Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: AP – “Obama not enthused with members of Bibi’s government” | The Israeli Connection in the Verizon AOL Deal | Teens of Silicon Valley

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FIRST LOOK: “The Israeli-Americans: Who they are, what they want, where they’re headed, why they matter” by Jared Sichel: “For many reasons — one is the feeling of not being fully American — most Israelis traditionally have not been involved with mainstream Jewish communal organizations in the U.S., particularly the Jewish Federation, the embodiment of the organized, institutionalized American-Jewish community. So in 2007, this group of Israeli businessmen created their own community (the Israeli-American Council or IAC), growing it in just eight years from one office in the San Fernando Valley to a national organization headquartered in Los Angeles, with six regional offices in L.A., New York, Boston, Miami, New Jersey and Las Vegas, 70 employees and an $18 million budget this year.” [JewishJournal]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Adam and Gila Milstein hosted an IAC Birthright fundraiser at their L.A. home. Speakers included radio host Dennis Prager, Sheldon Adelson, and a performance from comedian Mark Schiff. According to notes passed along to us, Adelson told the group, “This is the first time since I married my wife 25 years ago that we haven’t been together two nights in a row but I’m here to talk about one of my favorite subjects in life and that’s Birthright. The Chinese have a proverb: there are three things you can’t take back — the spoken word, a spent hour and yesterday. I would like to add a fourth — the opportunity to save a life. Birthright saves lives, Jewish lives.”

Adelson continued, “I came from a very poor family. We were so poor we couldn’t even afford poverty. We weren’t rags to riches because we couldn’t afford the rags. My father is the main reason Miriam and I got involved in Birthright. When Israel was born he said “one day I will go,” but he never had any money. When we finally made some money and tried to send him, it was too late. In 2006 when Birthright was in trouble, I thought of my father. We didn’t want Jewish kids to grow too old or too sick to visit Israel… My wife and I will match every dollar that you raise over the next three years up to $50 million. We want to go from 40,000 kids to 75,000 a year on Birthright. We won’t rest until that happens.”

On Israel Hayom: Adelson told the group “it’s not Bibi’s paper. It’s the Adelson family paper. A fair and balanced paper. In fact, we just bought another paper for the Modern Orthodox in Israel, in Judea and Samaria.” Spotted: Birthright President David Fisher, Dina Leeds, Richard Sandler, Larry Hochberg, Ben Shapiro, Annette Shapiro, Steve Fishman, Shawn Evenhaim, Miri Belsky, Raphael Shore, and Dan Schnur.

“Obama Not Enthused By Some Members of Netanyahu’s Government: Obama says the two-state solution is vital for ensuring the “long-term security of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state.” He says, however, that some in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly formed government don’t believe in that premise. Speaking Thursday from Camp David, Obama cited the presidential retreat’s history as the site of Israel’s 1979 peace accords with Egypt. He said that deal took “vision and courage” and left Israel better off. Obama said an agreement with the Palestinians would do the same.” [AP• “Who’s who in Netanyahu’s 2015 government” [ToI] • “Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s New Justice Minister, Shrugs Off Critics in Her Path” [NYTimesBloomberg] • “Reforming the Israeli Electoral System: What’s Needed? What’s Possible?” by Tamar Friedman [Fpri]

REPORT: “The US Congress will not be able to stop a nuclear deal with Iran from being signed, according to recent assessments by sources in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the intelligence community and AIPAC, who now believe it might be time to shift gears. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could either continue to fight the deal or he could swallow the deal, asking in return far-reaching benefits from the US, the sources said.” [YNet] • “Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer warns Washington against Iran nuclear deal risk: Says President Obama’s plan will allow Tehran to build a bomb” [WashTimes]

“U.S., Arab Allies Find Accord on Iran” by Carol E. Lee and Jay Solomon: “U.S. President Barack Obama strengthened military backing for Arab allies, who in turn offered him support to pursue a “verifiable” nuclear deal with Iran despite their deep skepticism over its possible security consequences. The statement of support by six Persian Gulf countries on Thursday, including Saudi Arabia, could provide a boost for Mr. Obama’s efforts to secure a nuclear accord with Tehran.” [WSJ]

