Daily Kickoff: Qatar expels Hamas leaders amid rift with 5 Arab States over Iran | LEAKED: UAE Amb’s emails | Remembering Sara Ehrman | Bob Kraft BDay

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “5 Arab States Break Ties With Qatar, Complicating U.S. Coalition-Building” by Gardiner Harris and Michael R. Gordon: “Hours after five Arab countries broke diplomatic relations with Qatar, a crucial United States ally, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson offered on Monday to broker the impasse in hopes of preserving the Trump administration’s efforts to create broad coalitions against Iran and terrorist groups in the Middle East… The remarks by Mr. Tillerson, who is in Australia with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, came on the heels of dramatic announcements by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen that they were suspending diplomatic ties, as well as air and sea travel to and from Qatar, potentially choking off access to an important United States ally.” [NYTimesBloomberg

–Top Question: Does the diplomatic breakdown in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] affect the odds of Trump’s regional grand bargain on Israeli-Palestinian peace?

“Palestinians Confirm: Top Hamas Officials Have Left Qatar at Country’s Request” by Jack Khoury: “Palestinian sources have confirmed Monday that a number of top Hamas officials have left Qatar at the country’s request… Saleh al-Arouri, military commander overseeing West Bank terror cells, and Musa Dudin, who… established in Gaza a cell in charge of planning terror attacks in the West Bank, were among the officials who left Qatar. The confirmation comes as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.” [Haaretz]

WHAT CAUSED THE QATAR RIFT? — by Grant Clark: “It’s mostly, but not all, about Iran. The spark for this flare-up was a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency that carried comments by Qatar ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani criticizing mounting anti-Iran sentiment. Qatari officials quickly deleted the comments, blamed them on hackers and appealed for calm. Criticism by Saudi and U.A.E. media outlets escalated after Sheikh Tamim phoned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the weekend in apparent defiance of Saudi criticism.” [Bloomberg]

“Someone Is Using These Leaked Emails To Embarrass Washington’s Most Powerful Ambassador” by Akbar Shahid Ahmed: 
“In private correspondence, Otaiba ― an extremely powerful figure in Washington, D.C., who is reportedly in “in almost constant phone and email contact,” with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law ― is seen pushing for the U.S. to close down its military base in Qatar and otherwise poking at issues that could drive a wedge between the U.S. and that Arab nation… The Foundation for Defense of Democracies features heavily in the Otaiba emails. While many of those messages show the ambassador helping its analysts plan trips to the UAE, they also contain two of the most striking revelations about Otaiba: He explicitly advocated for moving the U.S. base out of Qatar ― something he hasn’t done publicly ― and he discussed the idea of pressuring companies in U.S.-friendly countries to avoid business opportunities in Iran.” [HuffPost; TheIntercept]

“Leakers Share New Email Dump Targeting Top Arab Diplomat And U.S. Foreign Policy Elites” by Akbar Shahid Ahmed: “On Feb. 10, 2015, Otaiba emailed [Elliott] Abrams a link to an Atlantic Council post suggesting that Qatar was intervening in Egypt to support the Muslim Brotherhood movement and undermine the country’s government, run by a former general close to the UAE. “Hadn’t seen this. VERY interesting,” Abrams, the former White House director for democracy, human rights and international operations, wrote. “Too bad the Qatari armed forces can’t … well, I shouldn’t say such things. That would be undemocratic.” Contacted by HuffPost, Abrams declined to explain what action he was hoping for from Qatar’s military… In a Sunday email, Abrams said he and Otaiba have been friends for years; they email frequently.” [HuffPost]

“Lebanese lawmakers lobbied U.S. officials to soften Hezbollah sanctions” by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: “Amid renewed congressional efforts to tighten sanctions on Hezbollah, delegations of Lebanese politicians and bankers descended on Washington in May in an attempt to minimize the effects of any new sanctions on the Lebanese banking sector… “An understanding was reached” with the U.S. officials with whom they spoke, said Ali Hamdan, who is aligned with the Amal Movement and visited Washington in May, told Reuters.” [ChicagoTribune] • Iran Dictates New Middle East Reality, Striving for Land Corridor From Tehran to Beirut [Haaretz]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran honoring nuclear deal but nearing heavy-water limit again: IAEA” by Francois Murphy: “Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium as of May 27 was 79.8 kg (175.5 pounds), well below a 202.8-kg (446-pound) limit, and the level of enrichment did not exceed a 3.67 percent cap, the International Atomic Energy said in a confidential report sent to IAEA member states and seen by Reuters… But Iran’s stock of heavy water, a chemical used as a moderator in a type of nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium, reached 128.2 tons, just below a 130-tonne limit, the IAEA report said… Tehran has already breached that limit twice since the deal took effect.” [Reuters

