Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Qatar Funds Terror, US Think Tanks | French Jews Flock to NYC | Goldberg: “Hillary knew what she was doing” on Israel | Wexner BDay

QUOTE OF THE DAY:“This was not about politics, we knew; this was about being human.”
— Daniel Gordis in Bloomberg on mourning the death of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir (seeTop-Ops)

MORE DRAMA, OBAMA? : Following the media blitz surrounding Obama’s announcement of a lack of a comprehensive plan for dealing with ISIS, the president is gearing up to announce his strategy for the region this week… after he spends Tuesday seeking congressional backup. “I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it,” the president told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. Well, Mr. President, we’re waiting. [The GuardianWashington Post]

UNITED THEY FALL: After a rocky start filled with financial disputes, failed negotiations with the US and Israel, and a conflict in Gaza which has all but leveled the area, the Palestinian Unity government is, unsurprisingly, on the brink of dissolution. P.A. President Abbas isn’t trying too hard to hide his frustration with Hamas, who threatened again on Sunday that it would renew fire with Israel if restrictions on Gaza were not lifted, saying that the P.A. “cannot continue working with Hamas this way,” and that no progress is possible if Hamas maintains control of Gaza; Hamas dismisses these accusations as “unjustified.” These public spats, asserts former U.S. adviser on Arab-Israeli negotiations Aaron David Miller, “is evidence the unity government is a sham.” Many experts, including Miller, contend that returning control of Gaza to the P.A. is necessary as a symbol to both Israel and Egypt that Gaza is ready to be rebuilt. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been criticized by some, including opposition chief and Labor leader Issac Herzog, for not seizing more opportunities to negotiate with Abbas in order to reach a more permanent solution to the issue and to isolate Hamas. A poll from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicates that Hamas’ public support is growing at the expense of Abbas, and concluded that top Hamas leader in Gaza Ismai Haniya would trounce Abbas in a theoretical presidential election between the two leaders. [USA TodayHaaretzNY Times]

QATAR OF TERROR: Still consider think tanks the uncorrupted bastions of foreign policy research? Think again. A new analysis reveals that many countries, from more benign and peaceful nations in Europe to oil-giants in the Middle East, funnel millions into the organizations and may be influencing conclusions of the purportedly objective researchers these firms employ. The terror funding state of Qatar, for example, has agreed to donate $14.8 million to the Brookings Institute and has helped fund a project on US-Islamic relations. “Give your money to the ones who will spend it on jihad, not aid,” implored sheikh Hajaj al-Ajmi, a fund-raiser for Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate who operates out of Qatar. For years the small country Middle Eastern country has been a hotbed of terror funding, and has recently been accused of directly supporting ISIS. [NY Times PoliticsWorld]

TOP-OPS AND INTERVIEWS: Former Secretary of State and academic powerhouse Henry Kissinger sat down with NPR this weekend to discuss everything from ISIS and Iran (ISIS is more manageable) and whether or not he’d support a Hillary Clinton run for President (yes, even as a Republican) • The Jerusalem bureau of the New York Times is one of the most highly scrutinized outlets in the world. What’s it like to run the show? About as complicated as you’d imagine, Moment Magazine reveals in an interview with former chief Ethan Bronner.  • Daniel Gordis in Bloomberg describes seeing Israelis of all shapes and sizes come together in a show of solidarity with the family of a slain Palestinian teen. • Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic writes that contrary to speculation otherwise, Hillary Clinton’s recent strongly pro-Israel statements will not make her an easy target for other 2016 Democratic hopefuls, but rather, only bolsters her chances of success.

**Good Monday 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**

ELECTION WATCH: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol addressed a group of donors and Republican elites ostensibly concerning how the party should mobilize in 2014, but also highlighting the Senator’s political prowess for a possible presidential run in 2016. [Politico]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israel-based solar panel optimization company SolarEdge is planning on raising more than $100 million for an IPO early next year, say sources close to the company. The optimization technology of the company, founded in 2006, is in use in over 45 countries. [Bloomberg] • Bernie Madoff is planning to appeal a NY judge’s decision to gut his $564 million dollar fraudulent transfer suit against J. Ezra Merkin.

