Daily Kickoff: Vice President Joe Biden to light the White House Menorah | US accuses Iran of breaching sanctions | Obama’s Jewish Chef Departs WH

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OVERNIGHT SIREN: “Jewish student stabbed in head in attack at New York synagogue” – An Israeli student praying in a Brooklyn synagogue was stabbed in the neck early Tuesday after a knife-wielding maniac burst inside and yelled “I want to kill the Jew!” NYPD anti-terror cops swarmed Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Pkwy. not long after the 1:45 a.m. attack and fatally shot the man who had the knife, police and witnesses said. Startling video shows cops ordering the suspect to put the knife down in the basement of the building. The man initially complied, placing it on a chair. Moments later, according to the video first posted by the Israeli news site 0404, the man walks back and picks up the knife again. “Drop the f—–g knife,” cops can be heard yelling repeatedly. A single shot rang out and hit the man in the stomach, according to cops. The suspect, 49-year-old Calvin Peters, immediately went to the ground in the video. He died at Kings County Hospital at 3:15 a.m., police said. The 22-year-old student, Levi Rosenviat, was in stable condition at the same hospital, according to authorities at the scene.” [NYDailyNewsAP]

—Clip From Sunday Night: The Newsroom TV Show – “Will’s cellmate “I don’t like Jews. I said it” [YouTube]

OZY PROFILE OF AN ISRAELI: “The Confidante to Suicide Bombers” by Gil Yaron: “Anat Berko knows what it’s like to meet — and even to hug — a suicide bomber. The diminutive Israeli woman is a social scientist with an unusual specialty: understanding the motivations of terrorists. She has spentyears gaining the trust of foiled suicide bombers who’ve landed in an Israeli prison, probing their life stories and providing the comfort of an ear, sometimes an embrace. Berko set out her findings about women suicide attackers in a 2012 book, The Smarter Bomb. They are, Berko says, the most desperate women in society, driven to volunteer for their missions less by ideology than by years of abuse and exploitation.” [Ozy]

Vice President Joe Biden to Attend Menorah Lighting at the White House: “U.S Vice President Joseph Biden will participate at the lighting of the National Menorah with Chabad-Lubavitch on the first night of Chanukah, December 16th. Said to be one of the tallest menorahs anywhere, it stands across from the White House and the Washington Monument and has become one of the most visible Jewish icons in the United States. The Vice President will be the second highest ranking official ever to attend the lighting. A “dear friend” to Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, the “ambassador of the Rebbe to Washington, D.C.” Biden told the crowd at an event marking the Jewish New Year, this past October that Shemtov “educated me of the Lubavitch movement and he educated me about a lot of things. He has been a stalwart friend for a long, long time.” [Lubavitch] — H/T @HowardMortman

IRAN TALKS: “U.S. Accuses Iran of Secretly Breaching U.N. Nuclear Sanctions:” “A U.S.delegation informed a U.N. Security Council panel of experts monitoring Iranian sanctions in recent months that Iranian procurement agents have been increasing their efforts to illicitly obtain equipment for the IR-40 research reactor at the Arak nuclear complex.” [Foreign PolicyWSJ]

“Republicans Wallop U.S. Over Nuclear Deal As Tehran Violates U.N. Sanctions” by Colum Lynch, John Hudson: “The State Department asserted Monday that it has repeatedly raised concerns about Iran’s efforts to illicitly import supplies for its nuclear facilities, saying that a Foreign Policy report on an Iranian push to buy new supplies for a controversial heavy-water reactor unfairly implied that the United States had remained silent about Tehran’s ongoing efforts to purchase equipment for its nuclear program.”

