Daily Kickoff: Obama on Peres — “I could see myself in his story” | Peres to Putin: “You behave like a tsar” | Bibi goes incognito at ‘Sleep No More”

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Ed note: Wishing all of you a healthy and happy New Year! We’ll be back next Wednesday following Rosh Hashanah.

ISRAEL’S LAST FOUNDING FATHER: “Shimon Peres Funeral Brings Together Allies and Rivals in Mourning” by Peter Baker: “From across the ocean and across the Green Line, they cameon Friday to the mountaintop sanctuary of Mount Herzl to bid farewell to Shimon Peres, marking what one called the “end of the era of giants.” But the question of the moment was whether it was a funeral for a man or for his dream.” [NYTimes]“At Shimon Peres Funeral, a Lineup of U.S. and Israeli Leaders Who Tangled” by Mark Landler: “When Bill Clinton took his place on Friday at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem for the state funeral of Shimon Peres, he was part of a tangled tableau: leaders from Israel and the United States who came together to mourn a giant of peace but who nurture their own political feuds and rivalries, stretching back two decades. Standing close to the former president was Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Mr. Clinton energetically tried to defeat when he challenged Mr. Peres for the prime minister post in 1996. Nearby was President Obama, whom Mr. Netanyahu not so subtly tried to oust in 2012 by signaling his support for Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama’s Republican opponent.” [NYTimes] • Tensions crackle at Peres funeral over elusive Mideast peace deal [Politico]

Watch Sara Netanyahu greet PA President Mahmoud Abbas: “I’m so happy. I look forward to having you in our house. We are waiting for you. Thank you for coming.” [Video]

Netanyahu to world leaders: “That so many leaders came from around the world to bid farewell to Shimon, is a testament to his optimism his quest for peace his love for Israel. The people of Israel deeply appreciate the honor you have shown Shimon.” [Haaretz]

Bill Clinton: “He started off life as Israel’s brightest student, who became its best teacher, and ended up its biggest dreamer. He lived 93 years in a state of constant wonder over the unbelievable potential of all the rest of us to rise above our wounds, our resentments, our fears, to make the most of today, and claim the promise of tomorrow.” [CBSNews; WashPost]

“Obama on Peres: ‘I could somehow see myself in his story'” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “President Barack Obama buried another of his heroes Friday — a role model from his early life and now a role model for the future he’s slowly starting to map out. Shimon Peres, Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela: these men whom he’s now led the world’s goodbyes to were all friends — most don’t realize it, but of the three, he actually spent the most time with Peres — part of Obama’s pantheon, up there with Lincoln, Gandhi, King. They are what Obama wants to become.” [Politico]

“Obama: Peres Understood the Jewish People ‘Were Not Born to Rule Another'” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Obama said that the younger generation remembers only Peres’ unsuccessful quest for peace, and was shaped by the critics who said he “refused to recognize the wickedness of the world and called him naive.” Obama went on to paint Peres as a man whose vision for Israel at times seemed trapped between critics on the far left and far right. “Whatever he shared with his family or his closest friends, to the world he brushed off the critics, and I know from my conversations with him that his pursuit of peace was never naive,” Obama said.” Obama continued to draw parallels with himself and Peres throughout the speech by recounting their meetings together, saying, “I could somehow see myself in his story and maybe he could see himself in mine.” “ [Haaretz; ABCNews]

Obama concluded in Hebrew: “U’Bacharta B’Chayim (choose life)… Shimon, todah rabah, chaver yakar (thank you very much, my dear friend).”

Avi Mayer: “Obama quotes my bar mitzvah portion, which also happens to be this week’s reading: “Choose life, so that you and your children may live.” [Twitter]

Jewish House Reps. on U.S. delegation included Jan Schakowsky, Sander Levin, Eliot Engel, Jerrold Nadler, Susan Davis, Steve Israel, Adam Schiff, Steve Cohen, Ted Deutch, David Cicilline, Suzanne Bonamici Alan Lowenthal and Lee Zeldin. Administration officials include Susan Rice, Rob Malley, Ben Rhodes, Frank Lowenstein and Yael Lempert. Former ME envoy Martin Indyk and Chicago attorney Alan Solow also joined the president on the trip. [WhiteHouse

List of U.S. Jewish leaders: Malcolm Hoenlein (Conference of Presidents), Robert Cohen (AIPAC), Barbara Goldstein (Hadassah), Jonathan Greenblatt (ADL), Rabbi Rick Jacobs (URJ), Jerry Silverman (JFNA), Rabbi Chaim Wasserman (Young Israel), Rabbi Steven Wernick (USCJ) and Ronald Lauder (WJC). Also in Israel: Sheldon Adelson [Pic] Haim Saban [Pic

