Daily Kickoff: Bibi meets with Obama, Abbas in Paris | Alan Gross on 60 Minutes | Israel breaks new ground in wine industry | BDays: Daroff, Patinkin

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DRIVING THE WEEK: “Cruz, Rubio line up to steal away Bush supporters: Republican Jewish Coalition audition will give Bush a chance to convince early backers he is still viable” by Eli Stokols: “It’s a moment in the post-Paris atmosphere for the candidate to deliver something big and major, because people are going to be paying attention,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary and RJC board member who has helped organize the event. “This audience is pretty sophisticated, politically involved and they’ve heard a lot of speeches before.”

“Many of the RJC board members scheduled to attend have already committed to a candidate, and some are now shopping for a plan B, especially those who threw their support behind Bush early on. “Most of the people I speak to, none of them regard Jeb Bush as politically alive,” said a longtime RJC board member… “Most people I know now are talking up Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz,” he continued.” [Politico• “GOP Hopefuls Seeking to Close the Deal at RJC Forum” [JewishInsider]

Thursday Fundraising: Elizabeth and Avi Samuels host Ted Cruz in Englewood, New Jersey… S. Douglas and Melissa Hahn host Marco Rubio on the Upper West Side… Over breakfast, Eric Cantor and Mike Murphy will update Jeb’s Right to Rise supporters attending the RJC Forum…

“Ted Cruz’s Favorite Rabbi” by Betsy Woodruff: “In an interview with The Daily Beast, Shmuley Boteach said he and Cruz bonded over their commitment to Israel and said they both have advocated for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard… Their relationship offers insight into why the senator’s presidential bid has had a much wider appeal than frustrated GOP Establishment insiders may have expected.” [DailyBeast]

“Ted Cruz Escalates Attacks on Rubio” by Vaughn Hillyard: “Senator Rubio’s campaign has been desperate to change the topic from his longtime partnership and collaboration with President Obama and Chuck Schumer in pushing a massive amnesty plan,” Cruz added. [NBCNewsPolitico]

“Marco Rubio Straddles Line Between Insider, Outsider” by Patrick O’Connor and Byron Tau: “This tension between Rubio the insider and Rubio the outsider is in some ways his biggest challenge—positioning himself as a bridge candidate, while some of his rivals target evangelicals and tea-party conservatives and others try to rally the establishment.” [WSJ]

LongRead: “How Jeb Bush’s Allies Tried — and Failed — to Stop Marco Rubio” by McKay Coppins [BuzzFeed]

“Michael Bloomberg: U.S. climate ‘crazies’ are being forced to accept reality” by Mick Krever: “You’ve got a guy like Ted Cruz, who I think (prominent American lawyer Alan) Dershowitz said was the smartest law student he ever had, and he says some of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. The only explanation — the only explanation — is he doesn’t believe it, he’s just saying it. Ted Cruz is a smart guy and you can’t say what he says in an intelligent way.” [CNN• “Mike Bloomberg has spent $72M on campaigns, won 67% of races” [NYPost]

HEADLINE: “Conservative Pundit Bill Kristol Can’t Stop Talking About His Loathing for Trump” [Gawker]

“High school student Josh Wolff, who is half-Mexican and half-Jewish, said it’s Trump’s stance that creates a wedge between the candidate and immigrants. “Him disrespecting immigrants … I seen what he said. He said that the majority of illegal immigrants coming here are rapists, drug dealers or murderers. Comments like that are not acceptable, they’re not true,” Wolff said.” [ABC7]

PARIS TWEETS: @BarakRavid — “PM Netanyahu met briefly President Obama on the sidelines of the Paris conference. Israeli official says they spoke for a few minutes” [Twitter] • @RaphaelAhren: “What can’t happen in Jerusalem or Ramallah just happened in Paris: At @COP21, @IsraeliPM and PA President Mahmoud Abbas met and shook hands.” [Twitter] • @AviMayer: “UN Secretary General Ban reportedly omits Israel from list of recent terror attacks around the world in #COP21 address.” [Twitter]

“Trudeau to have first encounter with Israel’s Netanyahu during climate summit in Paris” by Campbell Clark: “Trudeau has indicated that he won’t change Canada’s official policy, or its support for Israel, but that he’ll seek a new tone in relations – his Foreign Affairs Minister, Stéphane Dion, has said Canada will return to its Pearsonian “honest broker” role in Mideast politics.” [Globe&Mail]

