Feb
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Daily Kickoff: When Kushner met Haim Saban | Corker: Trump was ready to move Embassy on Jan 20 | Kristol on Trump-Murdoch Axis | Bourkoff’s Ski Week

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DRIVING THE WEEK: “Deal-makers looking to network with Kushner-Trumps head to ski weekend” by Claire Atkinson: “Media banker Aryeh Bourkoff is scheduled to kick off his annual “Media Winter Ski Weekend” Sunday… The Deer Valley, Park City, shindig will see IAC/InterActiveCorp boss Barry Diller mingling with John Malone’s Liberty Media mafia: Greg Maffei and Mike Fries. It’s unclear at press time if Jared Kushner will be with his wife Ivanka on the slopes this year — On the Money hears she will stay in the nation’s capital with the kids. But sources believe Jared’s bro Josh Kushner is expected.” [NYPost] • Also expected: MediaLink’s Michael Kassan, Thrillist’s Ben Lerer and Yahoo’s Adam Cahan.

–Bourkoff’s LionTree, a fast-growing New York boutique investment bank, is advising the Kushner family on their bid for the Miami Marlins, according to one person involved in the negotiations. [FinancialTimes]

Danny Ayalon tweets: “Glad to meet Charles & Josh Kushner, dad & brother of Jared Kushner, POTUS’s son-in law and senior advisor. They are true friends of Israel.” [Pic

President-in-law: “Jared Kushner’s Mission Impossible” by Annie Karni: “In the heat of the presidential election last summer, Jared Kushner took a timeout from his father-in-law’s campaign for a secret meeting with one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors. For about 90 minutes at a New York hotel, Kushner sat down with Haim Saban… to talk about Israel. Kushner had been interested in meeting the Israeli-American entertainment mogul for years but had never before gotten on his radar. In 2010, Kushner cold-wrote Saban a letter expressing his admiration and congratulating him on a magazine feature. The letter had gone unnoticed and unanswered until now. At their under-the-radar confab, Kushner assured Saban that a President Donald Trump would be “very good for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” a phrase he repeated multiple times during the meeting…”

Saban confessed to Kushner that he thought Trump was offering a free ride to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on policies like expanding West Bank settlements. Clinton, he said, would take a more balanced approach. “Who knows?” Kushner responded… Kushner seems aware of the limits of his power. At his meeting with Saban, where they steered clear of talking about the election, the Clinton megadonor tried to glean a little bit of competitive information from Trump’s top campaign adviser. “What can we expect at the debates?” Saban asked. Kushner gave his enigmatic smile. “Who knows?” [Politico

“For Kushner, Israel Policy May Be Shaped by the Personal” by Jodi Kantor: “When Jared Kushner was 17 years old, he stood where a million Jews had been murdered and listened to Israel’s prime minister stress the country’s importance… But unlike other students on the trip, he knew the prime minister, who was friendly with his father, a real estate developer and donor to Israeli causes. Mr. Netanyahu had even stayed at the Kushners’ home in New Jersey, sleeping in Jared’s bedroom. (The teenager moved to the basement that night.)… Many years after his teenage encounters with Mr. Netanyahu, he may also be in a position to help the Israeli leader, who is facing multiple corruption investigations and ever-stronger challenges from the right… “The Prime Minister is coming into the meeting with the hope to forge a common policy with the president, and Jared’s role is critical in that,” said Ron Dermer, the ambassador of Israel, with whom Mr. Kushner has been in close contact. “He’s someone who, in my interactions with him, has really been able to deliver.”” [NYTimes

TOP TALKER: “Can a ‘Wrecking Ball’ of a President Evolve?” by Susan B. Glasser: “[Bob] Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reveals in an interview that Trump in fact planned to order the U.S. Embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem immediately after his inauguration… “They were ready to move the embassy at 12:01 on Jan. 20, maybe 12 and 30 seconds,” Corker says… “That was going to be their first move.” … He may still order the U.S. Embassy to the disputed capital, Corker says, but only after hearing objections from Arab allies as well as his face-to-face meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington this week. “My sense is, they’re probably still moving there.”” [Politico

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Moderation” by Peter Nicholas and Carol Lee: “Mr. Trump also has retreated from his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, opting not to do that within days of taking office. What’s more, Mr. Trump issued a statement warning Israel that expanding the construction of settlements to new areas could be an impediment to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. That stance tracks with longstanding U.S. policy toward the Middle East… With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled to visit Mr. Trump at the White House on Wednesday, the settlement and embassy issues could prove a source of contention.” [WSJ

“With Netanyahu visit, Trump faces difficult test on Israel this week” by Olivier Knox: “Donald Trump this week could become… the first president to make good on that pledge (to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem)… A decision could come by Wednesday, when the unpredictable president hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.” [YahooNews

KAFE KNESSET — On The Prime Minister’s Plane — by Tal Shalev: A delegation of over 32 journalists gathered this afternoon at Ben Gurion International Airport to accompany Prime Minister Netanyahu on his trip to the United States. It’s an unusually high number compared to recent years, as many Israeli media outlets, large and small, sent representatives (a leased El Al 767; an Israeli Air Force 1 is still on the way), and they were joined by foreign press representatives as well. Escorting Netanyahu on this historic trip are his National Security Advisor Yaakov Nagal, Chief of Staff Yoav Horwitz, Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman, and Hebrew and Foreign press spokespeople Boaz Stembler and David Keyes.

Netanyahu has been preparing for this visit for weeks. Yesterday, he convened a special cabinet meeting to discuss the agenda for his first encounter with the new administration, which lasted four hours. Netanyahu already stated in advance that he intends to “listen” to the cabinet ministers, and then essentially do what he wants. In sharp contrast to the high volume with which some of his ministers have attacked him in recent days, the meeting was apparently calm and cordial. “Netanyahu is in his highest element when dealing with the US,” a senior cabinet minister told Kafe Knesset. “As he considers himself ‘Mr. America’ it’s quite difficult to challenge him on these issues and even Bennet was well behaved.” After raising demands in recent weeks, calling on Netanyahu to denounce the two-state solution, Bennet changed his tone, wishing the PM bon voyage. “We trust you and back you 100% in the mission of keeping Israel the Jewish homeland,” Bennet said at a Jerusalem conference. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset [JewishInsider]

