Daily Kickoff: TOI Gala | Boehner – “didn’t want White House getting in the way of Bibi speech” | Intifooda: Kosher food-cart vender vs. ‘halal mafia’

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SCENE LAST NIGHT: More than 1,200 people filled three floors of the Waldorf Astoria’s grand ballroom last evening for the Times of Israel’s first annual gala. Seated at the head table was Noa Tishby, Ross Hinkle, Nathan Low, Marc Belzberg, Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder, Shimon Peres, Dr. Danny Gold, Bar Refaeli, Adi Ezra, Saul Singer, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, David Horovitz and Gal Gadot. Ron Lauder introduced, sans teleprompter, former Israeli President Shimon Peres who was then interviewed by David Horovitz. Peres told the crowd, “move to Israel because you want to live in Israel” seemingly differing from Prime Minister Netanyahu who, after recent attacks targeted towards Jews in Europe, has urged European communities to move for their safety. On Iran, Peres predicted that “Iran too will change,” noting that “in ten to fifteen years Iran will be out of water and also Ayatollahs in my judgement.” Finally, Peres left the crowd with some wisdom explaining that if one’s dreams exceed their achievements then they are still considered young.

Also Spotted: Ambassador Ron Prosor, Consul General Ido Aharoni, Alan Dershowitz, Pats owner Robert Kraft, CJP’s Barry Shrage, Michael Steinhardt, David Maimon, Tal Brody, Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Avi Liberman, Ruth Westheimer, Derrick Sharp, Dr. Kira Radinsky, Jeffrey Levine, Jess Dolgin, Hatzalah’s Eli Beer, Aipac’s Jonathan Frenkel, Bluelight Strategies’ Steve Rabinowitz and Aaron Keyak, Michael Wilner, Jacob Kornbluh, Soli and Vera Spira, ASF’s Jason Guberman-Pfeffer, Laura Adkins, David Efune, Dor Refaeli, Peter Kash, Israel Schachter, IAC’s Shawn Evenhaim, Ezra Friedlander, Rachel Glazer, Shmuel Winiarz, Tzvi Allen Fishman, J Swipe’s David Yarus, James Oppenheim, Shmuley Boteach, Ella Mische, Chloe Valdary, and Kate Levy.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND“‘Bubbe, you were sleeping at the State of the Union!’”  — Granddaughter to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who admitted that she “wasn’t 100 percent sober” during the January address. [TheHill]

TALK OF OUR NATION – WSJ Weekend Front Page: “The Last of the Arab Jews: Tunisian Jewish Enclave Weathers Revolt, Terror; Can It Survive Girls’ Education?” by Lucette Lagnado: “Isolated on a small niche of North Africa’s largest island, the Jews of Djerba have been called the last Arab Jews—and it is hardly an exaggeration. Across the rest of the Middle East, Jewish communities have been vanishing over the past half century, since the creation of Israel. Before then, there were more than 850,000 Jews living in the Arab world. Today, there are between 4,000 to 4,500, according to Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, a nonprofit advocacy group… Djerba has enjoyed a lucrative tourist industry and Tunisia has been keen to preserve it by stressing its tolerance and moderation. Having a sizable Jewish community is key in that goal.”

“Djerban Jewish leaders are concerned about assimilation, so contacts with the 150,000 Muslims on the island are limited… Over the longer term, the greatest threat to Djerba’s Jews may come, not from without, but from within. Jews have lived on this storied island for centuries and, some believe, since Biblical times. Ancient traditions guide every aspect of Djerban Jewish life, but modernity is slowly encroaching. Laptops, iPhones and TV sets are ubiquitous. Perhaps the biggest question mark revolves around the role of women in society.” [WSJ]

—“Yemen’s last Jews eye exodus after Islamist militia takeover” by Mohammed Ghobari: “A few worried families are all that remain of Yemen’s ancient Jewish community, and they too may soon flee after a Shi’ite Muslim militia seized power in the strife-torn country this month. Harassment by the Houthi movement – whose motto is “Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam” – caused Jews in recent years to largely quit the northern highlands they shared with Yemen’s Shi’ites for millennia.” [Reuters]

—“Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.” [AFP] • “Jewish community leaders said that a bar mitzvah service was underway inside the synagogue at the time of the attack and that the man who was killed was a young volunteer guard.” [WashPost]

—@JeffreyGoldberg: “Very sad to realize that Jews are not safe in Denmark, a country that was heroic in its efforts to save its Jewish citizens in WWII.” [Twitter]