Prior to departing Ben Gurion airport, President Obama took a picture with the Israeli police units that escorted him [Pic]

REPLAY: C-SPAN will air the funeral service at 11:00am EST [Link

SCENE LAST NIGHT – Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Rhoda Dermer hosted a Rosh Hashana reception at their Maryland residence. “Tomorrow will be only the sixth time that an American flag will be flown at half-staff following the death of a foreign leader,” Dermer said, speaking hours before the funeral of Shimon Peres. “President Peres is, in fact, the only person of that group who was neither a prisoner nor a saint. Not a prisoner, not a saint, but definitely a leader.” Dermer also recalled his last meeting with Peres six weeks ago. “He had invited me to meet with him in his apartment in Tel Aviv. He was as alert and dynamic as I had seen him in years. He asked me if I wanted to join him in a glass of wine. I looked at my watch. It was 11am. But I figured, when in Rome…. (laughter) Frankly, had he offered me a triple-scotch, I would have gladly said yes.” [Transcript]

SPOTTED: Wolf Blitzer, former Congressman Henry Waxman & Janet Kessler, former Sen. Norm Coleman, Sam and Danielle Feist, Irene Beren Jefferson & Jake Sherman, Josh Rogin, Eli Lake, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, William & Heidi Krizer Daroff, Nathan Diament, Clara Scheinmann, AIPAC’s Ester Kurz, Yarden Golan, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Aaron Keyak, Steve Rabinowitz, Noah Pollak, Matt Nosanchuk, Jonathan Fluger, David Milstein, Dan Arbell, Michael D. Epstein, Louis & Manette Mayberg, Steve Rakitt, David Makovsky, Michael Makovsky, Rob Satloff, Cliff May, Yossi Raskas, Doron Gorshein, Ron Kampeas, Nathan Guttman, Dan Mariaschin, Sarah Abonyi, Molly Rosen.

SCENE YESTERDAY IN JERUSALEM – Bill Clinton met with PM Netanyahu for dinner at his Jerusalem residence. The two leaders held “a warm and cordial meeting,” according to a statement by the PMO. Before signing the guestbook at the Prime Minister’s residence, Clinton told Netanyahu, “Of all the things that have been tweeted out (about Peres), yours is my favorite.” [Twitter; Politico]  

“Cuomo Cancels Israel Trip, Issues Citation Honoring Life of ‘Great Fan’ of NY” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Cuomo cancelled his trip moments before takeoff at JFK to deal with a horrific NJ Transit train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey… Gov. Cuomo issued a citation honoring the life of Peres and his legacy. “Home to more than 1.7 million Jews – the largest Jewish community outside of Israel in the world – New York has always had a special relationship with Israel, and President Peres served as a tremendous ally in promoting and strengthening this bond,” the citation reads. [JewishInsider]

Peres recalled a recent conversation with Putin in an interview to Tablet Magazine, his final print interview: “I am very good friends with Putin. And I shall give you, in brief, the content of one of our recent discussions. I told him, “You’re 63 years old, I’m 93 years old. Tell me, what do you want to achieve in the coming 30 years? What are you fighting for? Are you hoping to piss off America?”

He says, “No.”

“America wants a piece of Russia? No. You have trouble discussing things with Obama?”

He says, “Why do you ask?”

I said, “Look, I am not a spy, whatever, tell me.”

He says, “What do you think?”

And I said, “America will win no matter what you do.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they are lucky, and you are not.”

The second thing I told him was: “America has the best proportion between the size of the land and the size of the people. You here have the worst. 20 million square kilometers. My god. But what you don’t have are people. Your people are dying. Don’t be impressed by the applause and what people are saying. They won’t forgive you. Why do Russians live for only 62 years, while Americans will live 82 years? And then I told him: “You behave like a Tsar.”” [Tablet]

Jeffrey Goldberg on the day after Peres: “Peres could not deliver Israel to the Promised Land. Netanyahu still can… The seat is Netanyahu’s, if he wants it. But for him to want it, he must try to look at the world as Peres saw it, as a place not universally and immutably hostile to Jewish national existence. And he must shed himself of at least some of his paralyzing pessimism. Despite it all, Peres chose to live as an optimist. It is not too late for Netanyahu to do the same.” [TheAtlantic

