Daily Kickoff: Haley to tap Jon Lerner as Deputy UN Amb | Ben Rhodes to join Holocaust Memorial Council | The Jewish awards hanging on Trump’s wall

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TURTLE BAY TRANSITION: “Jon Lerner to Serve as Deputy UN Ambassador” by Aaron Magid and Jacob Kornbluh: “Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for UN Ambassador, has selected Jon Lerner to be her deputy, according to FITSNews, a South Carolina political website. The selection was first reported by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, citing several sources… “Jon is one of the most brilliant minds in politics, having guided candidates such as Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and Marco Rubio,” Nick Muzin, a former senior advisor to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Jewish Insider. “He is also a tremendous mentsch, and a Kiddush Hashem. I can’t wait to see what he and Nikki will do at the UN.” … When asked about the appointment, Sean Spicer, the incoming White House Press Secretary, emailed Jewish Insider, “There have been no announcements.”” [JewishInsider

HAPPENING TODAY: Nikki Haley to testify at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 10:00AM EST. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott will introduce the South Carolina Governor. [Livestream]

PREVIEW: “U.N. nominee Haley to blast world body over Israel: testimony” by Patricia Zengerle: “Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel,” Haley will say in the opening remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ““I will not go to New York and abstain when the U.N. seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel. I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States… Any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers.” [Reuters; WashPost

“S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley prepares for confirmation hearing in tough political terrain” by Emma Dumain: “Senators’ attitudes on Israel will, without question, come up during her confirmation hearing, and it could put her in a difficult spot. She is expected to be a strong proponent of Israel but it could be hard for her to reconcile her disapproval of the U.N. resolution with support for efforts to withhold funding for the new office she’s about to run.” [PostandCourier

TRANSITION TOWER: “Reed Cordish to join Trump administration” by John Fritze: “”I am humbled by the role and excited to work with the incredible people within the West Wing and the Agencies to effect change,” Cordish said in a statement released by the transition… The transition said Cordish will be responsible for “presidential initiatives that require multi-agency collaboration.” Cordish, whose appointment was first reported by Jewish Insider, will also focus on technological innovation and modernization.” [BaltimoreSun] • Our January 4th scoop [JewishInsider]

“Google’s Schmidt met with Kushner in Republican outreach” by Tony Romm: “Spotted on an unannounced visit to Trump Tower on Thursday, [Eric] Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, lunched privately with Jared Kushner… Exiting Trump Tower on Thursday, Schmidt — whose visit was not announced by the president-elect’s aides — ignored shouted questions from reporters.” [Politico

“A cliff-face of self promotion: what’s on Donald Trump’s other wall?” by Tim Dowling: “The Sholom Award: One of two that appear on the wall from Jewish organisations. The other, the Tree of Life award, was given to Trump by the Jewish National Fund in 1983, “in appreciation of his outstanding dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship.” They had little idea Trump would one day try to put his son-in-law in charge of Middle East peace negotiations. Other recipients of the Tree of Life include Dr Ben Carson and Al Gore.” [TheGuardian]

“Republicans Look to Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, to Bring Stability” by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “Ultimately, it’s a chief’s job to create an orderly process that gives a president the full range of opposing viewpoints so that he can make a decision based on the best information available,” said Joshua B. Bolten, who served as George W. Bush’s chief of staff. But even Mr. Bolten conceded that nothing mattered if Mr. Priebus could not “develop a good working relationship” with his president.” [NYTimes

PATH TO PENN AVE — “Redskins owner attends exclusive Trump inaugural celebration” by Jordan Fabian: “Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was among the guests at an exclusive reception in the nation’s capital Tuesday night to celebrate President-elect Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration… Other notable people in attendance include casino magnate Steve Wynn, actor Jon Voight, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer.” [TheHill] • Spotted: Trump with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the event last night” [Pic

In the run up to the inauguration we’re featuring the thoughts of various JI readers on what to expect from the incoming Trump Admin. Email us your thoughts at Editor@JewishInsider.com.

Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Ambassador to the US: “President-Elect Trump should abide by his word and move the US embassy to Jerusalem. He should strengthen the natural alliance between Israel and the US through strengthening Israel’s deterrence capability. He should help us to fight BDS, especially by blocking biased UN resolutions.”

