Daily Kickoff: Day 5 in search for kidnapped boys | Israel concerned about U.S. Iran cooperation | BuzzTorah: BuzzFeed for Jews | Lew to visit Israel
By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff
DAY 5: Netanyahu: It’s Going To Take Time: “We are here in the midst of a complex operation. We need to be prepared for the possibility that it may take time. This is a serious event and there will be serious consequences. We are working together in a considered, responsible and very determined manner.” Netanyahu urged the international community to decry the kidnapping: “I expect all responsible elements in the international community – some of whom rush to condemn us for any construction in this place or for enclosing a balcony in Gilo – to strongly condemn this reprehensible and deplorable act of abducting three youths.” After 5 days and without mentioning Hamas, the EU finally released a statement: “We condemn in the strongest terms the abduction of 3 Israeli students in the West Bank and call for their immediate release.” [Statement]
—NBC News: Israel Expands Search for Kidnapped West Bank Teens, Targets Hamas:“Israel arrested 41 people overnight as part of a widening search for three missing teenagers that has also turned into a crackdown targeting militant group Hamas. The operation dubbed “Brother’s Keeper” expanded from the restive Palestinian city of Hebron in the southern West Bank to Nablus in the north, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Tuesday. [NBC] — Jodi Rudoren in NYTimes: “Tensions Mount as Troops Scour Hebron in Search for Missing Youths” [NYTimes] — Walla News is reporting that the PA has halted reconciliation with Hamas due to the kidnappings [Walla]
—AMERICANS STAND WITH ISRAEL — NY Jews Hold Prayer Vigil Outside Israeli Consulate: Around 200 Jewish Americans gathered outside the Israeli consulate in New York on Monday to pray for the release of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. They held up photographs of the missing youths with the slogan #BringBackOurBoys [Arutz 7] Video report: [CBS News] — Upper West Side Community Hold Vigil: The meeting was sponsored by Council member Mark Levine and co-sponsored by: Chabad of the West Side, Upper West Side COJO, Congregation Ramath Orah, Congregation Shearith Israel, Kol Haneshamah, KRA, Lincoln Square Synagogue, Manhattan Day School, Ohab Zedek, The Jewish Center and the West Side Institutional Synagogue.
‘KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL’: Israel concerned about any U.S. – Iran cooperation in Iraq: “Israel voiced concern on Monday at the prospect of its closest ally, Washington, cooperating with its what it considers its deadliest foe, Iran, to stave off a sectarian break-up of Iraq. But, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Reuters, the United States and other major powers have pledged that any such cooperation would not set back their drive to curb Tehran’s nuclear program… Another Israeli security official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said deeper Iranian commitment in Iraq could make Tehran more accommodating in the nuclear talks as it might feel over-extended and reluctant to spark further crises. “They would have to redirect resources, perhaps even pull their forces out of Syria to send to Iraq instead,” the second Israeli official said. “Let them sink into that new quagmire.”[Reuters] — Iran & six powers seek to recover momentum for nuclear deal [Reuters]
—In diplomatic breakthrough, Britain’s William Hague Says It’s Time To Re-Open Embassy In Tehran: “Our two primary concerns when considering whether to reopen our embassy in Tehran have been assurance that our staff would be safe and secure, and confidence that they would be able to carry out their functions without hindrance. There has never been any doubt in my mind that we should have an embassy in Tehran if the circumstances allowed. Iran is an important country in a volatile region, and maintaining Embassies around the world, even under difficult conditions, is a central pillar of the UK’s global diplomatic approach.”