“Benjamin Netanyahu: Trump won’t give Israel carte blanche to do what it wants “ by Tovah Lazaroff: “Even after eight years of complex navigation in the tenure of [former US President Barack] Obama, we still need to continue to act wisely with the Trump administration. While it is a more comfortable administration [to work with], there will still be restrictions,” Netanyahu told the ministers in his party… In his opening remarks to the government… Netanyahu spoke of his meeting with Trump… “I understand that there is a lot of excitement ahead of this meeting and there are many motivations behind this. I have only one motivation — first and foremost to take care of Israel’s security, to strengthen its alliance with the US and to shore up our national interests, which are intimately linked with the strong bond with the US. This requires a responsible policy, this requires discrete judgment and that is how I am going to operate.” [JPost] • Netanyahu: “I Told Trump Palestinians Won’t Budge, He Said They’ll Make Concessions” [Haaretz

Former U.S. Amb. Dan Shapiro: “For Netanyahu, one of the hardest parts of getting ready to meet Trump has to be the unpredictability and instability of this administration. Think about it: who thought that within a month, and before meeting Bibi, Trump would walk back on moving the embassy and warn on settlements? Israeli legalization bill and settlement announcements contributed, but Trump still went much farther than expected, esp to Israel Hayom. Tillerson is a new face, and the most familiar & friendly of faces, Elliott Abrams, was poised to be named Dep Sec, until Trump tanked him. That doesn’t even touch what Trump plans for warming ties with Putin, and the implications it could have for Israel‘s interests in Syria & Iran… if you’re Netanyahu, how do you work with this?” [Twitter]

“Why Trump’s Love Affair With Netanyahu Won’t Last” by Aaron David Miller: “To the surprise of many, myself included, his administration has issued a statement on Israeli settlements that would have been recognizable and acceptable to its predecessors. It’s hardly a James Baker-like blast on the settlements enterprise, and I’d bet that it was cleared with the Israelis. But it did caution Israel not to build new settlements or expand existing ones beyond their current borders… What matters is this: In the past, when you put Netanyahu, the peace process and the U.S. in the same sentence, things usually got messy, awkward, and unpleasant and they rarely worked out… I’m betting that within a year or so—and it might not take that long—Trump and Netanyahu will be annoying the hell out of one another.” [PoliticoMag

“Bibi and Donald” by Elliott Abrams: “White House officials knew what they were doing here (with statement on settlements), but did not seem (in my conversations with them) to have had Israeli domestic politics in mind. Yet these statements constructed a sort of shelter for Netanyahu, who had been pulled right since the Trump victory…. Expect a terrific visit. Warm remarks. Hugs. Firm commitments. And then, back to work “studying” and “thinking” about the same intractable problems that have faced American and Israeli officials for decades.” [TWS]

OVER THE WEEKEND: “Trump Overrules Tillerson, Rejecting Elliott Abrams for Deputy Secretary of State” by Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Weisman and Eric Lichtblau: “The deputy’s job was denied for Elliott Abrams… deals a blow to Mr. Tillerson in his first week on the job. The rejection of Mr. Abrams leaves Mr. Tillerson without a sherpa to help guide the first-time government official around the State Department headquarters. Mr. Trumphad a productive meeting with Mr. Abrams on Tuesday, according to a White House official and a person close to Mr. Abrams. But after it took place, Mr. Trump learned of Mr. Abrams’s pointed criticisms of the president when he was running for president, the administration official said… Mr. Tillerson had argued strongly for Mr. Abrams. So had Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser. Senator Tom Cotton… and some members of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, had been reaching out to Democratic senators to impress upon them the importance of Mr. Abrams receiving Senate confirmation.” [NYTimes; CNN

“US blocks Palestinian from leading UN mission in Libya” by Edith Lederer: “U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Trump administration “was disappointed” to see that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had sent a letter to the Security Council indicating his intention to appoint Salam Fayyad, who served as the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister from 2007-2013, as the next U.N. special representative to Libya. “For too long the U.N. has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” Haley said.” [AP

“UN Erupts in an Uproar After Trump Vetoes High Post For Ex-Premier of ‘Palestine’” by Benny Avni: “Naming “Palestine” as Mr. Fayyad’s state of origin is crucial. Never before had a person from a country that is not a full United Nations member been named to such high post… American officials, as well as their Israeli counterparts, sensed that Mr. Guterres’ move was yet another step in the Palestinian Authority’s strategy of gaining world recognition through creeping UN acceptance.” [NYSun] • Netanyahu Confirms He Objected to Salam Fayyad’s UN Appointment [Haaretz

Martin Indyk‏: “Blocking Salam Fayyad & Elliott Abrams in one day are two of the most ANTI-Israel decisions Trump could take. Crazy.” [Twitter

“UN Chief Offered Israeli Lawmaker Tzipi Livni a Senior Role” by Yossi Verter: “Over the weekend, Livni (Hatnua-Zionist Union) received a phone call from UN Chief Antonio Guterres, who offered her the position of under-secretary-general… Officials in the UN see the offer as a deal: The U.S. will take back its opposition to the pick of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as head of the UN mission to Libya, and in return Livni’s appointment will be greenlit.” [Haaretz

ON THE HILL: “Senate to move on Friedman nomination for Israel ambassador” by Burgess Everett: “The Senate will move forward [this] week on the nomination of David Friedman to be ambassador to Israel, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced on Saturday afternoon. Friedman, a conservative orthodox attorney, will be one of the first non-Cabinet level nominees to move through the Senate. After his confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Feb. 16, Friedman could be confirmed shortly thereafter if there’s bipartisan cooperation.” [Politico

HEARD YESTERDAY IN NYC – Democratic House Members, Reps. Yvette Clarke, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney and Tom Suozzi addressed JCRC-NY’s Congressional Breakfast at the offices of the UJA-Federation of New York in Manhattan.

Highlights — Engel on the Iran deal: “I don’t believe that canceling the deal now is the right thing to do because Iran has stolen money and laughed all the way to the bank and yet the restrictions that we have imposed on Iran have not yet been carried out. I want to make sure that Iran lives up to every obligation it’s supposed to live up to under this deal.”

Engel on Jerusalem embassy: “I believe in moving the embassy to Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I don’t accept the fact that people say, ‘Well, you know if you move the embassy, it’s going to cause problems.’ Too bad. No one is suggesting that the embassy be moved to East Jerusalem. The part of Jerusalem that it would be moved to wouldn’t be far from the Knesset and is a part that has always been Israel since its founding in 1948, and will be Israel if and when there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians. The fact of the matter is, every other country in the world declares where its capital is, except for Israel, and I am tired of it.”