—“Hundreds of Graves Desecrated at Jewish Cemetery in Eastern France: As many as 300 graves were desecrated at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, officials said Sunday, the latest escalation in a wave of anti-Semitic violence in Europe. French officials are searching for an unknown number of assailants who upended or broke tombstones and headstones in roughly three quarters of the 400 graves at a historic Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, a small town near France’s border with Germany, a person familiar with the inquiry said.” [WSJ]

—“After Attacks, France Fights Call For Mass Migration of Jews” by Lori Hinnant: “Faced with images of overturned tombstones and yet another deadly attack at a European Jewish site, French leaders on Monday countered calls from the Israeli prime minister for a mass immigration with their own plea to the Jewish community.” [AP]

ISRAELEX: “Hope and change, the Hebrew edition” by Katie Glueck [Politico]

SUNDAY SHOWS: Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace to Speaker John Boehner – “Haven’t you taken one of the few bipartisan issues in this country, support for Israel, and turned it into a political football? Boehner: “I have not. The fact is we have every right to do what we did. I wanted the prime minister to come here. I have not. The fact is we have every right to do what we did. I wanted the prime minister to come here. And then when it comes to the threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon — these are important messages that the Congress needs to hear and the American people need to hear. And I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the perfect person to deliver the message of how serious this threat is.”

Wallace: “But when you talk with Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu, you told him specifically not to tell the White House. Why would you do that, sir? Boehner: “Because I wanted to make sure that there was no interference. There’s no secret here in Washington about the animosity that this White House has for Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I frankly didn’t want them getting in the way and quashing what I thought was a real opportunity.” [FoxNewsSunday]

IRAN TALKS: “US optimism on Iran nuclear deal rises” by Laura Rozen: “It is clear that an agreement is within reach, [that] many of the differences have been resolved,” Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, told Al-Monitor Feb. 13. “If we get a deal that is close to the terms the administration has set out, and I believe we will, it is going to be a very good deal,” Cirincione said. “One that will surprise and please even many of the critics.” Progress was made at talks held in Munich on Feb. 6-8 between US and Iranian negotiators, experts briefed by the administration deduced.” [AlMonitor] • “Report: Iran refutes claim that Supreme Leader wrote to President Obama” [AP]

—Eli Lake: “FDR and Stalin were allies against the Nazis, but after the Third Reich collapsed, the U.S. and the Soviet Union fought a cold war. Why can’t Iran and America be new allies in a war against the Islamic State? In many ways they already are. The problem is: Iran really loves terrorism. Since 1979, it has used terrorism as a tool of statecraft like no other nation.” [Bloomberg]

“Fearing leaks, U.S. ‘limiting’ information it shares with Israel on Iran nuke talks” by Barak Ravid: “As a result of the recent tension between the United States and Israel, the White House has begun to limit the scope, quality and depth of the information it shares with Jerusalem about the progress of the talks with Iran about its nuclear program, senior Israeli officials involved in the issue have said.” [Haaretz] • “US denies it stopped updating Israel on Iran talks” [ToI]

2016 WATCH: “Ad Dynasty’s Son, Jeb Bush Used His Connections Freely” by Steve Eder and Michael Barbaro: “For the 12 years that his father held national elective office, Mr. Bush used his unique access to the highest reaches of government to seek favors for Republican allies, push his views and burnish his political profile in his home state, a review of presidential library records shows. In the process, Mr. Bush carefully constructed an elaborate and enduring network of relationships in Florida that helped lead to his election as governor in 1998 and, now, to his place as a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.” [NYTimes] • “Jeb Bush pressing to lock in Mitt Romney’s donors” [BostonGlobe] • “Mark Mellman Op: “The early states for the GOP” [TheHill]

“Activists bristle at Hillary fundraising: Hillary Clinton remains officially undeclared, but her campaign-in-waiting’s emails continue to flood inboxes of Democratic activists in early voting states. Though it amounts to little more than a nuisance in the grand scheme of the 2016 election, it does point to a downside of Clinton’s strategy of staying out of the public eye while her supporters campaign on her behalf. Namely, that it could create Clinton fatigue among activists and fuel concerns that she’s taking the Democratic nomination for granted.” [Politico] • “For Hillary Clinton, John Podesta Is a Right Hand With a Punch” [NYTimes] • “Gil Troy Op: “How To Handle Hillary Haters” [DailyBeast]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT: “Bill Clinton lauds Chabad school at New York Gala” [ChabadNews]


