Daily Kickoff: Neocons declare war on Trump | Rubio campaign goes after Kasich | Cisco buys Israeli chip maker for $320M | Paul Singer’s 15 year trade

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Biden to visit Israel next week” by Nick Gass: “Jill Biden will accompany the vice president on the trip, which begins on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates and continues along to Jordan after the visit to Israel and the West Bank. While in Israel, Biden will travel to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin before going to the West Bank and Ramallah, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.” [Politico]

“Biden will arrive at 5:20 p.m., but there will be neither a welcoming ceremony nor any speeches at the airport, according to the announcement. He is expected to meet separately with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the next day, where there are expected to be short statements to the media, but not a press conference. No other public events, such as a speech or press conference, have been announced.” [JPost]

TOP TALKER: “In new letter, Republican foreign policy experts declare war on Trump” by Thomas Gibbons-Neff: “In a last-ditch effort to stop Donald Trump’s likely nomination as the Republican Party’s candidate for president, a group of more than 50 conservative foreign policy experts have banded together in an open letter condemning the real estate magnate as unfit for the office. The letter’s signatories include former homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff, former deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick, former homeland security adviser Frances Townsend and former undersecretary of defense Dov Zakheim.” [WashPost] • See the letter [WarOnTheRocks

“New Ad Attacks Trump On Iran Stances” by Rosie Gray: “The ad seeks to tie Trump, who does not hew to Republican Party orthodoxy on several issues, to the foreign policy of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton. It shows a clip of him telling Wolf Blitzer, “Hillary’s always surrounded herself with very good people, I think Hillary would do a good job” in negotiating with Iran.” [BuzzFeed]

“Neocons declare war on Trump” by Michael Crowley: “In interviews with Politico, leading neocons — people who promoted the Iraq War, detest Putin and consider Israel’s security non-negotiable — said Trump would be a disaster for U.S. foreign policy and vowed never to support him. So deep is their revulsion that several even say they could vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump in November. “Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin,” said Eliot Cohen… “I could never vote for Clinton under any circumstances,” said Abrams. “I would ask Bob [Kagan] what job he thinks Sidney Blumenthal will have at the NSC before pulling the lever for Clinton,” he added.” [Politico]

“Former Cruz Advisor: Sheldon Could Sit Out Trump vs. Hillary Matchup” by Jacob Kornbluh: “In an interview with Glenn Thrush on the podcast “Off Message,” Rick Tyler said “it’s certainly possible” that a guy like Adelson or Paul Singer – whom any Republican nominee would need to beat Hillary – would remain neutral in the race for president if Trump is the nominee given his recent comments on Israel. “I mean, because, on the one hand, you have Donald Trump who just doesn’t seem to understand the Middle East and its problems and how to move forward with it, and then, on the other hand, you have Hillary Clinton who was for many years the Secretary of State when the whole Middle East blew up,” Tyler explained.” [JewishInsider]

INBOX — Coming Soon: “More than ­­­1,300 philanthropic leaders will attend the FIDF National New York Gala Dinner on March 15 at the Waldorf Astoria New York. The evening will feature a keynote address by Israel’s minister of defense and former vice prime minister, Moshe Yaalon, and will honor business magnates, philanthropists and steadfast supporters of Israel, Dr. Miriam and her husband Sheldon G. Adelson.”

INSIDE THE CAMPAIGNS: “Ted Cruz would have dropped out if he lost Texas” by Theodore Schleifer: “Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was prepared to drop out of the Republican presidential race had he lost his home state on Super Tuesday, he confirmed Wednesday, and is asking Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to do the same should he lose his.” [CNN]

According to notes from a JI reader, Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan told donors on a conference call yesterday: “Kasich is hurting us more than anyone else. Polling has 65% of Kasich voters to us. With Kasich vote we would have made 20% in Texas and would have won Virginia because the difference was 21k votes and Kasich had 80k votes. We need Kasich to drop out.”

Andrew Weinstein, recently named national co-char of the Democratic Lawyers Council of the DNC, spent the day with Hillary on the campaign trail in NYC: “The concert at Radio City Music Hall featured a very enthusiastic and sold out crowd. HRC & WJC both spoke and were obviously well received. No specific mention of Trump, but like in Miami last night, HRC made comment that America is already great and we need to work together and be more, not less, inclusive. Those people concerned that Hillary has an enthusiasm problem should have been at Radio City tonight. The reaction she got from the sold out crowd was solid evidence that that’s not the case.”

SPOTTED: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, a JI reader, at NYC’s Penn Station returning to D.C. after covering Hillary’s Javits Center event and her Super Tuesday rally in Miami the previous night.