Tevi Troy, former deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Jewish Liaison for President George W. Bush: “President-elect Trump has defied expectations so often that I am loathe to make predictions. I have been generally pleased with his cabinet and staff picks, who have been both qualified and conservative. Based on what I’ve seen in the transition, I expect to see an activist first 200 — not 100 — days, with lots of both regulatory and legislative activity.”

Susan Turnbull, former Chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and former Vice Chair of the DNC: “I have no expectations. He is consistently inconsistent and seems to have little understanding of the consequences of his actions.”

Q: What will the relationship between the Trump administration and the Jewish community look like?

Troy: “There is a healthy number in the cabinet and the White House staff, with more likely to come. And Trump seems certain to have much friendlier relations with Israel than the outgoing Obama administration. I fear that will not improve relations with the Democratic-leaning American Jewish community writ large, but it should lead to strong relations with the increasingly Republican Orthodox Jewish world.”

Turnbull: “The new President has shown no evidence that he understands that the Jewish community is not a monolith and all Jews do not have the same views on Israel and actually care about other critical issues both domestic and foreign. It is going to be one rocky road. Our organized community leaders are trying to get their footing and balance potential impacts with actual organizational positions so as not to alienate the 70+% of the community that did not support Trump. I wish them luck.”

Q: Will Israel become more partisan in DC?

Ayalon: “I hope not. US national security interests and morals should not be partisan. Hence, support for Israel should remain bipartisan, as it has always been. Unfortunately, lately we have seen some far-left elements of the Democratic party that are trying to change this, such as Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison.”

Q: What will happen with the Iran deal?

Ayalon: “Israel and the US must tighten their coordination and make sure that the Iranians abide by the current agreement to every letter. Any breach, however slight, must bear severe consequences. The other members of the P5+1 should follow suit, with renewed American leadership.”

Turnbull: “Since diplomacy is more complicated than saying you’re making a ‘deal,’ and because there will be significant learning curves and changed relationships, it is impossible to project what actually will occur and what will be attempted.”

“Fear of ‘Ill Will’ Toward Jews Helped Convince Rabbi to Pray at Trump Inauguration” by Amir Tibon: “Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of Los Angeles’ Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Haaretz that he accepted the invitation to say a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday in part because refusing it would cause “ill will” toward Jews among the American public… As for the growing number of politicians who will boycott the event, Hier says he sees their protest as a mistake. “I know John Lewis and respect him. He is truly an iconic figure… But I think it’s wrong for him and others to boycott the inauguration. This kind of behavior undermines democracy, and it will bring about a dangerous tit-for-tat, once we go down that pathway.” Hier says that when it comes to Trump, there’s at least one thing he feels optimistic about: “I’m a big fan of his support for Israel. I hope he brings a change on this front.”” [Haaretz

“As he heads back to Boston, John Kerry sees North Korea and terrorism as the new administration’s main challenges” by Carol Morello: “Kerry said the U.N. resolution, and a speech he made defending it, was prompted by his conviction that the time for a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict is running out, and Israel has ignored U.S. entreaties to rein in settlement growth. “But if our good friends are just not ready to listen to us when we say we’re having a harder and harder time defending you, it’s getting harder and harder in the international community to defend it, I think that it was really important for us to support our own policy,” he said. “But I will stand up forever for the truth of the words I spoke about what is happening to Israel and about the choice Israel has.”” [WashPost] • Read the full transcript of Kerry’s conversation with Tom Friedman in Davos [State

“An Israel-Palestine peace conference—without Israel or Palestine” by The Economist: “Reactions to it were apathetic. Israelis are more preoccupied with a criminal investigation of Mr Netanyahu… Talk of an early election is in the air. Among Palestinians, politics is as stagnant as ever… The real target audience of the organisers was in midtown Manhattan, not on the Mediterranean… Diplomats promised to meet again in Paris later this year. It may be difficult to justify the trip.” [Economist

“Israel as the Lights Go Out” by Roger Cohen: “Speaking of Kushner, I was told he refused to meet with a senior French diplomat after a demand from Trump Tower that the Paris conference be canceled was ignored. Get used to my-way-or-the-highway diplomacy with team Trump.” [NYTimes]

