units. So they decided to put up ads at the nearby Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, expecting to lease to doctors. Instead, they got medical students. With jobs scarce, tons of people were going to school, they realized. Sitt remembers thinking, “Hey, this is a good business,” even in a downturn. “Not only does it make sense, but I think we can raise equity for it.” Today, Sitt and Tamir run Vesper Holdings LLC, one of the largest owners of student housing complexes in the U.S… But there are signs that such luxuries may not be selling as students (and their parents) become more cost-conscious.” [Bloomberg]

Meet the BeatBuds: Scooter Braun’s Latest Kid-Pop Sensation — by Seth Abramovitch: “Jonathan Jonah and Matthew Shapiro are adjusting to an unexpected kind of rock stardom. Lifelong best friends — now 40, they met in first grade at Temple Emanuel Academy Day School in Beverly Hills — they have grown over the past five years into Los Angeles ‘hottest kids’ act with a pop-punk group known as The BeatBuds… The BeatBuds formed almost accidentally after Shapiro… suffered a back injury in 2012. While recuperating at home, he started playing music for his baby daughter… Jonah came over one day to jam, and they wrote their first kids song — the train-themed “All Aboard.” That led to a few more.” [HollywoodReporter]

CAMPUS BEAT: The 31 Best Colleges For Orthodox Jews — by Laura Adkins: “Our formula for Orthodox-friendly campuses is designed to ensure that all of the colleges on this list have kosher food on the meal plan, at least one Orthodox synagogue within 10 miles, abundant Jewish programming and an eruv surrounding their campus.” [Forward]

DESSERT: Israeli Ice Cream Shop Touts Cannabis-Flavored Treat — by Viva Sarah Press: “Big pails of nut pastes, boxes of sugars and cases of raw ingredients line the shelves of the Vaniglia gelato factory in Israel. One at a time, like a little kid in a candy shop, Itay Rogozinsky, chef glacier and owner of the popular ice cream chain, unscrews the lids or opens the boxes to show the perfect consistency of each mixture. Rogozinsky drew international attention recently when he mixed certain quantities of these natural, raw ingredients into a new flavor of ice cream: cannabis.” [NoCamels]

INBOX — Dore Gold, former Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney, Australia while on a speaking tour. [Pic]

BIRTHDAYS: Founder of Slim-Fast which he sold to Unilever in 2000 for $2.1 billion, a leading Democratic donor, S. Daniel Abraham turns 94… Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Stephen Breyer turns 80… Irvin Farber turns 88… CFO of The Trump Organization, he and Donald Trump Jr. are the trustees operating the company during the Trump presidency, Allen Weisselberg turns 71… Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Limmud FSU, he has also served as treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, Chaim Chesler turns 69… Economist, CPA, investment advisor and founding member of wealth advisor RVW Investing LLC, Selwyn Gerber turns 68… Colorado resident, he is an artist and avid mountain biker, William “Bill” Weidman turns 68… Emmy Award-winning actress, she played Grace Adler on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, Debra Messing turns 50…

Principal of Atlas Philanthropy, a consulting firm assisting charitable organizations with fundraising projects, Margot Atlas turns 49… Israeli attorney, he was an international model for Armani and appeared in the Israeli versions of The Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars, Raz Meirmanturns 41… Program director of business ventures at Boston University, she was previously senior director of programming at MassChallenge (a global non-profit startup accelerator), Rachel Spekman turns 35… Executive Director of New York’s Transit Innovation Partnership, Rachel Sterne Haot turns 35… Director of communications, marketing strategy and content for Lemonade, a VC-backed startup in the peer to peer insurance industry, Yael Wissner-Levyturns 34… Product designer at Weight Watchers, Talia Siegel… Product and strategy professional at Uber, Ezra Mosseri turns 25… Real estate and business law attorney in the Baltimore law firm of Abramoff Neuberger, Meir Neuberger… Joe Farry… David Summer...

Rand Paul aide reads Trump letter at Jewish wedding

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

President Donald Trump sent a personal letter congratulating a Jewish bride and groom on Tuesday. Shlomo Segal and Devorah Ganz were married last night at Ateres Chynka hall…

Kafe Knesset for December 18

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hate to say I told you so: Right-wing Twitter broke out in calls of “I told you so” this morning following the Politico story on Obama, Hezbollah and…

House committee advances Jordan MOU amidst rare Congressional critique of Amman

Friday, December 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation that would re-authorize a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen U.S. defense ties with Jordan….

Lawmakers on Abbas’ cancellation of Pence meeting

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WASHINGTON – After President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed the White House on Sunday that it would be canceling…

Kafe Knesset for December 6

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Jerusalem is holding its breath: Excitement is building ahead of the Presidential address on Jerusalem this evening, but the Israeli PM is waiting to see what exactly will…

Kafe Knesset for December 4

Monday, December 4, 2017

Embassy watch: While the PMO is still keeping its distance from the explosive Jerusalem Embassy move or recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, some of Bibi’s senior ministers…