DRIVING THE DAY — by Daniel Lippman: “Mitt Romney on Thursday will slam GOP front-runner Donald Trump as “a phony” and “a fraud” who is “playing the American public for suckers” in a major speech on the 2016 race. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” the 2012 GOP nominee plans to say at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City at 11:30 a.m. ET. Romney will argue that “a Trump nomination enables” Hillary Clinton to win in November.” [Politico]

Romney Theory — but only reported by one local New Jersey Jewish publication: “Romney is considering running as a third party presidential candidate this year if Donald Trump wins his party’s nomination. But Romney would not run a national campaign. The ex-Governor has been considering running in only three to seven states to prevent either major party candidate from getting a majority of the Electoral College votes in the general election. If this scenario occurs, then the House of Representatives, controlled by the Republicans and headed by Representative Paul Ryan, would pick the next President. Romney believes that the Republican Congress would pick him.” [TLS]

**Good Thursday 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: “Cisco to acquire Israeli chip maker Leaba Semiconductor for $320 million as buying spree continues” [TechCrunchWSJ] • “Israeli self driving car company Mobileye teams with Nissan” [Globes• “Estee Lauder Chairman William Lauder Joins Ranks Of Billionaires” [Forbes] • “Why Donald Trump has never invested in Israel” [Haaretz]

SPOTLIGHT: “After 15 Years, a Bond Trade Now Pays Off” by Gregory Zuckerman, Julie Wernau and Rob Copeland: “Some traders go short. Others go long. Paul Singer went really, really long. His trade, which is transfixing Wall Street this week, has been one of the most drawn-out and contentious bond-market sagas ever. But thanks to a settlement this week, Mr. Singer’s nearly 15-year-old wager on Argentinian government bonds has yielded $2.4 billion, including over $100 million for lawyer fees and other considerations, a gain of roughly 10 to 15 times its original investment.” [WSJ]

STARTUP NATION: “Tech Companies Are Finding a Place for Very Religious Israeli Women” by Jaclyn Trop: “Even though Haredi (very religious) women are typically breadwinners for their families, the type of jobs available to them means that many families rely on help from the Israeli government to make ends meet. But tech companies are beginning to offer them options more lucrative than childcare and administrative work. From industry giants like Cisco and Intel to boutique firms, Israel’s tech players are starting to offer amenities such as single-sex offices, kosher food and flexible hours that cater to stringent Haredi guidelines.” [Fortune]

LongRead: “No one separates the rich and famous better than Laura Wasser” by Claire Suddath: “Wasser’s client list includes Angelina Jolie (when she filed to divorce Billy Bob Thornton), Denise Richards (Charlie Sheen), Nick Lachey (Jessica Simpson), Stevie Wonder (twice, actually), Maria Shriver (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and at least three Kardashians. She charges $850 an hour, requires a $25,000 retainer, and rarely represents people who have less than $10 million. She’s one of the top lawyers in what, when you include custody battles and paternity testing, has turned family law into what research firm IBISWorld calls an $11 billion business and one of the most lucrative areas of law.”[Businessweek]

PROFILE: “20 years later, life imitates art for NFL agent Leigh Steinberg” by Don Banks:“Can it be that Jerry Maguire turns 20 this year? And just like Cameron Crowe’s film, the well-known sports agent the story was loosely based on has managed to stand the test of time. Just don’t expect Steinberg to repeat the “Show me the money” catchphrase, because even by asking, your request just made the daily list he compiles in his head. “What I didn’t expect was for virtually every day in the last 20 years to be sitting in an airport or at dinner or something and have someone run up and say those four words,” said Steinberg.” [SportsIllustrated]

SPORTS BLINK: “Patriots fans blast Robert Kraft, Tom Brady over Donald Trump endorsement” by Arielle Aronson: “Although neither Brady nor Kraft officially endorsed Trump, their actions were met by a hefty dose of disapproval from a typically liberal-leaning Massachusetts fanbase. Ilana Hoffman, a mother from Brighton, Mass., directly criticized Kraft’s support for Trump. “Trump’s just not a mensch, and Kraft — especially as a Jewish philanthropist — I would hope that he would be able to look past what’s popular and be supporting a guy who’s a mensch. Whatever the politics are, Trump’s just mean.” [FoxSports• “Bob Kraft, in a statement to the Globe on the eve of the Massachusetts primary, had glowing words for the Republican presidential front-runner. While he stopped short of an official endorsement, he praised Trump as “a very close friend of mine for over two decades.” [BostonGlobe]

TOP TWEET — Noah Kulwin: “Darren Rovell is literally every 5’2 fifteen year old boy from the suburbs at Jewish summer camp” [Twitter]

DESSERT: “Keeping up with the kashrut: At ‘Kosher Chopped,’ three chefs prepare mystery boxes with a Jewish twist” by Lindsay Christians: “As part of Chef Week, “Kosher Chopped” is coming to UW Hillel’s on campus Jewish restaurant, Adamah Neighborhood Table, on the evening of March 7. The new event is a riff on the popular Food Network competition in which chefs must make delicious food out of mystery ingredients in less than an hour. For “Kosher Chopped,” he’s added a twist: everything must be done according to kashrut, or Jewish dietary law.” [CapTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Host of This American Life, Ira Glass, turns 57… Harry Triguboff turns 83… Steven Kantir… Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Ron Chernow, turns 67… Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and co-editor of Dissent, Michael Walzer, turns 81…

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