“Focusing on Unity, Hillary Clinton Wishes U.S. Jews ‘Shanah Tovah’” by Jacob Kornbluh:“I will always – as I always have – stand up for Israel’s security, continue to work toward peace, and to try to do everything possible to protect Israel from the unwarranted and unfair efforts to delegitimize it,” Clinton said in a pre-High Holidays conference call with Jewish community leaders. “We must continue to work together because we are strong together to keep the unbreakable bonds between the American and Israeli people,” Clinton said, echoing her campaign slogan ‘Stronger Together’.  The Democratic nominee promised to “model that” approach to unity and “work to achieve that as president.” Adding, “I try my best to live up to the responsibility described by the prophet Micah to ‘Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with [y]our God?’ (Micah 6:8).” Clinton concluded by wishing the Jewish community “the very happiest and healthiest of new years” and pronounced correctly “Shanah Tovah.” [JewishInsider

“Clinton and Netanyahu’s share a common cause: love of the musical ‘Hamilton’” by Juliet Eilperin: “We reminisced. We talked about his visit to see ‘Hamilton,’ something that I have just relished. Three times I have now seen it.” [WashPost

— Mike Huckabee writes on Facebook: “I have to assume this was before the show began, when they had yet to receive what must be their first-ever history lesson about a young nation dealing with a threat from those who would deny its very right to exist.” [Facebook]

QUITE THE REPORT: “Benjamin Netanyahu goes incognito at ‘Sleep No More’” by Ian Mohr: “Spies said Bibi attended the interactive show, where guests wear masks, the night after he saw “Hamilton.” “Netanyahu was seen running around ‘Sleep No More’ with a frantic energy,” said an exuberant theater spy, who added that the Israeli leader was “diverting his security detail as he got caught up in the show . . . and becoming an anonymous audience member behind the [show’s] signature mask.” He was later “found by his guards at the rooftop bar Gallow Green late in the evening,” the source said. Also in the masked crowd anonymously was Adele, who “remained largely incognito,” said a witness.”[PageSix]

HEARD YESTERDAY – Hillary Clinton at  a rally in Des Moines, Iowa at the debate the other night, one of my well-known supporters, Mark Cuban, was there in the front row. And he really, I think, unsettled my opponent. But I’ll tell you, Mark Cuban’s a real billionaire who actually uses profit-sharing, and not only while the business is ongoing, but one thing I really appreciate: first business he sold, he shared the profits with all of his employees.” • Related: Mark Cuban discusses the debate [PageSix]

U.S. Signed Secret Document to Lift U.N. Sanctions on Iranian Banks” by Jay Solomon and Carol Lee: “The Obama administration agreed to back the lifting of United Nations sanctions on two Iranian state banks blacklisted for financing Iran’s ballistic-missile program on the same day in January that Tehran released four American citizens from prison. The U.N. sanctions on the two banks weren’t initially to be lifted until 2023, under a landmark nuclear agreement. Administration critics and some congressional officials said they believed the move broke the commitments the administration made to Congress about the deal.” [WSJ]

“Kerry says U.S. more engaged in world affairs than ever in history” by Louis Nelson: “Kerry defended perhaps the Obama administration’s highest-profile diplomatic effort, the multi-lateral nuclear deal reached with Iran. He said that agreement is holding and that Iran “is living up to their requirements.” The deal has proven “measurable and accountable, transparent,” Kerry said. He added that Iran has complained that the U.S. has not met its end of the agreement when it comes to improving access to the world’s financial markets, even though Kerry said the U.S. has met its obligations.” [Politico]

**Good Friday Morning and Shanah Tovah! 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**

SPOTLIGHT: “Shari Redstone Makes Her Next Big Move” by Emily Jane Fox: “Just weeks after Shari Redstone ascended to the peak of influence within her family’s media kingdom, she is angling for a big strategic shift that will mark her newly seized territory. National Amusement, the Redstones’ $40 billion holding company, published a letter that it sent to the boards of the two companies it controls—CBS Corp. and Viacom—asking them to consider a potential combination of the companies.” [VanityFair]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Meet the 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Who Fought Off a Purse Snatcher” by Danielle Tcholakian: “A registered Democrat, Zuckerman said that while “90 is a very good age,” she is looking forward to turning 91 next month — “if I live another three weeks” — and voting in the election for “Ms. Clinton,” she said. She’s “very excited” to vote possibly for the first female president, she said, but is also really not a fan of Donald Trump. “I don’t like the things he says,” she said. “I don’t like rude men. Enough rude men.” [DNAInfo]“Joseph Harmatz, Who Led Jewish Plot to Kill Germans After World War II, Dies at 91” by Sam Roberts: “Mr. Harmatz, who died at 91 on Sept. 22 at his home in Tel Aviv, never publicly expressed remorse for his role in either conspiracy. But later on, his son Ronel said on Tuesday, he did acknowledge privately that he was grateful that the mass water-poisoning plot was abandoned after one of his collaborators was arrested. “He did admit that it is good that this plan did not happen,” the younger Mr. Harmatz said in a telephone interview. “He knew at the back of his heart that it would have damaged” the prospects for a state of Israel, then being advocated, “and that they would have compared the Jews to the German people.” [NYTimes]

