Daily Kickoff: Largest ever Israeli tech acquisition — Intel buys Mobileye for $15B | Trump advisor visits Israel | Team Israel’s first WBC loss

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BIG DEAL: “Intel to Buy Jerusalem-based Mobileye for About $15 Billion in Car Tech Push” by Ian King: “Intel Corp. plans to buy Israel’s Mobileye NV for about $15 billion, its second-biggest acquisition and a bold attempt to dominate technology for self-driving cars. The U.S. chipmaker will pay $63.54 per share in cash for Jerusalem-based Mobileye, according to a statement Monday from both companies. Mobileye shares closed at $47.27 on Friday in New York.” [Bloomberg; CNBC] • Intel will move its automotive unit to Israel [TechCrunch]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ — by Jonathan Swan: “Influential figures in the conservative pro-Israel community have concluded that President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have convinced themselves that their dealmaking talents can clinch this “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians… The Trump administration alienated some allies in conservative pro-Israel circles by allowing the State Department to hire Michael Ratney, who was a senior U.S. diplomat in Jerusalem under John Kerry. In recent days, a number of influential conservatives have reached out to White House officials, urging them to fire Ratney… A conservative pro-Israel leader tells me Trump’s aspirations “will run up against the reality of dealing with the Palestinians.”” [Axios

“Trump invites Palestinian leader Abbas to White House” by Luke Baker: “Trump on Friday invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, in a first phone call between the two leaders since Trump took office.” [Reuters]  

White House readout: “The President emphasized his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal… He underscored that such a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Palestinian and Israeli leadership to make progress toward that goal.  The President noted that the United States cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians, nor can one side impose an agreement on the other.”

“Abbas: Trump told me he wants two-state solution” by Sue Surkes and Alexander Fulbright: “Speaking in Ramallah, Abbas on Sunday said that his phone conversation with Trump… was “constructive” and that Trump “confirmed his full commitment to the peace process and the two-state solution.” He added: “We will continue to cooperate with [Trump], in order to arrive at a comprehensive and just peace that will bring security and stability to everyone.” Other Palestinian sources said that Trump told Abbas he wanted to broker a deal, and that he referred to Abbas as a “partner.”” [ToI]

KEY QUESTION FOR PRO-ISRAEL FOLKS —How much of this is driven, perhaps with encouragement from the Israelis, by the White House’s desire to be viewed by the Palestinians as an ‘honest broker’? According to Michael Herzog’s extensive recap of the last major round of negotiations, the Israeli’s central issue with Kerry wasn’t so much the ‘honest broker’ aspect as it was with the lack of coordination, with the US holding back info and misleading both the Israelis and the Palestinians. To the extent there is currently very high levels of coordination between the White House and the Israelis, another question is how long will it last?

“Trump Envoy Jason Greenblatt to Visit Israel on Monday” by Barak Ravid: “[Jason] Greenblatt will be getting together Monday with President Reuven Rivlin and will then meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ron Dermer… On Tuesday, Greenblatt will go to the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials… Accompanying Greenblatt on his trip is Yael Lempert, who held the Israel portfolio for the National Security Council at the White House during the Obama administration and has remained in the position under President Trump.” [Haaretz

Greenblatt created a new Twitter account @jdgreenblatt45, promising followers that he’ll be tweeting updates from his trip such as this one: “Time for morning prayer (shacharit) at unexpected stop in Frankfurt. Pray for peace.” [Twitter]

QUICK PREVIEW — by the Kafe Knesset team: Just a few hours before Jason Greenblatt landed in Israel, Minister of Defense Liberman conveyed his message to the Trump administration envoy. “Ahead of another attempt to launch Israeli Palestinian negotiations, we should learn lessons from the past and the first lesson is that any attempt to solve the Palestinian issue by the ‘land for peace’ formula is doomed to fail. The only way to reach a viable agreement is a broad regional agreement which will include territory and population exchange,” he wrote on Facebook this morning. Liberman will not be meeting Greenblatt during his Israel trip, though Kafe Knesset has learned that during his visit to DC last week, the Israeli Defense Minister and the President’s special advisor did have a chance to sit down, during Liberman’s meeting with NSC Director McMaster. [KafeKnesset]

“Tillerson Leads From State Dept. Shadows as White House Steps In” by David Sanger: “Henry A. Kissinger slipped into the State Department last week for a quiet lunch in his old office with Rex W. Tillerson… “The normal tendency when you come into that job is to increase your visibility and to show that you are present and in charge,” he said in an interview. “He wanted to first inform himself of all the nuances. I was impressed by the confidence and self-assurance that he showed.” … “He’s won status and respect of the president, of McMaster, and talks all the time to Jared,” [Senator Bob Corker] said.”

