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Daily Kickoff: Bibi – “early elections possible” | Matti Friedman’s Must Read on Israel Coverage | Israeli Glide App raises $20M | Next Adelson, Soros

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MUST READ — “What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel” by Matti Friedman in The Atlantic: “When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)”

“In Gaza, this goes from being a curious detail of press psychology to a major deficiency. Hamas’s strategy is to provoke a response from Israel by attacking from behind the cover of Palestinian civilians, thus drawing Israeli strikes that kill those civilians, and then to have the casualties filmed by one of the world’s largest press contingents, with the understanding that the resulting outrage abroad will blunt Israel’s response. This is a ruthless strategy, and an effective one. It is predicated on the cooperation of journalists. One of the reasons it works is because of the reflex I mentioned. If you report that Hamas has a strategy based on co-opting the media, this raises several difficult questions, like, What exactly is the relationship between the media and Hamas? And has this relationship corrupted the media? It is easier just to leave the other photographers out of the frame and let the picture tell the story: Here are dead people, and Israel killed them.” [TheAtlantic]

ISRAELI ELECTION WATCH: Early elections seem very likely, and most polls predict Netanyahu’s current favorability rating, although down significantly from this summer, means he’s slated for a fourth term. However, Netanyahu’s coalition seems to be crumbling, and Yair Lapid said this weekend that he and the Prime Minister “Haven’t spoken in months.” Israel’s media is almost unanimously predicting a government collapse with elections in a few months…The current government has come to its end. It’s only a matter of time,” wrote Shimon Schiffer, a senior political commentator at Yediot Ahronot.” The key takeaway? “Netanyahu is unliked by most Israeli voters,” he added. “But there isn’t anyone else to challenge him.” [AP]

“’An Israeli government official said Mr. Netanyahu would prefer that the current coalition continue, explaining the prime minister’s position. “But there is important work to be done,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. “If the government cannot function, he will move to new elections.”…“At no point in time was this government closer to falling than now,” said Abraham Diskin, an emeritus professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Even if some of the politicians stand to gain little or even to lose from new elections, he said, “too many people have climbed up high trees that are hard to climb down.” [NYTimes]

—“Theres a secret deal between Netanyahu & the ultra-Orthodox, Maariv’s Ben Caspit reports. Likud denies, as Ben said they would in the story.” [h/t GilHoffman]

HAMAS SAYS UNITY GOVERNMENT IS OVER: “The unity government’s six-month term has expired, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said at a press conference in Gaza City, adding that talks would take place regarding a future government, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported. Gaza’s leaders responded to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel and Hamas of secretly negotiating. Hamas called on the Palestinian president to stop spreading lies, Israel Radio reported, and accused Abbas’s forces of arresting its members for political reasons.” [JPost]

ICYMI: Amir Tibon in The New Republic — THE SECRET BACK CHANNEL THAT DOOMED THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE NEGOTIATIONS: “Since the collapse of talks back in April, many have analyzed why Secretary of State John Kerry fell short of reaching any kind of agreement. One critical fact, however, has been kept hidden until now: a secret communication channel between the private attorney of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a confidante of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

“Neither Netanyahu in Jerusalem nor Abbas in Ramallah gave any public sign of accepting the proposed formula. As it became clear no one was interested in their work, Molho and his counterpart reduced the frequency of their meetings. Things changed in the spring of 2013, when Kerry began a serious push for new peace talks, visiting Jerusalem and Ramallah five times between March and July. As Kerry was laying the ground for an official negotiating track, Molho and his counterpart also renewed their backchannel, with Molho flying in and out of a European capital where the two would meet every few weeks.”

“Kerry, Indyk, and Livni were all aware of the secret channel, and briefed regularly on progress. But Israeli officials believed that the official Palestinian negotiators had no idea about the backchannel. By December 2013, when Molho and his counterpart were finalizing their talks and working on a dramatic understanding that summed up everything they had discussed, a larger problem emerged: The Israelis began to realize that it wasn’t clear if Molho’s counterpart was truly negotiating on behalf of President Abbas.” [TNR]

—Haaretz briefly published a piece early Thanksgiving morning claiming the heretofore unnamed Palestinian negotiator is Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and coauthor of A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine Hussein Agha, but quickly took the piece down. As of early Monday morning, it is back up, for the time being… [Haaretz]

IRAN TALKS: “Khamenei tells Iran armed forces to build up “irrespective” of diplomacy” by Mehrdad Balali: “Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday the armed forces should increase their combat capability regardless of political considerations, in an apparent allusion to continuing nuclear talks with the West aimed at easing tension in the Middle East.” [Reuters] • “Oil at $40 Possible as Market Transforms Caracas to Iran” [Bloomberg] • “Russia says oil-for-goods deal with Iran could be sealed soon” [Reuters]

TOP OP: “Defying the West on nuclear issue has become a matter of pride in Iran” by Aaron David Miller: “In the late 1960s, the Rolling Stones recorded one of their classic tunes: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The song’s philosophical message — to the extent Mick Jagger and Keith Richards thought about it — seemed to suggest that there are times in life when you can’t get what you want (most everything). But you just might get what you need (less than everything but still pretty darn good). Based on my years in and around Middle East negotiations, that tune pretty well summed up the approach to successful negotiations too. In every negotiation that worked, nobody got everything they wanted, no one got 100%. But they at least received what they really needed to make the deal. In short, the perfect was not allowed to become the enemy of the good.”

