Daily Kickoff: McCain wants Lieberman for SecDef; Carter is the favorite | Iran to turn uranium into reactor fuel | AP responds | Barry Shrage Profile

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EARLY ISRAELI ELECTIONS LOOK IMMINENT: “Mr. Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid met Monday night in what was billed as a last-ditch attempt to reach a compromise.” “Netanyahu demanded that Lapid stop “sabotaging the work of the government,” retract his opposition to Netanyahu’s version of the Jewish nation-state bill, and freeze the zero-VAT plan, the flagship of Lapid’s economic agenda. …Netanyahu also demanded that Lapid transfer NIS 6 billion to the Defense Ministry for training and equipment, and free the funds necessary for the Israel Defense Forces to move its training bases to the Negev.”

“Both released statements afterward blaming the other for the coalition collapse and pushing the country to a new general election two years early. The leaders of the two largest parties in the coalition and other partners have been bickering over the size of Israel’s defense budget, a bill to give a tax break for home buyers, and a controversial bill that would enshrine Israel’s character as a Jewish state. The coalition was formed to focus on socioeconomic issues even though the partners were ideological opponents on foreign policy. But it has lost its common cause and become fractious since being formed in early 2013, analysts said.” While his approval ratings continue to tank (down to 38% from this summer’s 50%), most still view Netanyahu as likely to retain his position. [WSJHaaretz]

—Rejected JI Header: “Israeli Elections: To BB or to not BB?”

—According to @TalSchneider the parties were negotiating election dates of either March 17th or March 24th.

—@DanielGordis: “New Israeli elections: Bibi is almost guaranteed to win again. But if they do, Israelis will elect him with more disgust than ever before.”

Get Smart Quick: “An idiot’s guide to Israel’s nation-state controversy” [ToI]

AS ISRAEL HEADS TO ELECTIONS, POLITICIANS HEAD TO DC FOR #SABAN2014 FORUM: Speakers at this year’s forum, taking place this weekend at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, include Sec. John Kerry, VPOTUS Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu (video conference), Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Naftali Bennett, Isaac Herzog, Zehava Gal-On, and Yuval Steinitz. [JPTheHill] • Even PressTV ran the headline – “Clinton to address forum sponsored by Israeli billionaire” [PressTV]

SCENE LAST NIGHT by @JacobKornbluh: “The American Israel Friendship League held its annual dinner last night at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. This year’s dinner honored former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Israeli Minister of Defense Amir Peretz, Iron Dome initiator Dr.Daniel Gold, Rafael CEO Yedidia Yaari, IAI’s Nissim Adas, and mPrest CEO Natan Barak. The program included a panel discussion about the Iron Dome and recent developments in the Middle East, moderated by Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal. Among the panelists were former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who also co-chaired the event; Israel’s United Nations Ambassador Ron Prosor and Israel’s former UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman. Kelly was introduced as “New York’s Iron Dome.”… Spotted: Malcolm HoenleinKen Bialkin, Consul General Ido Aharoni, Rabbi Arthur SchneierEzra Friedlander, and David Lobl.”

HAPPENING TODAY: At 6:30 PM, the Pro-Israel Mentor Student Network (PIMS Network) will host their kick-off event at the UCLA Faculty Center in Los Angeles. Featured speakers include Michael Leven, COO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Israeli Consul General David Siegel.

Adam Milstein tells Jewish Insider, “the PIMS Network at UCLA is a new initiative to connect the professional pro-Israel community to the pro-Israel student community in order to encourage and reward our students for being strong advocates for Israel. In essence, the students who are willing to stand for Israel need our help, solidarity and support and the professional community should stand for them. PIMS Network encourages the professional community to offer students life coaching, mentorships, internships, business connections and jobs. The new initiative organizes joint speaker events, workshops that build public speaking and writing skills, and more… In the process, PIMS Network also educates the pro-Israel business community about the challenges our students are facing on the campus today and allows its professional members to take an active role in fighting the growing Anti-Semitism on campus and empowering our students. PIMS is open to students of all backgrounds – not only Jewish. Our goal is to expand the PIMS Network to more campuses in California next year and hopefully nationwide in the following years.” [PIMS Network]

