Daily Kickoff

Jewish Insider Kickoff

DRIVING THE DAY – KERRY LANDS IN MIDDLE EAST BUT NO PLANS TO VISIT ISRAEL ON THIS TRIP: “Making his sixth trip to the Middle East as secretary of state, John Kerry arrived in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday to try to bolster the prospects for renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Mr. Kerry was scheduled to have a private dinner on Tuesday evening with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and to meet on Wednesday with diplomats from the Arab League and King Abdullah of Jordan.

However, Mr. Kerry has no plans to go to Israel before returning to Washington on Thursday. In Jerusalem, Mr. Kerry’s decision to dispense with the frenetic shuttle diplomacy that marked his visit to Jordan and Israel last month was seen by some in the Israeli media as a sign that he has pushed the Israeli government about as far as it is prepared to go in making concessions and that he is now turning his attention to Mr. Abbas.” [NYTimes]

EUROPEAN UNION AT IT AGAIN: “The European Union will take a tougher stance against Israel beginning Friday, enforcing new guidelines that direct the bloc’s 28 member nations not to award any funding, grants, scholarships or prizes to entities in Jewish settlements in the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to a communique released Tuesday.” [Washington Post]

KUDOS – HATZOLLAH STEPS UP TO THE PLATE WHEN 911 SYSTEM FAILED IN A VERY PUBLIC WAY: Leading Front Page Story in the New York Daily Papers – “A City Council intern who collapsed during a press conference for mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn yesterday was forced to wait more than 30 minutes for a regular ambulance before Hatzollah arrived (with a rapid response time of just 4 minutes) to take her to a hospital. The intern had to wait 30 minutes even with a personal phone call from Quinn to police Commissioner Ray Kelly asking for help. [JI]

HAPPENING TODAY – NEW JEWISH CANDIDATE JUMPS INTO NYC MAYOR RACE: Jack Hidary, a yeshiva-educated Sephardic Jew, IPO Millionaire, Spanish Speaker plans to formally announce his candidacy for New York City Mayor as head of the ‘Jobs and Education’ independent party at a start-up incubator in Manhattan, today. In an interview with The Algemeiner, Hidary spoke of New York and his background, beginning with a neuroscience fellowship for the National Institute of Health, which he left to form an early internet marvel with his brother in 1995, spearheaded an IPO in 1998, remade his company into DICE, one of the nation’s top job sites, connecting five million people to work, then plowed profits into new ventures, most since sold.

“The entrance of Hidary, 44, never married, a practicing, Orthodox Jew, a graduate of the Yeshiva of Flatbush, Queens – “with 12 years of Jewish education,” Murray, his younger brother, business partner, and campaign manager, as well as fellow Yeshiva grad, philanthropist, classical musician and photographer, notes – could very swiftly change the tone of the debate, and add depth to the discussion about being a leader for New York City.” If Jewish favorites Anthony Weiner and Joe Lhota win their respective primaries that could set up a three way Jewish race for Mayor. [Algemeiner]

‘CHAIRMAN OF THE BORED’ – Will the Real Joe Lhota Please Stand Up? by Jill Colvin for the New York Observer. “Candidate’s allies long for Lhota who used to retweet from the @DrunkHulk twitter account. Some politicians adore campaigning; buttonholing commuters, making the church rounds to share their visions for the city and having heart-to-hearts at senior centers. And then there are candidates like Joe Lhota, the leading Republican running for mayor.” [NYObserver]

U-TURN: Emirates Airline Forced to Backtrack Over Controversial London Transport Clause that prohibited the U.K. government entity from dealing with Israel or from criticising the U.A.E. royal family – by Rory Jones, WSJ. “The contract, which relates to Emirates’ sponsorship of the Emirates Air Line cable car in East London, outlines that Transport for London, or TfL, would be in default if it sold part of the cable car to a “conflicting person”. A conflicting person is deemed to be a competitor of Emirates or a company based in a country that the U.A.E. doesn’t maintain diplomatic relations with. Read Israel. The clause has caused such a kerfuffle in the U.K. press that Emirates has said it will remove it immediately. “The clause was not intended to discriminate against any particular person, religion or country,” Emirates said in a statement. “Given the misinterpretation of this clause Emirates has agreed with TfL to remove it from the contract.” [Wall Street Journal]

