Daily Kickoff: Israel’s Nagel in D.C. to sign MOU | JI interview with Erel Margalit | Who’s who at David Geffen’s US Open Box | Jews of Kolkata, India
TOP TALKER: “Record new U.S. military aid deal for Israel to be signed in days: sources” by Matt Spetalnick and Luke Baker: “The United States and Israel have reached final agreement on a record new package of at least $38 billion in U.S. military aid and the 10-year pact is expected to be signed within days, sources close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. Those include Israel’s agreement not to seek additional funds from Congress beyond what will be guaranteed annually in the new package, and also to phase out a special arrangement that has allowed Israel to spend part of its U.S. aid on its own defense industry instead of on American-made weapons, the officials said.” [Reuters]
Report: “Jacob Nagel, acting head of Israel’s National Security Council, landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday ahead of a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice at which he is expected to sign an agreement on a new military aid package. The signing ceremony is expected to take place on Wednesday.” [Haaretz]
KAFE KNESSET — A Rare Agreement with the Palestinians — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: While most of the headlines today surround the upcoming signing of the new security aid package in Washington (the “MOU”), another interesting agreement was announced last night — this time between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement will put an end to a long dispute between the two sides regarding the Palestinians’ huge debt to Israel’s state-owned Electric Corporation, which provides electricity to Palestinians in the West Bank. Over the years, the PA hasn’t paid the Israeli company, accumulating a debt of approximately two billion shekels. Under the new agreement, which was orchestrated by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and IDF General Yoav (Poli) Mordechai, Israel will erase 500 million shekels of that debt, while the rest – a sum of 1.5 billion shekels – will be paid by the PA in a gradual process.
A ceremony for the signing of the agreement, in the presence of Kahlon and the PA’s Civil Affairs Minister, Hussein al-Sheikh, will take place today in Jerusalem. At the same time, diplomatic sources tell us that Israel is also in touch with a number of Western countries regarding the possibility that these countries will assist in building a gas pipeline that could serve Gaza, and improve the bad energy situation in the Palestinian enclave (Gazans experience power cuts on a daily basis). Though the project is far from guaranteed, Israeli officials stress that the country has a clear interest to improve living conditions in Gaza in the hope of prolonging the current quiet along Israel’s southern border.
“Benjamin Netanyahu Draws Fire After Saying Palestinians Support ‘Ethnic Cleansing’” by Isabel Kershner: “Days after the release of the video, Israelis and Palestinians were still debating the effects of Mr. Netanyahu’s “hasbara” offensive, using a Hebrew term for pro-Israeli advocacy. Was Mr. Netanyahu destroying Israel’s international relations, ties already strained over the continued settlement construction in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that much of the world considers illegitimate? Or was he a public relations genius, using the world stage to score points with his home audience?” [NYTimes]
“Why Netanyahu is right and wrong about Palestinian ‘ethnic cleansing’” by Shmuel Rosner: “Netanyahu is right on principle: a demand that all Jews vacate Judea and Samaria when a Palestinian State is established is preposterous… Netanyahu is also wrong on principle: the idea of having a Palestinian State – if one supports such an idea, and the PM has publically endorsed it – is to let the Palestinians decide for themselves how they want to live… There are two answers to the question why now: The first one is that the PM is getting prepared for a UN blitz right after the US election… The second one is that the PM taped this video to divert the attention of Israelis back to where Netanyahu is strong.”[JewishJournal]
Jewish Insider interview with MK Erel Margalit — On Netanyahu and Abbas meeting in Moscow: “I’m against the notion that Netanyahu is going and turning the negotiations over to Putin, together with Abbas… I think it’s undermining the role of the U.S., which I think should stay central if we’re ever going to get somewhere. I think it’d be really hurtful to the process… I think that going and dancing with Putin and making him in charge now of the negotiations with the Palestinians was also playing with fire. I think that maybe more aiming at making the Democratic administration look weak, I don’t know. I don’t know why he’s doing that, seriously.”
Q: What would be your advice to the presidential candidates regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship?
Margalit: “My piece of advice is open up a new chapter with Israel that’s built on trust, and it’s built on a vision of positive progress in our region when Israel is part and parcel of it. Where you have the discussion on a two-state solution but you also have a discussion about both security initiatives and economics initiatives that involve Israel, that are part of the region.”
Q: How do you feel about being compared to Donald Trump thanks to your recent viral video?
Margalit: “I made my money with young Israelis, creating companies from nothing and I’m proud of that. I didn’t invest in casinos, and I didn’t invest in some other ventures. I’m proud that I’m against racism and against some of the radicals that exist in our society in Israel. And If I speak forcefully against them with a tough language at times, I’m proud of it. I think it’s a little different with some of the things that are going on here.”