HEARD ON THE ACELA: Sen. McCain saying he told the White House to nominate Joe Lieberman for defense secretary: “Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Monday that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough had contacted him about his thoughts on who should be the next defense secretary. “I said Lieberman,” McCain told our colleague Steven Ginsberg as he got off the Amtrak Acela from Washington to New York. McCain laughed and said McDonough thanked him for his input, but that McCain did not think his close pal, the former senator from Connecticut, a Democrat turned Independent, would be considered for the job. (After all, he did endorse McCain over Obama in ’08.) McCain also said he did not think Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson would be considered for the job. “Interesting times. Interesting times,” he said, before heading out of Penn Station for an appearance on the Colbert Report and then back to Washington Monday night.” [WashPost]

—McCain joins his favorite “wacko bird” Sen. Ted Cruz who started the Lieberman for SecDef talk last week in a press release [Statement]

—So Who Is A Serious SecDef Candidate? Former DepSecDef Ashton Carter: CNN reports that Carter is a frontrunner. “Ashton Carter, the former second-in-command at the Pentagon appears to be the top choice to replace outgoing Secretary Chuck Hagel, an administration official tells CNN. While other candidates could emerge, a separate official acknowledged that Carter is very high on the list of possible candidates as the White House has made it clear an announcement is likely to come very soon.”[CNN]

BARAK RAVID SCOOP: Secret flight operating between Israel and Gulf state, Haaretz investigation reveals: “A Haaretz analysis of publicly available online flight data indicates that this civilian plane follows what appears to be a permanent flight path between Ben-Gurion Airport and an airport in a Gulf state. Israel’s relations with the Gulf states are extremely sensitive, however, and the flights are indirect because Israel does not have official diplomatic relations with the country in question. The flight data indicate that after taking off from Ben-Gurion, the plane spends a few days in the Gulf state in question and then returns to Israel. There have been several flights between Israel and the Gulf state recently… It remains unclear who or what is using the route, and whether that entity is Israeli. What is clear is that the Israel-Gulf route is being kept extremely low-profile.” [Haaretz]

PEACE TALKS: “Obama Admin Wants Hamas Ally Qatar to Remain Chief Broker in Peace Process”: “The Obama administration is pressing for the Qatari government to remain a chief broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process despite the country’s longstanding financial support for the terror group Hamas, according to recent correspondence from the State Department to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.” [FreeBeacon]

IRAN TALKS: “Iran to turn uranium into reactor fuel under extended deal” by Fredrik Dahl in Reuters: “Iran will convert more of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel under an extended nuclear deal with world powers, making the material less suitable for building atomic bombs, a diplomatic source and a U.S. think-tank said on Monday.” [Reuters]

—“Pro-Israel Lobby Seeks Tougher Iran Sanctions” by Bradley Klapper in the AP: “The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is urging a dramatic escalation in sanctions on Iran in response to a recent seven-month extension of nuclear talks. The group, widely influential in Congress, wants the U.S. to reinstate all economic penalties on Iran suspended during the diplomacy. It also seeks a U.S. ban on Iranian oil exports worldwide and more Iranian industries blacklisted. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday the U.S. must avoid new measures while negotiations continue.” [AP]

VIRAL: Today’s WSJ Notable & Quotable: Ron Prosor: From a speech to the United Nations General Assembly by Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor, Nov. 24: “In 1973, on Yom Kippur—the holiest day on the Jewish calendar—the surrounding Arab nations launched an attack against Israel. In the hours before the war began, Golda Meir, our Prime Minister then, made the difficult decision not to launch a preemptive strike. The Israeli Government understood that if we launched a preemptive strike, we would lose the support of the international community. As the Arab armies advanced on every front, the situation in Israel grew dire. Our casualty count was growing and we were running dangerously low on weapons and ammunition. In this, our hour of need, President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger , agreed to send Galaxy planes loaded with tanks and ammunition to resupply our troops. The only problem was that the Galaxy planes needed to refuel on route to Israel.”