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CORNELL TECH: “The Technion’s Peretz Lavie on Technology and Education”  by Alexandra Wolfe: “What Stanford University is to Silicon Valley, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is to Israel’s booming tech sector. Technion President Peretz Lavie is now working to bring some of that experience to the U.S. In partnership with Cornell University, the Technion recently broke ground on a new technology-focused campus in New York City. Named the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, the campus will be on Roosevelt Island, a sliver of land between Manhattan and Queens.” [WSJ]

STARTUP NATION: Tim Cook in Israel: “The local high-tech industry awaits Apple’s great event on Tuesday at the company’s offices in Herzliya. Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in Israel without fanfare at the weekend, and is staying at a boutique hotel in central Tel Aviv. Cook, who came to Israel with his life partner, spent Saturday visiting the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.” [Globes]

—LongRead: “Profile: Inside Apple’s Design Lab: Jonathan Ive and the sensibility that shaped the Apple Watch” [NewYorker]

JEWISH NYFW: “How Rebecca and Uri Minkoff are shaking up retail” by Daniell Sacks:“When accessories and apparel designer Rebecca Minkoff opened her eponymous company’s first store in Manhattan in November, she and her brother Uri, the business’s cofounder and CEO, wanted to create a wired environment where the tech was virtually invisible… In early 2014, the brother-sister team began collaborating with eBay’s retail innovation group to build a new kind of in-store experience (see sidebar, below). When shoppers walk in the store, they are greeted by a huge screen that lets them finger-swipe through clothing styles and press send to my room to try on items.” [FastCompany]

Poet laureate Philip Levine dies at age 87″ by Hillel Italie and Scott Smith: “Philip Levine, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose intimate portraits of blue-collar life were grounded in personal experience and political conscience, died Saturday. Levine was 87. Levine, the country’s poet laureate in 2011-2012, died at his home in Fresno, California, of pancreatic and liver cancer, his wife said Sunday. A native of Detroit and son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Levine was profoundly shaped by his working-class childhood and years spent in jobs ranging from driving a truck to assembling parts at a Chevrolet plant.” [MiamiHerald]

“Holocaust Survivor Band members play music of their youth: They’re almost 90, survived the Holocaust and love to play music together — so why not? Saul Dreier and Reuben Sosnowicz, nostalgic for the tunes of their youth, have started a group with an unlikely name that tells just a part of their story: the Holocaust Survivor Band. Completing its first year, the band has proven popular along the local synagogue/flea market/retirement-home circuit, attracting hundreds of South Floridians who relish klezmer and Big Band music.” [TampaTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “Knicks, Amar’e Stoudemire agree to buyout, ending former All-Star’s tenure in New York: source” by Frank Isola: “A league source told the Daily News that Stoudemire and the Knicks formally reached a buyout prior to Sunday’s All Star Game and that the six-time All Star, who should clear waivers by Wednesday, could be in a new uniform by the time the league resume on Thursday.” [DailyNews]

TALK OF THE TOWN: NYPOST PAGE 1 — “Intifooda: Kosher food-cart vendor says he’s blocked by ‘halal mafia’ in NYC” by Gary Buiso: “Yisroel Mordowitz insists he just wants to peacefully peddle sandwiches piled high with brisket or pastrami from his Holy Rollers cart in the lucrative Rockefeller Center area, 48th Street off Sixth Avenue. But a group of irate Egyptian competitors block the kosher vendor from setting up on the sidewalk, literally squatting on the curb or placing umbrellas and beverage cartons to cordon off the space.” [NYPost] See the cover [Twitter]

“Man sues Trump hotel after being served non-kosher sandwich” by Julia Marsh: “Oy, gevalt! An orthodox Jewish man is suing the Trump Soho after he allegedly spent $146 to get a special hot kosher meal there — and was served a cold non-kosher turkey sandwich instead.” [NYPost]

DESSERT: “The Slow Cooker, Redeemed” by Sam Sifton: “The original patent for a slow cooker, awarded to Irving Naxon in 1940, was inspired, he said, by the cooking of his Jewish grandmother in Lithuania. On Friday afternoons she would take an uncooked cholent, or stew, to the local bakery to cook in its cooling ovens while the family observed the Sabbath, then retrieve it after sundown the following day for dinner.” [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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