Oct
19

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Daily Kickoff: Senators slam possible Hamas-Fatah unity | Israel joins countries concerned re Trump’s ‘Buy American’ order | Next Jewish Agency head?

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ON THE HILL — Senators slam potential Hamas-Fatah unity government — by JI’s Aaron Magid: “I think the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) is unifying with a terrorist organization,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Jewish Insider yesterday. “I don’t mind a unity government with people who don’t openly call for the destruction of Israel. I would be very concerned about any government that included an unreformed terrorist organization.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed Graham. “Hamas has a long history of terrorist behavior and so I am not encouraged by any government that includes Hamas,” he said. “Given their history, I don’t view it as positive.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) noted that a Palestinian unity government with Hamas “would be a very toxic relationship with Israel. They would have even less of a partner to negotiate peace with if the person across the table welcomes individuals who don’t even recognize the existence of the Jewish people there.” [JewishInsider]

Statement from the White House’s Jason Greenblatt on Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: “All parties agree that it is essential that the Palestinian Authority be able to assume full, genuine, and unhindered civil and security responsibilities in Gaza and that we work together to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians living there. The United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles: any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations. If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements.” [Embassy• According to this statement: does Hamas = terrorists or not?

IN JERUSALEM… Former Israeli Defense Minister criticizes Netanyahu’s decision to boycott Palestinian unity government — by Gil Hoffman: “Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon accused Netanyahu of giving into pressure from Bennett… “There is no reason to interfere in a Palestinian deal that is bound to fail,” Ya’alon told Army Radio… “The decision proved that politics defeated statesmanship… They proved they care more about politics than leadership.” … Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett… wrote on Twitter Wednesday that he was glad the government adopted the policies of Bayit Yehudi… “I am certain that President Trump does not want us to negotiate with a gang of terrorists,” Bennett said…” [JPost

TOP TALKER: “After Obama, Israel’s Netanyahu relishing in Trump love fest” by Aron Heller: “Widely unpopular around the world, President Donald Trump can take solace in the adulation of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who showers him with praise and even holds his tongue over issues Israel might normally complain about… Beyond a confluence of interests, Trump and Netanyahu seem to share a sort-of outsider status and a gift for populist stratagems that outrage their countries’ more liberal establishments while delighting their bases…”

“There is some concern in Israel that although Netanyahu may benefit from the approach, in the long-term Israel might suffer from too tight an alignment with the mercurial American president. “The question is what will happen the day after Trump? How will Israel be perceived by siding so closely with someone who generates such antagonism?” said Yoaz Hendel, a former Netanyahu spokesman. “I’m worried that after Trump we’ll get the Democratic rebound and it may be far less empathetic to Israel.” [AP

US allies air concerns about Trump’s ‘Buy American’ order: “Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan joined a number of U.S. allies at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to express concerns over a Trump administration executive order that calls on U.S. authorities to “maximize” use of American-made goods, products and materials in government procurement.” [AP

ELSEWHERE — U.S. and Israeli Officials Continue Economic Cooperation and Agree to Further Deepen Relations: On October 16, U.S. and Israeli officials convened for the 32nd session of the U.S. – Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG), the annual economic policy dialogue between the two countries… Participation in this year’s JEDG included Israeli Finance Ministry Director General Shai Babad (Israel Chair), Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel, and the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer… The U.S. delegation included Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass, Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Brian McFeeters (U.S. Co-Chairs).

KAFE KNESSET — Mr. Liberman Goes to Washington — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman departed last night on a four-day visit to Washington, DC and New York City. This is the second time Liberman has traveled to the US this year for a high-level strategic dialogue. He is slated to meet Secretary of Defense Mattis as well as National Security Advisor McMaster. According to an Israeli official – Iran and Syria will lead the agenda. Yesterday, Liberman said that “The Iranians are trying to take control of Syria, trying to establish themselves there, to be the dominant force, and we will not allow it. We are aware of this and we certainly have all the tools to deal with this challenge.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Russia sandwiched in Syria between Israel, Iran” by Maxim A. Suchkov: “Israel has been rather loyal to Russia’s military presence — and realizes its own gains from it — and Iran has been crucial to Russia on the ground in Syria… Moscow is, however, wary of each party trying to work Russia’s presence to the detriment of the other… Russia will need to sit down with Israel and seriously talk about whether Israel’s interests can be squared with Russia’s interests, and whether Moscow really has any leverage over Tehran.” [Al-Monitor]

“U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Escalates Confrontation With Iran” by Rick Gladstone: “The United States will not turn a blind eye to these violations,” the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, told a Security Council meeting that had been meant to focus on developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ms. Haley used her speaking time instead to deliver a critique of Iran. Her remarks were among the most strident denunciations Ms. Haley has made of Iran since she became President Trump’s ambassador… “Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits on its behavior,” she said. “And we have allowed them to get away with it. This must stop.” [NYTimes

HAPPENING TODAY — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will join former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice at a panel discussion hosted by the George W. Bush Institute at Lincoln Center’s Fredrick P. Rose Hall in New York City. The morning forum is focused on freedom and security. Former President George W. Bush will deliver concluding remarks. [Livestream]

At 11:20am, FDD’s National Security Summit will feature conversations with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster[Livestream]

“Netanyahu’s Challenge: Help Trump Fix or Scrap the Iran Deal” by Jonathan Ferziger and Udi Segal: “The [Israeli] government is making a diplomatic push… to strengthen “snapback” mechanisms to cover sanctions for Iranian activities that aren’t directly connected to its nuclear program… “The goal should be a strategy that wins the support of European and hopefully Russian and Chinese and other international actors, rather than one that is a U.S.-Israel, go-it-alone strategy,” said Dan Shapiro… Beyond contributing intelligence, Israel “should work with the administration on a compelling diplomatic approach that demonstrates that there’s a willingness to work with other countries to build pressure on Iran, not just to dictate terms,” said Shapiro.” [Bloomberg

“Behind Schumer’s shocking switch on the Iran deal” by Seth Lipsky: “Schumer, I’m told, has been sounding out support for a new organization of conservative Democrats that could be similar to the Progressive Policy Institute, which once helped boost Bill Clinton but has been eclipsed by the left. That strikes me as a smart move… What’s the point, though, if Schumer can’t even cross the aisle to oppose an Iran deal he himself voted against?” [NYPost

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT — Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) tells JI’s Aaron Magid: “I think they (ACLU) raise important claims, but I also know first hand based on what is happening in California that we can’t permit, allow or encourage any kind of activity that encourages hate or division in any way. I think there are some legitimate concerns about the BDS movement that have to be addressed, but obviously, the First Amendment is something that we should protect and the rights people have under the First Amendment should also be protected, so I am taking a look at it.”