RISING STAR: Ryan Orbuch may not have gotten into his top-choice colleges, but his app, Finish, has made it to the top of the charts, including a 2013 finish as Apple Design App of the Year. The app, which Orbuch designed with his classmate Michael Hansen when he was just 16, has even beat out the über popular Angry Birds in rankings (for a few hours). The sleek and simple app allows users to create to-do lists for the short or long-term in a highly efficient manner. It’s easy to forget from his recent appearances in Forbes and the NY Times that Orbuch is still a teenager, but his easy writing style and casual manner of conversation reminds you that Orbuch is just getting started. He is currently feeling out the scene in San Francisco: “Made the move–new home is SF. Big things. Excited!!!” in the words of a recent tweet. If you’re in the area, Orbuch has made an innocent appeal: “SF, anyone want to get dinner?” Orbuch is looking to start college in the fall of 2015, and is reapplying to schools this year.

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: Cammeby’s International Group, run by New York investor Rubin Schron, has purchased the hotly disputed Rachel Gardens Montville luxury apartment community in Pine Brook, N.J. for $136 million. Rachel Gardens is comprised of 32 three-story buildings, housing 764 units total. • After a long battle between artists, architects, engineers, and patrons, the large Picasso which has graced the wall of the Four Seasons Restaurant for years has been removed. The Restaurant is owned by the Bronfman Family. [Vanity Fair]

STARTUP NATION: The Tel Aviv founded app Yo!, which allows users to… well, say “Yo!” to their friends, has been used to send more than 100 million messages. [USA Today]

TALK OF OUR NATION: Facing rising tides of anti-Semitism, many French Jews are heading, elsewhere, predominantly to the US or Israel. For those with net worths in the multi-millions, Marlen Kruzhkov is making the ride to NYC (with fortune and investments in tact) a little easier by providing advice on safe investment decisions (real estate) and connecting them with opportunities to make a new life in the states for themselves and their families. [NY Observer]   • A former hostage of Islamic State, Nicolas Henin, who was held in captivity with James Foley and Steven Scotloff, said that Mehdi Nemmouche —a French national arrested on suspicion of carrying out a deadly shooting at a Jewish museum in Belgium — was among his brutal captors in Syria. [WSJ]

MIDDLE EAST MONITOR: Riots broke out again in East Jerusalem on Sunday, following the death of 16-year-old Mohammed Sunokrot, who was wounded by a rubber bullet to the head in clashes with Israeli soldiers last week. [Vice News] • Hamas has renewed production of rockets and is rebuilding its terror tunnels that were destroyed during Operation Protective Edge, say senior diplomatic sources. [Arutz Sheva]

WEEKEND WEDDINGS: Daughter of Jill W. Smith (chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation) and Robert C. Smith (managing director at Greenhill & Company) Lilly Alexandra Smith married Sean Paul Gibson this Saturday evening at Rockefeller Center, NYC. The wedding was officiated by cantor Shira Ginsburg. • Jessica Hillary Silverman (daughter of Robert H. Silverman of Bylada Foods and Macabee Foods) and Nadav Yaakov Shaviv were married Saturday evening at the Paramount Country Club, NYC. Rabbi Benjamin H. Spratt officiated. [NY Times]

SPORTS BLINK: Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic threw the first pitch for the Washington Nationals game Sunday evening. • Co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team Bruce Levenson is selling his controlling interest in the team.

LONG-READ: Teach for America was founded in the 1990’s to inspire students at elite universities to give back by teaching in impoverished areas of the country for two years, but has come under fire for failing to address many of the nuanced issues facing the education system and the challenges of teaching in such areas. After years of scrutiny, the program is beginning to evolve in a positive way, writes Dana Goldstein in Vox.

DESSERT: NY Magazine profiles the pharma-selling furturist and highest-paid female CEO Martine Rothblatt, who stands in sharp relief to her straight-laced corporate counterparts.

BIRTHDAYS: Howard Lorber of Vector Groups Ltd. turns 66. Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, turns 63. — Leslie Wexner of L Brands Corporation turns 77. Senator Bernie Sanders turns 73.

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

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