Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Peres Gets NY Farewell | Hoenlein Wants AU Summit Apology | Bibi Does 6 TV Appearences In An Hour & more..

PM Netanyahu Does One Hour TV Blitz To 6 Stations: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, within one hour, was interviewed by media outlets from each of the P5+1 countries involved in the negotiations with Iran: US (CNN), Great Britain (Sky), Germany (ARD radio), China (CCTV), France (France 24) and Russia (Channel 1 Russia). In his interviews, Netanyahu said that Iran is interested in obtaining a surrender agreement from the West and added that it cannot be allowed to receive such an agreement. Bibi emphasized that the agreement with Iran needs to be similar to that which was reached with Syria – an agreement which includes the dismantling of capabilities and their removal…
— TRANSCRIPT – on CNN: “I hope that the US and the P5+1, the other powers, world powers, do not accept Iran’s deal of surrender. They should resist it. That’s what Iran wants. It wants a deal of surrender, basically saying: okay, keep their capabilities. Park as a threshold nuclear state a few weeks or a few months away from becoming a military nuclear power, and we’ll inspect you. Well, it doesn’t work, neither with real inspectors or Inspector Clouseau or anyone else. It doesn’t work. It didn’t work in the case of North Korea. It did work, and is working in the case of Syria, because you’re not relying on inspectors. You’re relying on removal. You dismantle or you destroy and you remove what’s not destroyed. That’s the deal that should be done with Iran, for the sake of peace and for the sake of the future of the Middle East and the world”. [PMO]PERES NY FAREWELL: President Peres received an astounding farewell at the Park Ave Synagogue as hundreds of New Yorkers filled the room, cheering on the 90-year-old president as he took them on a tour of his almost 70 years serving the State of Israel. Charlie Rose conducted the 55-minute conversation with Peres. Robert G. Sugarman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, introduced Peres. Other notables: Ambassadors Ron Dermer, Ron Prosor and Ido Aharoni; Former Mayor of NYC David Dinkins, ADL’s Abe Foxman, JCRC’s Michael Miller, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblyman David Weprin and Councilman Matthew Eugene. Three empty seats were placed next to Peres to symbolize the absence of the three kidnapped boys.

–In the hour-long interview Peres was asked about the Middle East peace process, Iran, the kidnapping, his relationship with past US presidents and with former Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu. On Hamas: “What the hell do they want? … Israel has an advantage over Hamas. We carry the future. They don’t carry the future, they carry bombs and they will not win.” Rose asked Peres what was his biggest regret? Peres nodded with his head back and forth, “I don’t pay attention to the past. You can’t change the past. So why waste time thinking about it?” Proudest moment: “The one that will happen tomorrow.” What would you write in the first paragraph of your own obituary, if asked? “I never thought about that. I’m not in a hurry.” You have lunch every week with PM Netanyahu? “No. We would become fat.” On popularity: “Polls are like perfume: nice to smell, dangerous to swallow.” Trust Obama? “Personally, I have no reason to doubt his commitments.”

#BRINGBACKOUR BOYS – DAY 17: On the 17th day since the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys, tens of thousands gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv for a special event titled “singing together for their return.” Iris Yifrach, the mother of abducted Eyal, spoke about her longing for her son. “Thanks to your non-stop giving, the entire people is united, loves you and cares about your well-being,” she stated. “We are waiting to embrace you warmly. It is extremely excited to see the people united. This complex period strengthens and embraces us. We pray for the return of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali. You give us strength.” “The thin wires of pain hold us so we don’t fall,” Bat-Galim Sha’ar stated painfully. “Gilad, I want to tell you that we are not alone. There are people waiting for you, wanting to hug you and who pray for you.” Rachel Frenkel, Naftali’s mother, added: “The boys are not a bargaining tool in the conflict. We call on those that know something, Abu Mazen and the Mayor of Hebron, to put the release of the boys over the conflict between us.” Israeli President-elect Reuben Rivlin, Israeli Chief Rabbi David Lau, Health Minister Yael German, as well as numerous Knesset members took part. [Jerusalem Online]

