Daily Kickoff: Israeli MKs visit the U.S. while U.S. Senators visit Israel; Leonard Boxer’s ‘Kosher Nostra’; American Vying To Be Next Pres. of Israel
By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff
BRUSSELS SHOOTING – Experts split on Jewish Museum Killer: Anti-Semitic Lone Wolf or Hitman Settling the Scores: “The shooting of three people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum was probably a “terrorist attack”, Belgian officials said on Monday, though some security experts suggested it may have been the work of a hitman rather than an anti-Semitic ‘lone wolf’. There was no practical reason for a hostile state like Iran or an enemy organization like Hezbollah to try and harm either Emanuel or Mira Riva, both former civil servants, at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Both were accountants who were employed separately by government bodies.
“Still, it’s possible that the murder in Brussels was not a hate crime or an anti-Semitic attack, but a targeted assault. This possibility is strengthened by the video of the killer’s actions. He was caught by the cameras looking like a professional, as if this was a settling of scores. Emmanuel Riva had previously worked for Nativ, a government agency that played a covert role in fostering Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union, an Israeli official said. Miriam Riva, his wife, had also worked in the past for the prime minister’s office, the official said without elaborating. Other analysts dismissed the notion that this was some kind of contract killing or settling of scores among intelligence services, saying the daylight attack indicated it was more likely a random attack on Jews.” [Reuters]
POPE’S HOPES: Pope ends delicate Mideast trip with peace call: “Pope Francis wrapped up his Mideast pilgrimage Monday with a balancing act of symbolic and spontaneous gestures to press his call for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and friendship between Jews and Muslims. A day after he boosted Palestinian aspirations by praying at Israel’s security barrier surrounding Bethlehem, Francis honored Holocaust victims by kissing the hands of several survivors, and accepted Israel’s last-minute request to pray at a memorial to victims of suicide bombings and other attacks. But the image that the Vatican hopes will define the trip, and perhaps Francis’ young papacy, was another: that of the leader of the 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church embracing his Argentine friends, a rabbi and a Muslim, in front of the Western Wall, adjacent to the disputed hilltop compound that lies at the heart of decades of Israel-Arab tensions.” [AP]
–WSJ Front Page, Lead Story/Pic: “Never Again, Lord, Never Again.”
–Top Tweet: @JeffreyGoldberg – “For those watching the Bibi/Francis conversation, the Pope is the one wearing a kippah [YouTube]”
HAPPENING TODAY: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will address Agudath Israel of America’s annual dinner at the New York Hilton…. At Noon, the Jewish National Fund hosts MK Dr. Ruth Calderon at Park Avenue Synagogue for a Rabbis for Israel Society Luncheon. Calderon’s talk is titled “From the politics of the Talmud and the Mishnah to the politics of the Knesset.”
Knesset Delegation is in the US for a week-long visit to DC and NYC. The delegation includes MKsTzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Yehiel (Hilik) Bar (Labor), Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), Yitzhak Cohen(Shas), Zvulun Kalfa (HaBayit HaYehudi), Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) and Eliezer Stern (Hatenua). On Wed. they will participate at Jewish Heritage event on the Hill and meet with Members of Congress. On Friday, the delegation is expected to visit the New York City Council to meet with the speaker and the Jewish Caucus. The final scheduled event will be marching with Mayor Bill de Blasio at the Israeli Day parade on Sunday.
