Daily Kickoff: Iran Talks Extended To June 30, 2015 | Breaking: SecDef Hagel to step down | Elizabeth Warren in Israel | Ronald Lauder Profile

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LATEST ON THE IRAN TALKS: @JimSciutto — “According to a Western Diplomat, the Iran Talks are going to be extended with sides to release statement soon citing “good progress”, and talks will continue at a lower level in the coming weeks. Experts and negotiating teams will reconvene in December at a yet to be determined location.” [TwitterHaaretzReuters] • According to British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, the Iran talks are extended to June 30, 2015 but they hope to reach a framework agreement by the end of February.

—Netanyahu welcomes reports of Iran Talks extension. “Deal Iran was pushing for was terrible. This result is better. A lot better… Fact that no deal now is an opportunity to continue economic pressures and toughen them. Israel always reserves right to defend itself.” [YouTube]

Jeffrey Goldberg: “The Many Obstacles to a Strong Nuclear Deal with Tehran” — The Atlantic: “The other day I fell into conversation with a very smart congressman named Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida, about his minimum requirements for an Iran nuclear deal. Deutch, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is—like a large number of Democrats—fairly-to-very dubious about the possibility of a true breakthrough with Iran, and fairly-to-very worried about the consequences of a bad deal. (On Monday, negotiators reportedly extended the deadline for a final deal until next July.) Democrats such as Deutch will need to be convinced by the Obama administration that it hasn’t been outplayed by Iran. If an accord is eventually reached, and if Obama cannot convince the Democrats that he has delivered to them the toughest possible deal, then Congress will do everything in its power to undo the agreement. The Republicans, of course, are itching to subvert an Obama-negotiated deal, and Democratic support will be important to them as they make their case.” [TheAtlantic]

BREAKING: Chuck Hagel Said to be Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure: “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.” [NYTimes]

2016 WATCH: ELIZABETH WARREN VISITS ISRAEL: “Senator Elizabeth Warren arrived Saturday in Tel Aviv, planning to visit Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan as the Massachusetts Democrat makes her first trip abroad as senator. Warren is expected to meet with government officials as well as military troops from Massachusetts who are serving in the region. A Warren aide, who confirmed the senator’s travels, could not say specifically with whom she will meet, but said it involved Israeli and Jordanian government officials, as well as representatives from the Palestinian Authority. Warren also planned to meet with representatives of two United Nations organizations that work with Palestinian refugees, as well as the US Agency for International Development. The trip was organized by the State Department and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “Government officials would be very interested in meeting with her,” said Herb Keinon, the diplomatic correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. “This is a country that likes to keep an eye on who could have a big impact on our lives.” [BostonGlobe]

2016 WATCH: “Rand Paul, seeking to define himself as a foreign-policy heavyweight ahead of 2016, will introduce a measure in the Senate next month declaring war on the terror group” by Olivia Nuzzi: “The move is part of Paul’s ongoing campaign to position himself as a foreign-policy heavyweight ahead of the Republican presidential primaries, when he is expected to mount a campaign for the nomination. But it may simply be dismissed as a tit-for-tat gesture as Republicans complain of executive overreach in the aftermath of President Obama’s executive order on immigration. As Obama is hit with charges of overstepping his power, Paul’s resolution could be perceived as an attempt to strike back in another conflict: the now 200-year-old war between the executive and legislative branches of government. The senator’s resolution would turn on its head the traditional process by which presidents lead the United States into conflict and Congress says, “Sure, why not?”[DailyBeast]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: A lively crowd gathered at the Grand Hyatt in NYC for the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)’s annual Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner. Keynote speakers included Alan Dershowitz and Sen. Ted Cruz, who used their friendship as a model of bipartisan agreement towards supporting Israel, along with Mr. & Dr. Sheldon & Miriam Adelson. Award recipients included casino mogul and Jewish philanthropist Mike Leven. Other notables included Bernie MarcusCherna Moskowitz, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and Mort Zuckerman.