Jeffries on strengthening Democratic support for Israel: “All of us can spend more time talking about how progressive a society – on the domestic front – Israel is today because I think that quite naturally is something that would appeal to a lot of progressives within the DemocraticParty, and it has the benefit of happening to be true. It is not what we would call alternative facts (laughter)… Israel is a very progressive society, and progressives should embrace and acknowledge that fact.” … “I think we’re going to have to be supportive when the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is advanced by the Trump Administration, but also be critical when necessary.”

Suozzi: “We Democrats from New York need to a better job of communicating with our fellow Democrats throughout the country about the importance of this relationship.” [JewishInsider

TRUMP TUMULT: “Confrontation vs conformists in the White House” by Mike Allen: “The conformists — Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, economic adviser Gary Cohn, General Mattis, Secretary Tillerson — would simply call themselves the realists. They think needless confrontation is killing the president’s standing overseas and on Capitol Hill… But Jared and Ivanka will outlast everyone. Many Republicans think the two will recognize the damage to Trump‘s brand and their own — and help engineer a return to a more conventional West Wing.” [Axios]

“Mike Flynn’s Position as National Security Adviser Grows Tenuous in White House” by Carol Lee, Shane Harris and Peter Nicholas: “Mr. Trump’s views toward the matter aren’t clear. In recent days, he has privately told people the controversy surrounding Mr. Flynn is unwelcome… But Mr. Trump also has said he has confidence in Mr. Flynn and wants to “keep moving forward,” a person familiar with his thinking said. Close Trump adviser Steve Bannon had dinner with Mr. Flynn over the weekend, according to another senior administration official, and Mr. Bannon’s view is to keep him in the position but “be ready” to let him go… Jared Kushner, as of Sunday evening hadn’t yet weighed in, the official said.” [WSJ]

Bret Stephens: “The smart move for the WH: Sack Flynn; replace him with Bolton.” [Twitter]

“Turmoil at the National Security Council, From the Top Down” by David Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Peter Baker: “Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was exploring whether the Navy could intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen. The potential interdiction seemed in keeping with recent instructions from Mr. Trump, reinforced in meetings with Mr. Mattis and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, to crack down on Iran’s support of terrorism. But the ship was in international waters in the Arabian Sea, according to two officials. Mr. Mattis ultimately decided to set the operation aside, at least for now. White House officials said that was because news of the impending operation leaked, a threat to security that has helped fuel the move for the insider threat program. But others doubt whether there was enough basis in international law, and wondered what would happen if, in the early days of an administration that has already seen one botched military action in Yemen, American forces were suddenly in a firefight with the Iranian Navy.” [NYTimes

“Gary Cohn Has Emerged as an Economic-Policy Powerhouse in TrumpAdministration” by Nick Timiraos, Michael Bender and Damian Paletta: “Washington and Wall Street are waiting to see how Mr. Cohn carves up the policy portfolio with the 54-year-old [Steve] Mnuchin at Treasury… White House officials dismiss talk of any budding rivalry, and the two men were seen lunching together last week in the White House’s mess hall. “I’m talking to Steve two, three times a day,” Mr. Cohn said. “I’m working as well with him as I can in what he’s allowed to do under the statutes and not being sworn in yet. I’m convinced we’ll work even better when he’s sworn in.”” [WSJ

— “Cohn collaborates frequently with Mr. Kushner … Along with Mr. Kushner and … Ivanka Trump, Mr. Cohn recently helped persuade the president not to pursue an executive order that would have rolled back rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: “When a Pillar of the Fourth Estate Rests on a Trump-Murdoch Axis” by Jim Rutenberg: “His coziness with the president is not a given. “I’m a little surprised that Rupert seems as well disposed to Trump as he is,” said William Kristol, a conservative Trump critic who co-founded The Weekly Standard under the auspices of News Corp., which sold it in 2009. “Especially on trade and immigration, he was what Trump’s people call ‘a globalist.’ He may be one of the four most prominent globalists in the world.” Stephen K. Bannon, a Trumpadviser, made a similar observation in an interview with the media writer Michael Wolff shortly after the election, saying, “Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump.” True, Mr. Murdoch — a longtime free-trade and immigration advocate — did not initially rally behind Mr. Trump and practically begged Michael Bloomberg to enter the race, on Twitter.” [NYTimes

SPOTLIGHT: “Trump Sons Forge Ahead Without Father, Expanding and Navigating Conflicts” by Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig: ““I was the first person to raise my hand and say you should not do certain deals, as I understood the optics, as you can’t build the tallest building in Tel Aviv and try to negotiate peace in the Middle East,” Eric [Trump] said. He estimated that the company had canceled a billion dollars’ worth of deals — although this estimate could not be confirmed independently.” [NYTimes

DNC WATCH: “Bill de Blasio: Keith Ellison Supports the Jewish Community, Israel” by Jacob Kornbluh: “He has fought anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia all as one continuous struggle,” de Blasio said as he introduced the Minnesota Congressman at a Jewish Rally for Refugees, organized by HIAS, a global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. “He understands and supports the Jewish community, and he supports the Jewish homeland, the state of Israel.” In his remarks, Ellison blasted the Trump Administration for omitting any mention of Jews in the President’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. “They don’t even want to put Jews in the statement,” he said. “How are we going to exclude Jewish people from Holocaust Memorial Day and then defend it by saying, ‘Well, you know, other people suffered too’? That was their answer. The reality is, we know who the primary target and victim of the Holocaust was and we will never forget it. We will stand with you every single day to remind them of it, and we will understand that an attack on one is an attack on all.” [JewishInsider] • D.N.C. Contenders Agree on One Thing: Resistance to Trump [NYT]

** 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: Bistricer’s Clipper Realty debuts on NYSE [RealDeal] • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz dishes out $40M for Greenwich Lane penthouse [NYPost] • Media tycoon Richard Desmond starts £1bn Docklands regeneration [EveningStandard] • James Tisch’s epic explanation for why he’s reluctant to buy back stock or acquire companies [Yahoo

“Adelson spokesman on withdrawal from stadium project: Raiders were ‘picking his pocket’” by Richard N. Velotta: “(Adelson) was willing to share revenues and make it financially mutually beneficial, but they were picking his pocket,” [Andy] Abboud said. “I think that they felt they were asking to be entitled to revenue streams and things that simply made the deal unworkable. It was never about the financial return for the Adelsons, but the Adelson family wasn’t going to have their pocket picked, by the Raiders or by the NFL or anybody.” [LVReviewJournal]