TRADING PLACES – Senators in Israel: Cruz: “Israel has no better friend in America than the Tea Party”: Gil Tamary, Israel’s Channel 10 Washington Correspondent, interviewed Cruz prior to what is his third visit to Israel since taking office. Cruz – “I wish Obama was Israel’s best friend has he claimed, but it isn’t the case.. There is no reason to believe the current deal with Iran will lead to any outcome other than disaster.. Hillary’s domestic policy and foreign policy have both proven to be disastrous.” [YouTube]
–Not feeling snubbed by Adelson: Cruz smiled when asked why he was not invited to the so-called “Adelson Primary” – to give a speech at an event the casino magnate attended and court his support for the 2016 primary. “I like and respect Sheldon a great deal,” Cruz replied. “At this point, I’m not running for anything. I’m serving in the US Senate.” Cruz also deftly dodged an issue that made New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stumble recently: When asked what he calls the land east of Jerusalem and west of the Jordan River? “I’ll leave geography to the mapmakers,” Cruz replied. [JPost]
Also in Israel: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Patrick has said the goal of the nine-day trip is to expand opportunities for economic development and job creation in the innovation economy. He arrived in Israel on Monday. Gov. Patrick will deliver the keynote at the U.S – Israel CONNECTED Summit, an event designed to bring together hundreds of American and Israeli business leaders, academics and government leaders to spark conversations on a wide range of topics, from eHealth to the Internet of Things. Patrick will also meet with Israel’s Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson…
IS ISRAEL ‘READY FOR HILLARY’? American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen says former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be ready to hit the ground running on foreign policy if she is elected president in 2016.. “Hillary will have a different view of the world and America’s role,” Rosen told the Jerusalem Post. “Her experience will impact her in a way that Obama wasn’t impacted. [JPost]
Rand Paul: “ZOA Counterbalance to AIPAC”: Paul addressed the ZOA’s Annual Advocacy Mission in DC: “It is important to have the ZOA because the ZOA is right on some things that AIPAC is not. A lot of Americans don’t know that we give money to the PA. If we are to continue to do so, we must have strict rules. Now you have Fatah coming together with Hamas. If they come together and Hamas still has as its credo the destruction of Israel, how can that be the beginning of a peace process? So its really one or the other … if Hamas wants to lay down arms, respect the rights of Israel as Jewish state, that’s one thing but if they don’t, I can’t see America giving them any money, not a penny … I’m convinced if I was allowed to speak to the AIPAC membership, many would agree with me. [Press Release] FLASHBACK: Rand Paul: Disappointed In AIPAC’s Opposition To Pro-Israel Legislation [JP Updates] — Related: GOP’s Foreign Policy Hawks Wary of Paul’s Evolving Views [NYTimes]
AP – According to a negotiator, Palestinian unity government to be announced later this week: “Azzam al-Ahmed, a Fatah negotiator, traveled to Gaza on Monday for what he said would be a final round of talks with Hamas leaders about the Cabinet lineup. A temporary government of technocrats is to prepare for general elections in 2015.” [AP]
Al Monitor Israel Pulse: In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Defense Minister Shaul Mofazargues that American over-involvement in Israeli-Palestinian talks only alienated both sides, and the only feasible solution is a two-stage agreement with the Palestinians, even while talking with Hamas.[AlMonitor]
Midterms 2014 – Jewish Gubernatorial Candidate Says Gender Played Role In Primary Loss: Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), who lost the Democratic nomination in the race to challenge Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in last week’s primary, claims gender played a factor in her loss. Schwartz, who was Pennsylvania’s only female (and Jewish) member of Congress, was initially seen as the front-runner to win the party’s nomination when she announced her intention in 2013 to become the first female governor in state history. She eventually got defeated by York County businessman Tom Wolf, who began aggressively advertising in state markets in January — a full two months before Schwartz’s own ads began running. In an email to supporters, Schwartz suggests that the political establishment and local media were not ready for a woman to take over helm of government. [JP Updates] — Related: PA Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Also Wins Big With His JCC [JewishExponent]
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DYNASTIES: Real Estate Lawyer Leonard Boxer Passes Jewish Contacts Along to Sons:“Some families pass massive property portfolios from one generation to the next. Leonard Boxer, one of New York City’s most prominent real estate lawyers, did the next best thing: He helped his three sons in their real estate careers by introducing them to big-name developers, brokers and financiers. “My currency in this world is my contacts,” said the 75-year-old Mr. Boxer, who heads the real estate practice at Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP.
His sons have made good use of the information: Michael Boxer, 46, is head of real estate at Ramius, the investment management business of Cowen Group, the $10.6 billion investment management firm led by Wall Street legend Peter Cohen; Jason Boxer, 43, is a principal at Estreich & Co., a large New York-based mortgage finance broker; and Douglas Boxer, 41, is a restaurateur helped out by his father’s connections with New York’s top landlords. Now, family members have come together on a big deal. Michael Boxer is playing a lead role in Ramius’s investment in a planned $350 million, 900-unit rental property at Liberty Harbor North on the New Jersey Waterfront. Mr. Boxer’s legal team at Stroock structured the deal between Ramius and the developer, Fisher Development. Jason Boxer is seeking debt financing for construction.
“The grandchild of Eastern European immigrants, Leonard Boxer began his legal career in New York in the 1960s doing trust and estate law, before venturing into real estate. His list of clients over the years reads like a who’s who of the real-estate industry and includes such names as Richard LeFrak,Donald Trump and Larry Silverstein. The brothers and their parents meet monthly to manage family investments and to discuss each other’s industries. Their company is Lenid Holdings, named after Leonard and his wife, Enid, who is chairman of the board. When someone needs a contact, funding or expertise, they draw on a list of friends they call “the Kosher Nostra,” a web of influencers located largely in New York’s Jewish community. “It’s my greatest pride that my sons get along and are best friends,” said Mr. Boxer.” [WSJ]
GLOBES PROFILE: Green energy entrepreneur Yossi Abramowitz wants to be the next President of Israel: “Yossi Abramowitz, who immigrated to Israel from the US seven years ago, resides in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood with his wife, Rabbi Susan Silverman, and his five children, two of whom are adopted from the Israeli-Ethiopian community. Abramowitz, 50, was born in New York. When he was five, his parents moved to Israel. Then in 1972, when he was eight, they moved to Boston. After earning a master’s degree at Columbia University, Abramowitz gravitated toward social activism. As part of his opposition to apartheid, he met Susan, a New Hampshire native and sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, who’s also an investor in Abramowitz’s energy ventures.