SPOTTED THIS AM: Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor delivering remarks at AIPAC’s first annual private equity breakfast [Pic]

MOOCH UPDATE: “Scaramucci’s Holocaust death-poll costing him lucrative speaking gigs” by Emily Smith: “A source says a November Scaramucci speaking appearance at NYC investment firm Neuberger Berman has now been canceled… Our source said the firm feared that it could erupt into a huge commotion. The Mooch… said via e-mail that the event cancellation was due to a “schedule change.” … Of the poll he said, “We were trying to raise awareness . . . Still we made a mistake, we apologized, made a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and we are moving on.”” [PageSix]

“Roy Moore’s Foundation Received A $1,000 Donation From A Nazi Group In 2005” by Paul Blumenthal: “In 2005, the foundation run by Judge Roy Moore, now the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in Alabama, accepted a $1,000 donation from a group founded by Willis Carto, a white supremacist, Nazi supporter and World War II vet who famously said he regretted fighting for the U.S instead of Germany… There is no evidence that the nonprofit returned the check.” [HuffPost

** 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “Baupost’s Klarman resists calls to wipe out Puerto Rico debt” by Svea Herbst-Bayliss: “Billionaire investor Seth Klarman on Wednesday resisted calls for Puerto Rico’s debt to be wiped out and said the island’s residents will be better off in the long run if obligations are honored. Klarman comments came in an email to investors, offering fresh details about how his $30 billion hedge fund Baupost Group sees its bet on Puerto Rican bonds after Hurricane Maria… “In the case of Puerto Rico, expunging the debt would almost certainly eliminate any ability the Commonwealth would have to borrow money in the future at reasonable rates, which will be critical to the island’s rebuilding efforts,” Klarman wrote in the email.” [Reuters]

“Mayim Bialik Apologizes for Her Controversial Harvey Weinstein Op-Ed” by Tolly Wright: “Mayim Bialik has issued an apology on social media for the New York Times op-ed she wrote last week about being a “nontraditional looking” actress in Hollywood… “Let me say clearly and explicitly that I am very sorry,” Bialik wrote on Twitter. “What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted; you are never responsible for being assaulted.”” [Vulture]

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT JEWISH AGENCY HEAD? — by Kafe Knesset team: Nathan Sharansky still has seven months remaining in his term as Jewish Agency director, but the question of who will succeed him has been floating around for some time now. The succession question is likely to dominate the conversation during the Agency’s Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem next week. On the first day of the conference, Likud minister Yuval Steinitz, who is the most prominent candidate mentioned so far, will be addressing the board as the Israeli government’s representative. Steinitz was invited to the event even though he was reported to be a candidate for the job…

Steinitz’s name as a candidate has been mentioned in recent weeks as part of a Likud speculation of a deal in which coalition chair David Bitan will be appointed minister instead of him. Bitan denied it on the radio, being surprisingly modest for a politician and saying he has not been in the Knesset long enough to warrant the promotion. Other names mentioned for the Jewish Agency job include former UN ambassador Ron Prosor, Mayor of Maaleh Adumim Benny Kashriel, and Israel’s NYC Consul-General Danny Dayan[JewishInsider]

“Jonathan Greenblatt wants to mend the ‘paradox’ of Israeli-Diaspora relations” by Eric Cortellessa: “Next week the ADL will host its first-ever flagship event in Israel — called “Israel 2048: Israel Social Cohesion Summit” — which will address this very theme. It will take place October 24 at the Hangar 11 event space at the Tel Aviv Port. The former Obama administration staffer stressed that the confab would aim to “foment shared understanding between the communities” and bring more of the kind of work the ADL does in the United States — like defending Jewish people and the State of Israel, and advocating policies that reflect a more tolerant, more open society — to Israel.” [ToI]

“A Trove of Yiddish Artifacts Rescued From the Nazis, and Oblivion” by Joseph Berger: “The Nazis occupying Lithuania once collected Yiddish and Hebrew books and documents… They appointed Jewish intellectuals and poets to select the choicest pearls for study. These workers, assigned to sift through a major Jewish library in Vilna, Vilnius in Lithuanian, ended up hiding thousands of books and papers from the Nazis, smuggling them out under their clothing… In 1991, a large part of the collection was found in the basement of a Vilnius church… But months ago curators at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Manhattan, the successor to the Vilnius library, were told that another trove, totaling 170,000 pages, had been found, somehow overlooked in the same church basement… Among the finds… Two letters by Sholem Aleichem, the storyteller whose tales of Tevye the Milkman formed the core of “Fiddler on the Roof.”” [NYTimes]

“Jann Wenner and His Biographer Have a Falling Out” by Joe Coscarelli and Sydney Ember: “Mr. Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, is distancing himself as much as possible from Joe Hagan, the writer who spent four years chronicling Mr. Wenner’s life… “I gave Joe time and access in the hope he would write a nuanced portrait about my life and the culture Rolling Stone chronicled,” Mr. Wenner said on Tuesday… “My hope was that this book would provide a record for future generations of that extraordinary time. Instead, he produced something deeply flawed and tawdry, rather than substantial.” Mr. Hagan said there was no reason Mr. Wenner should have been surprised by the book’s contents. “It was all on the table — there’s nothing he didn’t know,” the writer said. “He’s used to having control, and that’s a difficult thing.” [NYTimes]

SOUND BITE — At CNN Debate, Ted Cruz told Bernie Sanders: “As some might say, ‘curb your enthusiasm’. By the way, the impression Larry David does of you is spectacular.” [Video]

DESSERT: “Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship Returns October 29” by Nancy Nichols: “Kosher barbecue competitions have one obvious difference–no pork–but there are other distinctions… Because no work can be done or fires lit on the Jewish Sabbath, teams prepare the meats on Thursday night, then start cooking after sundown on Saturday. As in all KCBS competitions, the society’s judges will award official trophies for all four meats, as well as crown the grand champion and reserve grand champion, who will share $500 in cash.” [DMagazine]