“Israel says Russian fighter jet breached airspace without incident: A Russian fighter jet recently penetrated Israeli airspace but was not shot down thanks to an open communication system between the two countries, Israel’s defense minister said Sunday as tensions continued to flare between Ankara and Moscow after Turkish troops downed a Russian warplane… Yaalon said the plane entered about a mile into Israeli airspace by “mistake” and immediately turned around back to Syria when the Russians were notified.” [CBSNews]

RISING STAR: “Tulsi Gabbard, Rising Democratic Star From Hawaii, Makes Mark on Party by Defying It” by Emmarie Huetteman: “Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, has a reputation among her colleagues for being a composed, contemplative presence in a chamber more prone to reaction than reflection. But lately she has started to shed that persona. Since the deadly attacks in Paris, she has become a high-profile critic of President Obama’s policies in Syria by amplifying her argument that President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power to avoid elevating the Islamic State and by introducing legislation to defund American efforts to overthrow him.” [NYTimes]

HEARD LAST NIGHT: “Alan Gross Recounts Cuban Imprisonment” by Jacob Kornbluh:“For the first time since his release last December – as part of a landmark deal with Cuba – Gross spoke extensively about his time in Cuba in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday. “They threatened to hang me. They threatened to pull out my fingernails. They said I’d never see the light of day. I had to do three things in order to survive, three things every day. I thought about my family that survived the Holocaust. I exercised religiously every day. And I found something every day to laugh at,” he told Scott Pelley.” [JI]

HAPPENING TONIGHT: The Hudson Institute’s 2015 Global Leadership Award Dinner honors Rupert Murdoch in NYC. Hosts include Henry and Marie-Josee Kravis, James Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Jerry Speyer, Betsy and Walter Stern, Robert Thomson, Jeffrey Berenson, Margaret and Daniel Loeb, Joshua Landes, Mark Rosenblatt and Sarah Stern, and Nelson Peltz.

PROFILE: “How Roger Ailes Built Fox News Into a Media Powerhouse” [AdWeek]

**Good Monday 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: Crains inaugural 20 under 20 includes Noa Mintz and Leila Eliot [Crains] • “Leon Black’s Apollo seeks purchase of Tribune — and possible California sell-off to Eli Broad” [CapitalNY] • “Road to Robotic Parking Is Littered With Faulty Projects — “It was clear that the garage was not ready to be open to the public,” said Russell Galbut” [NYTimes] • “Israeli parking search sensor startup Spaceek raises $272,000” [Globes] • “How Architect Thierry Despont Is Transforming Landmarks Like the Ritz and the Plaza” [VanityFair• “The Jewish Story Behind the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank” [Forward]

SPOTLIGHT: “Headliner lets you video the news like a DIY ‘Daily Show’” by Lauren Hockenson: “Headliner is redefining the news broadcast for the mobile generation,” Dana Gibber, co-founder of Headliner, told TNW. When users download and log into Headliner, they can record up to 20 seconds of video discussing news of the day. “Headliner is finding the most talented people out there – those with the funniest, most interesting takes on the news – and connecting them with the broader audience of news consumers,” Lini Klatt, co-founder at Headliner, said. Investors so far include Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, former Nielsen exec Itzhak Fisher, LendingHome CEO Matt Humphrey, Avenue Capital Group CEO Marc Lasry.” [NextWeb]

STARTUP NATION: “There are so many Israeli startups in New York that an Israeli founded a startup to serve them” [Quartz]

“With Indigenous Grapes, Israel Breaks New Ground in Wine Industry” by Jodi Rudoren:“The new crisp, acidic and mineral white from a high-end Israeli winery was aged for eight months — or, depending on how you look at it, at least 1,800 years. The wine, called marawi and released last month by Recanati Winery, is the first commercially produced by Israel’s growing modern industry from indigenous grapes. It grew out of a groundbreaking project at Ariel University in the occupied West Bank that aims to use DNA testing to identify — and recreate — ancient wines.” [NYTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “How Two Sisters Brought a Hasidic Vibe to High Fashion” by Emily Shire: “Chaya Chanin and Simi Polonsky’s designs have been embraced by both Orthodox Jews, and fashionistas from further afield.” [DailyBeast]

DESSERT: “The Best and Brightest Hanukkah Recipes” [Epicurious]

BIRTHDAYS: William Daroff… Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin turns 63… Larry Summers turns 61… WSJ’s Erica Orden… Michael Beschloss turns 60… NYT’s Jodi Rudoren… Frances Dinkelspiel… From the weekend: Rahm Emanuel turned 56… Shalom Lipner turned 5-0… Chanoch Yaacov… Andrea Glick… Jude Rabinowitz… Aliza Mazor… Jeremy Wimpfheimer… Joel Loeffelholz… Barry Sternlicht turned 55… Joel Braunold… Brian Strum…

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