Daily Kickoff: Backstory on US-Funded Stockpile in Israel That Caused ‘Snafu’ | Postal Service Apologizes | Tisch’s New App | YU on Vatican Menorah

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TOP TALKER: Chuck Todd to replace David Gregory as moderator of Meet the Press: “People can finally stop speculating about Meet the Press. NBC News President Deborah Turness announced that David Gregory, who has been hosting for almost six years, will leave the network and Chuck Todd will replace him as moderator beginning on Sept. 7.” [WashPost]

FLASHBACK: “David Gregory Interview on Judaism: The ‘Meet the Press’ host is immersed in a midlife study of Judaism. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, he tells Lauren Ashburn how it’s changed his life—and how he celebrates the Jewish holidays”: “For NBC’s David Gregory, if it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press. If it’s Friday night, it’s Shabbat with his wife and three young children. The 6-foot 5-inch, prematurely gray-haired television host, who spars weekly with the nation’s top politicians, has learned how to leave his boxing gloves at the front door. “We have a great ritual…of lighting the candles and saying our blessings and talking about what we’re thankful for this week,” he says… Instead of going it alone, Gregory began weekly meetings several years ago with Erica Brown, the scholar in residence at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington… Gregory has committed not just to exposing his children to Judaism, but to making it a part of the air they breathe—something he learned from the chief rabbi of England’s United Hebrew Congregation. That includes saying the Sh’ma Yisrael prayer with them before bed. “Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says you can’t command your children to be Jews. You have to live it,” he says.” [DailyBeast]

You’ll Get Mail: “Postal Service Apologizes For Israel Mail Flap” by Bernie Becker: “The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday apologized to customers who were wrongly told that the conflict in Gaza prevented mail from being sent to Israel, after complaints from a prominent Jewish group. In a statement, the agency said it did not temporarily suspend mail delivery to Israel on July 22 and 23, when the Federal Aviation Administration had implemented a flight ban to the country. But a USPS spokeswoman also acknowledged that not all local branches might have understood its policy last month for sending mail to Israel.” [TheHill]

POLITICO MAGAZINE: “Best Friends Don’t Have to Ask: When Israel Cracks Into Its U.S.-Funded Weapons Stockpile, Even Obama Doesn’t Hear About It” by David Schenker: “The latest ceasefire in Gaza, if it holds, probably won’t bring lasting peace, but it might provide the militant group Hamas with an opportunity to retrench if not rearm. Israel needed no such respite: It replenished its stocks in late July—prior to the ceasefire—by tapping into the $1 billion of pre-positioned U.S. war materiel known as the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel, or WRSA-I. Established in the 1990s by congressional legislation, WRSA-I is one of two American ammunition depots positioned abroad—the other is in South Korea—that allies can access on any emergency basis and later replace. Last month, during the height of military operations in Gaza, Israel withdrew tank and illumination rounds for grenade launchers and other unspecified materiel from WRSA as part of a foreign military sale.”

“Putting aside for the moment the question of why Israel—after only three weeks of battling vastly inferior Hamas forces—would need to replenish tank shells, WRSA-I is a strategic boon to Israel. The process is streamlined: No 60-day congressional notification is required, and there’s no waiting on delivery. At the most basic level, WRSA was intended to prevent a repeat of the 1973 war, when the Nixon administration famously delayed a resupply airlift to Israel. The WRSA process is so efficient, in fact, according to a story published earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal, that the White House, to its chagrin, was unaware that last month’s WRSA transfer had even occurred. When WRSA was created, the stockpile was conceived as weapons systems and ammunition for rapid deployment to American forces in the region, and contained $100 million worth of U.S. military materiel. As funding for the stockpile has increased, the purpose of WRSA has likewise evolved. Today, WRSA-I is intended to meet primarily Israeli, not American, military contingencies.”