“Iran Deal Review Bill Passes Congress, Heads to Obama: Passage came easily on a vote of 400-25. Only six Democrats and 19 Republicans opposed the measure. House Republican leaders decided to fend off potential last-minute issues by pairing the Iran vote with the measure on Hezbollah’s financial network, H.R. 2297, which passed 423-0.” [BloombergTheHill]

The 25 No Votes: R’s — Brian Babin, Dave Brat, Ken Buck, Michael Burgess, Doug Collins, Blake Farenthold, John Fleming, Scott Garrett, Louie Gohmert, Andy Harris, Richard Hudson, Tim Huelskamp, Jim Jordan, Thomas Massie, Tom McClintock, Ted Poe, Mike Pompeo, Daniel Webster, and Lynn Westmoreland. D’s — Earl Blumenauer, John Conyers, Peter DeFazio, Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, and Jim McDermott. [RollCall]

“Hawaii Dem takes on Obama” by Kristina Wong: “One of the toughest critics of President Obama’s strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who represents his home state of Hawaii. Gabbard has taken the administration to task for refusing to use the term “radical Islam” and called for the White House to be more aggressive.” [TheHill]

“Russ Feingold Wants a Rematch” by Russell Berman: “In announcing Thursday that he would seek a rematch against Johnson, Feingold, 62, is betting that his timing will finally be right in 2016. With Feingold’s brand of progressive populism having ripened into a consensus among Democrats, it’s a pretty decent gamble—at least as things stand a year-and-a-half out from the election. For starters, unlike in 2010 he’ll be running in a presidential-election year, and the Democratic nominee has carried Wisconsin every four years since 1984.” [TheAtlantic]

2016 WATCH: “Martin O’Malley tells donors to prepare for May 30 announcement” by Alex Seitz-Wald: “O’Malley steered clear of declaring his widely expected presidential run, with aides referring only to a cryptic, potential “federal campaign,” but the intention was clear to all. The call featured about 200 donors, including 100 from Maryland and 100 from other states.” [MSNBC]

One Less: “John Bolton Skips 2016, Warns Clinton Well-Versed on Foreign Policy” by Byron Tau: “As I look forward, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for president,” he said in a video released Thursday. “I believe I can make the strongest contribution to our future by continuing as a clear and consistent advocate for a strong Reaganite foreign policy that values peace through strength.” [WSJ] • “Could the GOP Really See a Brokered Convention in 2016?” [NR]

TRANSITIONS: “Steve Gutow Steps Down at JCPA” by Nathan Guttman: “Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, announced his resignation effective December 31. JCPA’s top lay leader Susan Turnbull sent an email on Thursday to board members informing them of Gutow’s planned departure and on the group’s intention to form a search committee to find a new leader. Gutow, Turbulll said, “is leaving a legacy of stellar work and we will continue to build on his strong legacy.” Gutow told the Forward he had never planned to stay in the position, which he described as a “very, very hard job,” for more than five to ten years.” [Forward]

“Food Entrepreneur to Head Bay Area Jewish Federation” by Anais Strickland: “Danny Grossman, chief executive of Slow Food for Fast Lives, has been named chief executive of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. A member of the federation’s Board of Directors, he takes over from Jim Offel, who served as interim chief executive after Jennifer Gorovitz’s resignation last year.” [Philanthropy] h/t @Howielb

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LongReads: “The Mormons on Mount Scopus: BYU’s Jerusalem campus hasn’t unleashed a wave of missionaries. But it hasn’t opened much interfaith dialogue, either.” [TabletMag]

“Bernie Madoff’s Essential Man” by Diana B. Henriques: “One morning years ago, an auditor from the firm KPMG paid a visit to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities’ offices at 885 Third Avenue, the sleek, tubular Midtown office tower known as the Lipstick Building. The auditor informed Frank DiPascali Jr., Madoff’s de facto chief financial officer, that he was conducting due diligence for a major European bank and asked to see a trade ledger — a roster of Madoff’s transaction records — for the investment fund.” [NYTimesMag]