BIRTHDAYS: Mayor of Jerusalem since 2008, Nir Barkat turns 58. At breakfast this morning with a visiting group of Americans, the Mayor was serenaded with ‘Happy Birthday’ [Video… Born in Vienna, Austria, oceanographer and professor emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, Walter Munk turns 100… South African-born developmental biologist, professor emeritus at University College of London, Lewis Wolpert turns 88… Born in Israel during the British Mandate period, he was the long-time CEO of Aramark Corporation (1981-2015), Joseph Neubauer turns 76… Executive Director of “Second Thought: a US – Israel Initiative,” former Israeli diplomat with multiple US postings, Yoram Ettinger turns 72… Founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist turns 61… Chief Rabbi of Kiev and all of Ukraine since 1990, he has also served as a VP of the World Jewish Congress since 2009, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich turns 53… Founding president and CEO of Global Policy Initiatives, he was the White House Jewish Liason in the Clinton administration, Jay Footlik turns 52… DC-based digital micro-targeting analyst, equities trader and financial marketer, Elie Litvin turns 35… Pittsburgh-based digital editor and designer, Lindsay Applebaum turns 32 (h/ts Playbook)… Michelle Fischler turns 69… Shira Moses turns 51… Evan Majzner turns 35… David Ochs turns 34…

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Oct
18

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Daily Kickoff: Senate divided on Corker Cotton bill | A Rabbi in Congress? | Soros transfers $18B to his foundation | The Justice RBG Workout

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ON THE HILL — Senate divided on Corker Cotton Iran sanctions legislation — by JI’s Aaron Magid: Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tom Cotton (R-AK) have revealed their intention to propose legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) by reimposing nuclear sanctions if Iran came within a year of obtaining nuclear weapons, and thus eliminating the sunset provisions currently in place.

Moderate GOP Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was optimistic about the Corker Cotton bill. “I talked to both of them about it. I like the direction that they are going in, but I haven’t seen the specifics yet.” Collins also appeared to back President Trump’s announcement last week. “I think it’s important to note that the President did not impose sanctions, which he could have done, nor did he withdraw from the agreement. He identified some flaws.” … When asked if he backs the legislation, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) replied, “Yes. Why not? If you are a strong supporter of Israel, if you think Iran is a rogue nation, I think both are good reasons to do it.”

While declining to address the Corker Cotton bill directly, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Jewish Insider, “The greatest danger Iran poses in the immediate future is (a.) ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and (b.) support of Hezbollah and its missiles in Lebanon. We should be tough on that.” Congress has already passed sanctions this year targeting Iran for its support of terrorism and ballistic missile program adding to the uncertainty that Schumer would support new nuclear-related sanctions against Iran now.[JewishInsider]

Schumer’s responds to Trump’s attack regarding flip-flop on nuclear deal — by Marcia Kramer: “I had a great deal of misgivings about the nuclear deal and voted against it,” Schumer said at a Sunday news conference. “But now we ought to see; give it time to work.” Schumer’s position is strange to some, because it puts him at odds with many in the Jewish community. They were opposed to the treaty then… and they were pleased by Trump’s decision not to recertify it. “Decertification sends a message that the United States, hopefully with other countries as well backing them, will stand up against Iran’s aggressiveness and aggression — which continues unabated,” said Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations…

Pressed to explain his change of heart, Schumer said he places great weight on the opinions of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They have said it is in the country’s national security interests to keep the treaty in place. “The worst things Iran is doing right now are not within the nuclear field, but outside it.”[CBS2

DRIVING THE DAY: “Haley to Press UN Security Council on Iran After Trump Decision” by Kambiz Foroohar: “[Nikki] Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will use a Wednesday Security Council meeting on “the situation in the Middle East” to once again take on Tehran’s ballistic-missile program and its support for Hezbollah and Syrian ruler Bashar Al-Assad… The meeting will be the first public effort to gauge international support for the U.S. position on Iran after Trump declined to certify a 2015 nuclear deal.” [Bloomberg] • Khamenei says Iran will ‘shred’ nuclear deal if U.S. quits it [Reuters]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department” by Jason Zengerle: “Tillerson feared the crisis (between Qatar and Gulf countries) could destabilize the region. Mattis, meanwhile, was concerned about the United States air base in Qatar… Together, the two cabinet secretaries began working to get Trump to try to broker a resolution. But other members of the Trump administration argued against such a move, especially Jared Kushner. Ever since Trump’s election, Kushner had been the focus of an intense courtship by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi; and the two men quickly formed a close friendship with the president’s son-in-law. So close, in fact, that the crown princes convinced Kushner… of the opportunity the blockade provided to further tilt American foreign policy toward the Saudis and away from Iran, according to the Trump adviser. “Rex saw it as a crisis to solve,” the adviser says. “Jared saw it as an opportunity to seize.”” [NYTimesMag]

“Heritage Foundation considers top White House aide, Cubs co-owner as next leader” by By Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and John Wagner: “The Heritage Foundation has narrowed its search for a new president down to a shortlist of finalists, a group that includes Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs… For Ricketts — a longtime Republican activists whose father Joe is the founder of TD Ameritrade and brother is Pete Ricketts, the current Nebraska governor — the posting would offer both him and his family an even greater foothold in helping shape the direction of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Trump selected Ricketts to serve as deputy commerce secretary, but in April he withdrew his nomination from consideration…” [WashPost]

“Trump narrows Fed chairmanship list, decision may come by November” by Brian Schwartz: “President Donald Trump has narrowed down his list for the Federal Reserve chairmanship to five candidates, including former Federal Reserve Gov. Kevin Warsh… National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and current Fed Chair Janet Yellen… The long awaited decision by Trump to either keep Yellen or move on to a chairman of his own will likely be made by his trip to Asia, which is scheduled to begin on November 3… All of the candidates have met with the president about the Fed’s leadership position, while Yellen will be at the White House for her interview on Thursday…  The inclusion of Cohn is a surprising one seeing that he was considered to be virtually out of the running after he took on his boss for his response to the violence in Charlottesville.” [FoxBusiness]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner Adds Charles Harder to Legal Team As Pressure Mounts” by Gabriel Sherman: “According to sources familiar with the matter, the person in Trump’s orbit who may have the most to be worried about in Priebus’s testimony is Jared Kushner. Priebus has knowledge of Kushner’s proximity to the controversial decision to fire Comey during a weekend at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey… Trump was accompanied for the weekend by Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Stephen Miller… Kushner’s closeness to the discussion of firing Comey continues to be much discussed by current and former Trump administration officials, who see it as one of the main drivers of the administration’s present legal travails. Two sources familiar with the matter told me that prior to Comey’s dismissal, Kushner expressed concern to West Wing officials about the investigation. “He’s all over us,” Kushner told one official in February… “He was freaked out about Comey from day one,” one Trump adviser said.” [VanityFair