“The State Department did not challenge FP’s report about Washington’s private warning to the U.N.panel. Still, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and other officials insisted that the United Statesroutinely raises concerns about a range of Iranian violations surrounding its nuclear program, including about the Arak facility. “We have a regular and ongoing dialogue with the United Nations on sanctionsevasions issues related to Iran, and we bring possible issues to its attention when we have relevant information,” State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf told FP.” [Foreign Policy]

—“Diplomats seeking to limit Iran’s nuclear program have long said they wouldn’t keep bargaining if officials in Tehran proved unwilling to budge. But after a year of frazzling negotiations and two missed deadlines, the diplomats have done just that.” [LA Times]

Possible sanctions breach as Iran Quds chief spotted in Iraq: “United Nations sanctions monitors have said photographs taken inside Iraq appear to confirm that the head of Iran’s elite military Quds Force, one of Iran’s most powerful people, has been in the country in violation of a U.N. travelbanA seven-page report by the U.N. Panel of Experts on Iran, seen by Reuters on Monday, said Soleimani “has been photographed and videoed on a number of occasions, allegedly in Iraq.” [Reuters]

“Iran should free Post correspondent Jason Rezaian now:”For months, senior Iranian officials have tacitly acknowledged that the imprisonment of The Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, Jason Rezaian, is unjust. The secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council, Mohammed Javad Larijani, called it a “fiasco”; in early November he expressed the hope that the case would be dropped “in less than a month.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in September that he knew Mr. Rezaian to be “a fair reporter” and “had hoped all along that his detention would be short.” “A dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, Mr. Rezaian returned to Iran as a journalist because he hoped to promote understanding between the two countries.” [WashPost] • “As of Thursday, the incarceration of Mr. Rezaian, an Iranian-American from Northern California, became the longest of any Western correspondent held by the Iranian authorities.”[NYTimes]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 2:00 PM, Secretary Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIL, on Capitol Hill. [State Dept]

—At 12:30, the Hudson Institute hosts a panel on “The Future of the Middle East: Regional Scenarious Beyond the Obama Years” with Michael Doran, Shmuel Bar, Hillel Fradkin, and moderated by Lee Smith.[Hudson]

TOP-OPS: Seth Mandel – “Bennett Routs Indyk, In a Victory for Truth” [Commentary• Brett Stephens – “Hillary Clinton’s Empathy Deficit” [WSJ] • Jodi Rudoren – “Israel Struggles With Its Identity” [NYTimes] • Yair Rosenberg: “Why Jews—and Everyone Else—Should See ‘Meet the Mormons'” [TabletMag]

**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**

ISRAELEX: Israeli Lawmakers Vote To Dissolve Parliament: “The Knesset voted Monday to dissolve and hold elections two years earlier than planned. The unanimous vote came a week after the ruling coalition broke up when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired two members of his cabinet who had harshly criticized some of his policies, including the budget and a proposal to formally declare Israel to be a Jewish state. Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to win the most seats in the March vote, but he will have to get other parties to align with him to gain the majority he needs.” [SpeedReads]

IDENTICAL 2016 ARTICLES: “A crowded GOP field for 2016 encounters donors reluctant to commit early” by Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger: “A telling sign of the mood can be seen in the attitude of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, one of the GOP’s biggest donors, who has expressed reluctance about engaging in the early primary fight. Instead, he and his wife, Miriam, are likely to set up their own super PAC to influence 2016 congressional campaigns as well as the White House race.”[WashPost]

—“GOP Donors Seek to Narrow Field of Presidential Candidates to One” by Nicholas Confessore: “Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate. Mr. Adelson, who is based in Las Vegas, is engaged in discussions with his small circle about how to take his political spending in-house and is considering setting up his own super PAC to intervene in congressional and presidential races.”

