Daily Kickoff: Happy Purim | See Cory Booker Party on Purim in the ’90s | NFL player buys home with Synagogue | Wolves of Tel Aviv | Ballmer turns 6-0

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HAPPY PURIM — SCENE LAST NIGHT: Ambassador Ron and Mrs. Rhoda Dermer hosted around 50 guests for a Megillah reading and Purim celebration at their Maryland residence. Costume wearers included Noah Pollak, doing his best Trump impersonation to make Purim great again, and Ambassador Dermer’s son dressed up as his dad. “Purim is sorta half Halloween, half St. Patrick’s day,” Amb. Dermer joked. He added, “I hope people brought their designated drivers as one is meant to drink a bit more than usual. Ideally until they don’t know the difference between Haman and Mordechai but, if that doesn’t work, confusing Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is enough (laughter).”

SPOTTED: Wilson Center President Jane Harman, Aaron David Miller & Lindsay Miller, Diana & Michael David Epstein, Amb. Norm Eisen, Louis & Manette Mayberg, Richard Heideman & Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, Eli Lake, Josh Kraushaar, Ann Lewis, Doug Feith, White House’s Matt Nosanchuk, Noah Pollak, David Makovsky, Dr. Michael Makovsky, Mark Dubowitz, Harold Rhode, Embassy Chief of Staff Jordana Cutler, Yarden Golan, Sarah Abonyi, and Stuart Kurlander.

Prime Minister Netanyahu tweets: “It’s not every day that one gets the chance to meet the prime minister. I must admit I was excited. Happy Purim!” [Twitter

“Watch Senator Cory Booker Party on Purim at Oxford’s Chabad in the Early ’90s” by Yair Rosenberg: “At sundown, the Jewish holiday of Purim commences, a day during which Jews celebrate their deliverance from a genocidal plot with feasting, dancing, and revelry. And while at Oxford, Booker celebrated right along with them. Footage from his time there captures him partying on Purim at the campus Chabad House, carrying Boteach—dressed as clown—on his back.” [TabletMag]

Belgian Jews Soberly Celebrate Purim Holiday Following Brussels Terror Attacks: “Jewish congregations in Brussels have decided to cancel this year’s Purim festivities in light of the recent terror attacks on the Belgian capital, both for security reasons and out of respect for a national three-day period of mourning.” [ViceNewsWashPost]

Eli Lake: “The Trump-Cruz Police State Exists. It’s Called France.” [BloombergView]

“Ted Cruz, Day After Brussels Attacks, Belittles Donald Trump on Foreign Policy” by Maggie Haberman and Matt Flegenheimer: “Senator Ted Cruz on Wednesday relentlessly belittled the foreign policy acumen of Donald J. Trump, casting him as dangerous and ill prepared one day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels refocused the presidential race on issues of national security. He said that Mr. Trump betrayed “weakness and a dangerous isolationism” in his foreign policy views. Asked if Mr. Trump was any different from former Representative Ron Paul and Senator Rand Paul, dominant figures in the Republican Party’s libertarian wing, Mr. Cruz rejected any comparison. “Ron Paul and Rand Paul both are informed and have a well-thought-out foreign policy position,” he said. “I disagree with many aspects of that position, but they actually know what they’re talking about.” [NYTimes] • “Ted Cruz talks to New Yorkers about New York values” [CNN]

“Despite Trump’s tight script at AIPAC, Jewish voters still aren’t sure” by Margaret Warner: “I haven’t taken a poll, but I sense talking to many that at least three-quarters of Jewish voters see him as very scary,” said Dennis Ross, a longtime Israeli-Palestinian negotiator who has served presidents of both parties. “It’s the intolerance, the demagoguery, his seeming promotion of violence, the debasing of the political culture, the fundamental lack of civility — and he seems to run a content-free slogan campaign.” [PBS]

Michael Koplow: “If anything, this should be the Year of Ahashverosh, because if Donald Trump wanted to dress up for Purim, he could not pick a truer-to-form costume than that of the Persian king.” [IsraelPolicyForum]

Gary Rosenblatt: “In Search Of Sheldon Adelson: Will he support Trump? ‘Why not?’ the mega-philanthropist says.” [JewishWeek]