“Putin Rival Ties Kushner Meeting to Kremlin Bankers by Ari Melber, Meredith Mandell and Mirjam Lablans: “A prominent exiled Russian oligarch said… that he believes a top Russian banker was not “acting on his own behalf” when he held a controversial meeting with Jared Kushner last December. “I am almost convinced that Putin’s people have tried to influence the U.S. election in some way,” [Mikhail] Khodorkovsky told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.” [NBCNews

“Trump team’s leaks about Israel’s hack of Kaspersky Lab could further ‘damage’ ties” by Jack Moore: “The precise details of how Israel was able to hack into Kaspersky Lab’s systems were not disclosed, but what was revealed is that Israeli intelligence officers presented the NSA with evidence of Russian government hackers attempting to glean classified information about the U.S.’s covert programs… “It’s very sensitive. It could affect future collaboration, the chain of information,” says Daniel Cohen, researcher at Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) at Tel Aviv University…. The continued leaks about the Israeli operations that appear to benefit Washington risk leaving Israel looking like Washington’s proxy in the Middle East, a view widely held by its enemies from Tehran to Damascus… The next time that Israel assists the U.S. at an intelligence level, there may be unease at how that information will be shared, whether in the Oval Office or in the press.” [Newsweek]

TOP TALKER: “Israel: No peace talks with Palestinian government reliant on Hamas” by Ori Lewis: “Pursuant to previous decisions, (Israel) will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel, as long as it does not fulfill the following conditions,” the statement began… Netanyahu’s call… could hamper U.S. mediation attempts to resume peace negotiations.” [Reuters]

KAFE KNESSET — Hamas not welcome — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Last night the Security Cabinet concluded a two-day session debating the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. A joint statement was issued describing Israel’s new “red lines” vis-a-vis negotiations with the Palestinians. According to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet decided not to hold any talks with any Palestinian government that relies on Hamas support. The statement outlined a series of Israeli conditions to acknowledging any Palestinian reconciliation process, primarily reiterating the well-known Quartet principles, but adding a few new demands to the list, such as Hamas disarmament and disengagement from Iran. The Security Cabinet stopped short of adopting the more aggressive approach proposed by Naftali Bennett, who demanded that Israel cut all ties with the PA. But right-wing ministers said the decision was a “dramatic message to the US, Egypt and the Palestinians,” bracing themselves for increased pressure on Jerusalem to re-launch a peace process with a Palestinian unity government, if it will be formed later.

Several insiders told Kafe Knesset there was broad skepticism amongst the cabinet ministers about the reconciliation process and the prospect of it actually leading to a Palestinian unity government. “There are still serious unresolved issues between Hamas and Fatah, and the road to a Palestinian unity government is still far away,” one minister said, “but it is important that everyone understands that Abbas has to make a choice — he must disarm Hamas or abandon the reconciliation process in order for us to have any contact with him.” The opposition, in a series of tweets, ridiculed the cabinet decision. Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz mockingly congratulated the Cabinet for the “brave decision to stop negotiations that don’t exist.” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh tweeted: “Netanyahu’s guide to peace negotiations: If there are divisions = no negotiations, if there is unity = no negotiations. But at his next UN speech he will still say that his hand is extended towards peace.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

MEDIA WATCH — Netanyahu welcomes Evangelical Christian press: “For many years, Israel has held a summit for Jewish media outlets, cultivating those journalists as unofficial “ambassadors” to help promote Israel’s image abroad, said Nitzan Chen, the director of Israel’s Government Press Office. “Using the same logic,” it decided to reach out to Christian media… That strong support for Israel was evident at Netanyahu’s meeting with the visiting journalists. Netanyahu, who routinely spars with local media and has accused them of reporting “fake news” in their coverage of a series of corruption scandals, received a warm welcome. “Good to see you, my friend,” said one journalist before asking a question. “There’s no fake news here.” Netanyahu’s embrace of the Christian media echoes the strategy employed by Trump.” [CBSNews]

2018 WATCH: “Could this rabbi be a first in Congress?” by Mark Oppenheimer: “Robert B. Barr, who plans to file papers today to be a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Ohio’s 1st District, is notable… for being the first who seems to have a good shot at winning. If he is the eventual nominee, his opponent would be Republican incumbent Steve Chabot, who lost once already, in the Obama landslide of 2008, before reclaiming his seat in 2010. Barr, 62, is at once the most traditional rabbi (of the three) ever to run for Congress, and the least. He’s the most traditional because he has been a pulpit rabbi, at Congregation Beth Adam, outside Cincinnati, since 1980… At the same time… his Judaism is seen, by some, as well outside the mainstream… Barr founded a congregation, Beth Adam, that belongs to none of the major branches of Judaism.” [WashPost]

STEVE & SHELDON — “Bannon hits up GOP mega-donors exasperated with McConnell” by Alex Isenstadt: “[Steve] Bannon met with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s most prominent donor, for several hours when he swung through Washington this month.” [Politico]

** 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: Barry Diller takes shots at VCs, startup valuations[TC] • El Al Hopes New Dreamliner Fleet Will Solve Its Woes, but That Won’t Happen Anytime Soon [Haaretz] • Disney’s Movies Face a Big Test, and Bob Iger Likes His Chances [Bloomberg] • The Wall Street Journal ‘bumps’ into Jeffrey Katzenberg in the elevator [Video] • Israel’s Delek Group Mulling $280M Sale of Royalties From Tamar Offshore Gas Field [Haaretz] • Isaac Kassirer to buy $100M UWS portfolio [RealDeal]

“What cities fighting for an Amazon headquarters can learn from Seattle” by Patrick Sisson: “South Lake Union exists as it does today because of Amazon—that’s just a fact,” says Jordan Selig, managing director of Martin Selig Real Estate, which has the company as a tenant at its building on Elliott Avenue West. “The majority of the office and residential buildings are occupied by Amazon’s employees.” [Curbed]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli startups beginning to see benefits of New York” by Navot Volk: “The NY marketplace is robust in terms of customers.” says Sam Gutmann, OwnBackup CEO, when asked why he decided to make the move from Israel to NYC instead of choosing the Valley… OwnBackup is a leading cloud-to-cloud backup & restore vendor… Gutman had another practical reason to choose the Big Apple over the Valley: “Our team is currently split between US and IL. The seven-hour difference between Israel and NYC means overlapping working hours rather than constantly coordinating calls with the west coast. This is a major positive factor for the remote team. It is also relatively easy to fly back and forth on the NY-IL route.” [Globes]  