“In large part, this repurposing was due to the efforts of an unsung mid-level Pentagon bureaucrat named Keith Rowe. At nearly 400 pounds, this tobacco-dipping former U.S. postal worker, who commuted two hours each way from his home in Pennsylvania to his North Virginia office, would seem an unlikely player in such an important U.S. policy initiative. An Evangelical Christian—something he didn’t necessarily advertise to his co-workers—Keith may have held some spiritual affinity for the Jewish state. But he also clearly understood the strategic import of the U.S.-Israel alliance, and worked tirelessly to strengthen it. Keith served as Israel director in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency… In 2006, during the Israel-Hezbollah war, Keith pioneered an innovative bureaucratic technique within existing U.S. law to allow the Jewish state to utilize the U.S. stockpile. Along the way, he established the precedent for shipping U.S. weapons from Israel to Israel—without the need for a cumbersome, politically fraught signoff from the White House.” [PoliticoMag]

ANALYSIS: “The new US-Israeli Quarrel. How Bad Is It, Really? The withholding of a missile shipment is nothing to worry about, an ex-defense minister says. Others call it a ‘very serious rupture’ – by Raphael Ahren [ToI]


**Good Friday 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**

2016 WATCH: Rubio to Turkey – Stop ‘anti-Israel’ comments: “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told the prime minister of Turkey to stop his “anti-Israel” rhetoric and warned against any provocation. Rubio said he was “troubled” by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent comments where Erdogan compared Israel’s attacks against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. “Such deplorable comments and anti-Israel views have become increasingly common among senior Turkish officials and severely undermine our mutual interest in collaboration to address the common challenges our nations face,” Rubio wrote in a letter to the prime minister on Wednesday. “I urge you to halt this incendiary rhetoric regarding Israel.”[TheHill]

JACKPOT! – How Las Vegas (and Sheldon Adelson) Became The Political Money Mecca [Politico]

2015 UK WATCH: “Ed Milliband Has A Very Jewish Problem” by Liam Hoare: “Since he became the first Jewish leader of the British Labour Party in September 2010, Miliband has made a conscious attempt to court Jewish community leaders and institutions. In contrast to the obviously strong relationship between the community and David Cameron and Boris Johnson, Miliband was unknown and is still, to an extent, distrusted. Yet in spite of the work he has done and still has to do, Miliband in the midst of hostilities elected to come out in strong opposition to Operation Protective Edge.” [ToI]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Paul Singer Gets OK to Chase Argentina Money Trail to Nevada” by Sophia Pearson: “Billionaire Paul Singer, the hedge fund founder seeking to collect on more than $1.5 billion in judgments over Argentina’s defaulted bonds, may search the deserts of Nevada for some of that money, a judge ruled. Singer asked a federal court in Las Vegas in April to order 123 companies in Nevada to turn over information about assets belonging to Argentine businessman Lazaro Baez, who is accused in that country of embezzling $65 million from government contracts. U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach in Reno granted that request Aug. 11, ruling that Singer’s hedge fund was attempting to execute a valid judgment against Argentina.” [Bloomberg]

SPRING STARTUP: “Spring, David Tisch’s Latest Venture, Is Instagram For Shopping” by Jordan Crook: “For the past year, investor and serial entrepreneur David Tisch has been working with his brother Alan to build an enjoyable way to shop on mobile. Today, that fruits of that labor springs onto the scene. Ladies and gentlemen, behold Spring, the most advanced effort at fashion-focused mobile shopping yet… Spring is launching with almost 100 brands on the platform, ranging from high end designers like Carolina Herrera to less expensive brands like Warby Parker and Greats Brand.”[TechCrunch]

GRAPEVINE: Leviev to Develop New 180-Room Hotel And Residences On Jerusalem’s Ahad Ha’am Street: “Jerusalem’s President Hotel, built by the late Haim Shiff, a pioneer of Israel’s hotel industry who owned a chain of hotels in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was the first hotel in Jerusalem with a swimming pool… When Shiff’s empire started to crumble some time in the mid- 1980s, he had to start selling off his assets… Purchased a little over quarter of a century ago by Africa Israel, whose chief shareholder Lev Leviev wanted to tear it down and build a luxury residential complex, it was the subject of a long dispute with the Jerusalem Development Authority. The Development Authority and the city’s urban planning committee wanted to add to the number of hotels… Finally, in recent weeks, a compromise was reached whereby the new plan will include both a hotel and a private residential section. The number of residential units has yet to be determined, but the hotel will have 180 rooms.” [JPost]