“And Mr. Adelson, a major donor to pro-Israel groups and someone with moderate views on social issues, is inclined to be more cautious when engaging in the Republican primary. “He’s very focused on picking someone who can win,” said a Republican strategist involved in the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Mr. Adelson was not yet ready to announce his plans. “He wants to ensure whatever candidate he gets behind reflects that philosophy and can win the general election.” Many donors said they believed that Mr. Romney was likely to wait until late summer to decide whether to enter the race, while Mr. Christie could make a decision much sooner. That could leave elite bundlers — already jockeying for status and rank within the campaigns’ likely finance operations — in an awkward position if Mr. Romney does not run.” [NYTimes]

—The Secret GOP tech summit to plot 2016 [Politico] • “Can the Left Launch Its Own Tea Party?” [Politico] • “New Race, Old Faces For Hillary” [TheHill]

LONGREAD: “Can Martin O’Malley Selfie His Way to the White House?” by Shane Goldmacher: “O’Malley is largely an afterthought in a 2016 Democratic presidential conversation that begins with the presumption that Hillary Clinton is running and ends with Elizabeth Warren saying she’s not. But the relatively unknown Maryland governor is doing everything he can to elbow his way in, one selfie at a time. He snapped a pic with Julia Louis-Dreyfus when she was filming Veep in his political hometown of Baltimore. He documented campaign swings through Wisconsin for Mary Burke and Texas for Wendy Davis with supporter selfies. He even took one at a commencement address last May. “Take ithigh, take it high,” he instructed the university president on proper form. Martin O’Malley is running for president one blurry Facebook photo after another.” [NationalJournal]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Bank of Israel to buy $3.1 bln of FX in 2015 to offset gas production” [Reuters] Ghermezian’s American Dream pushes its vision at retail convention [NorthJersey] • Casino BidderDavid Flaum Maneuvers for Advantage as New York Panel Plans Decision on Licenses [NYTimes] Joe Sitt’s Thor pays $181M for Murray Hill rental [RealDeal]

STARTUP NATION: “Israel’s Adama to expand operations in India” [IndiaGazette] • “China’s Baidu invests $3 million in Israeli start-up” [TOI]

“The New Republic’s Rebellion:” I asked Marty Peretz the other day whether his goal during the nearly four decades that he had owned The New Republic was ever to make a profit. “Absolutely not,” he bellowed. “I think we were profitable maybe three of four years.” One year, he said, the magazine’s staff threw a pizza party to celebrate being in the black — “and the party put us back in the red.” He was only half-joking. No, Peretz owned The New Republic because it gave him a megaphone on issues he cared about, like Israel. Influence accrued to him, as did a certain social status that came with owning a magazine that mattered to the policy elites in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, Mass… Peretz told me that during his tenure, The New Republic lost an annual sum in the low six figures, which he covered… [NYTimes]

“French Holocaust Survivors Promise to Fight Exclusion From New Reparations: French and American negotiators signed an accord Monday for $60 million in reparations for Holocaust victims transported by the French national railway to Nazi concentration camps during World War II, but lawyers for many of the victims are vowing to fight on. The agreement, hammered out over months by the State Department and French diplomats, intended to resolve hundreds of claims from Holocaust survivors or their heirs. But the deal is facing withering criticism that it was narrowly drawn to exclude French citizens deported on trains run by the national railway, known as the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français, a sizable portion of the potential claimants. “I feel terrible, just terrible,” said Rosette Adler Goldstein, 76, of Florida, whose parents and four other relatives were transported to Nazi concentration camps in trains from Drancy. “We all suffered. We all went through this, and not everyone is benefiting.” The French Foreign Ministry indicated that its citizens were excluded because survivors would already have qualified for compensation in a program enacted by reparations laws in 1948.” [NYTimes]

WHITE HOUSE DEPARTURE: Sam Kass – “Sam Kass, the Obama administration’s defacto food policy czar [who grew up in a Jewish family in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago], will step down from his role at the end of the month, the White House announced Monday. Kass, a White House senior policy adviser on nutrition who also serves as executive director of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move!initiative and as a chef for the first family, has played an integral role coordinating major food and agriculture policies throughout the administration. After six years in the White House, he is moving to New York City.” [Politico]

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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