–In the years preceding his move to Israel, Abramowitz earned a living from a multimedia company that built Jewish-themed websites, among them MyJewishLearning.com for the late Edgar Bronfman, as well as the site for Birthright, which Bronfman’s brother Charles founded together withMichael Steinhardt. Susan served as rabbi of a congregation and after moving to Israel, she joined Women of the Wall and was among the leaders of its struggle for equal worship rights at Judaism’s holiest site, which led to her arrest last year. President? Isn’t that a long shot? “There’s a huge gap between the expectations of Israelis and the Jewish World and what we look for in a President. I fear that someone else similar to Moshe Katzav will come along. Great thanks to Shimon Peres, who restored honor to the position. My friends believe there’s room for changing the public discourse through the Presidency.”[Globes]
START-UP NATION SPOTLIGHT: As Plumbers Go Online, Israeli Website-Builder Wix Booms: “Wix is counting on hairdressers and plumbers taking their business online after a sell-off pushed its stock below its initial public offering level. Wix’s stock almost doubled in less than four months after it raised $127 million on the Nasdaq last year, the biggest IPO out of Israel since 2007. The gains were generated amid the best year for U.S. initial public offerings since the financial crisis. A decline in technology stocks led Wix to cancel a secondary offering on March 31 and its stock is down 43 percent this year. Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami says the company has grown quickly by unearthing the natural phobia of coding and programming afflicting millions of small businesses. Wix.com offers free tools for establishing an online presence with a simple way to drag and drop elements into Web pages.”[Bloomberg]
LongRead: Susan Neiman in Aeon Magazine – “Historical guilt in America and Germany”:“Can America face up to the terrible reality of slavery in the way that Germany has faced up to the Holocaust?” 4,900 words [Aeon]
Spanish ‘Jew Killers’ Town Votes to Change Unfortunate Name: “The town is believed to have once been home to a thriving Jewish community, who converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition and changed the town’s name to prove their faith. In a 29 – 19 vote, the town moved to scrap the name that dates back to at least 1623 and assume its prior name: Mota de Judios, or “Hill of the Jews.”[TimeMag]
Bret Stephens: “The Ghosts of Europe”: “A decade ago it was conventional wisdom to observe that Europe had become a zone of perpetual peace, an agent of soft power and international law, Venus to America’s Mars. But history is coming back to Europe, and not just at the far margin in places like Donetsk. The European Parliament may be mostly toothless as a political institution. But now there’s no blinking at the fact that fascism is no longer just a piece of Europe’s past but also a realistic possibility for its future.” [WSJ]
Page Six: Jewish Russian billionaire laid low as friend Putin invaded Ukraine: “Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova, glittering fixtures in London, St. Barts and the French Riviera, have been keeping a low profile since Abramovich’s friend, Vladimir Putin, invaded Ukraine. The Jewish Russian oligarch, worth $9.4 billion according to Forbes, has also barely been seen lately at the matches of his Chelsea Football Club.” [PageSix] —— Not Quite: In very publicized fashion, Abramovich recently rented an entire luxury Israeli hotel for Passover [BusinessInsider]
Weekend Wedding: Mazal Tov to Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun and Tehillah Voslevitzon their wedding this past Sunday. Among the guests on hand at Monteverde at Oldstone in Westchester, NY, to celebrate were: Justin Bieber, Usher, Scooter Braun, and Yael Cohen.
Sports Blink: Athletic’s Owner Lewis Wolff Talks the Jewish Side of Moneyball: “Q: There are a lot of Jewish sports owners. What is it like to be in that club? A: “Well first of all, there aren’t that many Jewish owners. I don’t really think about. In our management team [Oakland A’s] one guy is Catholic, two are Jewish and one is Muslim. We have an international group surrounding me. I really don’t care what their religion is as long as we win ball games. Competing is most important. Q: What is so special about Billy Beane? A: He’s just a quality decent mensch. He is devoted to family. He respects the value of everyone Q: Do you have a relationship with Israel? A: I have been there only once. One of my grandsons went over and played basketball in the Maccabiah games. My daughter is much more active in Jewish life than I am. Sometimes we go to Temple and the rabbi will say “Hello Gene” to my wife and look at me and say how are you?” [Forward]
That’s all folks, have a great Tuesday!
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