DISPATCH: “Uneasy about future in Russia, ‘Putin’s Jews’ seek quit exit: Disenchantment takes root among a Moscow Jewish upper class torn between staying put and rebuilding their lives abroad” by Anya Zhuravel Segal [ToI]

YU NEWS: “Yeshiva Students Challenge Myths of the Menorah: Theory That Golden Treasure Is in Vatican Disputed by Research” by Sophia Hollander: “For nearly 2,000 years, stories have circulated about the ultimate fate of sacred Jewish objects plundered from the Jerusalem Temple by Romans in A.D. 70—including a human-size, solid-gold Menorah. One widely shared theory among some Jews holds that the artifacts are hidden inside the Vatican, which many believe inherited the wealth of the Roman Empire. There is only one problem, say many scholars: It isn’t true.” [WSJ]

SAUSAGE MAKING: “How Editing of Cuomo Article Resulted in a Kinder, Gentler Ending” by NYTimes’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan: “I’m frequently asked about online editing changes that happen during the course of the publication cycle… Readers sometimes read deeper meaning into these changes than is warranted. However, a question by a reader, Stephen Graham, about an editing change in an article — about United States politicians visiting Israel to show politically important support — seemed worth exploring. Mr. Graham pointed out that the ending of the article changed from a pointed anecdote to one that was softer on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York: “I’m curious as to why the original version of this article posted online quoted a women on Cuomo’s flight that he was simply pandering for votes, but a few minutes later her comments were deleted for a decidedly more favorable quote/conclusion to the article,” he wrote.” [NYTimes]

—RELATED: “Cuomo Tours Hamas Tunnel; Wraps Up Trip” [WSJ]

TOP-OPS: Daniel Gordis – “Kibbutz Attack Wakes Israel’s Next Generation” [BloombergView] — Reuel Marc Gerecht: “A Ballot-Box Test for the Palestinians: It’s fashionable to say that democracy won’t work for the people who elected Hamas. Let them try again.” [WSJ] — Jacob Kornbluh: “Cuomo Begins 2016” [JP] — Chemi Shalev: “Hellfire missile snafu is another flare-up in the ongoing Obama-Netanyahu feud” [Haaretz]

IRONY: TERRORIST SEES OTHER TERRORISTS AS THREAT – Hezbollah sees Islamic State as threat to Gulf, Jordan: “The leader of Lebanese group Hezbollah described the radical Islamist movement that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria as a growing “monster” that could threaten Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states. “Wherever there are followers of the ideology there is ground for (Islamic State), and this exists in Jordan, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, and the Gulf states,” Nasrallah said in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar published on Friday.”[Reuters] — “Deep underground, Mohammed Deif shapes Hamas war with Israel” [Reuters]

PAGE6: “Bacall Lost Her Temper With Teenage Anderson Cooper Over Palestinian State” by Richard Johnson: “Former Congressman John LeBoutillier recalled sitting next to Bacall at a 1982 dinner that Cooper’s mom (and LeBoutillier’s cousin) Gloria Vanderbilt threw at her Southampton house for Claudette Colbert. “Gloria’s son Anderson was 14 at the time and he was at the table. The conversation turned to the Mideast and Anderson weighed in and said, ‘Something has to be done to help the Palestinians. We need a Palestinian state,’” LeBoutillier recalled, first on Joe Piscopo’s radio show Wednesday and later to me. “Bacall, a big supporter of Israel, went nuts. She eviscerates this kid in front of everyone, humiliates the hostess’ son. Anderson was in tears.” [PageSix]

DESSERT: “Kosher BBQ Competitors Ready To Fire Up Their Smokers” by Dave Eckert:“Barbecue competitions in Kansas City are nothing new, but the one heading our way this weekend is a bit out of the ordinary. All of the competitors will be cooking kosher at the third annual KC Kosher BBQ Competition and Festival. The contest is the brainchild of Mendel Segal, leader of the RabbiQ barbecue team, and a man who loves barbecue, keeps kosher, and makes them both work.” [KCTV5]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer turns 76… Meir Neuberger… Ezra Mosseri turns 21… Former Bush 43 Chief of Staff Josh Bolton turns 60… Noah Silverman turns 44… Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman turns 65… Larry Ellison turns 70

That’s all folks, have a great Friday! 

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


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