JEWISH GROUPS OPPOSE STUDENT BDS MOVEMENT LEADER: A student leader in the anti-Israel divestment campaign at the University of California, Berkeley, is a candidate for student regent in the University of California system and is being vigorously opposed by some Jewish groups. “UC Berkeley senior Sadia Saifuddin would be the first observant Muslim student to serve on the UC Board of Regents if her appointment as student regent-designate is confirmed Wednesday. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, conservative commentator David Horowitz and others have called on the board to reject the 21-year-old Pakistani-American’s appointment. They cite some of her political activities as a student government leader and a member of the Muslim Students Association at Berkeley. Those include co-sponsoring a bill in the student Senate that called for the divestment of university funds from companies with economic ties to the Israeli military or Israeli settlements on the West Bank.” [Fox News]

LOOK AT ISRAEL: Sen. Cruz points to Israel as a reason to support liberal Sen. Gillibrand’s bill. Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, yesterday joined an upstart effort by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to remove the chain of command from military sexual assault cases. “Several of our strongest allies such as Israel, the United Kingdom, and Germany have made similar reforms to their military justice systems, and seen marked improvement,” Cruz said in the statement.” [Politico]


NEW YORK JEWS HOST BOOKER FUNDRAISERS: “Newark Mayor Cory Booker is getting a lot of help from his Jewish friends lately – financial help that is. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosted Booker at his Upper East Side townhouse last night for a fundraiser with about 50 people attending that the Journal estimates brought in at least $130,000. On July 11, there was an evening fundraiser for “young professionals” on the rooftop of the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea hosted by two young Jewish women – Audrey Gelman — press secretary for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and an actress on the “Girls” television show — and Carolyn Tisch Sussman, the granddaughter of the former chairman of the New York Giants, according to the invitation.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will host a fundraiser for Booker’s Senate bid next Wednesday, a campaign source familiar with the event told Politico. Tickets for the evening reception held by the daughter of Donald Trump and the owner of Kushner Properties begin at $5,200 and go up to $10,400, according to the invitation. Jared’s younger brother and venture capitalist, Josh Kushner, is a cohost. Jared and Ivanka had bundled $41,000 for Booker’s Senate campaign as of May. Booker has raised raised $6.5 million so far this year. Booker is running to fill the US Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg, who died on June 3rd.” [Jewish Insider]

SEMBLER SUPPORTS CHENEY: Liz Cheney announced Tuesday that she will challenge Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi in a Republican primary next year. While the ‘establishment’ rushed to quickly throw their support behind Enzi including former Bush White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, who tweeted, “I’m a big fan of Liz Cheney. But not in this race,” Mel Sembler, a former Republican National Committee Finance Chairman and prominent Jewish leader who is a longtime friend of the Cheney family and who served as ambassador to Italy, told Politico he’s all-in for the former vice president’s daughter. “Absolutely, I’m supporting her,” Sembler said. “We’ve got a lot of events already set all over the country.” Asked if it was at all uncomfortable for a former top RNC official to dive into a primary challenge like this, Sembler chuckled: “I left that job many years ago. I’ve been a friend [of the family] for 20 years, since Dick was defense secretary,” he said. “We’re happy to support her campaign.” [Politico]


PINSKY TO JOIN RXR REALTY:Seth Pinksy, the president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation is leaving his post at the agency to join Scott Rechler’s real estate investment firm, RXR Realty. During his tenure heading the EDC, Pinsky helped arrange several major development projects for the city, including a nearly $300 million deal in recent months to convert the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into the country’s largest ice rink facility and the $2 billion deal to create a joint NYC Tech campus for the Israeli Technion and Cornell universities on Roosevelt Island.” [Jewish Insider]