TALK OF THE TOWN:“Orthodox soup kitchen loses donors after director helps Yemeni neighbors” by Josefin Dolsten: “Alexander Rapaport… who runs a network of kosher soup kitchens, helped organize a communal show of support last week for a local Yemeni-owned bodega in reaction to President Donald Trump’s executive order… Not everyone was happy about the gesture. “I received your solicitation letter in the mail along with this phone number,” read a text message he received Wednesday. “After seeing, though, that you protested President Trump’s executive order, and thus shamefully sided with those who are putting American lives in danger, I am no longer able to donate to your organization.” [ToI]

“Preparing My Kids for the New America” by Sayed Kashua: ““Listen up, kids,” I told them, as though conducting an army drill. “When I give the signal, you start doing an American Midwestern accent.” They sounded like locals to me. In other words, they sounded pure white to a Middle Eastern ear. “Very good,” I said. “And if someone should, even so, detect an accent and ask where you’re from?” “We’ll tell him we’re from Jerusalem,” my elder son replied. My daughter, who is the firstborn child, made a face. “Really, dad, we’ve been through this a million times.” Still, I forged ahead according to protocol. “And if it’s a sharp American who knows that there’s East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem, and asks which part of the city you’re from?” “We’ll try to check out his politics as best we can, and then decide whether we’re from the eastern or western part of the city,” my daughter said. “Excellent. And if you discover he doesn’t like either Jews or Arabs?” “We’ll say we’re from Jerusalem in Yates County, New York State,” the two children replied, correctly. My younger son didn’t have to take part in the drill. He’s in preschool, speaks only English, and thinks he’s as American as the next kid. He’ll be fine, because we haven’t yet told him that he’s a Muslim.” [NewYorker

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Dormant for five centuries, Jewish life in Italy’s far south is stirring” by S. D’I. and Eresmus: “Last month, the Roman Catholic authorities in Palermo decided to cede part of a church, built on what once was a medieval synagogue, to Jewish believers. The move was perceived as a significant, if long-overdue, gesture of reconciliation, coming some 500 years after the Spanish edict of expulsion. Mr Palazzolo says the community is gradually gaining not only in numbers but in confidence that it can withstand social pressure. “We are slowly coming back home,” he says.” [Economist]

SPORTS BLINK: “11-strong NFL stars’ trip to Israel now down to seven” by Jessica Steinberg: “Bennett’s brother Martellus, of the New England Patriots, has also reportedly pulled out of the trip. On Saturday, Denver Broncos’s Forsett retweeted Bennett’s letter with a post saying: “For those who are wondering I will not be on this trip to Israel.”… The trip was planned by the Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry and America’s Voices in Israel, an initiative of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations… But Bennett pulled out after reading comments about the trip made by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin…” [ToI

BIRTHDAYS: Senior US Senator from Connecticut, elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2016, previously Attorney General of Connecticut (1991 to 2011), Richard Blumenthal turns 71… Internet entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of Zynga, maker of online social games, Mark Pincus turns 51… Rabbi and Talmudic scholar, also emeritus professor of economics at New York University, closely identified with the Austrian school of economic thought, Yisroel Mayer Kirzner turns 87… Television, film and stage actor, popular in the 1960s and 1970s for playing both dramatic and comedic roles such as Ship of Fools (1965), and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), George Segal turns 83… Professor at American Jewish University in Los Angeles and scholar of biblical literature and Semitic languages, Ziony Zevit turns 75… Host of the tabloid talk show “The Jerry Springer Show” since its debut in 1991, former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Jerry Springer turns 73… Newsweek columnist specializing in US intelligence, military and foreign policy issues, previously national security editor for Congressional Quarterly, Jeff Stein turns 73 (h/t Playbook)… Professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto, author of “‘I Did Not Know You Were Jewish’ and Other Things Not to Say,” Ivan Kalmar turns 69… Executive vice chairman emeritus of United Israel Appeal, formerly CEO of American Friends of Magen David Adom, Rabbi Daniel R. Allen turns 68…

Ukrainian billionaire, previously president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, Ihor Kolomoyskyi turns 54… Amy Sobo turns 54… President and CEO of the congressionally chartered National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, professor at GWU Law School, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Jeffrey Rosen turns 53 (h/t Playbook)… Retired Israeli soccer player, he made 89 international appearances for Israel and won eight league championships, more than any other Israeli player, Alon Harazi turns 46… Wall Street Journal reporter covering the auto industry, focusing on safety, regulation, litigation and government investigations, Mike Spector turns 36 (h/t Playbook)… Executive director of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (chaired by Congressman Steve Israel), formerly communications director for Steve Israel, Samantha Ariel Slater turns 34 (h/t Playbook)… Former senior speechwriter for Treasury Secretaries Geithner and Lew (2010-2017) and speechwriter for Senator Frank Lautenberg (2008-2010), Mark Cohen… Dallas native and graduate from SMU, Government and Public Affairs Associate at ECA Strategies, Alejandra Aguirre… Norman Gardner… Jonathan Neuman… Pamela Brown… Arlene Milrad… Grandmother of Aryeh, Gabby, Noam, Alex and Daniella, among others, Esther Dickman (yesterday)…

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Feb
10

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Daily Kickoff: Jared Kushner, shadow diplomat; Josh Kushner, MLB owner? | Adelson arranges Oval Office interview | ZOA critical of Trump admin, again

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President-in-law: “Jared Kushner, a shadow diplomat, pulls the strings on U.S.-Mexico talks” by Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Joshua Partlow: “Kushner’s back-channel communications with Mexico — the full extent of which has not been previously reported — reveal him to be almost a shadow secretary of state, operating outside the boundaries of the State Department or National Security Council… One of his top ambitions is to help broker peace in the Middle East — something with which the president has publicly tasked him — and Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, quietly has taken an active role in helping select ambassadors to that region.”