TOP-OP: Thomas Friedman – “Arsonists and Firefighters – Who Is Setting the Sectarian Fires in the Middle East”: “WHAT’S the real fight in the Middle East today? Is it just sectarian (Sunnis versus Shiites) and national (Israelis versus Palestinians and Arabs versus Persians)? Or is it something deeper? I was discussing this core question with Nader Mousavizadeh, a former senior United Nations official and the co-founder of Macro Advisory Partners, a geopolitical advisory firm, and he offered another framework: “The real struggle in the region,” he said, “is between arsonists and firefighters.” To be sure, he added, the sectarian divides are real, but it is “not inevitable” that the region erupt in sectarian conflagration. It takes arsonists to really get these sectarian fires blazing, and, “unless they set them and fan them and give them fuel,” they will more often than not die out.

The Palestinian extremists who recently kidnapped three Israeli youths were arsonists, aiming to blow up any hope of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and to embarrass Palestinian moderates. But they had help. Radical Jewish settler supporters in the Israeli cabinet, like Naftali Bennett and housing minister Uri Ariel, are arsonists. Ariel deliberately announced plans to build 700 new housing units for Jews in Arab East Jerusalem — timed to torpedo Secretary of State John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy. And they did… There are firefighters in all these places — people like Tzipi Livni and Shimon Peres in Israel, former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Iran and Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Iraq — but they are now overwhelmed by the passions set loose by the arsonists.

To be sure, harmony between different sects requires order, but it does not have to be iron-fisted. Iraqis just last April held fair elections on their own. They can do it. These societies need to go from being governed by iron fists “to iron institutions that are legitimate, inclusive and accountable, and strong enough to hold the frame of society together,” argued Mousavizadeh… That requires the right leadership. “So when the region’s leaders come to Washington to plead for engagement and intervention, ask for money or ask for arms,” he added, “Let them first answer the question: Are you an arsonist or are you a firefighter?” [NYTimes]

Hoenlein Waiting For An Official Apology From The African Union For Kicking A Jewish Delegation Out Of Their Conference: The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said it was waiting for an official apology from the African Union after several delegates to a summit held by the continental body demanded that the Jewish representatives not be allowed to attend. Hoenlein, ofMalcolm the Conference of Presidents, and his compatriots left the opening ceremony two hours earlier than scheduled after Egyptian and South African delegates refused to enter the hall while those they termed “Israelis” were still present.

— An AU organizer told Hoenlein of the objections, and Hoenlein told him that it would be “outrageous” to complain about an Israeli delegation.. “We were not asked to leave, we were told the problem and then we made the decision that we weren’t going to abide the insults to Israel and the insults to the Jewish community,” Hoenlein told The Jerusalem Post. “We were all official delegates and there wasn’t a question of our status. We were invited into the session.. We have sent letters to some of the presidents in regards to the behavior of members of their delegation… We will be in touch with the AU leadership and hopefully get some letters of apologies and embarrassment… Many delegates walked over to us to recognize us.. So I am very optimistic about that.” [Jpost]

Dermer’s Diplomatic Passover Seder Still A Secret! The Foreign Ministry has refused to reveal the guest list for the second Passover seder meal held at the house of Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer – an event attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The ministry’s explanation was that revealing the list would cause damage to Israel. “The Foreign Ministry is prohibited from providing the information in question, under article 9(A)(1) of the freedom of information law,” read the letter, signed by Aryeh Zini, the official responsible for implementing the law in the Foreign Ministry. “Being hosted in the home of an ambassador, not to mention the home of the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., is a distinctly diplomatic act. Publicly revealing the names of participants, as well as the content of their meeting and correspondence related to it, as well as anything else stemming from the meeting, could cause harm to Israel’s foreign relations.” [Haaretz]

INSIDE BUSH’S CLOSET: Jeff Berkowitz was in his RNC office in February 2004 when Bush first backed the amendment banning gay marriage during a White House speech. “This was something I didn’t agree with and didn’t know was coming,” he says now. He sat at his desk for what felt like an hour thinking: “What do I do? Do I resign in protest? What was the point? I wasn’t on the reelect because I thought Bush was good on marriage equality. It was because he was going to kill terrorists and was good on economic issues.” Besides, Berkowitz believed Bush’s Democratic rival John Kerry, who did not, in fact, support gay marriage in that campaign, was no better on gay rights… [Politico]