SPOTLIGHT: “George Soros Transfers $18 Billion to His Foundation, Creating an Instant Giant” by Juliet Chung and Anupreeta Das: “George Soros, who built one of the world’s largest fortunes through a famous series of trades, has turned over nearly $18 billion to Open Society Foundations… Soros Fund Management LLC’s 87-year-old founder now shares influence over the firm’s strategy with an investment committee of Open Society. Mr. Soros set up the committee and is its chairman, but it is meant to survive him… Mr. Soros doesn’t plan to trade the billions that now belong to Open Society… He plans to give it most of the rest of his wealth in his lifetime or upon his death.” [WSJ]

“Book’s challenge: Can you do squats like Justice Ginsburg?” by Jessica Gresco: “Personal trainer Bryant Johnson hears it all the time: Four more years. That’s how long fans of his client, 84-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tell him he has to keep her healthy so that a one-term President Donald Trump doesn’t get to name the liberal Justice’s replacement on the Supreme Court. Johnson’s response: Why just four years? Why not 14? … And it’s resulted in a new workout book written by Johnson, out Wednesday: “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong … and You Can Too!” Johnson said he hopes the book will show people: “You’re never too old to do something.” Ginsburg started working out with Johnson in 1999 after being treated for colorectal cancer. As Ginsburg tells the story, her husband told her she looked “like a survivor of a concentration camp” and needed to do something to rebuild her strength.” [AP]

“The Closing: David Greenfield” By Will Parker: “Are you a local celebrity in Brooklyn? “Kids in the neighborhood collect business cards and, apparently, mine is very valuable, especially if they can get my autograph. They stop me all the time, ask for my card, and then trade them at school. I think you can get like five cards for one Greenfield, so that’s pretty cool.”” [TRD]

SIGHTINGS — Yehiel M Kalish tweets: “When Nancy Pelosi sits down next to you on the plane! Such a nice person. Took pictures and answered questions from passengers. Very leader like!” [Pic]

At Reserve Cut Kosher Steakhouse in NYC: “It was a pleasure having Donald J Trump Jr. dine with us.” [Pic]

DESSERT: “Eating along the B line: Tasty, cheap eats on the Upper West Side” by Rachel Wharton: “Fine & Schapiro may have changed hands a few times since the Jewish deli opened in 1927, says current owner Eduard Taubes, but he’s made sure the place has stayed true to its Eastern European roots. Taubes, a Russian native who took over the reins in 1991, is a stickler for the details, making sure old cooks train new ones, that each table still gets cole slaw and pickles, and that the pastrami and corned beef for your “King Size” combo is both nicely fatty and sliced to order. Those are but a few of the New York City Jewish culinary traditions kept alive at Fine & Schapiro.” [NYDailyNews]

BIRTHDAYS: Engineer, philanthropist, co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, Irwin M. Jacobs turns 84… US ambassador to Morocco, the first Jewish ambassador to an Arab country (1994-1998), he was the CEO of the One Voice Movement Foundation and Peaceworks LLC, Marc Ginsberg turns 67… Principal analyst at Kiernan Group Holdings, he is a homeland security and counterterrorism expert, Joshua B Sinai, Ph.D. turns 66… Founder of Dimension Films, former co-chairman of Miramax Films, and current head of the Weinstein Company after his brother Harvey was dismissed, Robert “Bob” Weinstein turns 63… Political strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, he is the president of a consulting firm, the Economic Future Group, Jonathan Tasini turns 61… Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014), he also held high level positions at the US Treasury during the Clinton administration (1997-2001), Gary Genslerturns 60… ESPN television host, sports reporter, and anchor, Rachel Nicholsturns 44… Moscow-born journalist who emigrated to the US when she was 7 years old, she covers national security and foreign policy topics for The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe turns 35… Politico’s White House reporter, Annie Karni turns 34 (h/ts Playbook)… VP of eCommerce at Israel365, Ayal Kellman turns 32… Founder of Coalesce Advisors and former president at Birthright Israel Foundation, David Fisher… Director of Development and Academic Programs at AEI, Suzanne Gershowitz

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Daily Kickoff: Meet the U.S. Senate candidate married to a Rabbi | Sneak Peek of DC’s Bible Museum | The secret, kosher origins of fruit roll-ups

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2018 WATCH — The Army Pilot, Married to a Rabbi, Seeking Corker’s Senate Seat in Tennessee — by JI’s Aaron Magid: By most measures, the southern state of Tennessee would appear to be a significant challenge for any Democrat in the upcoming 2018 U.S. Senate race. Nonetheless, with incumbent Senator Bob Corker announcing his retirement last month — the chances for any new candidate slightly rose. It is into this vacuum that James Mackler has emerged: a Jewish Army veteran during the war in Iraq who, if elected, would likely be the first U.S. Senator married to a Rabbi. His wife, Shana Goldstein Mackler, is the rabbi at the Reform Temple Ohabai Sholom in Nashville. “If I can serve my community as a U.S. Senator, half as well as my wife serves her community as a member of the clergy, I will be doing great,” Mackler told Jewish Insider.