“U.S. Envoy’s Farewell: Relations With Israel ‘Stronger, Closer’ Under Obama” by Judy Maltz: “When history is written about this period in the future, the historians and their readers will understand that relations between the two countries actually got stronger and closer,” [Ambassador Dan] Shapiro said at a farewell reception hosted in his honor by the Knesset caucus on U.S.-Israel relations. “It is true that there were controversies, and it is true that there were arguments, but it is also true that that is perfectly natural when it comes to friends,” he added, delivering his address in fluent Hebrew… National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, who represented the government at the gathering, called Shapiro “the best U.S. ambassador ever in Israel.” [Haaretz]

“Obama, Trump and the dangers of a ‘Jewish’ president” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “Where the Obama seder stressed a universal message – guests greeted Elijah by reciting the Emancipation Declaration – Trump’s seder will likely express a more traditionalist sensibility… American Jews need to resist the temptation of totally identifying their preferred president with Jewish interests and values. Revering any American president as an honorary member of the tribe risks debasing Jewish identity and communal discourse.” [ToI] • Shmuel Rosner: “Obama Jews, Trump Jews – is the division inevitable?” [JewishJournal]

DEEP DIVE: “Obama won the Jewish vote without winning over the pro-Israel mainstream” by Ron Kampeas: “Just as quickly as Obama could turn a Jewish room on, he could turn it off, chilling the air with an insensitive aside… It was there in 2008, when he met with Jewish leaders in Cleveland – a community known to be more conservative than coastal Jewish communities… The meeting went well, and then, during a Q&A, Obama said, “This is where I get to be honest and I hope I’m not out of school here. I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Some folks in the room said later that their jaws dropped… The Likud was not then in power, but it was a major party in Israel, and as president he would likely have to deal with it. Indeed, his eight years in office almost wholly coincided with Likud-led governments.” [JTA

INBOX — responding to the Yesha Council’s Eli Pieprz who, in listing settler leaders attending Trump’s inauguration in yesterday’s Daily Kickoff, referred to Maale Adumim Mayor Beni Kashriel as a ‘leading candidate to replace Natan Sharansky at the Jewish Agency in June,’ a JI reader with knowledge of the deliberations surrounding the election of the next Jewish Agency Chairman emailed “Kashriel is a leading candidate to replace Sharansky like I’m a leading candidate to replace the Pope.”

TOP OF THE HILL: “Senate Muslim Brotherhood Bill Provokes Controversy” by Aaron Magid: “Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2017 last week in a bid to “fight against radical Islamic terrorism.” The bill notes that “it is the sense of Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood meets the criteria for designation as a foreign terrorist designation.” In addition to the bill’s affect abroad, Schanzer also noted that the Cruz measure may have an impact in America. “My sense is domestic charities are likely to come under scrutiny again,” he stated. “Some of these US-based charities could have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Schanzer added.” [JewishInsider] • Senate Bill Introduced to Protect States Countering BDS [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL: “DeVos pledges not to undo public education, pushes choice” by Maria Danilova and Jennifer C. Kerr: “Asked by Sanders about her views on tuition-free public colleges and universities, DeVos said: “I think we also have to consider the fact that there is nothing in life that is truly free. Somebody is going to pay for it.” She skirted Sanders’ question on whether she would support making child care free or much more affordable for low-income families as is the case in many countries around the world, saying only that she feels strongly about “parents having an opportunity for child care for their children.” “But it’s not a question of opportunity,” Sanders fired back, raising his voice. “It’s a question of being able to afford it!”” [AP

“Joe Lieberman disses the entire education establishment at Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing” by Valerie Strauss: “Lieberman — a member of the board of the organization that DeVos founded, the American Federation of Children — talked about DeVos in glowing terms… “She’s a mother and a grandmother. She cares about children more generally, and she has been involved in education, like so many parents and local citizen school board members across America for almost 30 years,” he said.” [WashPost]

Chaskel Bennett‏: “At confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Agudath Israel of America represented by A.D. Motzen sitting behind the nominee. We wish her well.” [Twitter] • As DeVos confirmation begins, Orthodox enthusiastic, Reform concerned [JTA]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Netanyahu Offered Israeli Daily Yedioth Ahronoth to Murdoch Family” by Tali Heruti-Sover: “Lachlan Murdoch, the son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, who invited him to look into the matter. It’s not clear whether Murdoch met Yedioth publisher Arnon Mozes during that meeting.” [Haaretz