“The Stones’ message was clearly not on display in the talks between six world powers and Iran last week in Vienna, certainly not on the part of the Iranian negotiators and their leaders in Tehran. In these so-called P5-plus-1 talks, U.S. negotiators may have hoped that Iran was willing to conclude a deal based on needs, not wants. But Iran clearly saw matters differently and felt little pressure to do a deal now. And here’s why. It’s been evident for a good while that the negotiators in Tehran, Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad Zarif and even President Hassan Rouhani aren’t running the show. No negotiator ever does. Leaders do. But for talks on truly big issues to work, negotiators and leaders need to be in sync. In this case, they’re not.” [LA Times]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12:00 PM, The Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Middle East Forum of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center will host A Conversation with Danny Seidemann on  Jerusalem in Crisis?” moderated by Aaron David Miller [WilsonCenter]

**Good Monday Morning! We at JI hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. 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**

2016 WATCH: “The sons (and daughters) of donors also rise” by Ken Vogel in Politico: “Sheldon Adelson, his daughter, and his wife, Miriam Adelson, attended a June 2012 Koch seminar in Carlsbad, California, at which the casino owner told attendees that he hoped his daughter would one day take over the family’s political portfolio. The fate of the family’s $37 billion gambling fortune has become an increasing concern for big-money conservative operatives, who worry privately about the health and erratic political decisions of the family’s 81-year-old patriarch. Miriam Adelson, who is 69, sits in on political meetings and has been involved in key decisions, according to operatives who have assiduously courted her as a guardian of the Adelson political legacy… Asked whether Miriam Adelson would give as much if her husband passed away, GOP lawyer Randy Evans was careful. “I don’t think that the Adelsons’ passion for Israel, for stopping the legalization of marijuana, for card check, for the kinds of issues that are of critical importance to them, will stop regardless of what happens.”

“On the left, the Democracy Alliance major donor club has endeavored to make big-money politics a family affair, with mixed results. The club, which holds twice annual meetings, requires its members to pay annual dues of $30,000 and contribute a total of at least $200,000 a year to recommended groups.Jonathan Soros, the son of billionaire financier George Soros, had traveled the country recruiting donors to join the club before it launched in 2005. Jonathan Soros has continued to be active and has played a major role in liberal politics more generally, as well as — perhaps ironically — the effort to limit the role of money in politics. Yet Jonathan Soros said he had “no interest” in discussing how his father’s big-money political activism affected him.” [Politico] • “Rick Perry ramps up” [Politico] • “Governors Start Slow on White House Campaigns” [Time]

ICYMI: “Exactly One Jewish Group Supports the Keystone Pipeline. Others Stay Quiet” by Nathan Guttman: “A looming decision on one of the most-debated environmental issues in recent years has exposed the Jewish community’s fundamentally different perceptions about what’s at stake: national security for America and for its ally Israel, or the battle against climate change. The American Jewish Committee, one of the largest and most influential Jewish groups, has been lobbying the Obama administration and Congress to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a massive infrastructure project that would carry oil produced in Western Canada’s vast tar sands to refining facilities in the United States. AJC’s position reflects the group’s policy of viewing energy issues primarily through the prism of their impact on America’s ties to Arab countries and to Israel.” [Forward]

JEWISH TECHIE SPOTLIGHT: “Max Rafael Levchin: Cyclist, Millionaire Entrepreneur” by Daniel McMahon in Business Insider: “When Max Levchin was 10 years old and growing up [as a Jewish kid] in Communist Ukraine in the mid-1980s, his parents saved up to buy him a junior-size road bike, a rare luxury, and his mother, a cycling enthusiast, taught him how to ride. His family happened to live in an apartment complex that stood behind Kiev’s only open-air cycling track. At night, Levchin would sneak into the closed facility, pedaling around the oval, counting each completed lap in his head as he tapped out a steady rhythm. In the darkness of the velodrome, the only sound he heard was the whirring of his chain spinning the cogs on the back wheel of his bicycle. Nearly three decades later, Levchin still rides, not in a velodrome, but in the California hills. Numbers continue to speed rhythmically through his mind, powering the engineering genius of his work and the data-driven cyclist he has become, logging between 200 and 300 miles a week, often over the steepest hills he can find. And while his state-of-the-art carbon-fiber road bike is a world away from the steel racer he’d ridden as a boy, Levchin’s passion for cycling has only intensified. Every day, the 39-year-old entrepreneur — who has multiple hits behind him and more startups now in early stages — competes only against himself.” [BusinessInsider]