KEYAK JUMPS FROM NJDC TO THE HILL: Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has hired Aaron Keyak as his new communications director after the departure of his longtime CD, Ilan Kayatsky. Keyak, who previously worked in communications roles for the National Jewish Democratic Council, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications and for former Rep. Steven R. Rothman, D-N.J., said he was excited to work for Nadler. “Rep. Nadler is a true progressive champion,” Keyak said. “He is a strong progressive and a staunch outspoken supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Keyak last worked as the interim executive director of the NJDC. Kayatsky is moving to San Francisco to work at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

NEW ROLE FOR D.C. VET, KASSIDY: “When Joel D. Kassiday began his Washington career in 1979, he did not know it would last this long. “It is fairly rare for someone to spend 30 years on the Hill,” Kassiday said. Kassiday, who has worked in six congressional offices and has served as chief of staff for three members, became vice president of the lobbying firm HillStaffer on July 9. Before HillStaffer, Kassiday worked for the Republican Jewish Coalition and for the lobbying firm Liz Robbins Associates. “Thirty years is probably sufficient for anybody,” Kassiday said, referring to his work in congressional offices.” [Roll Call]


ISRAELI GESTURE-SENSING EXITS: INTEL PICKS UP OMEK BUT PRIMESENSE DISMISSES APPLE ACQUISITION RUMORS – Microchip maker Intel has acquired the Israeli gesture recognition startup Omek Interactive for close to $50 million but PrimeSense denies the reports that Apple is considering a $300M purchase of the first-gen Microsoft Kinect gesture-sensure provider. [TechCrunch]

RISKIFIED: “Dr. Eyal Kishon, co-founder of Israeli based venture capital firm Genesis Partners, had a very personal reason for investing in Riskified, a startup that fights fraud for e-commerce sites. He kept getting rejected when he’d try to buy things online. Merchants would occasionally flag him as a “risky” purchase — perhaps because he lived in Israel and American stores can’t fact-check international addresses through the Address Verification System (AVS).

“Israeli startup Riskified, which recently raised a $1.65 million seed round, thinks its “semantic risk engine” is the answer. The technology builds a story around the shopper that ties together two types of information — the transaction information (where the person’s shipping address and billing address are, what proxy server they’re hiding behind, etc) and publicly available information about the person online. That way, they can more accurately predict which online shoppers are fraudsters and which are legitimate.” [Pando Daily]

NEW ISRAELI COMPUTER IS THE SIZE OF A PACK OF INDEX CARDS, COSTS $100: “CompuLab, an Israeli maker of embedded computing products, has announced a tiny, bare-bones computer called the Utilite that will sell for $99 and up.” [VentureBeat]


LOBLAW TO BUY SHOPPERS DRUG MART FOR $12.4 BILLION: “In a deal that the two companies say will change the retail landscape in Canada, Loblaw has agreed to buy Shoppers Drug Mart for $12.4 billion. The merger of Canada’s largest grocery retailer, Loblaw, and the country’s biggest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, will not reduce competition and customer choice as some fear, Loblaw executive chairman Galen G. Weston assured customers at a press conference in Brampton, Ont., Monday.” Murray Koffler is the Canadian, Jewish businessman responsible for creating the pharmacy retailer, Shoppers Drug Mart, otherwise internationally regarded as Super-Pharm. [CBC News]

COSTA HOLLYWOOD – which bills itself as ‘South Florida’s first resort style condominium targeted to the Jewish community’ broke ground on their Hollywood Beach development project slated to be completed by 2015. Costa Hollywood has already sold 50% of its inventory signaling extreme success for the development.
“Costa Hollywood has received the warmest welcome from Hollywood Beach,” Moses Bensusan, Costa Hollywood’s developer and CEO of Liberty Grand, LLC stated. [PR Web]

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