HAPPENING TODAY: The Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosts a roundtable discussion with Israeli Member of Knesset Erel Margalit and Martin Indyk.
**A message from the Israeli-American Council: It’s less than two weeks until the 3rd annual Israeli-American Council National Conference! Join thousands of activists, policymakers, diplomats, journalists, Jewish communal leaders, and business innovators from the U.S. and Israel to dive deep into the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people today. All will convene in Washington, DC from 9/24-9/26. [IsraeliAmerican] **
DEEP DIVE: “Punished U.S. Navy Officer Believes He Prevented a War With Iran” by Dan De Luce: “Speaking publicly for the first time about the case, Nartker last week offered an alternative narrative to the one painted by the U.S. Navy, which has reprimanded him for “dereliction of duty.” He described a harrowing confrontation near Farsi Island as two Iranian vessels equipped with machine guns encircled his riverine boats. He said he had only seconds to decide whether to order his crew to open fire or to look for a way out of the showdown. After his boats tried and failed to evade the two Iranian vessels closing in around them, Nartker considered the possibility of aiming his M4 assault rifle at a Iranian gunner only about 10 feet away. Nartker ruled it out. “I was thinking, ‘I am not going to kill this guy right now over a bullshit navigation mistake,’” he said.” [ForeignPolicy]
Jack Lew on Cash Payment: ‘Iran Wanted To Be Paid Quickly’ by Jacob Kornbluh: “In a world where you’ve cut Iran off of much of the global financial system, they wanted to be paid quickly – which is not unusual when there is a settlement – and cash was the method that was chosen,” Lew said during a question-and-answer session at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, on Monday. “I think that the issue is the same whether it was a wire transfer or cash. It was a settlement that saved the American people billions of dollars, and it resolved a long-standing legal dispute.” [JewishInsider;CFR]
2016 WATCH: “Pence declines to call David Duke ‘deplorable'” by Matthew Nussbaum:“Mike Pence declined to call former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke “deplorable” in an interview on Monday, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he’s “not in the name-calling business.” “I’m not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke’s name,” Pence said. “Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly, we don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of people who think like him.”[Politico] • Pence reiterates denunciation of David Duke, but won’t “validate” Clinton’s “deplorables” language. [ABCNews]
Dan Senor tweets: “As governor, Bob Ehrlich was serious straight-shooter. Now he’s dancing around question about Duke. Sad!” [Twitter]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Facebook and Israel Agree to Tackle Terrorist Media Together [Bloomberg]• Who’s Got The Billions To Buy 1 World Trade Center? [Forbes] • Nate Silver, the ESPN journalist behind the FiveThirtyEight website, gave a presentation on the 2016 battleground map to a group of powerful Republican donors in Manhattan last week [TheHill] • Jewish entrepreneurs explain how to succeed in business — by trying [ToI]
SPOTLIGHT: “Mike Rothenberg’s VC firm was young, splashy, cutting-edge and loaded with investor cash. Now it’s all come crashing down” by Lauren Smiley and Jessi Hempel: “On the last Monday in August, Mike Rothenberg — millennial venture capitalist, virtual reality check-writer, unhappy title-holder of “The Valley’s Party Animal” — called an emergency meeting with his investors. Rothenberg, 32, greeted them with the confidence that comes from accomplishing significant things at a young age… But by this summer, Rothenberg Ventures’ culture of awesome evaporated as it apparently ran out of operating money and came under federal scrutiny. The future of the firm — and the $50 million it has under management — is now up in the air as his investors wonder if he has lost control of his business.”