“Some of the leaders who have dealt with Kushner said they were initially skeptical but found him to be a good listener and courteous intermediary who quickly intuits the core of their issues and can facilitate meetings throughout the administration… “Everyone is trying to get to know Jared Kushner,” said the ambassador from one U.S. ally… In Trump’s inner circle, Kushner draws plaudits for smoothing feathers ruffled by his father-in-law’s more erratic moves — with some aides bemoaning that on Saturdays, when Kushner observes Shabbat and does not work or use electronic devices, the workings of the White House sometimes devolve.” [WashPostCBSNews

“Trump vexed by challenges, scale of government” by Alex Isenstadt, Ken Vogel and Josh Dawsey: “Some staffers worry about running afoul of Kushner, and say they’re unclear about his role, describing his portfolio as amorphous. “No one quite knows what it is,” said one. “It’s confusing.”” [Politico]

Trump hosted Sheldon and Miriam Adelson for dinner at the White House last night: According to Alex Isenstadt, Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley joined Trump and Adelson at dinner. [Twitter

–According to Axios’ Jonathan Swan, Adelson was expected to raise with Trump the subject of the two-state solution and specifically why it will not work and “Trump’s promise to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem (a move Adelson supports).” [Axios

Trump tells Adelson’s paper Israel Hayom pre-dinner: “Israel has had a long history of condemnation and difficulty. And I don’t want to be condemning Israel. I understand Israel very well, and I respect Israel a lot, and they have been through a lot.”

On Israeli-Palestinian peace: “I want Israel to be reasonable with respect to peace. I want to see peace happen… Maybe there is even a chance for a bigger peace than just Israel and the Palestinians. I would like to see a level of reasonableness of both parties, and I think we have a good chance of doing that…”They [settlements] don’t help the process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left… I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”

On Jerusalem Embassy: “The embassy is not an easy decision… I’m thinking about it very seriously, and we will see what happens.” [IsraelHayom

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump May Turn to Arab Allies for Help With Israeli-Palestinian Relations” by Peter Baker and Mark Landler: “The notion of recruiting Arab countries to help forge an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians — known as the “outside-in” approach — is not a new one. As secretary of state under President George Bush, James A. Baker III organized the first regional conference in 1991 at which Arab leaders sat down with Israel’s prime minister… “The logic of outside-in is that because the Palestinians are so weak and divided — and because there’s a new, tacit relationship between the Sunni Arabs and Israel — there’s the hope the Arabs would be prepared to do more,” said Dennis B. Ross, a Middle East peace negotiator under several presidents, including Mr. Obama.”

“Jared Kushner… has been intrigued by this logic, according to people who have spoken with him. Mr. Kushner has grown close to Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador and a close confidant of Mr. Netanyahu’s. A series of telephone conversations and personal meetings with Arab leaders in recent weeks have also shaped Mr. Kushner’s thinking and that of the president… Mr. Kushner has also met with Arab officials, including Yousef Al Otaiba, the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates.” [NYTimes

“Trump adds nuance to pro-Israel approach ahead of Netanyahu visit” by Matt Spetalnick and Luke Baker: “There is growing consensus in the White House that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require extensive deliberations and consultations with key lawmakers and U.S. allies before a decision on how to proceed… “This is a case where campaign promises run head-on into geopolitical reality and they have to be adjusted accordingly,” said a U.S. official.” [Reuters

“In Trump Meeting, Israel Sees Chance to Target Iran Proxies” by David Wainer and Michael Arnold: “Israel Katz, intelligence and atomic energy minister, said Netanyahu will urge U.S. officials to drive a wedge between Iran and Hezbollah through harsh sanctions that will make Tehran think twice about supporting the Lebanese group… “We see a new and very close alliance on the question of Iran, something that has changed from the past U.S. administration,” Katz said in an interview in Tel Aviv… Netanyahu may also discuss with Trump how to cope with the possibility that Iran could one day pursue a nuclear bomb. Israel will request to tighten intelligence-sharing and forge a joint plan on what steps to take when the deal ends and most limits on Iran’s nuclear capabilities expire, said Michael Oren, a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office.” [Bloomberg

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: Preparations for the first meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump continue. According to an Israeli official involved in the preparations, the White House is going out of its way to provide a warm welcome to the Netanyahus. Netanyahu’s first encounter with the new administration is turning into a family affair. Kafe Knesset has learned that the premier’s oldest son, Yair, will join his parents next week. He is currently on a private vacation in the US and will travel to meet his parents when they arrive in Washington on Monday.

Ahead of the trip, Netanyahu met today with President Reuven Rivlin and will convene the security cabinet on Sunday afternoon to discuss the agenda and the goals of the Trump meeting. While most of Netanyahu’s coalition partners are willing to back his stance on any matter, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett will push him for more. He is demanding Netanyahu disavow his 2009 Bar Ilan speech, in which he endorsed the two-state solution. “I expect the PM to tell Trump that there is no chance for a Palestinian state and that we should start applying Israeli law in West Bank Area C. Trump will follow our suit. So the story is Netanyahu and what we want. After 50 years, I expect Netanyahu to state clearly that he opposes a Palestinian state because it’s stupid,” Bennett said today. He added that he is concerned about Israelis encouraging Trump to stand by the two-state solution. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY ON THE HILL — United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) co-hosted a panel discussion with JINSA to discuss US policy towards Iran during the Trump administration. The session featured Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, former Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Stephen Rademaker.

Highlights — Senator Gardner: “We should pursue new initiatives at the United Nations to condemn Iranian behavior and impose additional sanctions for their behavior… If we are worried about them launching another missile, they are already doing that. If we are worried about their ability to continue to try and develop a nuclear program, they already have permission [as part] of the nuclear deal to do that in just a few years from now. I think retaliation is something that they are doing each and every day to mock the deal that they got and to mock all of us for entering into a deal that they got.”

Kirk: “The best thing that the Trump Administration can do is to declassify the entire agreement, publish it so the Congress and the American people can look at it and see the negotiating record and understand all of the terms as they were put forward with the parties.”

Bolton: “I think ‘on notice’ means the JCPOA is one heartbeat away from disappearing… The Iran deal is a one-day agreement that we are renewing day-by-day. And it’s that close to disappearing entirely… I would have ripped it up in the early days of the Administration. The deal was a strategic mistake for the US. It’s not getting any better with age. A clear and unambiguous political statement that the deal is unacceptable would have been the strongest way to go. But we are getting very close to that as it is.”