—AP: U.S. Was Notified In Advance That Top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Is Visiting Iraq: “The commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, was in Iraq on Monday and consulting with the government there on how to stave off insurgents’ gains. Iraqi security officials said the U.S. government was notified in advance of the visit by Soleimani, whose forces are a secretive branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that in the past has organized Shiite militias to target U.S. troops in Iraq and, more recently, was involved in helping Syria’s President Bashar Assad in his fight against Sunni rebels.”[AP] — Eli Lake: Iran Offers Iraq ‘Everything it Needs’ to Fight ISIS [DailyBeast]
—Two Amigos, John McCain & Lindsey Graham Split on Iran: “Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are enduring a rare split on foreign policy, breaking over whether the U.S. should cooperate with Iran to aid the Iraqis. Graham (R-S.C.) twice suggested on the Sunday shows that the United States must work with Iran to quell rising sectarian violence in Iraq — partially to ensure that the Iranians do not become “the biggest winner” in the Middle Eastern chaos. But McCain (R-Ariz.) rejected this tactic on Monday morning, issuing a statement that didn’t name Graham but clearly drew a line of disagreement between the two foreign policy hawks. McCain said partnering with Iran “would be the height of folly,” while describing a long record of supporting terrorist acts in the Middle East.” [Politico]
Jack Lew to make first trip to Israel as U.S. Treasury Secretary: “The Shabbat-observant Lew is currently on a tour of the Middle East, visiting the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia before coming to Israel next week as part of the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG). The JEDG is an annual bilateral meeting between the U.S. and Israel to discuss how to improve economic ties between the two countries as well as with the global economy. Lew will meet with his Israeli counterpart, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, to discuss how to grow business ties and promote innovation and energy initiatives, the Israeli Finance Ministry said. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and Bank of Israel head Karnit Flug will also attend.” [JNS]
Congressional Budget: “Elsewhere in the draft bill, Israel is promised its full $3.1 billion in military aid — no political surprise. But in the case of Egypt, the House bill appears more generous than the Senate is expected to be Tuesday. An estimated $200 million is provided in economic support funds — down $50 million from this year and what had been sought by the White House. But the entire $1.3 billion request for military assistance to Cairo is budgeted — albeit with some conditions.” [Politico]
2016 WATCH: Rick Perry to the NYTimes’s Mark Leibovich – “I am more Jewish than you think I am”: “Boys, I am going to bless this meal,” Rick Perry said, ducking his head and folding his hands under his chin. We were sitting at Nate ’n Al, the Jewish Deli in Beverly Hills, and the governor of Texas was looking every bit the regular customer in a tight black polo shirt and designer glasses. His face was nicely tanned; his hair, as ever, was coifed and TV-ready. He had just ordered a corned-beef Reuben (“I worked out this morning”) and a Diet Dr Pepper (“you got those critters?” he asked the waiter). But before diving in, Perry took a moment to appreciate his surroundings. “I’m more Jewish than you think I am,” he told me. “I read the part of the Bible that said the Jews are God’s chosen people.” He boasted that he has been going to Israel since 1992. Then Perry got down to business, thanking the Lord for His many blessings, and asking Him to be with “our men and women who defend our freedom, bring ’em home safe, be with the president, give him wisdom.”… Perry was in town to speak to a group of Jewish Republicans in Los Angeles…” [NYTimes]
—Nathan Guttman in the Forward: “A Handful of Jewish Republicans Runs Far to the Right” – “As establishment Jewish conservatives sat in stunned silence recently, sitting shiva over the defeat of Republican congressional leader Eric Cantor, a younger cohort of Republican Jews were jockeying vigorously to fill the vacuum he left as Congress’s only Jewish Republican. With months to go until the 2014 congressional elections, it is not clear whether any of them will make it to Congress. Just as pointedly, it is unclear what brand of politics any putative successor to Cantor might bring.” Article mentions Adam Kwasman, Bruce Blakeman, Lee Zeldin, Elon Carr, and Micah Edmond. [Forward]