“Georgina Bloomberg On Her Father’s Aborted Presidential Run” by Ally Betker: “I obviously think he would have been great at it, and I would have been very supportive of him entering it,” she said. “But as his daughter, I am very grateful he did not enter it just because I’ve been through campaigns and the mud-slinging before on a much smaller level, and it was not something I was really looking forward to being involved with on a much larger level. When you watch the news, you can’t sit there and think, ‘Wow I’d love one of my parents to be involved in that fight.’”… “Donald Trump and his family have always been very close [to me]. I’m good friends with his kids. I was not looking forward to having to watch our fathers go against each other.” [WMag]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Steelers’ Antonio Brown pays $6.6 million for Hollywood home with synagogue”[SunSentinel• “Leon H. Charney, Investor, Cable TV Host and Peace Broker, Is Dead at 77” [NYTimes] • “Lew Wasserman: Still Remembered as Hollywood’s Ultimate Mover and Shaker” [Variety] • “The CEO and COO of Elite Daily, the millennial news site acquired by The Daily Mail last year, are leaving the company” [BusinessInsider] • “Kopelman-backed fund taps new leader”[BizJournals] • “Rubashkin says new evidence should shorten sentence” [DesMoinesRegister]

“How Real Estate Billionaire David Lichtenstein Bounced Back From A $7.5 Billion Hotel Bankruptcy” by Chloe Sorvino: “Framed head shots of some famous faces ring David Lichtenstein’s office—including the mugs of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Those two and Lichtenstein have something in common: They rose from modest beginnings to amass ten-digit fortunes. “I’m just a normal guy,” insists the bespectacled Lichtenstein, 55, in his thick Brooklyn accent. Lichtenstein, one of seven kids born to teacher parents,.. graduated from the same public high school, James Madison, as Bernie Sanders and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (He’s a fan of Hillary Clinton, though, and has hosted three fundraisers for her).” [Forbes]

“The wolves of Tel Aviv: Israel’s vast, amoral binary options scam exposed” by Simona Weinglass: “An industry turning over hundreds of millions of dollars, employing thousands of people, is cynically cheating naive would-be investors worldwide via a range of corrupt practices. It is doing terrible harm to its victims, and it risks doing the same to Israel’s reputation.” [ToI]

“FBI enlists Israeli firm to unlock encrypted iPhone” by Tova Cohen: “Israel’s Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Wednesday.” [VentureBeat]

“How Ashton Kutcher And Guy Oseary Built A $250 Million Portfolio With Startups Like Uber And Airbnb” by Zack O’Malley Greenburg: “It would also be easy to write off Kutcher, 38, and Oseary, the 43-year-old manager of U2 and Madonna, as amateurs who trade coolness for deal flow. Except that a slew of self-made billionaires–including Ron Burkle, Eric Schmidt, Mark Cuban, David Geffen and Marc Benioff–gave them millions from their personal stashes to invest… Born in Israel, he moved to Los Angeles at 8 and ended up at Beverly Hills High School, where he started managing small-time hip-hop acts and mingling with the children of Hollywood power brokers like Freddie DeMann… Kutcher and Oseary joined with Burkle to form A-Grade Investments in 2010 (the first three letters of the fund represent each founder’s first name).” [Forbes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Outfitting Hasidic Women With Stylish, Yet Modest, Fashions” by Sarah Maslin Nir: “Tznius, or modesty, has taken on a renewed focus in recent years, Hasidic Jews and religious experts say, as the wider world encroaches on their insular community. In response, some Jews have ratcheted up their observance of tznius as a way to draw a brighter line and to spread their beliefs.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “As the Sabbath Nears in Israel, Soccer Becomes a Test of Faith” by Sam Borden: “The halftime whistle blew, and Shimon Levy gathered his belongings. While most fans at Teddy Kollek Stadium converged on the concession stand for a soda or a coffee, Levy walked past the line and toward the exit. It did not matter that this second-division soccer game between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Herzliya on a Friday afternoon was delicately poised — tied at 0-0 after a handful of chances for both sides — and it did not matter that Levy had come to watch his son, who plays for the home team. He said he had no choice but to leave.” [NYTimes]

“Shirtless Goober Roams Israel Profanely Challenging Pros, Because Ball Is Life” by Tom Ley: “Something amazing happened during an Israeli television station’s interview with former NBA star Nate Robinson, who now plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv. Right in the middle of the interview, a very fit, shirtless man rolled up on his bike and challenged Robinson to a game of one-on-one.” [Deadspin]

BIRTHDAYS: LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer turns 6-0… Debby Benaim… Actor Peter Jacobson turns 51… Tami Wolf… Alan Sugar, member of the House of Lords and star of the UK’s version of The Apprentice, turns 69…

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