“American UN ambassador to visit Jerusalem’s Old City” by Raphael Ahren: “[Nikki] Haley… is scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning at Ben Gurion Airport for her first visit to the Jewish state since taking office in January. During her three-day stay, she is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin as well as with senior Palestinian dignitaries. She is also expected to go to Tel Aviv, visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, and take helicopter rides to Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and the its northern border… Her expected visit to various sites in the Old City of Jerusalem is billed as private, which means that no Israeli officials will accompany her.” [ToI]

“U.S. poised to warn U.N. rights forum of possible withdrawal” by Stephanie Nebehay: “The United States is expected to signal on Tuesdaythat it might withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council unless reforms are ushered in including the removal of what it sees as an “anti-Israel bias,” diplomats and activists said. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley… writing in the Washington Post at the weekend, called for the Council to “end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism.” [Reuters

HEARD YESTERDAY — Haley on CNN’s State of the Union regarding Trump’s decision not to move the embassy to Jerusalem: “I think that he knows that it could be very much a part of the peace process. And so I think that what he did want to do is make sure that he wasn’t interrupting the negotiations that are happening with the peace process… He hasn’t changed his position on moving the embassy. It’s all about time.”

“McMaster: Despite global terrorism, opportunity for success in shifting Middle East alliances” by  Laura Kelly: “National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster… delivered the key-note speech at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum, stressing that opportunities for peace and resolution can be found in times of conflict seen as bleak and dire. “Today we are witnessing a reassessment of regional relationships, most notably between Israel and a number of our Arab partners, all friends of America but too often adversaries of each other. Today these interests are converging. This is an opportunity,” General McMaster told the group of nearly 2,000 conference attendees.” [WashTimes] • H.R. McMaster: Confronting Today’s Challenges Requires ‘Humility [DailyBeast]

Senior Palestinian Official: ‘Obviously’ Western Wall Should Remain Under Israeli Control: “We understand that the wall he [U.S. President Donald Trump] visited is sacred to the Jews and ultimately it has to remain under Jewish sovereignty,” [Jibril] Rajoub said on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press.” “There is no argument over this. Obviously, it’s a holy place for Jews.” [Haaretz] • Fatah official under fire after saying Western Wall should be under ‘Jewish sovereignty’ [MaanNews]

ON THE HILL — Congressional letter calls for release of Palestinian prisoner — by Aaron Magid: Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is also serving as Deputy Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair, is circulating a letter directed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushing for the release of Palestinian activist Issa Amro from an Israeli jail. The measure — which has also been introduced by Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) — is expected to receive the modest backing of approximately 15-20 Members given its harsh criticism of Israeli policies towards Palestinian prisoners… The letter demonstrates that Ellison remains undeterred and will continue advocating for pro-Palestinian policies in his new role as Deputy DNC Chair. [JewishInsider]

“Some Palestinian ex-prisoners in Gaza say their salaries withheld” by Nidal al-Mughrabi: 
“A spokesman for Palestinian prisoners said that 277 freed prisoners in the Gaza Strip, most of whom are aligned with the Islamist Hamas group… were surprised to find their May stipends had not been paid. Zaid Al-Kilani, a former prisoner from Hamas… said: “Abu Mazen (Abbas) is punishing freed prisoners… We believe the Palestinian Authority has succumbed to American and Israeli pressure,” he said.” [Reuters]

The Senate will be voting today at 5:30 PM on a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed the measure on May 25. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) co-sponsored the measure. S. 176 “reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–45) as United States law, and calls upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions” while also noting the bipartisan US policy that Jerusalem remains an issue within final status negotiations as part of the two state solution framework. The measure is expected to pass today by a wide margin. C-SPAN2 will carry the vote live.