After September 11, Mackler — citing inspiration from his grandfather who fought in World War II — left his law practice and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a blackhawk pilot for the 101st Airborne Division before departing to Iraq in 2005. Mackler ties his military service to his support for the U.S. – Israel relationship. “As someone who joined the Army after 9/11 at a time of conflict, I have tremendous respect for Israelis who serve universally understanding for them there is always an existential threat to their nation. The fact that the US has such a strong democratic partner in the Middle East is so meaningful to me as a Jew and also as a service member and as an American.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

“Corker: Trump criticism had been ‘building for some time'” by Manu Raju: “Look I’ve been expressing concerns for some time and it’s built over time,” [Bob] Corker said Monday. “I’ve had private dinners, I’ve had private phone calls, I’ve tried to intervene on topics that I thought things were going in a different direction and are not going to be good for our country.” … Despite the flap, Trump needs Corker — who is chairman of the foreign relations committee — to help usher through new legislation on the Iran nuclear accord… In order to win over support in Congress, particularly from Democrats, Corker contended that the Trump administration needs to allay fears from Europe that the legislation would not blow up the nuclear accord with Iran.” [CNN

Ali Rogin‏: “Bob Corker says he’s shared legislative language on possible Iran bill changes with SFRC Dem counterpart Senator [Ben] Cardin.” [Twitter]

ON THE HILL — Sen. Schatz: “No way” Corker-Cotton bill passes — by Aaron Magid: Despite increased talk on Capitol Hill to strengthen sanctions against Iran, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) dismissed the possibility that legislation targeting Tehran sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) will advance into law. Last week, the Republican Senators revealed their intention to amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) by reimposing nuclear sanctions if Iran came within a year of obtaining nuclear weapons, eliminating the sunset provisions. “There is no way this will pass,” Schatz told Jewish Insider on Monday. “It is crazy because Iran got what it wanted (initial sanctions relief), so Iran will be cheerleading anything that allows the U.S to break the deal because then they get their money and nuclear program too. It’s the worst of all worlds.”

In contrast to an Iran sanctions bill introduced by Senators Corker and Ben Cardin (D-MD) which passed overwhelmingly (98-2) earlier this year, the Corker Cotton legislation has not garnered sponsorship from any Democrats. The bill will require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and will need to attract backing from at least eight Democrats. Even Democratic lawmakers who voted against the JCPOA in 2015 have argued against decertification and in favor of preserving the nuclear agreement. “We will not buy into the false premise that it is Congress’ role to legislate solutions to problems of [Trump’s] own making,” Cardin said last week. [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Trump hints at withdrawing from the nuclear deal at the start of a cabinet meeting: “I feel strongly about what I did. I’m tired of being taken advantage of as a nation… and we’ll see what phase two is. Phase two might be positive, and it might be very negative. It might be a total termination. That’s a very real possibility; some would say that’s a greater possibility. But it could also could turn out to be very positive. We’ll see what happens. I thought the tone of the Iranian leaders was very modified, and I was happy to see that, but I don’t know if that means anything. They’re great negotiators.”

“Donald Trump should pursue bigger, better Iran deal” – by YJ Fischer, former assistant coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation at the State Department during the Obama administration“In the early days of implementation of the nuclear agreement, it was my job to travel around the world explaining to international banks and companies that they could now invest in Iran, even encouraging them to do so… The Obama administration was concerned that the Iranians would withdraw from the agreement unless they saw real economic benefits from sanctions relief. It turns out we didn’t have to worry. The Iranians were so desperate for an economic boost, they’d take whatever they could get — and still would… We shouldn’t walk away from the nuclear agreement, but we should get more for U.S. companies and regional security. Now is the time to go back to the negotiating table to get more for more.” [USAToday]

BIBI STEALS HILLARY’S LINE — Netanyahu tells Zarif to delete his Twitter account: “In a video message posted to Twitter Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had some choice words for Iran’s foreign minister: “Delete your account.” Netanyahu made the order after… Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that all Iranians are part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and give their support. Netanyahu… said he would “love to know what the Iranian people think of that tweet. Sadly, the regime bans them from using Twitter. Ironic, don’t you think?”” [FoxNews]

“Trump making history by seeking changes to Iran deal, Israel’s intelligence minister says” by Ruth Eglash: “Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz… who has ambitions to become Israel’s next prime minister — compared the landmark nuclear accord… to a modern-day equivalent of the infamous Munich Agreement in 1938… “The threat from Iran is serious. I compare the nuclear deal to the Munich Agreement. I am not saying that Trump is like [former British prime minister] Winston Churchill, but I believe if Churchill had had the chance to cancel or change the agreement [Churchill’s predecessor Neville] Chamberlain reached with Hitler, then we might have prevented what happened after that,” Katz said.” [WashPost

“Trump’s Iran Strategy Looks Ominously Familiar” by Philip Gordon: “The similarities with the 2003 Iraq war are striking, starting with the president’s manipulation of facts and intelligence to suit his political purposes… Another striking similarity to 2002 is the role being played by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Netanyahu, however, would perhaps be a more reliable expert witness today had he not testified to Congress in 2002 that there was “no question whatsoever” that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons and if he had not “guaranteed” that an invasion of Iraq would have “enormous positive reverberations on the region,” especially on Iran.”[PoliticoMag]

“If Trump Wants to Confront Iran, He Should Start in Kirkuk” by Ranj Alaadin: “The Peshmerga dominated Kirkuk because the Iraqi army collapsed and withdrew from the province in 2014, when the Islamic State launched its offensive. If the oil-rich territory had remained under Kurdish control, it would have dramatically altered the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil… For Iran, an emboldened Kurdistan is tantamount to a stronger United States, which is in the process of building permanent military bases in Kurdistan.” [FP]

“Israel Moves Ahead on West Bank Settlements, but Guardedly” by Isabel Kershner and David Halbfinger: “In restricting the number of final approvals now… [Netanyahu’s] government may also be taking into account some other Israeli priorities. Among them are the campaign against Iran and the joint interests he has been pushing with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, with which Israel has no formal diplomatic relations… Based on several meetings he had with Mr. Netanyahu, [Oded] Revivi (chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council) believes the Trump administration has not really drawn clear lines about what settlement it could live with. “They said to the prime minister, ‘We are not going to put any limits on you, but just make sure that what you do doesn’t get us upset,’ Mr. Revivi said.” [NYTimes

KAFE KNESSET — To evacuate or not to evacuate? — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: New Labor chair Avi Gabbay has been making headlines for a few days now with a series of statements signaling an apparent “wink at the right” in an attempt to appeal to non-traditional Labor voters. Gabbay declared that he will not sit in a government with the Joint Arab List – which, of course, none of his predecessors have done either. He also doubted the notion of a Palestinian partner in the peace process in different public appearances earlier this week. Yesterday Gabbay made waves with another political hot potato: settlements. “If you make a peace agreement, then you can find solutions that do not require evacuation,” Gabbay said in an interview on Channel 2.  Gabbay added that he believes that the “dynamics and terminology we use in terms of making a peace agreement – which includes evacuation – is not necessarily correct.”

