Daily Kickoff: Cruz, Christie pitch Adelson | Rand’s money problem | Obama meets Satloff family | Oops: Israel’s Burning Man Torched Ancient Remains

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SCENE LAST NIGHT: Around fifteen hundred guests and supporters gathered last night on the sixth floor of the Marriott Marquis in NYC to celebrate the third annual ‘Champions of Jewish Values Awards Gala.’ The gala, which benefits Shmuley Boteach‘s This World Values Network, was co-hosted by Sheldon Adelson and Michael Steinhardt. As the 2016 election cycle is underway, Sen. Ted Cruzand NJ Gov. Chris Christie used the opportunity to pitch their foreign policy visions to the influential crowd. Cruz presented a ‘checklist’ of items the next President should initiate in January 2017 related to Israel, Iran and the Middle East. Cruz, who spoke without notes or from behind the lectern, might have to shorten the list before his next such speech as ‘transferring bunker busting bombs to Israel’ is already on the Obama administration’s to-do list.

Christie noted in closing his remarks that a Lutheran Minister once explained to him how the concept of ‘preaching to the choir’ is not a negative one. “The Minister explained that I preach to the choir every Sunday so that they’ll sing and therefore it’s never a waste of time.” Christie continued, “Some people might criticize me tonight that asking for strength and resolve is preaching to the choir. I’m preaching to the choir tonight so that you’ll sing to your friends and neighbors and so you’ll preach to those who agree and especially to those why don’t yet understand.”

Seated at the head table: Sheldon Adelson, Elie and Marion Wiesel, Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer, Ted and Heidi Cruz, Sen. Bob Menendez, Shmuley Boteach, Chris Christie, Patrick Dumont and Sivan Ochshorn. Noticeably absent: Miriam Adelson, who according to a Boteach tweet was in NYC as of Wednesday [Twitter] • Adelson and Simon Falic, of Duty Free Americas, each pledged $1 million to Boteach.

Spotted: Nily Falic, Newt Gingrich, Mort Klein, Marc Goldman, Ken Abramowitz, Edward Turen, Ken Bialkin, George Klein, Jordana Cutler, Joshua Landes, Dr. Joseph Frager, Nick Muzin, David Yarus, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jeff Ballabon, Jacqueline Van Maarsen, NYC Councilman David Greenfield, Joey Allaham, Ronn Torossian, Felix Sater, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Ken Kurson, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, Dov and Nancy Friedberg, Ezra and Racheli Friedberg, Moshe Wolfson, Aaron Wolfson, Robert Garson, Mati Weiderpass, Ariana Kaufman, Eytan Laor, Ira and Elizabeth Savetsky, Mitchell Bard, and Joel Mowbray. Seating card spotted: Jonathan Cheban.

How It Played: “Cruz Hits The Adelson Sweet Spot” [BuzzFeed] • “Ted Cruz, Chris Christie Stress Importance of Ties With Israel” [WSJ] • “Chris Christie, Ted Cruz criticize Obama on Israel while courting Jewish donors in New York” [AP] • “Christie, Menendez honored as ‘champions’ of Israel”[NorthJersey] • “Cruz, Christie go after Obama on Israel” [CNN]

Last night in Toronto, the Simon Wiesenthal Center raised $3 million at their Spirit of Hope dinner. Bret Stephens moderated the discussion with keynote speaker Tony Blair.

HAPPENING SUNDAY: From 11am to 4pm, The annual Israel Day Parade will go up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue from 57th to 74th Streets. The Parade will be covered on FOX9 and livestreamed online from 12 to 3pm. [CelebrateIsraelNY]

From 2:30pm to 7:30pm, the Israel Day Concert by the Central Park Summer Stage will feature Alex Clare. Special guest speakers include Gov. Mike Huckabee, Amb. John Bolton, and Israeli MK Danny Danon. [IsraelDayConcert]

From 4pm – 8:30pm, “Yeshiva University’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, in partnership with Mosaic and the Tikvah Fund, will present a conference, titled “What America Owes the Jews, What Jews Owe America” on Sunday, May 31 at Congregation Shearith Israel, 2 West 70th Street, New York City. Conference participants include Jonathan Sarna, Eric Nelson, Dara Horn, Norman Podhoretz, Rich Richman, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, and William Kristol.” [StrausCenter]

At 7pm, Reva and Marty Oliner host Gov. Mike Huckabee in Lawrence, NY, for a fundraiser in support of Huckabee’s presidential campaign.

2016 WATCH: “Lindsey Graham Allies Form Super PAC Ahead of 2016 Run” by Shane Goldmacher: “Andrew King, who has served as deputy chief of staff in Graham’s Senate office, and Caroline Wren, a longtime Graham fundraiser who served as finance director for his 2014 reelection, are spearheading the super PAC effort… In his 2014 Senate reelection, a different supportive super PAC, West Main Street Values, raised more than $900,000 on his behalf. Its largest donor was billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave $250,000. Larry Mizel, an influential Republican and Colorado home builder, gave $100,000, and Sam Fox, a former ambassador under President George W. Bush, gave $50,000.” [NationalJournal]

