Daily Kickoff

Jewish Insider Kickoff

First Look – Meet the Ted Cruz of Israel – Danny Danon is driving Bibi – and just about everyone else – crazy, by Ben Birnbaum in the New Republic: “Many Israelis, even some of his ideological allies, wished Danon would disappear. “Whenever I see him representing my views, I am a little bit embarrassed,” one prominent right-wing figure told me. But over the past year, Danon has parlayed his headline-making power into actual power. He finished fifth in Likud primaries (ahead of many veteran ministers) and was named deputy defense minister after the January election. Then, in a surprise coup, he became chairman of Likud’s central committee, making it impossible for his detractors to just write him off. He’s basically Israel’s Ted Cruz: a 42-year-old media hound doing everything he can to push his party— and his country—to the right.” [New Republic]

Driving the Week – Iran: “With talks over Iran’s nuclear program set to resume in Geneva this week, both sides engaged in a bit of public diplomacy Sunday: Iran’s supreme leader moved to quiet hard-liners in his country by expressing support for his negotiating team, while the chief American negotiator reiterated in an Israeli television interview that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” [NYTimes]

NYTimes – No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. – And in a delicate spy-versus-spy dance, sharing takes place even with governments that are themselves important N.S.A. targets, notably Israel. The documents describe collaboration with the Israel Sigint National Unit, which gets raw N.S.A. eavesdropping material and provides it in return, but they also mention the agency’s tracking of “high priority Israeli military targets,” including drone aircraft and the Black Sparrow missile system.” [NYTimes]

Israel ‘furious’ with White House for leak on Syria strike: Jerusalem considers administration’s confirmation of Israeli air attack on missile stores to be ‘scandalous’; TV analyst warns US risks starting ‘major flare-up’ [TOI]

Sec. Kerry issues apparent warning to Iran: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday tried to reassure America’s Arab friends that the United States will not allow them to be attacked “from outside,” in an apparent warning to Iran. He specifically mentioned Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt as nations, alongside unspecified “others,” that the U.S. will defend. Those others likely would include Israel, the strongest U.S. ally in the region.” [CBS News]

Israel Pushed Iran to the Table, Says Hagel – by Jeffrey Goldberg: “It’s true that sanctions — not just U.S. sanctions but U.N sanctions, multilateral sanctions — have done tremendous economic damage,” Hagel said. “Even many of Iran’s leaders have acknowledged that. And I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat. I think all of this, combined, probably brought the Iranians to where we are today. Whether the Iranians will carry forth on that, we’ll see.” Hagel made sure to absolve Netanyahu of the charge that he’s intent on subverting the nuclear talks. “I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to derail negotiations,” he said. We were talking at a small table in Hagel’s E-Ring office. A portrait of Winston Churchill, who coincidentally, is Netanyahu’s hero (but not Obama’s), hangs on the wall. To those who haven’t paid much attention to Hagel since his confirmation hearings last year, his sympathetic reading of Netanyahu’s position might come as a surprise. After all, Hagel had come under sustained attack by the conservative wing of the pro-Israel camp as a danger to the Jewish state, portrayed as someone who is soft on Iran and naïve about the Palestinians and their intentions.” [Bloomberg]

Sen. Marco Rubio OpEd – Pressire Iran with tighter sanctions: “Yet once again, the Obama administration is asking Congress to hold off on additional sanctions to give time for diplomacy to work. Tougher sanctions, we are warned, could upset the delicate balance inside Iran and poison the well for a deal. I disagree. Tough sanctions are exactly what has brought Iran to the table now, and tightening sanctions as we engage diplomatically affords us the opportunity to apply further pressure and force Iran’s leaders to choose between regime survival and a nuclear weapon. So yes, we should take this opportunity to meet with Iran. We should test out the sincerity of Iran’s proposals, but our patience must be limited. The past decade should give us little optimism and great skepticism about Iranian intentions. It is far too premature to let up the pressure.” [Politico]

Panetta: ‘We May Very Well Have To Use Military Force’ Against Iran – Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta cautioned the Obama administration about engaging in endless negotiations with Iran, stating that “we may very well have to use military force” to stop Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear arms. [Free Beacon]

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker OpEd – Talk to Iran, It Works: “Nevertheless, despite three decades of frosty relations and although most Americans may be unaware of it, talks with Iran have succeeded in the past — and they can succeed again. Immediately after 9/11, while serving in the State Department, I sat down with Iranian diplomats to discuss next steps in Afghanistan. Back then, we had a common enemy, the Taliban and its Al Qaeda associates, and both governments thought it was worth exploring whether we could cooperate. The Iranians were constructive, pragmatic and focused, at one point they even produced an extremely valuable map showing the Taliban’s order of battle just before American military action began.” [NYTimes]

JPost Editorial – Iran and the Jewish lobby: “In the end, it is the substance of the issues and the opinions Americans form about them that determine US foreign policy decisions – not the lobbying efforts of AIPAC, the AJC, the ADL etc.” [Jerusalem Post]