“Diplomatically, it is very difficult to envision multilateral sanctions being effective again in the short term… The path to make it impossible for Iran to get nuclear weapons economically is now nearly out of the question. I think you have to got to look at other alternatives… My view is that is should be declared American policy to overturn the regime in Tehran because that is the only way ultimately that you will get Iran to back off from the pursuit of nuclear weapons.” [JewishInsider

Sen Bob Corker: Defunding UN is ‘Taking a Hammer’ When ‘Scalpel’ More Useful — by Aaron Magid: The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told Jewish Insider on Thursday that the Cruz and Graham bill is “taking a hammer that something a scalpel might well be more useful.” The legislation was referred to the SFRC on January 12 but the Tennessee lawmaker appeared skeptical that it would pass the committee. “I don’t know our committee is going to take it up,” Corker noted. He also explained that he supports addressing “anti-Semitic behaviors” at the international body, but using more targeted measures. “That’s using a blunt instrument when there may be a better way of getting a better outcome,” Corker concluded. [JewishInsider

Menendez: Senate Resolution condemning UNSC “should still proceed” — by Aaron Magid: Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) clarified on Thursday that the stalled S. Resolution 6 assailing the December UN Security Council vote critical of Israel is still alive. The New Jersey legislator told Jewish Insider outside of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, “As far as I am concerned, it should still proceed.” “It is still valuable to have the Senate on record in opposition to what the rest of the world says that the actions taken by the former Administration is not in the views of the majority of the members of the US Senate,” Menendez added. When asked when he expected the bill to proceed to a Senate floor vote, he noted, “That’s up to the Republican leadership.” 78 Senators have co-sponsored the bill. [JewishInsider]

TRUMP TUMULT: “Pro-Trump Jewish group reprimands White House for omitting Israel from ‘underreported’ attacks list” Annie Karni: “I am deeply perplexed as to how the administration put out a statement on terror attacks that haven’t been reported without Israel being on that list,” Mort Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, said in an interview on Thursday. “It’s painful and perplexing — especially on top of the Holocaust gaffe… I would like someone to explain it to me because I don’t get it. No country has had more terror attacks than Israel.” [Politico

DNC WATCH: “Ellison or Perez? Jewish Dems name their candidate” by Daniel Schere: “Perez has the advantage of having served both at the federal and local levels of government. This gave him the opportunity to meet prominent national political figures, such as former AIPAC President Howard Friedman and Ann Lewis… Rabbi Steve Gutow, former head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs… said he thinks Ellison’s experience as a community organizer is a valuable asset to a party in need of more grassroots-level advocacy. He saw this when he first met Ellison in 2007, when the two men took the “food stamp challenge,” trying live in Washington on the federal food stamp allotment for a week to raise awareness of poverty and hunger… Gutow said he has found Ellison to be a “very real” person who has the ability to “speak to people of the party.” [TheJC]

** Good Friday 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: Idan Ofer proposes Teddy Sagi buy Oil Refineries [Globes] • A land swap between the Bureau of Land Management and billionaire retail magnate Leslie Wexner in western Colorado is on hold for now [WRAL] • Sam Nazarian Refinances Hudson and Delano South Beach Hotels [Yahoo] • Stan Kasten and the Dodgers might be selling piece of its franchise [PasadenaStarNews]

SPOTLIGHT: “Kushner Family Is in Talks to Buy Miami Marlins” by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. De La Merced: “The Kushners — led by Joshua Kushner, a venture capitalist, and Joseph Meyer, his brother-in-law and key lieutenant for the family’s investments — have pursued the Marlins for several months, devising a complicated financial arrangement that would include bringing in partners later, these people said. Neither Jared Kushner, who married Ivanka Trump in 2009 and is a top White House adviser, nor Charles Kushner, the family patriarch who spent over a year in prison for illegal campaign donations, tax evasion and witness tampering, is participating in the effort, these people said.”

“Yet it was unclear whether a deal would be reached, or whether the family would prevail in any bidding contest. Forbes reported on Thursday that the team had a “handshake agreement” to sell the team for about $1.6 billion, a figure that the people involved in the process said the Kushner family has contended was too high and refused to pay. Any deal would have to win the approval of Major League Baseball, which would closely scrutinize the buyer’s financing and would probably seek to ensure that Charles Kushner had no role in operations. As part of the financing for the Kushners’ bid, which was being shepherded by the boutique investment bank LionTree, the family would plan to bring in additional partners to help defray the costs.” [DealBook; Forbes]

“Jared Kushner’s Father Charlie Attempted To Buy NBA Team Within Past Eight Years: Charles Kushner, the father of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, is part of a potential purchase group of the Miami Marlins of the MLB. Charles Kushner also attempted to purchase an NBA team within the past eight years, according to a source… Jared Kushner submitted a bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.” [RealGM; ESPN]

“Why Melania Trump’s Lawsuit Is the Trumpiest It Gets” by William D. Cohan: “During the deposition, Trump cited two specific examples of how O’Brien’s article (in the NY Times)—and the diminished perception of his net worth that it fostered—cost him future earnings. Both opportunities, he said, came to him through Howard Lorber, then the chairman of Douglas Elliman, a real-estate brokerage that was part of Prudential Finance. A month or so before O’Brien’s story appeared, Trump testified that Lorber had called Trump to see whether he wanted to work with the Italian owners of a building at 400 Fifth Avenue to develop it into a major hotel and condominium tower… But then the Italians read O’Brien’s reporting. Lorber called him back and told him the Italians had decided not to proceed with a deal… As Lorber put it to me recently, the Italians got spooked about Trump after reading O’Brien’s article…”

“The second lost business opportunity involved Lorber directly, Trump testified. The idea was to create something to be called Trump Realty, essentially a branded unit within Douglas Elliman’s best real-estate team. Trump, who stood to get as much as 25 percent for lending his name, said in his deposition that he had more than 20 conversations with Lorber about the project. “He loved this idea,” Trump said. “He liked it more than I did.” The day after O’Brien’s story ran in the Times, Lorber told Trump he was having second thoughts.” [VanityFair

TRANSITION: Eric Pelofsky, a former special assistant to the President and senior director for North Africa and Yemen at the National Security Council, has joined The Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a visiting fellow. “As we have seen in the first weeks of the Trump presidency, issues across the Middle East remain at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda,” said Robert Satloff, the Institute’s Executive Director.

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Jewish Motorist Helped by Stranger … Who Turns Out to Be Gov. Cuomo” by Isser Berg: “After half an hour of largely unsuccessful work, three SUVs driving on the highway suddenly pulled over. A passenger in one of them rolled down the window and asked [Noach] Fisher, “Do you need help?” Pointing the trooper and the HELP truck, Fisher said, “I already have help.” But the stranger in the SUV insisted, “Let me help you.” He exited the car and tied the chain from his SUV to Fisher’s. “The man was under my car and working for 15 minutes, tying the chain, pressing the buttons, instructing me ‘turn right,’ ‘turn left,’” says Fisher… Fisher, who says he never uses internet or social media, did not believe that the man who had been under his car in the snow for 15 minutes was none other than New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.” [Hamodia

WINE OF THE WEEK — Kitron Lika 2009 — by Yitz Applbaum: It is rare to find an Israeli winery that I have not heard of. It is even rarer for me to be so quickly impressed as I was by the Kitron Winery. Nestled in the hilltop of Hosea in the Galilee, I visited Kitron with a wine expert from Italy and my pilot-friend Hershko. This was destined to be a fun trip. But “fun” turns out not to be the right word. “Blown away,” “massively impressed” and “taken” would be more accurate.