This is not the first time Gabbay presented this position, but it prompted a series of strong reactions from all around the political system. Right-wing politicians depicted Gabbay’s statements as proof of the settlers’ ideological victory. Left-wing figures blasted Gabbay for trying to appease the settlers. Tzipi Livni, Gabbay’s partner in the Zionist Union, sent out an SMS message stressing that Gabbay’s stance does not reflect her “Hatnua” party’s position, nor that of the Zionist Union, while Labor MK Itzik Shmuli tweeted that “separation into two states is an existential interest that will require painful concessions and evacuation of territory.” Other Labor MKs were less combative but did stress the traditional Labor distinction between settlement blocs and isolated settlements. Meretz MK Ilan Gilon accused Gabbay of “forgetting that he was chosen to head the alternative camp to the Likud, and that there is no political solution that does not include a territorial compromise.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Unity deal could allow Hamas leader to become PA president” by Daniel Siryoti: “A cunning plan to pave the way for senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to win the Palestinian Authority presidency after current President Mahmoud Abbas may have been the true aim behind Hamas’ willingness to compromise… One of the main articles in the intra-Palestinian reconciliation agreement deals with the option for significant reforms to both to the PLO and Hamas in the future that would allow Hamas to join the PLO. Such a move would pave the way for Mashaal to declare his candidacy.” [IsraelHayom] • Netanyahu: Israel Won’t Cut Ties With Palestinian Authority Over Unity Deal With Hamas [Haaretz]

“Unesco Shmunesco” by Shmuel Rosner: “Enter President Trump. An Israeli strategy 70 years in the making is suddenly severely undermined… Mr. Netanyahu then announced that when the United States quits Unesco, Israel will follow suit. It has no alternative. Israel can’t possibly let the United States leave an organization over anti-Israel bias and still remain a member itself… But the truth is, Israel would prefer to continue its longtime strategy at the United Nations: staying a member and fighting for Israel’s interests.”[NYTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Hillel International Threatened to Cut Ties With Israeli Government Over Database of U.S. Jewish Students” by Judy Maltz: “Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization in the world, threatened to end its partnership with the Israeli government if it didn’t immediately drop its plan to create a database of all Jewish students in the United States. This ultimatum forced the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to suspend the project late Sunday night… The proposed database was meant to help the Israeli government reach out to Jewish students in the United States and try to engage them more effectively.” [Haaretz

“Scaramucci-backed outlet runs online poll on ‘how many Jews were killed’ in Holocaust” by Rebecca Savransky: “A Twitter account linked to former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s so-called news outlet tweeted out a poll Tuesday about how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust. The tweet was taken down about an hour after it was posted, and The Scaramucci Post apologized if it offended anyone. “The intent of the poll was to highlight ignorance of the basic facts of the Holocaust. I take full responsibility for it,” the account tweeted.” [TheHill]

SNEAK PEEK: “D.C.’s huge new Museum of the Bible includes lots of tech — but not a lot of Jesus” by Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey: “The Museum of the Bible, a massive new institution opening next month just south of the Mall, is just as notable for what it ­includes — vivid walk-through re-creations of the ancient world, one of the world’s largest private collections of Torahs… A sensory room with images of animals, minor-key music and creaking boat sounds meant to evoke the “chaos” on board Noah’s Ark… With the input of Jewish scholars, they added lines to the script of a film to be shown at the museum so it includes not just Protestant biblical interpretation but also more context about the development of the rabbinical Talmud.” [WashPost]

TOP TALKER: “McCain, in speech, denounces ‘spurious nationalism'” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “The Arizona Republican, his voice wavering at points after a program celebrating his life and service in the military and Congress — former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at one point called him “a founding father of our time”… “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” McCain said, “is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.” … In his introduction, Schultz echoed the themes of the evening. “There are some who question what this nation has become, our commitment to our founding values,” he said. “Perhaps they do not know where to look.” The answer, Schultz said, is McCain.” [Politico]

“Upswingers and Downswingers” by David Brooks: “Politics gets nasty in these “hatchet” periods because downswingers have a tropism toward ethnic and identity politics… Downswinging populists are taking over the Republican Party… The best thing upswingers can do in these times is to respect the downswinger critique — we’re in this moment for a reason — without falling for its ultimate pessimism. But the global populist tide is not going to be held off just by passing a new tax cut or a few other bills. There has to be economic, social and political solidarity with those left behind, as well as penance from those who did the leaving. There has to be a convincing story of where we are in history.” [NYTimes

NEXT GEN POLITICS: “Levin mum on re-election bid” by Melissa Nann Burke: “Longtime Rep. Sandy Levin has delayed announcing whether he’ll run for another term in Congress, fueling speculation that the 86-year-old Royal Oak Democrat might retire… Among the other potential successors to Levin is his son, Andy Levin, who lives in Bloomfield Township and is reportedly mulling a run for governor.” [DetroitNews]

“Dan Koh has a lot of high-profile donors from the world of sports and business” by Nik DeCosta-Klipa: “Dan Koh, the 32-year-old Andover native who previously served as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s chief of staff, turned more than a few heads earlier this month when he announced he raised $755,000 in just the first month of his congressional campaign. Seth Klarman, who runs a local investment firm and is New England’s top Republican donor, donated $2,700 to Koh. So did local power broker John Fish, the CEO of Suffolk Construction… Josh Kushner — who is the “liberal brother” of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and runs a technology investment firm in New York — donated the maximum as well… Josh Kraft, the CEO of the Girls & Boys Club of Boston and son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, gave $500.” [Boston]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Microsoft adding former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to board [CNBC] • Work on Israel-Cyprus-Greece electricity link to start 2018 [ABCNews] • Redstone’s Ex-Companion Sues His Daughter, Grandson [WSJ] • The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross’ Missing Billions [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: “In Israel Ultra-Orthodox Women Emerge as Tech Entrepreneurs” by Gwen Ackerman: “Avital Beck, 35, who has six children and a doctorate in molecular biology, co-founded her company MilkStrip so she could hold a challenging job and have flexible hours to spend time with her children. “Because most senior jobs in the tech industry are so inflexible, it just made sense to found my own company,” Beck said. Similarly, Tikva Schmidt, a software systems architect with 10 children, founded TIDE Technology, an outsourcing firm offering software architecture and development solutions, to provide high-level jobs for haredi women, while allowing them to raise their children.” [Bloomberg]

