Daily Kickoff: How Egypt & Israel Became Secret BFFs | $18M Aspen Shul Opens Today | The Sephardic Jew Behind Jawbone | AC/DC In Iran’s Nuke Reactor

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FIRST LOOK: “Israel’s ‘battering husband syndrome’ and ongoing feud with the Obama administration” by Chemi Shalev in Haaretz: “Perhaps the Prime Minister’s Office is finding it hard to keep pace with the seemingly unending stream of leaks concerning the broken lines of communication between the two allies, in general, and Israeli badmouthing of Kerry, in particular. Did Netanyahu hang up on Kerry or was his phone simply out of range? Did Israel turn the tables on the NSA by eavesdropping on the secretary’s conversations? Is it true that Netanyahu told Ambassador Dan Shapiro not to second guess him on Hamas? And did President Obama scold the Israeli PM as if he was a schoolboy or was it all one big misunderstanding? Most of these questions remain unanswered to this day, but Netanyahu’s long silences following their publication is often taken as confirmation…”
“The prime minister frequently cites his long friendship with Kerry and recites his great appreciation for America’s “terrific” support, but his cabinet’s sometimes seems to be suffering from a battering husband syndrome, you will excuse me, in its attitude towards the Obama administration… In their dealings with Kerry and Obama, cabinet ministers repeatedly allow their hot tempers to run wild and their yearning for cheap political thrills get the best of them… In the month that has passed since the Gaza conflict began, Israel has repeatedly foiled Kerry’s plans, possibly with justification, but it has done so in a way that has undercut the secretary’s domestic and international stature and made him the object of widespread scorn and ridicule for pundits and politicians alike…”

“America’s declining dominance of the international arena, Obama’s political weakness at home and Jerusalem’s new found common ground with Washington’s discontented friends in the region, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, may be leading some Israeli decision makers to assume that the Obama administration can be challenged with impunity, or maybe even spurned altogether. It is a potentially dangerous delusion, especially if Washington decides to break with past patterns and await an opportunity to pay Israel back, in kind.” [Haaretz]

BIBI RESUMES PHONE CALL WITH KERRY: The Sunday phone call between the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State got disconnected. But… reports claimed Wednesday that said Netanyahu toldKerry he had to speak to bereaved parents before their son’s funeral, Kerry readily understood and they agreed to continue the conversation at a different time. Walla! news’ diplomatic correspondent Amir Tibon claimed in a tweet that Netanyahu and Kerry resumed their conversation on Tuesday night. [INN]

—Rep. Steve Israel spent an hour on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He described seeing a good working relationship between Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry. “[Netanyahu] had to leave to have his ten-minute conference [call] with Sec. Kerry,” he said. “The prime minister stressed to us that the most important element of U.S. – Israeli relations is the Iron Dome [missile defense] program. On that issue, the U.S. and Israel issue have never been closer.”[DailyNews]

—Rep. Israel disagreed with the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department that have all said that Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties. “I do not know what more Israel could have done,” he said during an interview with CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper. “In any war, you’re always going to get the tragedy of those casualties.” [CNN]

WSJ HOME PAGE: “Gaza Tension Stoked by Unlikely Alliance Between Israel and Egypt” by Adam Entous and Nicholas Casey: “Israel and Egypt quietly agreed to work in concert to squeeze Hamas after Egypt’s military coup in 2013, a strategy that proved effective but which some Israeli and U.S. officials now believe stoked tensions that helped spur open warfare in Gaza.” [WSJ]

Obama – No Symphanty For Hamas, Give Abbas The Keys: President Obama, speaking to reporters at the State Department, reiterated his steady support of Israel’s right to defend itself. He declared, “I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for the work done in cooperation with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. They’ve shown themselves to be responsible. They have recognized Israel. They are prepared to move forward to arrive at a two-state solution. I think Abu Mazen is sincere in his desire for peace.”

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Hundreds rallied in support of Israel at a concert in Brooklyn, organized by Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz. Spoke: Assemblymembers Dov Hikind & Helene Weinstein; Malcolm Hoenlein, Morton Klein, JCRC’s Michael Miller and Andrew Gross, political advisor to the Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York. BEST LINE: Hoenlein – “Hamas exists to kill, Israel, sometimes, has to kill to exist.”

ON THIS DATE IN… (Via the AP): 2000 – “Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore chose Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate, making him the first Jewish candidate on a major party ticket.” 2010 – “Elena Kagan was sworn in as the 112th justice and fourth woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.” [AP]

—U.S. Suspected Israeli Involvement in 1960s Missing Uranium: “Declassified documents from the 1970s provide new evidence that federal officials believed bomb-grade uranium that disappeared from a Pennsylvania nuclear facility in the 1960s was likely taken for use in a clandestine Israeli atomic-weapons program.” [WSJ]


**Good Thursday 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**

PROFILE – THE MAKER’S MARK: “Yves Behar is the man behind Silicon Valley’s most beautiful gadgets. But can his good taste conquer the world?” by Casey Newton for The Verge: “Since moving to California in 1990, Behar has become one of the leading industrial designers of his generation, creating iconic objects for Jawbone, Herman Miller, General Electric, and Puma, among many others. The objects often have a socially progressive bent: light fixtures that promote energy conservation, say, or cheap but durable laptops that offer poor children improved access to education. Behar’s designs tend to be practical rather than flashy, and they have a history of predicting — or dictating — mass-market trends. His design for the Jambox, first released in 2010, launched a multibillion-dollar wireless-speaker market… Henry Behar comes from a family of Sephardic Jews who were forced out of the Jewish ghetto in Venice and settled in Turkey. Christine Behar grew up in East Germany, and at the age of 17 escaped into West Berlin via an underground tunnel. They met at a nightclub in London, and married in 1966. Yves was born a year later.” [TheVerge]