“The Arab States were closing in and our very existence was threatened—and yet, Europe was not even willing to let the planes refuel. The U.S. stepped in once again and negotiated that the planes be allowed to refuel in the Azores. The government and people of Israel will never forget that when our very existence was at stake, only one country came to our aid—the United States of America. Israel is tired of hollow promises from European leaders. The Jewish people have a long memory. We will never ever forget that you failed us in the 1940s. You failed us in 1973. And you are failing us again today. Every European parliament that voted to prematurely and unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state is giving the Palestinians exactly what they want—statehood without peace.” [WSJYouTube]

AP RESPONDS TO MATTI FRIEDMAN’S ATLANTIC PIECE: “Over the past three months, in one media forum after another, Matti Friedman, a former reporter in the Jerusalem bureau of The Associated Press, has eagerly offered himself as an authority on international coverage of Israel and the Palestinian territories, repeatedly referencing the AP. His arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies, both about the recent Gaza war and more distant events. His suggestion of AP bias against Israel is false. There’s no “narrative” that says it is Israel that doesn’t want peace; the story of this century-long conflict is more complicated than that. It is misleading and disingenuous to selectively pick examples of our work to promote narrow viewpoints. The AP is proud of its staff on both sides of the border for producing a broad, independent and comprehensive report in such adverse conditions.” [AP] • In case you missed Matti’s must read yesterday [Atlantic]

HAPPENING TONIGHT: At 7:00 PM, “Jew in the City will host their third annual Orthodox Jewish All Stars Awards event, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC, honoring Henry Swieca, BCBGeneration Creative Director Joyce Azria, and Columbia Law School Dean Emeritus David Schizer, among others.” [JITC]

**Good Tuesday 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**

2016 WATCH: “Jeb Bush Details Political Vision” [WSJ] • “Hillary Clinton avoids Keystone at conservation group event” [Politico] • “Inside Rand Paul’s Plan to Run for Senate and President at the Same Time” [NJ] • “Ted Cruz could struggle to raise funds for presidential run” [DallasNews]REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: Two Long Profiles – “Eliot Spitzer takes reins following father’s death”[RealDeal] & “The Man With the Golden Charm: How developer Steven Samuels transformed the Fenway from a dump into destination” [BostonMag] • Leon Black, Marc Rowan, and Joshua Harris’s Midmountain Majesty at Telluride’s Chic Madeline Hotel [Forbes] • “Judge nixes Wasserman’s bid to force close on Melohn deal” [TheRealDeal]

Bronfman Daughter Sues Partner Over Beauty Salon App Ouster: “The daughter of Accretive LLC General Partner and Seagram’s heir Edgar Bronfman Jr. sued her former business partner over control of the app “Beautified,” which they built to let users book last-minute appointments at spas and beauty salons. Hannah Bronfman, a 26-year-old disc jockey, model and Manhattan entrepreneur, claims she and another partner, Annie Evans, were ousted as directors and officers of the company by a third co-founder Peter Hananel. Beautified, a Delaware corporation, announced in August that it raised $1.2 million in seed funding and planned to expand to Los Angeles and San Francisco from New York. Bronfman and Evans asked a judge, in a lawsuit filed today in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington, to reinstate their official positions in Beautified. Hananel used “questionable judgment” and “poor treatment” of employees, and failed as a fundraiser, according to the lawsuit. He took control of Beautified’s bank account and sought “to lock Bronfman and Evans out” of the company’s computer system, Bronfman and Evans claimed.” [Bloomberg]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: The Spider Of Silicon Valley: Inside ‘Zuck & Friends’ Secret Billionaire Fund[Forbes] • Ari Emanuel’s WME/IMG trims 100 jobs in cost-cutting move [NYPost• Africa Israel U.S. CEO Sues to Liquidate Taly Diamonds [Bloomberg] • Shekel’s slide against dollar expected to continue – for better and worse [Haaretz] • Peter Gruber, Jewish Latin American Investing ‘Statesman,’ Dies at 85 [Bloomberg]