HOLLYWOOD: “Katzenberg Predicts Movie Studios Will Embrace Bite-Sized Entertainment” by Erich Schwartzel: “In an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live technology conference, [Jeffrey] Katzenberg said his company, WndrCo LLC, is building a venture that will cater to younger consumers and their mobile-first method of consuming entertainment… He envisions bite-sized entertainment that is easily watched on the phone at much higher production values than the videos found on YouTube Inc… The content will launch on an app-based service aimed at consumers aged 18 to 34 years old, with plans to cater to more demographics down the road.” [WSJ]

“Jeffrey Katzenberg: Harvey Weinstein Is a Monster, But Didn’t Act Alone” by Janko Roettgers: “Former Dreamworks chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg repudiated his former colleague Harvey Weinstein at Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference… but also said that Weinstein couldn‘t have acted alone… “Make no mistake about it: He is a monster,” Katzenberg said. However, Weinstein had not been a lone actor, but had instead been protected by other men around him. “There is a pack of wolves.” [VarietyCNET]

“‘Beautiful Girls’ Scribe Scott Rosenberg On A Complicated Legacy With Harvey Weinstein” by Mike Fleming Jr: “Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg just wrote a thought provoking post on his Facebook account about his early days at Miramax Films,. There, he wrote the memorable movies Beautiful Girls and Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead, and was part of that period when Harvey Weinstein became the center of the indie universe… “Everybody-f***ing-knew. But everybody was just having too good a time. And doing remarkable work; making remarkable movies. As the old joke goes: We needed the eggs. Okay, maybe we didn’t NEED them. But we really, really, really, really LIKED them eggs. So we were willing to overlook what the Golden Goose was up to, in the murky shadows behind the barn.” [Deadline]

“Mayim Bialik Responds to Backlash Over Harvey Weinstein Op-Ed” by Joe Otterson: “[It] has become clear to me that there are people who think I implied or overtly stated that you can be protected from assault by the clothing that you wear or the behavior that you exhibit,” Bialik said in a Facebook Live video with the New York Times. “That is absolutely not what my intention was and I think it is safe for me to start this conversation by saying there is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.” [Variety]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Fire-damaged Hagafen Cellars kosher winery reopens tasting room” by Sue Fishkoff: “The tasting room reopened this morning at Hagafen Cellars, the only kosher winery in the Napa Valley and Sonoma, although the property sustained heavy damage last week from the Atlas Peak fire. “As of today, we are open,” owner and winemaker Ernie Weir told J. by phone on Oct. 16. “The tasting room was impacted, but not so much that we can’t open. We’re waiting now for our first tourist.” Asked what the public can do to help, Weir didn’t hesitate. “Come visit,” he urged. “Keep the Napa and Sonoma wine business going.” [JWeekly]

“[Florida] Gov. Scott wants to give Jewish schools $1 million for security” by Kyra Gurney: “Gov. Rick Scott… announced the proposal… at Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton. The funds would help Florida’s Jewish day schools pay for video cameras, bulletproof glass, alarm systems and other safety equipment to protect thousands of students… “Every Florida student deserves to have the opportunity to learn in a safe and comfortable setting,” Scott said. “After Florida’s Jewish community received hateful threats last year, we saw the need to provide additional security so the children that attend Jewish Day Schools can learn without having to worry about feeling threatened.”” [MiamiHerald

SCENE YESTERDAY IN JERUSALEM — President Reuven Rivlin met with Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University in New York at his residence in Jerusalem. YU faculty member and former Ambassador Danny Ayalon also attended the meeting. [Pic

DESSERT: “The Surprising, Secret Origins of Fruit Roll-Ups” by Gabriella Gershenson: “To stay in business, the Shalhoubs quickly rethought who they should be selling their product to. “I was talking to my dad and I was like, ‘Dad, look, it’s a traditional Middle Eastern treat for Arab people, but Arabs aren’t a growing population,’” says Ray. “‘We have to do something different.’” By his assessment, the growing populations were Jewish and Hispanic. Ultimately, they went after kosher business because of some cultural and geographical commonality with the Arab population. A friend introduced the Shalhoubs to Kof-K Kosher Supervision, then a budding certifier of kosher foods, now an international powerhouse whose clients include Pepsi and ConAgra. “We were one of their first accounts and we’ve been with them since 1977,” says Ray. Joray found its footing, and has since become synonymous with kosher treats, Jewish delicatessens, and specialty shops. “Once you develop a reputation and trust within the kosher community, people are very loyal,” says Ray.” [Thrillist]

BIRTHDAYS: Rheumatologist and founder of the San Diego Arthritis Medical Clinic in 1975, Dr. Michael Keller turns 72… Rochester, NY resident, Peggy Futerman turns 60… Rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, he is a son of Professor Isadore Twersky and a a grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, he also serves as the Rebbe of the Talne hasidic dynasty, Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky turns 57… Professor of economics at Harvard who served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2012-2014), Jeremy Chaim Stein turns 57… Hedge fund manager, he is the co-founder of AQR Capital Management, Cliff Asness turns 51… Founder of Maniv Investments and Maniv Mobility (Israel’s first venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to the new mobility future), Michael Granoff turns 49… Author and staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy turns 43…  Ken Baer, founder of Crosscut Strategies and former Obama WH OMB associate director (h/t Playbook)… Born in Haifa, raised in Sunnyvale, California, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Quixey, a search startup for apps (2009-2017), Tomer Kagan turns 34…

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PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for October 19

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mr. Liberman Goes to Washington: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman departed last night on a four-day visit to Washington, DC and New York City. This is the second time…

PHOTO: POOL/REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for October 18

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hamas not welcome: Last night the Security Cabinet concluded a two-day session debating the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. A joint statement was issued describing Israel’s new “red…

Via Twitter/@NTarnopolsky

Kafe Knesset for October 17

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

To evacuate or not to evacuate? New Labor chair Avi Gabbay has been making headlines for a few days now with a series of statements signaling an apparent…

Bibi Knesset

Kafe Knesset for October 16

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bibi versus the Police: With the continued corruption investigations against Netanyahu, the Prime Minister has taken his responses up a notch. Now he is not only blaming the…

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu waves prior to addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington

Kafe Knesset for October 9

Monday, October 9, 2017

Family man: Israelis are very familiar with Bibi’s family story. They are especially familiar with his legendary brother, Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed leading the Entebbe raid in…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for October 4

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Liberman “believes” Trump: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman gave a lengthy pre-Sukkot interview to Walla. After declaring Syrian President Assad’s victory, he also had some interesting answers to share…