“Here’s where George Pataki will look for campaign money” by Rick Newman: “Every New York governor gets a fundraising assist from a handful of hedge-fund managers and other billionaires. Big names who have been in Pataki’s corner in the past: Bruce Kovner, Leon BlackCarl IcahnHenry KravisMario Gabelli and Lewis Eisenberg. Such donors have a lot of money to spread around, but also a lot of suitors angling for a cut.” [Yahoo]

“Rand Paul’s money problem” by Alex Isenstadt: “In a presidential campaign defined by billionaire sugar daddy donors, Rand Paul has a problem: He doesn’t seem to have one. While his rivals cultivate wealthy backers who will pump millions of dollars into their candidacies, Paul has struggled to find a similar lifeline. It’s led to considerable frustration in his campaign, which, amid rising concerns that it will not be able to compete financially, finds itself leaning heavily on the network of small donors who powered his father’s insurgent White House bids.” [Politico]

“Insiders: Rand Paul’s foreign policy views are a serious liability” by Katie Glueck: “A majority of early-state insiders believe it’s helpful for Rand Paul to differentiate himself from the Republican field through his views on foreign policy and national security. But over the course of the campaign, many say, those same positions will prove to be a serious liability.” [Politico]

“Liberal Jewish group weighs in on Maryland’s U.S. Senate race” by Rachel Weiner: “The liberal Jewish group J Street is backing Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) in Maryland’s U.S. Senate race, but the endorsement is not exclusive. Instead Edwards will go into the group’s “On The Street” program, which allows supporters to donate to her through J Street’s PAC.” [WashPost]

“Obama meets with family of slain journalist Steven Sotloff in Miami” by Peter Baker: “The meeting with the family of the slain journalist, Steven Sotloff, was held in private and was announced only afterward. During the session with Mr. Sotloff’s parents, Art and Shirley, and his sister, Lauren, “the president expressed his and the first lady’s condolences for Steven’s death,” Bernadette Meehan, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement.” [NYTimesJewishJournal]

IRAN TALKS: “Amid accelerated international efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, the U.N. atomic agency on Friday reported that work on a key element – an assessment of allegations that Tehran worked on atomic arms – remains essentially stalled.” [AP]

“Netanyahu: Israel isn’t perfect, but it is on par with world’s great democracies” by Barak Ravid: “Reacting to U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent criticism of him in connection with Israeli democracy and the prime minister’s anti-Arab remarks on Election Day, Netanyahu stressed that “Everyone has a right to an opinion.” [Haaretz]

Rabbi David Wolpe: “The BDS campaigns will not and cannot work. When a nation’s security is at stake, making the citizens feel less secure is not a recipe for compromise. A nation surrounded by hostile powers is not moved to negotiate by threats from friends. Boycotts are a blunt tool dropped into a delicate and ongoing struggle.” [TimeMag]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Broadcom’s co-founders built a behemoth as a formidable team” by Kim Christensen and Andrea Chang: “The Broadcom tale of the two Henrys is a study in contrasts: one man deliberate and reserved, the other anything but. Henry T. Nicholas III and Henry Samueli founded the Irvine chip maker in 1991 and went on to become two of Southern California’s best-known and richest entrepreneurs, giants in the tech industry… Samueli, 60, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, graduated from Fairfax High School at 16 and earned his undergraduate electrical engineering degree from UCLA at 20 and his PhD just before he turned 26.” [LATimes]

“Teva To Pay $1.2 Billion In Drug-Delay Settlement” by Matthew Perrone: “Federal regulators announced Thursday that Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries will pay $1.2 billion to settle charges that one of its subsidiaries illegally blocked the launch of low-cost generic versions of the blockbuster sleeping pill Provigil.” [AP]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Trial date set for showdown between the White Flint Mall and its last remaining tenant” [BizJournal• “Martin Selig lands anchor for new Belltown office building”[BizJournal] • “John Hancock Acquires One South Wacker” [GlobeSt] • “Toby Moskovits’ Heritage Equity Partners plans 144-key hotel in Bushwick” [RealDeal]

HOLLYWOOD: “Expelled From Ramaz, Former Pot Dealer Scores Netflix Hit” by Carly Stern: “Natasha Lyonne is the perfect ex-drug dealer to take home to your Jewish mother—after all, the “Orange Is The New Black” actress was expelled from Ramaz, the acclaimed day school on the Upper East Side, for selling marijuana. In a classic case of art imitating life, the actress plays a semi-autobiographical role as an acerbic, Jewish ex-heroin addict and prison inmate Nicky Nichols on the show, which will premiere its third season in June. She has spoken publicly about the impact that her religious upbringing has had on her life and career.” [JewishWeek]

OOPS… “Israeli Burning Man Festival Torches Ancient Remains: The Israeli Antiquities Authority says revelers at a Burning Man festival famous for its pyrotechnic spectacles have accidentally torched some remnants of prehistoric man. Archaeologist Yoram Haimi says organizers of Midburn, an Israeli affiliate of the Nevada carnival, burned a wooden temple Saturday on a hilltop scattered with flint tools from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.” [AP]

DESSERT: “10 NYC Area 7-Eleven Stores Now Carrying Kosher Meals” by Dani Klein [YeahThatsKosher]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Jacob Kornbluh… Ami Eden… Larry Silverstein turns 84… Sloan Dolores… Daryl Katz turns 54… Alfred Stern… Melissa York… Bernard Lewis turns 99… Brad Goldstein…

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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