** 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “Bank Leumi CEO Plans More Cost Cuts After Eliminating 2,100 Jobs” by Alaa Shahine, Stephen Morris: “Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., Israel’s second-biggest lender, will continue to cut jobs and take steps to boost efficiency amid plans to reinstate its dividend. “Banks are going to be smaller,” Chief Executive Officer Rakafet Russak-Aminoach said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland. “We’re going to have very permanent streamlining processes. Unlike a decade ago, the model of banking is changing every day. If we don’t transform ourselves, we’ll be dead.” [Bloomberg]

“Elliot announces stake in Jersey-based power company” by Carleton English: “Elliott Management has a new activist target and for the first time ever it is working with a partner. The Paul Singer-led hedge fund on Tuesday announced a 6.9 percent stake in NRG Energy, a diversified power company with headquarters in Princeton, NJ.” [NYPost

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Country Club Member Who Left After Obama/Israel Controversy Says He’d Do Same Over Pence or Ivanka Trump” by Sarah Begley: “I think President Obama has been the best president for the Jewish people and for Israel. But I respect opposing viewpoints, and like I’ve been saying from the beginning, that’s all irrelevant to whether he should be admitted or not,” [said Jeffrey Slavin, the mayor of Somerset, Maryland]. “People are saying, ‘Would you feel the same way if it was Vice President Pence, or Ivanka Trump?’ And yes, I would feel exactly the same way if it was an attempt to blackball them.” [TIME

TOP TALKER: “Obama names Iran deal salesman to Holocaust Memorial Council” by Kyle Balluck: “[Ben] Rhodes, whose mother is Jewish, played a key role in shaping Obama’s foreign policy during his eight years in the White House. He also came under fire from some U.S. Jewish groups for his role in selling the Iran nuclear deal and the administration’s decision to allow a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity to pass the U.N. Security Council.” [TheHill]  • Exit interview: “What Worries Ben Rhodes About Trump” [PoliticoMag]

“Obama grants pardon to NYC nightlife impresario Ian Schrager” by Daniel Halper: “Among the 273 people on the latest White House pardon and commutation lists are Ian Schrager, who revolutionized New York City nightlife in the ’70s and ’80s disco era with Studio 54. It was that club that led to Schrager’s legal troubles. He served 20 months in prison and five years of probation, and paid a $20,000 fine for tax evasion.” [NYPost

“Steve Israel Finds New Platform” by Aileen Chuang: “Former New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, an eight-term veteran of the House, is joining CNN as a contributor to its political coverage… CNN anchor and media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted Tuesday morning that the former chairman of the House Democratic Policy… will join the network.” [RollCall

MEDIA WATCH: “Politico Names National Editor” by Chris O’Shea: “Politico has named Allison Hoffman a national editor responsible for overseeing coverage of the Trump admin. Hoffman previously worked for Businessweek, Tablet, the AP and LA Times. “Allison impressed us with her deep understanding of the political landscape, her big-picture approach to storytelling, her enterprise sensibility, and her creative ideas for breaking through the clutter and making sure we’re always telling readers something they didn’t already know,” wrote Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown, Paul Volpe and Karey Van Hall, in a memo.” [AdWeek

BIRTHDAYS: US Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district since 1996, following 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, Elijah Cummings turns 66… Microbiologist and professor of biology at Wichita State University since 2006, Mark A. Schneegurt, Ph.D. turns 55… Governor of Maryland (2007-2015) having previously served as the Mayor of Baltimore (1999-2007), Martin O’Malley turns 54… Actor, comedian, producer, composer, musician, singer and screenwriter, wrote and acted in both 2008’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and 2011’s “The Muppets,” Jason Jordan Segel turns 37… Baltimore-born basketball player, dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the “Jewish Jordan,” Tamir Goodman turns 35… Israeli-born, moved to Los Angeles as a child, comedian, actor, writer and television host, best known for his web series “Jake and Amir” (with Jake Hurwitz), Amir Blumenfeld turns 34… SVP of PR firm GMMB, with a focus on education policy, previously worked for seven years at the U.S. Department of Education including as press secretary, Samara Yudof Jones turns 39… Publisher of a weekly community newspaper founded in 2016, “The Boston Guardian,” after a 20 year stint as the publisher of the now defunct “Boston Courant,” David Jacobs… Director of Communications at NYC’s Department of Education, formerly at NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services and the NY Daily News, JoAnne Wasserman… Northeast Political Coordinator for AIPAC’s Grassroots Mobilization Network, Tali Alter… Linda Rubin

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