“By the time Rothenberg hosted Zuck at Sigma Nu, he was already a master networker at Stanford — he calls that time “the foundational experience of my life.” He introduced his frat brother Kevin Systrom to Zuckerberg years before Facebook acquired Systrom’s Instagram for $1 billion. He headed up a lecture series of startup founders that brought not only Zuck but also Reid Hoffman and Marissa Mayer to campus — and ran a tutoring business on the side to help pay his tuition. Rothenberg had grown up in a tight-knit Jehovah’s Witness family in Georgetown, Texas, an Austin suburb best known for being one of the filming sites for the high school football flick “Varsity Blues.”” [BackChannel]
SPORTS BLINK: “Ivanka Trump and Wendi Deng Sat in the Most Interesting US Open Box This Weekend” by Sam Dangremond: “Beatrice of York, Karlie Kloss, Dasha Zhukova, Geffen, gifted partier Michael Hess, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Hollywood agent Michael Kives, Wendi Deng, billionaire Leon Black, and John Hess.” [Town&Country]
INTRODUCING: “A way for college graduates to do good and do well” by Sacha Pfeiffer:“When 22-year-old Becky Andrews graduated from Indiana University last spring, she already had what so many young grads hope for: not just a college diploma, but a good job offer. In her case, she’d be using her degree in math and economics to work in financial management at General Electric. Then GE made Andrews what she considered an even more enticing proposal: Would she like to defer her start date for a year to work at a nonprofit? Andrews is among the first 11 members of ServiceCorps, a new program that launched in Boston and New York City this summer in partnership with GE and Citigroup. “Historically, if you wanted to pursue service but you had a great job opportunity right out of college, the . . . costs of saying no to that position were too high,” ServiceCorps founder Matt Ronen said, “because if you say no to Google or Goldman Sachs or whomever, they might not call back.” [BostonGlobe]
TALK OF THE TOWN: NYC Councilman David Greenfield on his confrontation with head of Neturei Karta: “I noticed a Hasidic man in full Hasidic dress – hat, beard, peyos and coat. The man was approaching all the witnesses that dripped the most hatred towards the Jewish state and people, and was introducing himself to them. At first I thought he must be challenging them, then I realized he was laughing with them and sharing common cause.” [YWN] • JI story from Thursday: “WATCH: Greenfield Scolds Neturei Karta Leader at Anti-BDS Hearing” [JewishInsider]
CAMPUS BEAT: “Netanyahu panel interrupted by protest” by Cassidy Jensen: “On Thursday, a group of students interrupted an event hosted by the Center for Jewish Civilization on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s career in protest of the leader. The students held a banner that read “Netanyahu is a War Criminal” and chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”[TheGeorgetownVoice]
DESSERT: “For College Students Who Keep Kosher, More Campuses Offer More Options” by Yair Rosenberg: “While the “anti-knish tutor” has long since departed Harvard, his unwitting legacy lives on—in the form of kosher microwaves, toaster ovens, and well-stocked fridges in every house dining hall. It’s a success story that has repeated itself across the United States, as kosher food makes inroads into many of the most unlikely of campuses: from east coast to west, public universities to private ones, historically Christian colleges to the avowedly secular.” [TabletMag]
“How the 20 Jews left in Kolkata are using food to keep their culture alive” by Tania Bhattacharya:“A new restaurant, Calcutta Stories, aims to draw attention to Kolkata’s Jewish heritage. Calcutta Stories is trying to pique the city’s interest in the migrant cuisines of Kolkata’s roots, including Jewish, Parsi, and Armenian Indo-fusions. It is owned by Prithvish and Baishali Chakravarti, who launched the traditional Kolkata-Chinese eatery Tak Heng last year. The Jewish section of the menu was crafted by 86-year-old Flower Silliman, who has been chronicling Jewish-Calcuttan cuisine through cookbooks in a bid to preserve an essential part of the community’s culture.” [Quartz]
SCENE YESTERDAY — Yesterday, the White House hosted an event featuring an abbreviated screening of Ken Burns’ newest documentary, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War, which chronicles the heroic efforts of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, an American Unitarian minister and his wife, who risked their lives to save Jewish refugees and other dissidents fleeing Nazi persecution in Eastern Europe during World War II. Chanan Weissman, White House liaison to the American Jewish community, convened the afternoon’s discussion which was moderated by Michael Abramowitz of The Holocaust Museum and featured co-directors Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines. They discussed the film and the current global displacement crisis. Full video can be found here: [WhiteHouse]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: Jeremy and Katrin Katz hosted a Chicago book party for Tevi Troy’s “Shall We Wake the President?: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.” Both Jeremy and Katrin were White House aides under George W. Bush. Troy said he wanted to have his disaster book party at the Naked Gun 2 1/2’s Blue Note Inn — with pictures of the Hindenburg and the Titanic on the walls — but that Katz’s Gold Coast apartment was an acceptable substitute. Notable attendees included former Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Cam Findlay, Nora Daley, mayoral aide Scott Yonover, and former Assistant Secretary of State Evan Feigenbaum.
BIRTHDAYS: Analyst at NYC’s Mission Capital Advisors, David Behmoaras… Bob Blumenfeld… Comedian who earned the title “Roastmaster General.” for his Comedy Central celebrity roasts, Jeff Ross (born Jeffrey Ross Lifschultz) turns 51… Ice dancer, who, with her partner Michael Seibert, won the 1981 and 1985 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Judy Blumberg turns 59… Television executive who held high level programming positions at CBS (1970-75), then ABC (1975-78), and then NBC (1978-81), Fred Silverman turns 79… Betty Grinstein… Media consultant, formerly CEO of NPR and head of news partnerships at Twitter, Vivian Schiller turns 55… Orrie Wilner… United Hatzalah’s Eli Beer…
Correction: Yesterday’s Daily Kickoff incorrectly listed a birthday. Rabbi Meyer May’s birthday isNovember 15th.