BuzzFeed Watch: “BuzzFeed Gets a Big Story Wrong: But it’s other journalists who turned it into a viral conspiracy theory” by Liel Leibovitz in Tablet: “Yesterday, Israeli security officials claimed the funding and instructions for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in June came from two top leaders of Hamas in Gaza: Fathi Hammad, the former Hamas interior minister, who lives in Gaza, and Saleh al-Arouri, a close associate of Khaled Mashaal, who masterminds terror operations from a safe haven in Turkey. Ordinarily, the news that a terrorist organization funds terrorism wouldn’t qualify as much of a news item. But as those paying attention to the coverage of the recent conflict in Gaza know, the question of who was behind the kidnapping has bloomed into a persistent conspiracy theory. Israel, wailed its critics, had known all along that the kidnappers were members of a breakaway sect of the terror organization, yet had blamed Hamas anyway in order to justify its bloody pre-planned assault on Gaza.”[BuzzFeed]

IRAN TALKS: “U.S. Nuclear Negotiator To Resume Talks With Iran”: “The Obama administration’s chief nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman is meeting Thursday with Iranian officials in Geneva as negotiations resume on a deal to prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.” [AP]

—Hackers confused Iranian scientist by blaring AC/DC in nuke lab: “Call it black hacker humor. With a twist. During a thoroughly detailed and far ranging talk about hacking and malware propagation at the Black Hat conference attended by 2,000 in a massive conference room at the Mandalay Bay Wednesday, legendary computer security visionary Mikko Hypponen had a funny story to tell…. The email was concerned, not about the destroyed centrifuges, but about Australian hard rock group AC/DC, whose music is banned in the ultra conservative Muslim country, a nation where accessing Facebook is now a serious crime and Twitter is outlawed.” [VentureBeat]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: Qatar Walks Away From (Israeli) Alexander Brothers And Record $90M UES Townhouse Contract [RealDeal] — Joseph Sitt to buy three Midtown buildings for $218M [NYPost] — Fontainebleau Owner Jeffrey Soffer Fights Subpoena Of Financial Docs [Law360] — Israel Englander’s daughter buys $15.5M Park Avenue Co-OP [RealDeal

2016 WATCH – Fox News host Bill O’Reilly piled on Sen. Rand Paul re: ‘dodge’ on Israel aid, saying that at the most charitable, “he may have changed his mind, he’s not as tough as he was in 2011.” O’Reilly said, “It looks like Senator Paul is not being upfront.” Fox’s Molly Line pointed out the “tap dance” Paul appears to be doing: his main argument now is that he never had a legislative proposal in the works to cut off foreign aid to Israel. The only problem there, she continued, is that Paul did advocate cutting all foreign aid, which included to Israel (though he never singled Israel out). O’Reilly said the line about a legislative proposal is just a “dodge.” [Mediaite— Longread: “Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?” by Robert Draper in the New York Times Magazine: “Rand Paul is to the libertarian movement what Nirvana is to rock, according to one prominent libertarian.” [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Aspen Synagogue Open Doors Thursday To Jewish Community” by Nancy Lofholm in the Denver Post: “More than 500 people are expected Thursday to celebrate the opening of the new $18 million Chabad Jewish Community Center in the heart of Aspen. The center that encompasses a square block on Main Street is the first synagogue in the state west of Denver and one of the largest Jewish centers between Colorado and the Pacific Coast.” [DenverPost]

NYTimes: “At a Camp for Hasidic Boys, Studying Faith Is Their Daily Exercise” by Joseph Berger: “Although they are at the heart of one of the nation’s largest sleep-away boys’ camps, the dozen basketball courts at Camp Rav Tov D’Satmar are crumbling from disuse, with weeds sprouting from cracked playing surfaces and hoops either sheared off or rusting.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “NBA Superstars — Mission to Israel … Cancelled”: “Russell Westbrookand Derrick Rose were among a group of NBA superstars set to travel to Israel to support a basketball team co-owned by Amare Stoudemire — but TMZ Sports has learned the trip’s been 86’d due to the Gaza conflict. Our sources in the Holy Land tell us the legion of NBA talent — which also included Robin and Brook Lopez and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin — was going to attend the opening of a new arena in Jerusalem on September 4. Magic Johnson was also on the guest list, but we’re told he had scheduling issues. The plan was for some of the players (not Magic or Mullin) to square off against Hapoel Jerusalem — a team co-owned by Amare, tech entrepreneur Ori Allon and NBA super-agent Arn Tellem … who was key in drawing big names to attend.” [TMZ]

TOP-OPS: WSJ Editorial: “Britain’s Anti-Israel Charades” [WSJ] — Dean Obeidallah: “Stop the Anti-Semitism When Talking Gaza” [DailyBeast] — David Horowitz: “Israel might have won; Hamas certainly lost” [ToI] — Benny Morris: “The Tunnels of Hamas—and of Ancient Jews” [WSJ] — Leon Wieseltier: “Israel and Gaza: A Just and Unjust War” [NewRepublic]

That’s all folks, have a great Thursday! 

**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**


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