The winery is built using the gravity approach — there are no pumps and no forced de-capping. The wine is punched very gently and goes from tank to barrel with only gravity to guide it. I tasted many of the wines there and they were all wonderful. In future columns I will describe more of them. Today, I will start with the Kitron Lika 2009. It is a Cabernet Shiraz blend. Meir, the proprietor, believes in seriously oaking his wines. This wine is no exception. The ruby red Cabernet coats the front of your palate and the peppery Shiraz stays on the back of your tongue for a long time. I drank this wine with cheese and vegetables and home-cured olives. It was a perfect combination.

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert Allen “Bob” Iger turns 66… Founding figure of Postminimalism’s conceptual art, long-time resident of Manhattan’s West Village, Lawrence Weiner turns 75… Rabbi in Vienna, Austria (1983-1989), in Munich (1989-1997) and Berlin (1997-2015), Yitshak Ehrenberg turns 67… Swimmer, who won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Mark Spitz turns 67… Philanthropist and environmentalist whose family dedicated the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, previously an executive at City National Bank of Florida, Jayne Abess turns 62… Host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” and a co-founder of TheStreet, Inc., former hedge fund manager, and best-selling author, James J. “Jim” Cramer turns 62… Journalist and syndicated newspaper columnist whose work has been published on the op-ed page of the Boston Globe since 1994, Jeff Jacoby turns 58… Former NASA astronaut, famous for his mezuzah in the International Space Station, awarded a Ph.D. from Cal Tech in 1997, Garrett Reisman turns 49… Columbus-based executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities Howie Beigelman turns 43… Israeli pop star (having sold over 200,000 albums), songwriter, musician, record producer and part of the duo “TYP” also known as The Young Professionals, Ivri Lider turns 43… Managing partner at Roberti Global, previously an aide for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and then-Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Israel “Izzy” Klein turns 40… Candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election as the running mate of Evan McMullin, entrepreneur and digital media strategist, Mindy Finn turns 36 (h/ts Playbook)… Executive Producer of the “Architects of Change” series and “Shriver Report Snapshots” at Maria Shriver’s Shriver Media, previously at ABC News, CBS News and Politico, Michelle Levi Noe… Founder and principal of The Tool Shed Group Jason Katz… Avital Mannis

Second son of former President George H. W. Bush, 43rd Governor of Florida (1999-2007), candidate for US President in 2016, John Ellis “Jeb” Bush turns 64… Ilana Ozernoy, VP and deputy head of comms at News Corp (h/t Playbook)… National medical director of Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care, former EVP and chief medical officer for Erickson Retirement Communities (1989-2005), Gary E. Applebaum, MD turns 58… Tight end on the NFL’s Carolina Panthers for four seasons (2003-2006), having played college football at UCLA, Mike Seidman turns 36… Chief of Staff for Congressman Bob Dold (R-IL-10), David B. Stern… Chaya Yehudis Neuberger… Shirley Munch

Best selling author, known for children’s and young adult fiction, Judy Sussman Blume, turns 79… Author, former member of the Knesset (1992-2003) and then chair of the Tel Aviv City Council (2008-2013), Yael Dayan turns 78… Prime Minister of Israel (1999-2001), Deputy Prime Minister (2009-2013), Defense Minister (2007-2013), highly decorated IDF soldier and general, Ehud Barak turns 75… Economist David D. Friedman, whose father was Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, turns 72… Jeremy Iloulian, a J.D. candidate at Duke Law and a Hogan Lovells alum (h/t Playbook)… Google’s computer genius, author, inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil, turns 69… Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks and the President of Disney-ABC Television Group Ben Sherwood turns 53… Film director Darren Aronofsky turns 48… Comic book author and illustrator Judd Winick turns 47… WSJ management reporter Rachel Feintzeig (h/t Playbook)… MLB player Adam Stern turns 37… Periodontist in Newark DE, Barry S. Kayne, DDS… Gary Arminoff

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9

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Daily Kickoff: Bibi back to the Blair House | Ivanka at Four Seasons | Next Fed Chair: Kevin Warsh? | Bob Kraft brought Schwartz family to Super Bowl

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Defense, intelligence officials caution White House on terrorist designation for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard” by Karen DeYoung: “Senior defense and intelligence officials have cautioned the White House that a proposal to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization could endanger U.S. troops in Iraq and the overall fight against the Islamic State, and would be an unprecedented use of a law that was not designed to sanction government institutions. Defense and intelligence concerns have been expressed at the highest levels over the past several days, as the White House was preparing to roll out an executive order dealing with both Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Muslim Brotherhood.” [WashPost]

“CIA Memo: Designating Muslim Brotherhood Could ‘Fuel Extremism’” by Blake Hounshell and Nahal Toosi: “One problem is that it’s hard to define what the Brotherhood is, given its loose structure and culture of secrecy. “What you have is a disparate network of groups that may or may not meet criteria,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury Department analyst now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Schanzer thinks the Muslim Brotherhood’s “mothership” in Egypt wouldn’t qualify, but other parts of the movement, such as the Islah party in Yemen, might if the Trump administration took a more targeted approach. Otherwise, “it’s trying to hit a grand slam and it’s probably going to lead to a strikeout,” he said.” [Politico]

HAPPENING TODAY — at 12PM: “With a new administration and Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House on February 15, and continuing aggression by the Iranian regime – including more ballistic missile tests – JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy and United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) will co-host a lunch briefing with Amb. John Bolton, Sen. Cory Gardner, Stephen Rademaker, and former Sen. Mark Kirk.” [Livestream]

HEARD YESTERDAY IN DC — The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) hosted a policy forum to discuss the agenda for Trump and Netanyahu’s first Oval Office meeting and the broader issues at stake for the U.S.-Israel relationship in the Trump era. Panelists included Robert Satloff, David Makovsky and Yoaz Hendel, former director of communications for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Highlights — Satloff: “The Jerusalem Embassy issue was a campaign promise. So I expect the President to find a way to implement and fulfill this campaign promise… Timing is one of the key criteria. This is one of the issues that you do very soon or not for a while… You do this now, well before the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, well before the anniversary of the six-day war, or you have to wait until that episode is behind. Because if you want to avoid or limit the risk of provocation you don’t enmesh this in the 1967 issues, you anchor it in what I call the 1948 set of issues. The absence of an American Embassy in Jerusalem is a residue of a 1948 decision by the Truman Administration that is what President Trump can repair but to enmesh it in the 1967 issues only heightens the possibility that it triggers the reaction that you are trying to avoid. So, it is really an issue for now in the next several weeks well before the decision in May about whether or not to extend the waiver in the law on the Embassy.”