Mr. Kissinger, at 93, is philosophical about most things, including Mr. Tillerson. “I would expect that as foreign policy evolves, Rex Tillerson will become an increasingly prominent exponent of it,” he said. “When I first came to Washington” as national security adviser to President Richard M. Nixon, “you would find me mentioned in The New York Times maybe 10 times.” A computer index suggests that the actual number in his first year was around 228.” [NYTimes]

“Foreign leaders try to find their footing with a mercurial yet crucial ally: Trump” by Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Some leaders who had strained relations with Obama welcome the chance to turn the page. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was greeted in Washington last month like a conquering hero, and he made a point to celebrate his long personal history with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.” [WashPost

In an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh, Israel’s Minister for Public Security Gilad Erdan commented on Trump’s settlements policy: “Look, the American administration is not the Israeli government. I don’t expect them to see everything eye to eye. And after saying that I think there is still a huge improvement in the way that the new administration sees many issues concerning Israel and it’s challenges compared to what we had in the Obama administration… We heard things from the White House that we didn’t hear for many years. For example when they announced that they understand that the settlements are not the real obstacle for peace and that shows a deep understand of the conflict, because it’s true. When all the settlements are between 2-3 percent of Judea and Samaria, no serious guy can believe that this is what is stopping us from achieving peace.”

“I think that we should do whatever we plan to be coordinated with the new administration. About the settlements, we established a team. Let’s give this team a chance for — I hope for a short time — to try to agree on the policy concerning the building in the settlements. But, personally, I believe that for many years the Palestinians heard from everyone that time is running out only against Israel. So why should they make concessions? They can wait and the world and the American administration would put pressure only on the Israeli side… I hope that we will convince the administration that putting pressure or limiting our construction in the settlement… that will be a mistake because again that will put the pressure on Israel instead of putting the pressure on the Palestinian side to come to the table without preconditions and to challenge us around the table with talking to us and not by boycotting us.”

“Blair did offer to help Trump in the Middle East” by Simon Walters: “US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has confirmed to the British Government that Tony Blair has offered to help Donald Trump win a Middle East peace deal… and the Trump administration had ‘taken his approach seriously’… A senior diplomatic source said: ‘Blair has offered to help Kushner and the White House and they are very interested. They think his general diplomatic and Middle East background could be useful.’” [DailyMail

ON THE HILL 115 House Members Sign Letter Warning About One-State Outcome — by JI’s Aaron Magid: Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) have circulated a letter calling on President Donald Trump to “reaffirm” America’s support for the two state solution while warning against a one state scenario. At least 115 Members of Congress have co-signed the letter including two Republican Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and John Duncan (R-TN). “There are those who argued that this is just a party line letter, so when we got two Republicans, I was able to say, ‘not anymore,’” Rep. Connolly told Jewish Insider. [JewishInsider]

KAFE KNESSET — UN Human Rights Council, Yair Lapid is coming to get you — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The Yesh Atid leader, and likely leading challenger to Netanyahu in the next election, headed to Washington D.C. on Monday to advocate for the US to stop funding the panel. Lapid recently called the UNHRC “the rotten core of [the] antisemitic campaign” to delegitimize Israel. Lapid plans to meet with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Congressional Israel Allies Caucus chairmen Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Trent Franks (R-AZ).  Lapid will also meet with Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and others in Congress and make appearances in the American media. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

Lapid tells us: “In the last decade, in the UNHRC, there were 61 resolutions regarding global events. In the same decade, they had 67 resolutions about Israel. They had more resolutions about Israel than they had about the entire world. In the past, the U.S. left the organization and came back. And on top of being part of it, the U.S. is its main sponsor. American taxpayers are actually paying the organization on a day-to-day basis for horrible unbalanced, anti-Semitic propaganda. We want to bring this to the attention of Congress and tell senators and House Members: ‘It’s time to leave and take your money with you.’” The friendship between the U.S. and Israel is so firm that I think it’s ok for us to at least make sure that the U.S. administration is aware of what is going on.”

“Trump’s Middle East diplomacy is complicated by Palestinian terror incitement” by Josh Rogin: “Even some longtime advocates of Palestinian institution-building are now on board with defunding. “We have been doing the same thing for decades, and it isn’t working to change Palestinian political culture, and that political culture has to change if we want peace,” said Elliott Abrams, a former White House and State Department official… [Sen. Lindsey] Graham said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on board. An Israeli embassy official wouldn’t confirm that but told me that the government thinks it very important to shine a spotlight on the issue, especially as the peace process gets going again… Robert Danin, a former Middle East negotiator now at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Graham’s legislation is too blunt an instrument but could be useful as leverage, if and when a more comprehensive strategy takes shape.” [WashPost]

** Good Monday 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: “A New York startup shakes up the insurance business” by The Economist: “Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, tech entrepreneurs with no insurance background, spotted that the industry is huge… distrusted, antiquated and hopelessly unreformed. In September they started Lemonade, a New York-based insurer for homeowners and renters. Some describe it as a peer-to-peer insurer (“Spiritually we’re a tech company,” says Mr Schreiber). Most agree that its app makes insurance a lot easier. This appeals to the digital generation: of 2,000 policies sold in its first 100 days, over 80% were to first-time buyers.” [Economist]