PROFILE: “Seven things you should know about Combined Jewish Philanthropies president Barry Shrage: Barry Shrage is the president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, one of the state’s largest nonprofit organizations. A Bronx native, he ran a Jewish community center in New York and worked for the Jewish Federation in Cleveland before moving to Boston in 1987. Since Shrage assumed leadership of CJP in 1989, the group has grown dramatically, and has $1.36 billion in assets under management. Shrage recently spoke with Globe reporter Dan Adams. Here’s what he found out:[BostonGlobe]

LONG READ: “One Muslim’s Quest to Save a Revered Syrian Synagogue” by Adam Entous: “Maj. Avichay Adraee, an Israeli army spokesman, was taken aback when he received a message from a mysterious man writing from the heart of Syria’s bloody civil war. Maj. Avichay Adraee, an Israeli army spokesman, was taken aback when he received a message from a mysterious man writing from the heart of Syria’s bloody civil war. The man, a Sunni Muslim who created a Facebook page called “Jobar Synagogue,” said he was on a mission to preserve his town’s crown jewel, a centuries-old religious site venerated by the three major religions. Merely contacting the Israelis was an act that could have put his life in danger.”

“The man behind the Facebook page, who uses the nom de guerre Abbas Abu Suleiman, got the attention of rabbis in Israel and New York, Syrian exiles in Washington and a Manhattan diamond-district salesman who visited the synagogue as a boy. Mr. Suleiman hoped the Jewish community would intervene with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not only to save the site, but to halt the bombardment of his hometown. Safeguarding a part of Syria’s multicultural religious heritage, he hoped, might help the country rebuild whenever the war was over.” [WSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “A Guide to What You’re Missing Out on at Art Basel Miami Beach This Week”[VanityFair]

SPORTS BLINK: Detroit Tigers’ New Jewish Relief Pitcher Brings Team Closer to a Minyan[JewishPress] • Israeli-developed MRI can spot damage earlier, could be huge for NFL[JewishJournal]

DESSERT: “Mi case, su kosher casa: Two enterprising New Yorkers come up with an easy kosher vacation option in tropical Costa Rica” [ToI

—Kosher Covenant Wines opens in Berkeley: “A covenant is the strong bond between people who share the same history and experiences. So it would be fitting if Jeff Morgan‘s kosher winery, Covenant, sprung from a spiritual moment rooted in this Jewish tradition. But it didn’t. It was born on a dare. In 2003, friend and famed Napa winemaker Leslie Rudd challenged Morgan, a Europe-trotting saxophonist-turned-winemaker-and-journalist, to create a great kosher wine. The kosher category had come a long way since Manischewitz and off-putting mevushal wines, which are cooked to a temperature that meets the requirements of an overseeing rabbinical authority. But, a high-end cabernet from Napa Valley? That would be something. Morgan not only made it happen, but wines in the Covenant portfolio went on to score 90+ points and become critical darlings.”

“The move to Berkeley fits not only the Morgans’ winemaking goals but also their spiritual journey — to live in one of the Bay Area’s most active Jewish communities. The grapes for Covenant’s newest labels — The Tribe and Mensch — come from vineyards all over California, including Mettler Family Vineyards in Lodi. The labels, which include a lush roussanne and a jammy, zin-based blend, launched in February and represent a new direction for Covenant. The wines are mevushal, meaning they are flash-pasteurized. This procedure allows them to be served by non-Jews, Jeff explains. The technique, flash-detente, involves quickly heating the grapes right after they are picked at harvest, then cooling them instantly in a vacuum. It sounds harsh, but flash-detente does not necessarily harm the wine. In fact, it may even help it… It wasn’t spirituality that started Morgan’s journey, but more than a decade later, he has come to a very spiritual place. “It’s no accident that wine is the only holy beverage out there,” he says. “I think it’s a conduit for spirituality.” [MercuryNews]

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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