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]

** Good Tuesday 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: 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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