TWEET OF THE DAY: @CoryBooker: When they started playing Hava Nagilah I just had to dance so I grabbed the Mayor of Fort Lee & The Rabbi. Pic:

**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share 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**

DAVID CARR’s “The Media Equation” column on NYT “Business Day” front, “For Email Newsletters, A Death Greatly Exaggerated”: “In addition to the long-running morning must-haves like Mike Allen’s political tip sheet Playbook, other topics and approaches are gaining momentum … Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order.” [NY Times] Carr’s favorite emails [NY Times]Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment to Paul Singer Due: “Argentina is poised to miss a bond payment today, putting the country on the brink of its second default in 13 years, after a U.S. court blocked the cash from being distributed until the government settles with creditors from the previous debt debacle… The nation has a 30-day grace period after missing the $539 million debt payment to seek an accord with a group of defaulted bondholders led by billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital Ltd. and prevent a default on its $28.7 billion of performing global dollar bonds. Both Argentina and NML have said that they’re open to talks.” [Bloomberg]Full-Day Pre-K Choice for New York City’s Religious Schools: “For years, many Jewish and Catholic schools have offered a half-day of secular prekindergarten in the morning paid for by the city, followed by religious instruction in the afternoon on their own dime… Now the city is offering to pay for a full day of pre-K, but some religious schools say adding spiritual teachings to that would make too long a day for the children involved… The result: Some schools have decided to not participate, and community leaders and critics fear that others will bend the rules by slipping in religious instruction during the extended pre-K… Extending prekindergarten to a full day in religious schools is an important piece of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s plan to provide 53,000 preschool seats by this fall… [WallStreetJournal]
De Blasio Does Kabbalat Shabbat At Largest LGBT Synagogue: Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off Pride weekend by attending a Shabbat service with actress Cynthia Nixon at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the largest LGBT congregation in the world. Speaking to the congregation Friday night, de Blasio said it was an honor to serve as mayor of the city that has the largest Jewish population in the world and the “most vibrant” gay community. “I must be damn lucky,” he said… The mayor took a serious turn when describing the rise of anti-Semitic attacks around the world, particularly in Europe. “We can be progressive, we can be hopeful … but we also have to be vigilant,” he said. “Things become a danger when you think they’re not a danger,” he added. [NY Daily News]Poll: Israeli Jews Feel They Share Same Fate With Diaspora Jews:A substantial majority of Israeli Jews believe they share a fate with Diaspora Jews and that the Israeli government should take into account how its decisions affect Diaspora Jews, a new poll released Wednesday by The Israeli Democracy Institute shows… The poll, commissioned by the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, found that 62 percent of respondents “believe that Jews in Israel and the Diaspora share a common fate, while 35 percent disagree.” It also found that “71 percent of Israeli Jews think that the Government of Israel, when making important decisions, should take into consideration how the decision will influence the situation of Jews in the Diaspora, while 26 percent do not think it is necessary.” 81% of Israeli Jews are interested to know what’s happening with Jews in the Diaspora; 18% are not interested. [PDF]David Horovitz Given B’nai B’rith World Center Lifetime Achievement Award:Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz received the B’nai B’rith World Center Lifetime Achievement Award Sunday evening. He was honored along with Channel 10′s Matan Hodorov, Judy Maltz from Ha’aretz, and songwriter Nurit Hirsh… In congratulating Horovitz on his award, guest lecturer and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett  said Horovitz’s years of journalistic work were “holy,” and offered a “real opportunity for the State of Israel.”Horovitz, who moved to Israel in 1983 and soon began working at The Jerusalem Post, thanked his wife, Lisa, for putting up with the “sheer, relentless awfulness of being married to a journalist.” [TOI]BUSINESS BRIEFS: Liat Ben Rafael – The Israeli Woman Behind the Google Doodle [Forward] — Soros Caught in ClickSoftware Rout That Puzzles Analysts [Bloomberg] — Ultrasound developer InSightec raises up to $62.5m [Globes] — Israel’s Perion buys mobile advertising firm Grow Mobile [Reuters]

That’s all folks, have a great Monday! **Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**

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