“America’s half century of failure in the Middle East” by Aaron David Miller: 
“President Trump does have certain advantages because he’s new to the presidency. He’s unpredictable and is capitalizing on a new alignment between Israel and the Arabs, particularly the Saudis. This may well be enough to begin a process. But it still leaves open the question: Toward what end? The gaps on the core issues… are Grand Canyon-like; the mistrust and suspicion are deep; and America’s reluctance to use both honey and vinegar to move the parties, particularly the Israelis, is still pretty strong. Never say never. But you’d need a miracle in a region that hasn’t seen many for quite some time.” [CNN]

“Israel’s 1967 Victory Is Something to Celebrate” by Michael Oren: “Far beyond 1967, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is in fact about 1917, 1937 and 1947. Those anniversaries can teach us much about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and why peace has proved so elusive.” [NYTimes]

“How the Six-Day War Changed Israel’s Mind” by Bernard Avishai: “Fifty years ago, what began as a defensive war came to be embraced as an occasion for redemption in more senses than one.” [NewYorker]

KAFE KNESSET — Back in Africa — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked this week on his second-ever trip as PM to Africa. He was in Monrovia, Liberia, on Monday where he met with 10 African leaders at the ECOWAS summit. Netanyahu was the first non-African leader to speak at the summit…

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is back in DC for its regular meetings with its many parallel committees in Congress – eight total between the House and Senate (Senate Foreign Relations, House Foreign Affairs, Senate and House Intelligence, Appropriations and Armed Services). Another stop on the visit will be the Committee’s first-ever trip to the Pentagon, and the MKs will meet CIA representatives. Also on the itinerary: A meeting with special envoy Jason Greenblatt and a visit to the Lockheed Martin factory where the F-35 fighter jet is manufactured.

Labor infighting turns dirty: The Labor leadership vote is almost a month away, but the mudslinging has already gotten very intense. In a candidates’ debate on Walla! News Sunday, foul-mouthed tech billionaire and MK Erel Margalit caught former Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay in an apparent lie. Margalit asked Gabbay – who was in the Kulanu Party until about five minutes ago – if he had ever voted Likud, and Gabbay said no. Then Margalit whipped out his phone and played a video of an interview in which Gabbay said yes, he had voted for Likud. Later, Margalit said that maybe Gabbay had misunderstood something in English, and it was the ex-minister’s turn to pounce back. On Army Radio this morning Gabbay said Margalit was trying to turn him into David Levy – something any Israeli would understand to mean that Gabbay was calling Margalit a racist against Mizrachi / Sephardi Jews. Gabbay, it should be noted, speaks English quite well. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider

HAPPENING TODAY: “Clinton to address Baltimore group that builds ties between black, Jewish communities” by John Fritze: “The [Elijah Cummings Youth] Program created nearly two decades ago by Cummings, the longtime Democratic congressman from Baltimore, will receive national attention Monday when former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a fundraiser for the group in Fells Point… Clinton will address a group founded to build ties between the African-American and Jewish communities at a time when both have had a complicated relationship with Trump… The students in the Cummings program, most of whom are African-American, learn about Israel during their junior year in high school. They take part in leadership training and community service events. In the summer before their senior year, they travel to Israel for a month, and visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities.” [BaltimoreSun]

Flashback: A Congressman, Israeli Ambassador and Hall of Fame Running Back Celebrate Black History Month [JewishInsider

PALACE INTRIGUE: “Steve Bannon’s Security Council Rival Dies in Darkness” by Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng and Kimberly Dozier: 
“Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner’s newly-formed White House Strategic Initiatives Group is no more, senior administration officials tell The Daily Beast, thanks in part to infighting between the co-founders… The group’s mission, has been folded into the White House’s Office of Innovation, two administration officials tell The Daily Beast… The collapse of the SIG leaves the key foreign policy-focused member of staff, Seb Gorka, now working directly for Bannon.” [DailyBeast]

“How Climate Change Saved Steve Bannon’s Job” by Ryan Lizza: “Two important things changed since the “Bannon is dead” narrative took hold, in April. The first is the Russia investigation. So far, Bannon has not been connected to the investigation… The second change since Bannon’s low point was that a decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord finally needed to be made. It was the most important fight pitting Bannon against Jared and Ivanka yet… “I think Jared and Ivanka are concerned with being accepted in the right places, they care about what the beautiful people think,” [a Trump advisor] said. “They care about being well received in the Upper West Side cocktail parties. They view Steve as a man with dirty fingernails, with some weird, crazy, extremist philosophy they don’t think is in the best interest of the President… They would like the President to be more like George Bush: one-dimensional, predictable, neocon, mainstream.” [NewYorker]