Technion awards honorary doctorate to Dershowitz: “World-renowned lawyer and pro-Israel activist Alan Dershowitz was given an honorary doctorate by the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology on Monday… Prior to the award ceremony, Dershowitz spoke to JPost on a wide array of subjects, from his early career to his announced retirement from Harvard Law School, as well as the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, the peace process and Iran… “In America today I would not be able to get an honorary doctorate,” he told the Post. “There would be protests based on my support for Israel.”[JPost]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: JCRC of Great Washington held its annual gala at Beth Shalom Congregation in Maryland: Honorees included William Daroff, Paul Berger, and Yvonne and Jeffrey Distendfeld. Spotted: Ambassador Ron Dermer, Shai Franklin, Mark Mellman, Brianne Nadeau, Jerry Silverman and Nathan Diament.. AIPAC’s Florida Forum drew over 1200 people. MOC Who Attended: Reps Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Patrick Murphy, and Joe Garcia. Ambassadors Dennis Ross & Brad Gordon addressed the crowd.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT: @shaifranklin: “@AmbDermer says he doesn’t need @NYTimes, just a few tweets from @Daroff – Tweeter in Chief!” [Twitter]
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Malia Obama interning for Steven Spielberg: “The White House refused to comment Monday on reports that Malia Obama is spending her summer interning as a production assistant for a new TV series being produced by Steven Spielberg. According to The Wrap, the elder Obama daughter, who turns 16 next month, has been working on “Extant,” a CBS sci-fi drama starring Halle Berry. The website quoted a source on the set saying Malia Obama “helped with computer shop alignments and the director also let her slate a take.” Spielberg is a prominent supporter of the president’s and a top donor to Democratic causes.”[TheHill]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Supreme Court Sides With Paul Singer in Argentina Debt Case [WSJ] — Barnett’s Extell Finally Begins Massive Third Avenue Project [Curbed] — Ghermezian family looks to finance about $1.5 billion in debt for the Mall of America [BizJournal] — Benjamin Ohebshalom to build a new 20-story UES residential tower [RealDeal] — Israeli ministers approve plan to cut VAT for home buyers [Haaretz]
—WSJ: Familiar Face Emerges in LICH Saga: “A tentative deal for the sale of Long Island College Hospital could signal victory for a Brooklyn developer that once looked poised to win the property easily and instead ended up in a six-month political fight. Fortis Property Group, a company run by a prominent figure in Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic Jewish movement, largely has steered clear of developing high-rises and other projects that land many developers in public battles. But Louis Kestenbaum, the chairman of the firm, has moved to take on more difficult projects in recent years. “He is a bigwig if you want to call it in the Hasidic community of Williamsburg because he’s a successful businessman. He knows how to run a business whether it’s developing housing on the waterfront or health-care centers with his brother,” said Joseph Lentol, a New York state assemblyman who represents parts of Williamsburg and downtown Brooklyn.” [WallStreetJournal] — De Blasio, local elected officials split over LICH deal [CapitalNewYork]
BuzzTorah: BuzzFeed for Jews: “Can scripture written thousands of years ago go viral? BuzzTorah is banking on the fact that it can. Inspired by the listicles, quizzes and GIF-driven posts at BuzzFeed, Yeshiva University students in New York City decided to launch BuzzTorah, a website which balances Jewish pop culture with the Torah. “We believe the Internet can be a strong tool capable of affecting change and spreading Jewish values,” states the website. Yeshiva University student Tzvi Levitin was inspired by the 2013 Pew Report on Jewish Americans, which reported that millenial Jews in the U.S. were losing touch with the religion of Judaism. In response, he launched BuzzTorah in an effort to make the Torah more accessible and shareable on social media.
“The content includes quizzes like The City of Gold: How much do you know about Jerusalem? and lists like 9 Greatest Things to Become Kosher in the 21st Century and 10 Insights on the 10 Commandments, complete with GIFs of Benedict Cumberbatch, the Olsen twins and Frozen. The site is geared toward Orthodox Jews, and can be daunting at first if you aren’t familiar with Jewish lingo. However, it often explains terminology and gives context to holidays, once you click into the stories. These explanations help open the door to any audience members who may be Reform Jews, or even non-Jews interested in learning more about Jewish customs. Most contributors are undergraduate students at Yeshiva and the site has more than 60 writers and editors. It gained popularity after BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith tweeted out a link to it from his personal account, even though the website is not affiliated with BuzzFeed… Move over, Grumpy Cat — you have Moses to contend with now.” [Ozy]
LOCAL NEWS PICK: Man steals synagogue charity box: “David King grabbed the Waxman Chabad House donation box about 10:40 a.m. and walked out of the building, according to reports said. A rabbi spotted him and called police. Officers then arrested him on charges of theft and obstructing official business. The charity box contained about $16.65 in dollars and coins, police said. King had several warrants out for his arrest on charges of aggravated theft, burglary and identity fraud, Cuyahoga County court records show. [Cleveland]
That’s all folks, have a great Tuesday!
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