—Quotable Moments: ZOA President Mort Klein: “We at ZOA are frequently called right wing. ZOA is not right wing. We are simply right.” • Alan Dershowitz: “I’m here as a liberal democrat! Israel must always remain a bipartisan issue.” • Sen. Ted Cruz: “Mort Klein has the heart of a lion and the voice of Moses” • Pastor John Hagee: “CUFI plans to open a DC office to engage Congress on a daily basis”

PROFILE: REID’S JEWISH AIDE DAVID KRONE: Sen. Harry Reid’s Jewish Chief of Staff David Krone is known for his bold and often brash displays of influence. “For some on Capitol Hill, Mr. Krone is a manipulative megalomaniac. For others, he is a hero who has the financial independence to speak his mind. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that he is different… Mr. Krone first met Mr. Reid in 1992, when, as a young cable television executive, he picked the senator up from the airport for a fund-raiser in Colorado. Over the next several years, he donated to Mr. Reid’s campaigns, befriended his finance director and, the senator said, grew close to the women on his staff. By 2003, when Mr. Krone took a top job at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association in Washington, the two had become close enough for Mr. Reid to suggest that Mr. Krone, by then a millionaire, take an apartment in the Ritz-Carlton, where the senator lived. The Mormon senator from Searchlight and the Jewish executive from Philadelphia bonded.“I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, and it’s not — I mean with him it’s obviously religious and deep feelings,” Mr. Krone, who has climbed Everest, said. “For me it was just who I am.”” [NYTimesJI]

WSJ WEEKEND CONFIDENTIAL: “Ronald Lauder, the World Jewish Congress President: Despite his ribbing, these days he is spending most of his time on weightier matters than the virtues of Mac and Maybelline. As the president of the World Jewish Congress, a political advocacy group, he has just returned from Europe, where he has been urging the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland not to accept the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, who died in May. Though he spends much of his time on the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Lauder, 70, says that his art collection, philanthropy and political activities are intertwined…

—On Politics: “In 1983, he joined the Reagan administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy. Three years later, he became ambassador to Austria… When he returned to New York in 1987, Mr. Lauder moved into a different political sphere. “I did something that was either craziness or greatness, I’m not sure what,” he says: He ran for mayor in 1989, losing to Rudolph Giuliani in the GOP primary, but he still remembers the experience as the most rewarding and challenging of his life. Would he ever run for mayor again? “Let’s be more specific: I would never run for any political office again,” he says with a laugh. “It has to be the most exhausting thing in the world.”

—On anti-Semitism: “After World War II, he says, “nobody in their right mind would have anything to do with Nazism or anti-Semitism because they had just seen the horrors of what happened during the Holocaust. But now, a generation and a half later, people start to forget, and that same anti-Semitic, anti-Israel feeling comes out.” Rising anti-Semitism has led many Jews to wonder whether they should move to more hospitable countries, he says. They ask, “Should I leave and go to Israel, or leave and go [to] the United States or Western Europe?” he says. “It’s the hardest question to answer, and there is no answer.” One way to strengthen Jewish identity in Europe and elsewhere, he says, is by supporting religious education. To that end, his Ronald S. Lauder Foundation works to build synagogues and to develop Jewish educational programs and schools in Central and Eastern Europe.” [WSJ]

ISRAEL’S IDENTITY CRISIS?: “Israel’s cabinet on Sunday approved a bill to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The decision set off a stormy debate that could bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brittle coalition government. It followed weeks of deadly Arab-Jewish violence and was denounced by critics as damaging to the country’s democratic character and poorly timed. It now heads toward a full parliamentary vote on Wednesday. Israel has always defined itself as the “Jewish state,” a term contained in the country’s declaration of independence in 1948. The new law seeks to codify that status as a “Basic Law,” Israel’s de facto constitution.” [DailyBeastNYTimes]

—Analysis: “In a sense, it would be fitting were the coalition to collapse over Sunday’s cabinet debate, if only because it so neatly typifies the conduct of this government so far.” — Haviv Rettig Gur for [ToI]

TOP-OP: “Havel in Jerusalem” by David Remnick: “Such moral imagination is, globally, in short supply. The day before Havel was honored in Washington, another chapter of cruelty unfolded not far from where he delivered his speech at the Hebrew University. In the Har Nof neighborhood of West Jerusalem, two Palestinians, cousins from East Jerusalem, burst into Kehilat Bnei Torah, a synagogue filled with people at their morning prayers. Yelling “Allahu Akhbar!”—God is great!—the men attacked the worshippers, with cleavers and guns. They seriously injured eight and killed five, including a rabbi named Moshe Twersky, who was a grandson of the late Joseph Soloveitchik, the leader of Modern Orthodoxy; and a young Israeli policeman, a Druze named Zidan Saif. Then came the moral leadership: Mushir al-Masri, a spokesman for Hamas, wrote on his Facebook page, “The new operation is heroic and a natural reaction to Zionist criminality against our people and our holy places. We have the full right to revenge for the blood of our martyrs in all possible means.” [NewYorker]