“Trump supporters revel in Paris exit” by Josh Dawsey: “While the president often crows about Gary Cohn’s success at Goldman Sachs, and may talk to his daughter, Ivanka Trump, more than anyone, Trump often gravitates toward the Bannon modus. Bannon supporters note enthusiastically that the so-called moderates in the West Wing don’t have much luck getting their way.” [Politico]

Concerns in White House over Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz — by Jonathan Swan: A frequent informal adviser to the White House said: “There are some people who believe he’s the right choice, because he knows the President. And in something like this, it’s good to have somebody you know and trust and can tell you: ‘I’ve got your back.’ On the other hand, there are people in the building who say that Kasowitz brings out the worst in the President. Kasowitz is a bit of an enabler and spins him up.” [Axios]

“Some Hires by Betsy DeVos Are a Stark Departure From Her Reputation” by Erica Green: 
“Jason Botel, Ms. DeVos’s deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education… was named to the department after serving a short stint as the chief education adviser to President Trump, a position he owed to his ties to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner… Mr. Botel came into the Trump orbit through Maggie Katz, a close friend of Ms. Trump’s, and Reed S. Cordish, Ms. Katz’s husband and a prominent Baltimore developer who joined the Trump White House as a top adviser. Ms. Katz and Mr. Cordish financially backed Mr. Botel’s charter school in Baltimore.” [NYTimes

NYC 2017 WATCH — Massey Charges Opponent Is Weak on Terror, Israel As He Skips Celebrate Israel Parade — by Jacob Kornbluh: “Businessman Paul Massey, a Republican candidate for mayor of New York City, seized an opportunity on Sunday to portray the incumbent Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and his main primary opponent Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis as being weak on terror… Massey also charged that his Republican opponent has ties with the controversial Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, whom he alleged is anti-Semitic and “advocates for violence in the Middle East.” The Republican mayoral hopeful didn’t march in the Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue. A spokeswoman for Massey told Jewish Insider that Massey “is on a long-planned trip with his wife and regrets not being there today.” Malliotakis’ campaign spokesman Rob Ryan blasted Massey for skipping the Israel parade. “The fact that he… would skip the Celebrate Israel Parade and what it represents; a people and a nation united against terror, is sad and disturbing,” Ryan told Jewish Insider. [JewishInsider

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israeli Voiceitt lets people with speech impairments use voice-controlled technology [TC] • Israel working hard to realize the dreams of its gas industry [CNBC] Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson Gets $1.7 Billion Richer In Four Days [Forbes] • Aharon Shaked’s heirs sell half 888 stake [Globes] • Thor battles choppy waters: As Manhattan luxury retail takes a dive, some wonder if the firm’s chief Joe Sitt can keep his head above the tide [TRD] • Question in Battle Over ‘Diller Island’: Which Billionaire Blinks First? [NYTimes] • Brian S. Cohen says identify fears in order to grow your business [MSNBC] • Jon Steinberg’s Cheddar, The “Post-Cable Network,” Is Coming To Cable TV [BuzzFeed] Sinclair Broadcasting Said to Be in Talks With Ex-Sony TV Chief Steve Mosko [NYTimes]  

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Cornell Tech starts up” by Cara Eisenpress: “Nanit, a New York City startup founded in 2014, has 25 employees, $6.6 million from investors and a high-tech product that local media and nervous parents adore. Its baby monitor can classify babies’ nighttime behaviors, analyze their sleep patterns and report everything back to anxious moms and dads by the morning. Nanit’s founder and CEO, Assaf Glazer, is an Israeli with a Ph.D. in computer vision, the science of teaching computers to recognize their surroundings. When he enrolled at Cornell Tech, he knew he could use computerized cameras to understand babies’ sleep. But the school’s Runway Startup Postdoc program, in which he participated from 2014 to 2015, taught him how to turn his idea into a company.” [Crains]