STARTUP NATION: WeWork opens in Tel Aviv [WeWork] • Jetleap takes the sting out of Cyber Monday shipping costs [ToI] • Michael Eisenberg: “A Call to Israeli Engineers! Adtech Is Not For You” [Aleph] • Israel’s Jerusalem-Based Glide Video-Messaging Startup Lures $20 Million Funding Round [WSJ]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Paul Singer looks to send Caesars to bankruptcy [NYPost] • “New York Hops on $15 Billion Israeli Corporate Bond Boom” by Yaacov Benmeleh: “U.S. real-estate developers are joining the largest wave of local debt issuance on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange bond trading platform since 2007, capitalizing on yield-starved investors to obtain financing. Companies have sold $14.6 billion of bonds this year through Nov. 20, up from $8.7 billion in the same period of 2013, according to bourse data. New York real-estate firms, including Gary Barnett’s Extell Development Co. and Zarasai Group Ltd., have joined the boom, issuing a total of $436 million.” [Bloomberg]

Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot to succeed Benny Gantz as 21st commander of IDF: “Eisenkot — who in 2011 insisted that the army’s top spot be given first to his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz — will take up the post as Israel grapples with a new wave of Palestinian terrorism, which saw five Israelis killed in an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue last week, and tensions on several of its borders and across the region. Eisenkot, 54, has headed the General Staff’s operations branch and the Northern Command, and served for the past four years as the deputy chief of the General Staff, a pivotal post on the path to the top spot.”[ToI]

SPORTS BLINK: NFL’s Reggie Bush and the ADL: “Anti-Defamation League blasted NFL player Reggie Bush on Thursday for posting a comment on social media which seemingly equated between the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Palestinian cause. On Tuesday, a day after a grand jury handed down its decision that it would not seek to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black 18-year-old in August — prompting widespread unrest and violent riots in the US — Bush posted a photo on Instagram of a man holding a sign saying “the Palestinian people know what mean [sic] to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity #Ferguson #Justice.” [ToI]

JEWISH SITCOM: “‘The Goldbergs’ Focuses a Nostalgic Lens on Family Dysfunction” by Melena Ryzik: “In its second season, “The Goldbergs” has built a solid following — and increasing ratings — by adhering to a formula now little seen on TV. It’s not a talk-to-the-camera mockumentary (à la “Modern Family,” which follows “The Goldbergs” on Wednesday nights), a reality-show spoof or an arch, cynical comedy. Instead, it’s a proud throwback built on nostalgia — for the era and for the sitcom tradition. Mr. Goldberg cites the “The Wonder Years” as an inspiration, and his own family as the model: Each episode ends with some home video of the real Goldberg clan, circa 1980-something, when young Adam obsessively videotaped everything… Besides being a pop culture wormhole, this show about a Jewish family also fits within ABC’s diverse programming efforts, with series like “Black-ish.” Though Jewish characters are common on TV, a series focusing on a Jewish family is about a once-a-decade phenomenon, said Vincent Brook, author of “Something Ain’t Kosher Here: The Rise of the ‘Jewish’ Sitcom.” [NYTimes]

NYTimes: “Brooklyn’s Lubavitch Community: A Culture Captured by the Ultimate Outsider” [NYTimes] • “Putin’s Chosen People: What’s behind the Russian president’s close relationship with an Orthodox Jewish sect?” [Slate]

MEMOIR: “How Martin Greenfield Survived Auschwitz to Become an Iconic Tailor to the Stars” by Chavie Lieber in Tablet: “Martin Greenfield is a legend in men’s fashion. He has hand-tailored suits for President Obama and President Clinton, as well as for such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Jimmy Fallon, and Johnny Depp. His Brooklyn-based company—Martin Greenfield Clothiers, which he runs with his sons Tod and Jay—creates custom suits for labels like DKNY, Rag & Bone, Ovadia and Sons, Band of Outsiders, and Brooks Brothers. Greenfield has even made his mark in Hollywood, creating suits for the TV shows Boardwalk Empire and The Knick, as well as blockbuster films including Ben Affleck’s Argo and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. But if Greenfield’s suits are famous, his personal story is less well-known. Now, in his new memoir Measure of a Man, Greenfield goes back to the beginning of his life—before he got his start in the American garment industry, to his childhood in Czechoslovakia and his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.” [TabletMag]

That’s all folks; have a great day!
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