**Good Monday Morning! 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**

TRANSITIONS: “Eric Goldstein Leads Jewish Nonprofit, Becomes International Voice for New York’s Jews” by Melanie Grayce West: “When Eric S. Goldstein assumed the job of chief executive of the UJA-Federation of New York this summer, he said he came to the role with a carefully mapped-out transition plan allowing plenty of time to meet major donors and visit a network of organizations that serve New York’s neediest. The entire plan was tossed out the window. Instead, the events in Israel accelerated Mr. Goldstein’s transition from full-time attorney and high-level UJA-Federation board member to the organization’s hands-on leader and international voice for New York’s Jewish community. Previously, Mr. Goldstein worked as a securities litigator and partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, a New York law firm.” [WSJ]

LONGREAD: “The Astonishing Rise of Angela Merkel” by George Packer: “Merkel’s decision to enter politics is the central mystery of an opaque life. She rarely speaks publicly about herself and has never explained her decision. It wasn’t a long-term career plan—like most Germans, she didn’t foresee the abrupt collapse of Communism and the opportunities it created. But when the moment came, and Merkel found herself single and childless in her mid-thirties—and laboring in an East German institution with no future—a woman of her ambition must have grasped that politics would be the most dynamic realm of the new Germany. And, as Schlöndorff dryly put it, “With a certain hesitation, she seized the day.”[NewYorker]

NYTimes Public Editor On Their Israeli Palestinian Coverage: “THIS is the column I never wanted to write. For many months I have received hundreds of emails from readers on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, complaining about Times coverage. And though email is a cold medium, their furor has practically burned through the screen. The Times will never satisfy everyone with its coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict — no more than I can satisfy everyone (or even anyone) with this column. But that should not be the goal. With the situation so polarized and no visible movement toward peaceful resolution, all that Times journalists can do is play it as fairly and straightforwardly as possible, both in covering the news and in engaging honestly and openly with their readers.” [NYTimes]

—Book Review: “The Bus on Jaffa Road: The Number 18 bus threads through Jerusalem like a critical artery. It winds into neighborhoods of the working class, and of academics and diplomats. It pushes up hills toward the Old City, and follows Jaffa Road, past city hall, to a terminal. The morning of Sunday, February 25, 1996, started out as any other. By the time “the 18,” as it’s called, reached the central part of the city, passengers included nine Israeli soldiers, a Holocaust survivor, and the son of an influential newspaper columnist. Also on board was a young American couple, Sara Duker and Matthew Eisenfeld, who seemed to be nothing less than the brightest lights of a rising generation. At the corner of Jaffa Road and Sarei Yisrael Street, a 19-year-old Palestinian man, who was dressed like an Israeli student, stepped into the bus aisle. He was carrying a black vinyl duffle bag, which contained a 20-pound bomb packed in a sheath of nails and ball bearings. He yelled “Allahu Akbar,” according to survivors, and pushed a button. Twenty-six people were murdered. A parallel attack in Ashkelon killed an Israeli soldier the same day. The following Sunday, another suicide bomb, on another Number 18 bus, killed 19 more people. A new book, The Bus on Jaffa Road, chronicles the February 25 attack and the convoluted political, legal, and diplomatic events that ensued. Author Mike Kelly is a 30-year veteran of the Bergen Record and the author of two previous books.” [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli IPO Flop Seen as Brief Lull in Record Deal Boom” [Businessweek]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Yiddish Isn’t Enough” by Jennifer Miller: “There are 250 Jewish private schools in New York City, and though some schools, like Ramaz on the Upper East Side, have intensive secular curriculums, many do not. Nearly one-third of all students in Jewish schools are “English language learners,” according to the city’s Department of Education. Yiddish is the Hasidic community’s first language, and both parents and educators report that many boys’ schools do not teach the A B C’s until children are 7 or 8 years old. Boys in elementary and middle school study religious subjects from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. followed by approximately 90 minutes of English and math. At 13, when boys formally enter yeshiva, most stop receiving any English instruction.” [NYTimes]

That’s all folks; have a great day!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**


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