LongRead: “How a ‘shadow’ universe of charities joined with political warriors to fuel Trump’s rise” by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg: “As the presidential campaign heated up, [David] Horowitz’s group and the conservative network shifted into high gear… He also denounced the Republicans who branded themselves “Never Trump.” In May 2016, when it became clear Trump would be the Republican nominee, he called conservative columnist William Kristol a “Republican spoiler” and “renegade Jew” in Breitbart News because of his opposition to Trump… On Dec. 14, 2016, during a videotaped event, Horowitz expressed happiness about Trump’s victory and… pulled from his suit coat a piece of paper listing Freedom Center supporters already in the administration. “It’s quite an impressive list,” Horowitz said, rattling off the names: Sessions, Bannon, Vice President Pence, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway… “My personal favorite is Steve Miller, because Steve, who was today appointed the senior policy adviser in the White House… is a kind of protege of mine,” he said. “So the center has a big stake in this administration.” [WashPost

Thom Yorke Breaks Silence on Israel Controversy: “It’s well over a month until Radiohead wrap up their 2017 A Moon Shaped Pool Tour at Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 19th, but it’s already shaping up to be the most controversial show of their career… On April 23rd, over 50 prominent figures, including Roger Waters… signed a petition urging Radiohead to cancel the show… The issue has flared up at recent Radiohead concerts, including their show at the Greek Theater Berkeley… When we spoke to Yorke for our new cover story about the making of OK Computer, we gave him the opportunity to respond. Here are his complete comments… “If you want me to be honest, yeah, it’s really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years. They talk down to us and I just find it mind-boggling that they think they have the right to do that. It’s extraordinary.” [RollingStone

“‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display” by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger: “On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula… The secret contingency plan, called a “doomsday operation” by Itzhak Yaakov, the retired brigadier general who described it in the interview, would have been invoked if Israel feared it was going to lose the 1967 conflict. The demonstration blast, Israeli officials believed, would intimidate Egypt and surrounding Arab states — Syria, Iraq and Jordan — into backing off… Mr. Yaakov, who oversaw weapons development for the Israeli military, detailed the plan to Dr. [Avner] Cohen in 1999 and 2000… In 2001, Mr. Yaakov was arrested, at age 75, on charges that he had imperiled the country’s security by talking about the nuclear program to an Israeli reporter, Ronen Bergman, whose work was censored… According to Mr. Yaakov, the Israeli plan was code-named Shimshon, or Samson, after the biblical hero of immense strength.” [NYTimes

“Sara Ehrman, Hill staffer, Mideast peace activist and Hillary Clinton mentor, dies at 98” by Bart Barnes: “Sara Ehrman, a Capitol Hill legislative staffer, lobbyist for Israeli causes, activist for Middle East peace, Democratic Party political operative, and, as a friend, mentor and D.C. hostess to Hillary Clinton more than 40 years ago, died June 3 at her home in Washington… Mrs. Ehrman, whom the publication Washington Jewish Week once called the “doyenne of Jewish Democrats,” held a variety of jobs at the nexus of politics and Jewish affairs. Among other things, she was political director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee… director of Jewish outreach for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992… She traveled extensively in the Middle East and had access to top Israeli leaders and Yasser Arafat… who once gave her a box inlaid with mother of pearl.” [WashPost

— “Ehrman described herself as “first a Jew, second a Democrat and above all a feminist” who, like a village elder, dispensed tough love to young women trying to navigate their own careers in Washington. Hillary Clinton was her most notable protégée. “There are people who come into your life at just the right moment,” Mrs. Clinton said in an email. “For me, Sara was one of those people. From the day our paths first crossed during the McGovern campaign in Texas, I knew I had found a mentor and a kindred spirit.”” [NYTimes

INBOX — AIPAC Mourns the Passing of Lonny Kaplan: “As a former AIPAC president and Board of Directors member, Lonny’s effective leadership helped grow and expand the influence of our movement… Lonny was well known by senators and congressmen from both parties as a persuasive and effective pro-Israel activist. He would always go the extra mile, make the additional phone call and take yet another meeting to further the alliance between America and the Jewish state.”

TRANSITION: Ken Vogel Joins The New York Times’s Washington Bureau: “Ken has been the chief investigative reporter for Politico, which he joined prior to its 2007 launch… In his May 2010 wedding announcement in The New York Times, he and [his wife] Danielle, then a summer law clerk on the Hill, were described as bonding over lunch in a House office building cafeteria when they discovered a shared love of Ethiopian food, kosher pastrami and federal campaign finance rules.” [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC — by Jacob Kornbluh: Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan hosted the Consulate’s annual Independence Day reception at Chelsea Piers’ Pier Sixty. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Minister Gilad Erdan, and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke delivered remarks.