“Israel’s national martial art was originally developed to beat up Nazis in street brawls” by Blake Stilwell: “When the streets of his neighborhood became increasingly violent, Lichtenfeld decided to teach a group of his Jewish neighbors some self-defense moves. It came in the form of a technique that would help them protect themselves while attacking their opponent – a method that showed no mercy for those trying to kill the Chosen People. Young Imi taught his friends what would later be called “Krav Maga.” After Israel won its independence, Lichtenfeld gave his now-perfected martial art of Krav Maga to the IDF and became the Israeli Army’s chief hand-to-hand combat instructor.” [BI]

COMING SOON: “Larry King, Brett Ratner to Get American Jewish Historical Society Honors” by Chris Gardner: “The American Jewish Historical Society — known as the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States — has singled out a high-profile pair of Hollywood names to honor at its AJHS Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award Dinner on Dec. 1 at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel. TV legend Larry King will take home the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award, and filmmaker Brett Ratner will receive the org’s inaugural Visionary Leadership Award.” [HollywoodReporter]

LongRead: “Why Linguists are Fascinated by the American Jewish Accent” by Dan Nosowitz: “These Jews, as well as those that followed—Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield, George Burns, Don Rickles—had a major role in defining for the country and the world how American Jews spoke. These are, it’s important to note, almost all American-born men, whose first language was English. But the pull of Yiddish, which their parents and communities spoke, and New York City, where they grew up, colored their speech patterns in very distinctive ways. Jews are, predictably, much more likely to use Yiddish or Hebrew words in their everyday speech than non-Jews, though there are plenty of those words which have simply made their way out of the community and into standard English.”[AtlasObscura]

“Judaism was trending this year — among non-Jews” by Josefin Dolsten: “During a visit to Brooklyn’s Borough Park in April, the Ohio governor made sure to give a group of Orthodox Jews his interpretation of the Bible. In a conversation that came off as somewhat condescending, Kasich asked a group of yeshiva students, who likely spend their days studying Jewish texts, whether they had ever read about Joseph. He also said that Abraham trumps Moses, whom many Jews consider to be the most important biblical figure. Kasich seemed confident in his argument, but we’re not so sure he convinced the Jews.” [JTA

“The Other Side Of The BDS Debate” by Gary Rosenblatt: ““Are you concerned that BDS has galvanized Zionists here and in Israel and throughout world Jewry against you?” a leader of a national Jewish organization asked. “We are going to kick your ass,” “Avi” responded slowly and firmly. “You’ll lose by demonizing me and many other young Jews. My friends know I’m not a self-hating Jew or anti-Israel, I’m expressing Jewish values [about human rights and against oppression].” Critics of BDS “look afraid and dumb” in trying to marginalize sincere Jewish young people, he added. One after another, the establishment Jewish voices in the room struggled to make their case against BDS, only to be met by Avi’s pointed counter-arguments.” [JewishWeek]

TRANSITION — Rob Eshman emails… “I am really happy to let you all know that Associate Editor Ryan Smith will be stepping up to the role of Managing Editor of the Jewish Journal, starting October 1. Ryan has been with the Journal six years, and has demonstrated the keen editorial eye, outstanding organizational skills and a passion for our work that will make him a superb editorial leader.”

BIRTHDAYS: Former Prime Minister of Israel (2006 to 2009) serving many terms in the Knesset including in various cabinet portfolios, former Mayor of Jerusalem (1993-2003), Ehud Olmert turns 71… Sanford Kadish… Yossi Raskas… Andrew Weinstein… Alex Fullman… Chief Program Officer of the Union for Reform Judaism, Mark J. Pelavin… Israeli billionaire, entrepreneur and philanthropist, with interests in shipping, drilling and mining, Idan Ofer turns 61… Lisa Robbins… Diana Epstein… Allison Kaplan Sommer… Fran Drescher… NPR’s Ari Shapiro (h/t Playbook)…

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