Daily Kickoff: Spotlight on Sen. Ben Cardin | Apple acquires Israeli startup LinX | Abramovich buys Tel Aviv hotel | Ghermezian’s Miami Dream Approved

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TOP TALKER: “After Last-Minute Changes, Iran Bill Sweeps Key Vote With White House Support” by Jessica Schulberg: “After several months of wrangling between the White House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a controversial bill to increase Congress’ involvement in the Iran nuclear talks passed the committee Tuesday on a unanimous vote of 19-0. In a dramatic change from its stance only hours before the vote, the White House indicated that the president would not veto the legislation.” [HuffPostNYTimesWSJ]

“How Ben Cardin and Bob Corker clinched the Iran deal” by Manu Raju and Burgess Everett: “Every team has one quarterback,” Reid told Cardin, according to sources familiar with the call. “And you’re it.”… As talks intensified through the weekend, Cardin served as a liaison between Corker and the White House, relaying concerns voiced by the president’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and reassuring Obama about the emerging deal along the way.” [PoliticoBaltimoreSun]

“Cardin Moves Into Spotlight” by Ailsa Chang: “Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg told Cardin his ascension reminds him of the Biblical story of Esther. “Where Mordecai says to Esther, ‘You are the queen, and you have influence now in the upper echelons of the King’s palace. Perhaps it was for this that God has put you in this place, at this time,'” Wohlberg recounted. “I don’t think the senator has ever faced this kind of pressure from the Jewish community,” Wohlberg said. Cardin downplays the pressure he’s received from his Jewish community back home, but does say he’s had to delicately navigate tensions. He’s insisted on softening the bill, to give a deal with Iran a better chance — but he knows that frustrates people who oppose any agreement with Iran.” [NPR]

WSJ Editorial: “Our own view of all this is closer to that of Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who spoke for (but didn’t offer) an amendment in committee Tuesday to require that Mr. Obama submit the Iran nuclear deal as a treaty. Under the Constitution, ratification would require an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the Senate.” [WSJ] • Press Release: “Prominent Jewish Republicans Host Fundraiser For U.S. Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson” [NewsWire]

NYTimes Editorial: “Congress has formally muscled its way into President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, creating new and potentially dangerous uncertainties for an agreement that offers the best chance of restraining that country’s nuclear program.” [NYTimes]

Yishai Schwartz: “The primary White House gain from the Corker bill is that the extended back-and-forth over its passage successfully sucked attention and momentum from a second, much more threatening piece of Iran legislation: the Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill. Remember that just a few months ago, these tough new sanctions were marching through the Senate with the backing of prominent Democrats including expected-leader Chuck Schumer. But vociferous opposition from the White House bogged it down, and the emergence of the alternative Corker measure allowed senators to focus their “get tough on Iran” energies in other directions.” [Lawfare]

Eli Lake & Josh Rogin: “In short: Putin inadvertently made a strong case for the Corker bill when he effectively went back on Russia’s word not to sell Iran the powerful air defense system, and now the White House has backed down from its veto threat.” [BloombergView]

“Israel Trolls Obama Over Iran” by David Knowles: “The Israeli embassy to the United States fired off a tweet on Tuesday mocking the Obama administration’s ongoing negotiations with Iran. The message read, “Now reading // State Sponsors of Terrorism by @StateDept,” and provided a link to that list that, until today, featured both Cuba and Iran.” [BloombergTheHill]

2016 WATCH: “On his first full day as a presidential candidate, Rubio got to hear committee chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee say that he “contributed heavily, especially on the issues related to Israel.” When Rubio’s time came, he happily took credit for the controversy over provisions that could render the sanctions impossible to pass. He was not, he said, too concerned with “disturbing the balance of this bill.” He had another goal: “I’m disturbed about the destruction of Israel.” [Bloomberg] • “Rubio backs compromise on Iran Deal” [AP]

Jake Sullivan joins Hillary campaign: “Sullivan was a key player in laying the groundwork for the talks that led to the tentative agreement on Iran’s nuclear program — but he also had a reputation for skepticism on Iran, which could give the Clinton campaign a harder line on the issue than the Obama administration has embraced.” [Politico]

“A deep dive into the modern data-driven campaign with Obama veteran and Ready for Hillary senior strategist Mitch Stewart” by Sasha Issenberg: “MS: If you’re running a campaign or you’re running an organization, what’s more important to you: one hundred e-mail addresses, or ten fully-laid out profiles, with details about the individual including the e-mail address? What would you rather have? SI: I’d respond, in the rabbinic spirit: It depends what type of campaign you’re running. MS: Sure. But ultimately that’s the Sophie’s choice you have. SI: Thanks for sticking with the Jewish stuff. Know your audience.” [Bloomberg]

Israel + 2016 — by Ben Caspit: “The next 18 months in the campaign for president of the United States will be fascinating, with Israel playing a key role in it. Will Netanyahu once again throw his support behind the Republican candidate, just as he did with Mitt Romney in the previous campaign? The assumption among those closest to Netanyahu is that he will. “Netanyahu did something that no Israeli prime minister ever did before, by taking a position regarding the presidential campaign. He didn’t pay any price for it, so there is no reason for him to show any caution the second time,” I was told this week by one of Netanyahu’s former advisers.” [AlMonitor] • “National Poll Finds Deep Partisan Split on Israel and Iran” [Bloomberg]

“Are American Jews Too Loyal — to the Democrats?” by J.J. Goldberg: “History is never certain or permanent, but American Jews’ preference for Democrats comes close. Still, change does happen. Once the center of our political imagination was David, King of Israel. Now it’s all about Steve King and Steve Israel.” [Forward]