Ambassador Danny Danon, Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, JCRC’s Michael Miller, Malcolm Hoenlein, Michael Salberg, Eric Goldstein, Thane Rosenbaum, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Hindy Poupko, Jason Koppel, Shimon Mercer Wood, Andrew Gross, Ken Abramowitz, Leon Goldenberg, Yeruchem Silber, Herbert Block, Rabbi Daniel Kraus, Alicia Post, Mendy Carlebach, Rabbi Bob Kaplan, Ilana Dayan, Pinny Ringel, Danielle Ziri, Eli Slavin, and Joel Eisdorfer.

SPORTS BLINK: “For David Griffin, a Cavaliers Architect, the Future Is Uncertain” by Joe Drape: “Griffin fired Coach David Blatt in midseason last year despite the fact that the Cavaliers had a conference-best 30-11 record at the time. It was Gilbert, not Griffin, who wanted to hire Blatt, a coaching savant with championship rings from a host of international datelines like Israel and Russia. But it was Griffin who persuaded Blatt to hire Lue as his top assistant. Lue had been Griffin’s initial choice to be the head coach, and when he fired Blatt, he gave Lue the top job.” [NYTimes]

Theo Epstein at Yale Class Day: ‘Choose to Keep Your Heads Up’ [Video]

DESSERT: “Israel’s First Whisky Distillery Set To Debut Its First Single Malt” by Nino Marchetti: “Milk & Honey Distillery, said to be that nation’s first whisky distillery, is set to shortly debut Israel’s first ever single malt expression, a very limited bottling that’s just over three years of age. The 391 bottles making of the Milk & Honey Israel Single Malt Whisky, according to those behind it, are from the first cask of the distillery’s so called Experimental Series. As it has been aged just three years, which is the minimum aging requirement to be called whisky n Scotland, this release is seen as harbinger of what is to come – a more fully mature expression which has spent time aging in the warm Israeli climate.” [TheWhiskeyWash

The Country’s First Kosher Certified Tavern Opens at Historic Railroad Stop: “Citron & Rose (C&R) Tavern & Market opens for lunch, dinner, and happy hour under new owner, Philadelphia philanthropist, David Magerman… The new C&R Tavern offers an extensive American bar menu with pub-style food and steaks, as well as craft cocktails, wines, local whiskeys, and six beers on tap. As the first kosher certified (Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia, Keystone-K) tavern in America, the bar and restaurant operates Saturday evening through Friday afternoon.” [RestaurentNews]  

BIRTHDAYS: Owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, Robert Kraft turns 76… First Lady of Israel since 2014, Nechama Rivlin turns 72… Lithuanian-born Holocaust survivor, co-founder of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia, known for his ever-present cowboy hat, Jay M. Ipson turns 82… Dan Yurman turns 69… Author of ten personal finance books, financial advisor, motivational speaker and television host, Susan Lynn “Suze” Orman turns 66… Portrait photographer and visual anthropologist whose work is on display in many museums, Penny Diane Wolin turns 64… Commissioner on the US International Trade Commission (2007-2017), now a trade attorney at Hughes Hubbard, Dean A. Pinkert turns 61… Best-selling instrumental musician, the saxophonist “Kenny G,” Kenneth Bruce Gorelick turns 61… Optometrist, in 2014 she was elected as a member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament belonging to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Gila Deborah Martow turns 56… Partner in the government law and policy practice of Greenberg Traurig, previously Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs for New York State and member of the New York City Council, Mark Weprin turns 56…

Member since 2010 of the Virginia House of Delegates from the Fairfax County suburbs of Washington DC, Eileen R. Filler-Corn turns 53… Member of the British Parliament since 2005 from the Conservative Party, he served as Minister of Culture (2010-2016) under PM David Cameron, Ed Vaizey turns 49… CEO of Bottlenose, a Los Angeles-based company, a leading pioneer in semantic web technology, Nova Spivack turns 48… Co-founder of BlueLabs and director of analytics for the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012, his father and grandfather were both rabbis, Elan Alter Kriegel turns 36… Policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, previously a member of the New Hampshire state legislature, Jason Bedrick turns 34… Austin-based young leadership development director at the Jewish National Fund, Arielle Levy turns 28… Clara Moskowitz… Sam KraemerSusan Stein… Barbara Pergament… Beth Freeman… Dov Waxman… Audrey Freedman-Habush

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