The Real (Jewish) Teens of Silicon Valley: “Inside the almost-adult lives of the industry’s newest recruits” by Nellie Bowles: “Their teen world can be all-consuming, even isolating. Teens have also proven to be exceptionally creative coders. When it launched, Workflow was the most purchased iPhone app for four days. By charging up to $5 per download, Kramer and his co-founders, 20-year-old Ari Weinstein and 19-year-old Nick Frey, have so far mostly managed to avoid taking venture-capital money… To Ryan Orbuch, starting a company as a teenager makes more sense than starting one later in life. “People are always saying, ‘Oh, you’re so young to be taking such a risk.’ I’m amazed when people start companies in their 30s!” he said. “If I mess up, I go home and go to college. The worst that can happen is minimal.” [CaliforniaSundayMag]

STARTUP NATION: “The Israeli Connection in Verizon’s Acquisition of AOL” by Orr Hirschauge: “When Verizon said this week it was buying AOL, experts said the acquisition would give the U.S. telecoms giant, which has set its sights on entering the crowded online video marketplace, access to advanced technology AOL has developed for selling ads and delivering high-quality Web video. At the heart of that technology, so critical to AOL’s video offerings, lie three startups the NY-based Web company snapped up over the past five years. Two of the companies were founded by Israelis, and the third has an R&D center in Israel.” [WSJ• “Debt-Ridden Israel Electric Bets on Cyber Security Exports” [Digits]

“Mort Zuckerman’s Daily News bidding down to its final three suitors” by Keith J. Kelly:“The auction for the troubled Daily News is going down to the wire, with only three bidders remaining. Real estate mogul Steve Witkoff, who was rumored to be among the finalists for the teetering tabloid, was confirmed by Media Ink on Thursday as one of the final three. Also poring over the final documents are a bidding team headed by Jimmy Finkelstein, owner of The Hill… The bidder many see as the front-runner is supermarket mogul and one time candidate for mayor John Catsmitidis.” [NYPost]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Private equity stalwart Pomona Capital launches fund for smaller investors, joining ranks of Carlyle, Altegris” [InvestmentNews] • “Safra Foundation Awards $30 Million to Israeli Brain Sciences Center” [PND] • “For N.F.L. Stars and Celebrities, There’s No Off-Season at Jay Glazer’s Gym” [NYTimes] • “More than £1billion in 12 years – Roman Abramovich’s backing for Chelsea”[Independent]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Kushner inks $296M deal for retail condo in Times Square” [NYPost] • Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities gets into crowdfunding game with “Invest Thor” [RealDeal] • “Streit’s Matzo Tenements Sell for $30.5M” [TabletMag]

“Orthodox Jewish commencement speaker finds a Shabbat workaround” by Lauren Markoe: “Senior Don Greenberg was looking forward to addressing his fellow students as a commencement speaker at Binghamton University’s engineering school when his girlfriend broke the bad news: May 16, graduation day, falls on a Saturday… when 2,500 students and their families gather on the upstate New York campus for the Watson School of Engineering graduation on Saturday, Greenberg will still take his place at the podium. And on jumbo screens on either side of the stage, he will watch himself deliver the graduation address he taped in the university’s video studio three days earlier.” [ReligionNews]

DESSERT: “This Guy Thought His Hebrew Tattoo Said “Strength” But It Really Says “Matzoh” — by Sheera Frenkel: “Sruli Schochet was in an Arkansas Walmart when he ran into this guy, proudly showing off a tattoo he thought read as “strength” in Hebrew. Unfortunately, the tattoo was badly misspelled. Schochet said he didn’t have the heart to break it to the guy, that the word on his arm actually reads as “matzoh,” the Hebrew word for the cracker-like unleavened bread Jews eat during the holiday of Passover.” [BuzzFeed]

SPORTS QUOTE: “It sounds like a bad joke — such as suggesting that Mel Gibson run the American Jewish Congress. But, I assure you, it’s real.” — In “Isiah Thomas has no business running the Liberty” by Andrea Peyser [NYPost]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Madeleine Albright turns 78… Charles Kushner turns 61… Edgar Bronfman, Jr. turns 60… Tribe Media President David Suissa… Howard Wolfson (yesterday)

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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