Daily Kickoff: U.S. spied on Israel fearing a strike on Fordow | Adam Ross joins Palantir | Seven out of fifteen top Middle East hotels are in Israel

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — WSJ A1: “Spy vs. Spy: Inside the Fraying U.S.-Israel Ties” by Adam Entous: “The U.S. closely monitored Israel’s military bases and eavesdropped on secret communications in 2012, fearing its longtime ally might try to carry out a strike on Fordow, Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facility… Instead of talking to each other, the allies kept their intentions secret. To figure out what they weren’t being told, they turned to their spy agencies to fill gaps. They employed deception, not only against Iran, but against each other.”

“On Sept. 27, Mr. Amidror huddled with White House national security adviser Susan Rice in her office when she told him that Mr. Obama was on the phone in a groundbreaking call with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. Mr. Amidror had his own surprise. During a separate meeting in the Roosevelt Room, he told several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers that Israel had identified the tail numbers of the unmarked U.S. government planes that ferried negotiators to Muscat, Oman, the site of the secret talks, U.S. officials said.”

“Mr. Samore, the former White House official, said he believed it was a mistake to keep Israel in the dark for so long. Mr. Einhorn said: “The lack of early transparency reinforced Israel’s suspicions and had an outsize negative impact on Israeli thinking about the talks.” [WSJ]

“The Iran Deal just hit a huge snag” by Armin Rosen: “Even before the agreement goes into effect, the US is shifting its interpretation of the JCPOA in a way that makes the accord more palatable to Iran. In the process, the US has essentially decided that the investigation of past nuclear-weapons work, and the state of current Iranian weaponization expertise, is nonbinding on a treaty specifically meant to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” [BusinessInsider]

“Israel’s Nuclear Advisory Panel Endorses Iran Deal” by Chaim Levinson: “Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, which advises the government on nuclear issues, has endorsed the pact, a source familiar with the commission said.” [Haaretz]

Alan Solow discussing the Iran deal at Columbia University last night: “From an AIPAC standpoint, I think they had no choice… The only thing I would say about that is that the leaders of major Jewish American organizations are in a regular dialogue with the government of the State of Israel. So, there were certainly points in time when American Jewish leadership had the opportunity to say to the Netanyahu government and to the opposition: ‘Maybe the strategy we are following isn’t working. It is up to you to think about what you want to change. But we could give you some advice of what the American political scene looks like.’” … Full report to follow on JewishInsider.com

2016 WATCH: “Kasich: Iran ‘Very Close’ to Violating Deal” by Jacob Kornbluh: “During a town hall meeting at Dartmouth College set to air Friday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Kasich said that the initial concern that Iran would breach the nuclear deal has proven to be true.” [JI]

Sen. Ted Cruz celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer the other night at the Ambassador’s residence. [Pic]

“As Rubio moves up, fundraising and organization remain big challenges” by Sean Sullivan and Anu Narayanswamy: “A modest fundraising haul last quarter, along with his relatively minimal campaign structure in the early voting states, underscore how much ground the freshman senator from Florida must gain over the next three months before the first nominating contests begin.” [WashPost]

Tomorrow night at 9PM: Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley speak at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. [CSPAN]

Happening This Weekend: The 15th annual Jewish National Fund Conference at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. Featured speakers include Seth Siegel, Dr. Chuck Freilich, Jacob Baime, Richard Goldberg, Michael Shapiro, Jeffrey Levine, Tzipi Livni, Amy Holtz, Frank Luntz, Pastor Chris Harris, Ronald Lauder, and Russell Robinson. [JNF]

Ops Inbox — Jay Ruderman: “Stop Enabling Donors’ Outsized Influence on Jewish Life” [Forward]

David Brog: “How the Maccabees will fight BDS” [ToI]

Richard Behar emails… “‘An oasis in the wasteland’ of investigative Middle East journalism” [JNS]

**Good Friday 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: “Frank Lowy steps down as Scentre Group chairman” [AFRSMH]• Israeli Stratasys Sees Sharply Wider Quarterly Loss on MakerBot Write-Off [WSJ] • “J.B. Pritzker donates $100 million to Northwestern’s law school” [SunTimesTribune] • “Bill Gross Could Make Money for His Old Investors Before His New Ones” [Bloomberg] • “Insider trading charges dropped against SAC’s Steinberg” [NYPost] • “College Legally Prohibited From Changing Name to Appease Billionaire Philanthropists; Won’t Receive Critical Donation” [Gawker]

SPOTLIGHT: “Big Data Company Palantir Technologies Adds Independent Director” by Elizabeth Dwoskin: “Adam Ross, chairman and chief executive officer of Dallas-based Goldcrest Investments, will serve as the fourth board member of the 11-year-old private company. Mr. Ross, who attended Stanford University as a contemporary of Mr. Thiel and Mr. Karp, has been a quiet but steady presence in Silicon Valley, investing in companies founded by fellow Standard alumni. He is an adviser to Yammer, a social networking startup now owned by Microsoft, and serves on board of directors for the Republican Jewish Coalition.” [WSJ]

Top 15 Hotels in the Middle East — according to Conde Nast Traveler: 1. Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem… 6. Mamilla Hotel Jerusalem… 8. King David Jerusalem… 12. Inbal Jerusalem Hotel… 13. Dan Tel Aviv Hotel… 14. Hilton Tel Aviv… 15. David Citadel Hotel Jerusalem [Pic]

–Headline: “Luxury Hotel Built By Mufti (Yes, That One) Named Best in Middle East” [Forward]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “American Students Visiting Israel Not Dissuaded by Unrest” by Julia Zorthian: “And while many young Americans like Noam who are studying or traveling in Israel—or are planning to leave on trips this fall and winter—are not dissuaded by the recent uptick in attacks, their families in the U.S. tend to worry more about what they read and see on the news. Noam’s mother is “kind of scared” and tells him to travel in groups of people and carry pepper spray, he told TIME from an alley of Jerusalem restaurants and bars frequented by Americans where he spent the evening with friends.” [TimeMag]

HASID OR HIPSTER? “Jimmy Kimmel Continues Weeklong Brooklyn Love-Fest With ‘Hipster or Hasidic?’ Game” [WSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Dire straits lead Jewish congregation Anshei Sfard to weigh selling building, grounds” by David Serchuk: “The twin realities of a dwindling population and a furious cash burn rate have led the members of Louisville’s Orthodox Jewish Anshei Sfard congregation to consider having to make a tough choice: whether to sell their venerable building and grounds in an effort to save the congregation from eventual bankruptcy.” [BizJournals]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Roman Abramovich turns 49… Joel Klein turns 69… Joseph Rothstein… Sam Omekara… Ayelet Kahane…

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