Aaron David Miller – ‘Obama’s Mideast policies are working’ – “To listen to the president’s critics, Secretary of State John Kerry is heading off this weekend to a Middle East where U.S. policy is failing – galactic ally. But beneath the politics, propaganda, and punditry lies a much different reality.” [Politico]

Israel to build security barrier between West Bank and Jordan: “The Israeli newspaper, Maariv, reported that Mr Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, had ordered work to begin as soon as another fence currently being built on the country’s southern border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is completed. An Israeli official confirmed to The Telegraph that the barrier was under consideration but said that a final decision had yet to be taken.” [Telegraph]

To Shape Young Palestinians, Hamas Creates Its Own Textbooks: “For the first time since taking control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Hamas movement is deviating from the approved Palestinian Authority curriculum, using the new texts as part of a broader push to infuse the next generation with its militant ideology.” [NYTimes]

Jackson NJ, neighbors take aim at plan to build all-girls Orthodox Jewish high school: “Citing concerns over traffic and water pollution, a group of Jackson residents have banded together to fight the construction of an all-girls Orthodox Jewish high school in their neighborhood. The Asbury Park Press reports that a coalition of neighbors have formed the Jackson Citizens Defense Fund and hired a lawyer to fight the plan.” [NJ]

Top 2 NYC Mayoral Candidates Vow to Make City Hall More Faith-Friendly: “Muslims want to add holidays to the school calendar. Christians are pressing to use school gyms and auditoriums for worship. Ultra-Orthodox Jews are demanding that the city stop regulating an ancient circumcision rite. After 12 years of a mayor who has resisted making concessions to religious groups, New York City is in for a change. The two leading candidates for mayor — Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, and Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican — have pledged to break with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on a range of issues at the nexus of government and religion. They say they would accommodate two of the most important Muslim holy days, allow church services on school property, and work with Jewish leaders to ease the city’s supervision of circumcision rituals.” [NYTimes]

Sen. Joe Lieberman – Chabad Always Tracked Me Down: Giving the guest speech at the 5774 Kinus banquet, Senator Joseph Lieberman tells of his bond with the Rebbe and how Shluchim tracked him down – everywhere in the world, despite Secret Service restrictions. Video – [ColLive]

SCOOP – FRANK BRUNI, “The Tumbling Boundaries of Gay Rights: We’re most definitely not in Kansas anymore“: “ELLIOTT MANAGEMENT’S lofty offices in Midtown Manhattan look north, south, east and west across the borough’s thicket of skyscrapers. … I sat in a 30th-floor library with the hedge fund’s founder and chief executive, Paul Singer, a Jewish billionaire who was one of the most important donors to Mitt Romney in 2012, gives generously to a range of Republican causes and prefers to do this with a minimum of media notice. … But here he was giving an interview, my second with him in 16 months, because the focus both times was gay equality. … In this case, he was announcing a new project to be funded, at least at the outset, by him and other conservative donors but to be run by the Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group in Washington, which is much more closely affiliated with Democrats.

“The initiative will be dedicated to fighting the victimization of gays and lesbians internationally. But it will also show that there are Republicans … who are intent on progress and justice for L.G.B.T. people. … [Singer] is close to, and has discussed gay rights with, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who recently backed off a legal challenge to gay marriage … Singer has had such talks with Senator Rob Portman … Singer also has a gay son – and a gay son-in-law. The two men are married. His vision of how Republicans must evolve was echoed by] Daniel Loeb, another New York hedge-fund billionaire who has given lavishly to conservatives. Loeb is Singer’s principal financial partner in the H.R.C. international project; Singer has already committed $1.5 million, and Loeb has promised a similar amount over its first years.” [NYTimes]

Real Estate RoundUP

Westfield Group’s Retail Therapy; WSJ interview with Peter Lowy: WSJ: What will the mall of the future look like? Mr. Lowy: The malls in the U.S. have substantially changed since the recession. In Australia and Europe, you have much more food integrated into the mall. You have much more discounters integrated into the mall. Historically in the U.S., the malls were fashion and they were department-store fashion-based. Now, in our portfolio, we have nine supermarkets, we’re putting in gyms and spas, we are expanding the way theaters are used.

–We’re putting in much more food, both fresh food and restaurants, and we don’t build food courts any more, we build dining terraces. If the food offerings are good and they’re fresh, people come to the mall more often. So if we can create more shopping trips and longer shopping trips we can increase the sales revenues for our retailers. In London we’ve created an area called The Village, which is totally high-end retail—the same as you would get on Bond Street or parts of Chelsea. [Wall Street Journal]

Boston Properties puts The Avenue up for sale: Boston Properties is planning to seek buyers for the apartments and Whole Foods at The Avenue, a $360 million mixed-use project in Foggy Bottom. [Washington Business Journal]

Sports Blink – Former Israel Baseball Manager Brad Ausmus Picked to Manage Detroit Tigers: Brad Ausmus, who managed the Israeli national team’s bid for the World Baseball Classic, was named the manager of the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers announced the hiring of Ausmus, 44, on Sunday, making him the only Jewish manager in Major League Baseball. Ausmus was a catcher for four teams in his playing days. [The Forward]

Thats all folks, have a great Monday! 

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