HAPPENING TODAY: FDD’s Washington Forum convenes today at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Speakers include Michele Flournoy, Jackson Diehl, Bret Stephens, Robert Morgenthau, Rep. Ted Deutch, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Jonathan Schanzer, Irwin Cotler, Elliott Abrams, Mark Dubowitz, and Jeffrey Goldberg. [FDD]

**Good Wednesday 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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Gov. Scott, Cabinet approve land deal for American Dream Miami” by Peter Schorsch: “Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet signed off on the land deal that could pave the way for the nation’s largest mall in West Miami-Dade County… Speaking at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting was Eskandar Ghermezian, one of the billionaire Canadian brothers who own Triple Five. After making a passionate case to lawmakers to approve the deal, Ghermezian, who is currently under medical care, had been rushed to the hospital with acute high blood pressure.” [SaintPetersBlog]

“In The Genes” by Francisco Alvarado: “Nakash family’s real estate portfolio has expanded from denim to luxury properties such as the Versace mansion and the Setai — with a flea market in their back pocket” [RealDeal]

“Roman Abramovich splashes out on Tel Aviv’s Varsano Hotel” by Simon Griver: “Roman Abramovich has bought Tel Aviv’s Varsano Hotel for 100 million Israeli shekels. The Chelsea owner, who frequently visits Tel Aviv on business, is expected to convert the 19th century building into his Israeli home. Abramovich is buying the Varsano Hotel from local businessmen Guy and Yaron Varsano – the latter is married to Israeli and Hollywood actress Gal Gadot (SuperWoman). Abramovich has been trying to buy a home in the fashionable Neve Tzedek quarter of Tel Aviv since 2008.” [DailyMailToI]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Here Comes the Airbnb of the Solar Industry” by David Whitford: “Israeli entrepreneur Amit Rosner lives in Tel Aviv and is launching a business in Boston. He spends a lot of time on airplanes. “And whenever I look out of the window before we land, it drives me nuts to see roofs baking in the sun,” Rosner says. “I feel this is absurd–that so much energy falls on the roofs, and it just bakes the roofs without doing anything helpful.”… Rosner’s new business received two rounds of funding from an Israeli angel and a top-tier Israel venture fund. The name is Yeloha…”

“Yeloha will have two sets of customers. The first, which Rosner calls “sun hosts,” are people who live under a suitably sunny roof and want to go solar but can’t afford to buy or lease the panels. Yeloha will install its own panels on those people’s roofs, at no cost, and give them a portion (generally one-third) of the electricity they produce, absolutely free. And the excess production? That’s where the “sun partners” come in. Those are people who want solar power but don’t have the right roof for it. They’ll be able to buy solar credits from Yeloha in any amount they choose and pay less than they would for electricity generated by other means.” [Inc]

“How a media company founded by two [Jewish] 23-year-olds wants to take on the Food Network with an army of college students” by Maya Kosoff: “Along with her friend Sarah Adler, Barth decided to start her own website — a place where anyone from Northwestern could talk about food. Spoon University — a website to share recipes, health and lifestyle stories, restaurant reviews, BuzzFeed-esque quizzes, and other food-related content — launched in March 2014 and grew to a 100-person student staff at Northwestern’s campus.” [BusinessInsider]

STARTUP NATION: “Apple has acquired LinX, an Israel-based camera technology company, for an estimated $20 million” [WSJBusinessInsider] “Ehud Barak invests $1m in Reporty Homeland Security” [Globes] • “Baidu invests in Israeli music technology start-up Tonara” [Reuters• “Seven Start-Ups From Israel That You May Want To Watch” [Forbes• “Jerusalem-based Glide’s Apple Watch app telegraphs a future with live video conversations on the wrist” [VentureBeat] • “Israeli digital ad firm Matomy buys 70 percent of Canada’s Avenlo” [ReutersWSJ] • “Israeli app Meerkat locks horn with Twitter in battle for live stream” [YNet]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Tel Aviv’s Skate Scene Photographer Tells Us About Shooting Grinds While Missiles Fly Overhead” by Aaron Wynia: “Politics affected the scene, but more in the “macro” sense, like, it’s harder to travel with an Israeli passport, you can be denied if it doesn’t seem safe for people to visit, so it can be kind of isolated, and that’s bad. But in the “micro,” however, the politics is less present in the skate scene. But the art world is definitely affected—cultural boycott, bands and artist that won’t come here, Israeli artists get invited abroad less.” [Vice]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Student Coalition at Stanford Confronts Allegations of Anti-Semitism” by Jennifer Medina: “The debate over what constitutes anti-Semitism has spilled into Stanford University’s student government election, with a Jewish student claiming that she was asked how her Judaism affects her view of divestment from Israel, morphing what was a contest about campus issues into a fierce discussion on identity and loyalties.” [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: “On Tuesday night, guests gathered at the New York State Supreme Courthouse for a Vanity Fair cocktail party hosted by Graydon Carter, Ronald Perelman, and De Niro to toast the Tribeca Film Festival’s 14th annual opening. De Niro met guests at the top of the steps and, for a while, formed a sort-of extra column with fellow New York legend Harvey Keitel, and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Ivanka Trump chatted up Diane von Furstenberg. Manhattan media was represented by Charlie Rose, Barry Diller, James Dolan, Tom Freston, Jared Kushner, Gayle King, and Andy Cohen.” [VanityFair]


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