“Mark Cuban on running for president: ‘I wouldn’t say never'” by Michelle Castillo:“”I wouldn’t say never, but it’s not my lifelong dream,” Cuban told CNBC at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. “It depends on how things turn out.” … At the very least, Cuban said he could do better at being president than Trump is doing right now. “Yeah I think I could,” he said to CNBC, smiling.” [CNBC

“CNN’s Jake Tapper Says His Son Has Adapted “Fake News” Line From Trump” by Natalie Jarvey: “Tapper noted that even his 7-year-old son has picked up on the phenomenon, explaining with a laugh that he “now does an impression where whenever I’m bothering him he says, ‘fake news.'”” [THR

“ADL plans Silicon Valley center to fight cyberhate” by Jon Swartz: “The center on cyberhate, technology and society will leverage technology and experts to “monitor, analyze and mitigate hate speech and harassment” across the Internet. The facility, which should open somewhere south of San Francisco  in the next three to six months, received seed funding through eBay founder Pierre Omidyar‘s philanthropic investment firm, Omidyar Network… Greenblatt called the center the “first of its kind” in the civil rights era. Brittan Heller, a former Justice Department official who leads ADL’s anti-cyberhate efforts, will be founding director of the new center.” [USAToday]

“Gaza tailor makes prayer caps for Jewish worshippers” by Nidal al-Mughrabi:“It’s not easy doing business from Gaza but tailor Mohammad Abu Shanab has found a demand he can supply — his sewing factory is churning out religious skull caps, for devout Jewish men. Since Israel resumed importing clothing from Gaza in 2015, Abu Shanab has renewed commercial contacts to sell merchandise to neighboring Israel. With salaries in Gaza much lower, Abu Shanab’s costs are very competitive. “We make all kinds of clothes and recently began making the skull caps that are worn by Israeli rabbis and Christian priests,” said Abu Shanab.” [Reuters]

YESTERDAY’S HEADLINE: “Israel Wins Again in the W.B.C., Beating Cuba to Stay Undefeated” by Ken Belson: “The victory kept Israel undefeated in its first W.B.C. appearance and pushed the team one step closer to a berth in the semifinal round in Los Angeles… Former and current New York Mets played a big role in the game for Israel… Israel will then play host Japan, which includes some of the elite players from the country’s top league.” [NYTimes

TODAY: “Israel falls to first defeat in World Baseball Classic” by Allon Sinai: “Another victory over the Netherlands would have put Israel on the verge of advancing to the last four at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. However, Monday’s lopsided defeat complicates Israel’s position, especially considering it faces favorite Japan in its final Pool E game on Wednesday.” [JPost]

DESSERT: “DC cafe becomes ‘second White House cafeteria’” by Richard Johnson: “Cafe Milano in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, is the favorite restaurant of the Trump administration. On Wednesday night, at three separate tables were Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “It’s like the second White House cafeteria,” said one regular at the Italian eatery.” [NYPost]

WEEKEND WEDDING — Lauren Weinstein, Eli Kintisch: “Lauren Beth Weinstein and Eli Steven Kintisch were married March 12 at Hotel Monaco in Washington. Lilah L. Pomerance, a friend of the couple who received authorization from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, officiated, with Cantor Benjamin Kintisch, the groom’s brother, participating. The bride, 32, who is keeping her name, is a leadership and career coach at the Washington site of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, where she helps candidates find jobs in the Jewish nonprofit sector… The groom, 39, is based in Washington as a contributing correspondent covering climate change at Science magazine, published by Association for the Advancement of Science.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Futurist, social engineer, industrial designer and director of the Venus Project, Jacque Fresco turns 101… Pop singer, pianist, composer of over 500 songs and record producer, whose family name derives from the Hebrew word for charity, Neil Sedaka turns 78… Syndicated columnist whose weekly column appears in more than 400 publications worldwide, author, political commentator and non-practicing physician, Charles Krauthammer turns 67… Former Florida congressman (2009-2011 and again 2013-2017), 1983 graduate from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, Alan Grayson turns 59… Former US Ambassador to the United Nations and deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton, currently president and CEO of Soderberg Global Solutions, Nancy Soderberg turns 59… Founder and CEO of MediaBistro which she sold in 2007, now managing partner of Flatiron Investors, a NYC-based investors syndicate, Laurel Touby turns 54 (h/ts Playbook)…

Heavy metal songwriter, vocalist for the band Disturbed as well as for the band Device, former yeshiva student, David Draiman turns 44… Senior advisor for Senator Bernie Sanders, former host of daily Sirius XM program “The Agenda,” Ari Rabin-Havt turns 38… Television and film actor, Emile Hirsch turns 32… Television and film actor, Emory Cohen turns 27… Social Media Manager at NBC Universal, Jessie Rubin… Gabriel Romano… Neil Scheindlin Matthew Gelles… Robert Smith

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