Makovsky: “Netanyahu knows the rhythm of Washington: don’t come too late before the policy is set in concrete. When everything is in flux is the time to try to influence the contours of a new approach. Everyone I met in Israel was of the enforcement school. They want to enforce it (Iran deal) vigorously. As one key (Netanyahu) advisor said to me, 80-90% of our concerns coming to Washington on Iran when it comes to the nuclear deal is about the so-called sunset provisions — the elements of the deal that fade out in 10-15 years. Netanyahu is going to come and take a pulse and get a sense where is the President on this enforce vs. scrap.” [JewishInsider

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: Netanyahu is back at the Blair House next week. A PMO official confirmed the White house has invited PM Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sarah, and senior members of his entourage to enjoy close hospitality and stay at the official guest house during the visit to Washington DC. Netanyahu has stayed in the Blair house in the past, but in his recent visits to DC, against the backdrop of the tensions with the Obama administration, he stayed in hotels, and renewing the tradition sends exactly the message Netanyahu wants to convey – a new page with the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, ahead of the much-anticipated visit, it appears Bibi might have to give up one of his favorite jobs – the communication portfolio. For months, Netanyahu has insisted on keeping the Communications Ministry under his reign, but the recent police revelations about his connections with the media might prompt him to pass it to one of the Likud ministers… The common assumption in political circles is that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will find it hard to defend Netanyahu in the appeal and will ask him to give up the communications ministry, regularly referred to as “Bibi’s Baby” as it enables him influence and control over the future media landscape in the state. Netanyahu might not be happy to pass on the portfolio, but Likud ministers are already out to grab it. Culture minister Miri Regev, one of Netanyahu’s most loyal confidants, is pushing to get the job and is planning to stir up the media elite just as she has rattled the cultural community over the past two years. Another leading candidate is Tzahi Hanegbi… Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset [JewishInsider]

“Does Trump signal golden age for Israeli settlements?” by Mazal Mualem: “The feeling here is that we just experienced a miracle,” Hagai Ben-Artzi told Al-Monitor. Ben-Artzi, who lives in Beit El, is also the Prime Minister’s brother-in-law. “It is important to understand that the continuation of the Obama administration’s policies under Hillary Clinton would have been bad news for us… Now it is quite possible that everything will be turned around, and we will annex the land instead.” [Al-Monitor

“Newly approved settler homes financed by Trump’s Israel envoy pick – report” by Times of Israel: “The five-story apartment block slated for construction in the settlement near Ramallah is financed by American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which [David] Friedman chairs… The current project is also slated to be built partly on private Palestinian land and, if it goes ahead, will be legalized ex post facto under a controversial new law passed earlier this week in the Knesset.” [ToI

COMING SOON: According to a J Street email blast yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is currently working on scheduling a hearing for David Friedman, perhaps as soon as the middle of next week.

TRUMP TUMULT: “How Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Influence Donald Trump” by Us Weekly: “Donald doing the most controversial stuff when Ivanka and Jared aren’t around — there is some truth to that,” a close Ivanka insider reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly… But for Ivanka, no challenge is insurmountable. Notes a friend, “She’s staying positive and focused on what she’s trying to do.” … “Sometimes Jared and Ivanka are a big influence and sometimes he takes other opinions into account and does something they disagree with,” says the insider. “They win some and they lose some.” [USWeekly] • Ivanka Trump quietly settles into White House life [CNN

“Trump blasts retailer Nordstrom, raising new concern on business ties” by Nandita Bose and Timothy Gardner: “After Trump’s highly unusual move to use a White House platform to intervene in a commercial matter involving his daughter, Nordstrom reiterated that its action last week was based on declining sales of the Ivanka Trump products. But White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterized the move as a “direct attack” on the president’s policies… Norman Eisen, an ethics adviser to President Barack Obama, noted that several states have unfair competition laws, including California where Nordstrom operates many stores. The tweet, he said, could spark lawsuits if the company’s brand was being injured by an unfair attack.” [Reuters]

“Power breakfast at the Four Seasons: Political players, CEOs, and Ivanka” by Annie Karni: “This is the resistance,” Tom Nides, a former deputy secretary of state under Clinton and a top backer of her failed presidential bid, joked when [Dina] Powell introduced [Ivanka] Trump to his table, where he sat with former top Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan and Ben Rhodes, the former Obama foreign policy adviser and speechwriter. Ivanka Trump chuckled gamely, according to a person who heard the conversation, and replied: “Good luck with that.” [Politico

“Sen. Schumer Attacks Trump: ‘Did Not Honor the Six Million Jews Murdered by the Nazis'” by Amir Tibon: “The abominable Nazi ‘Final Solution’ had as its target the extermination of the Jewish people. This is a fact. And one that must always be remembered,” Schumer told Haaretz. “It is troubling and unfortunate,” he added, “that the administration did not acknowledge and honor the six million Jews murdered by the Nazi regime in the Shoah.” [Haaretz]

“Trump Aide Derided Islam, Immigration And Diversity, Embraced An Anti-Semitic Past” by Jessica Schulberg: “A senior national security official in the Trump administration (Michael Anton) wrote under a pseudonym last year that Islam is an inherently violent religion that is “incompatible with the modern West,” defended the World War II-era America First Committee, which included anti-Semites, as “unfairly maligned,” and called diversity “a source of weakness, tension and disunion.”” [HuffPost

“DeVos’ first assignment: Mend fences with education foes” by Maria Danilova: “Rabbi A.D. Motzen, a school-choice advocate and the Cincinnati-based national director of state relations for the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America, said he has known DeVos for a decade and worked with her organizations. “Whatever the policies that come out of the Department of Education, she’s going to have a fresh perspective, and I guarantee you it will be focused on parents and children, and less about where they attend school and where they live,” he said by phone.” [AP

** 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: How Israel is leading the world in R&D investment: Country spends more as share of GDP than any other developed nation [FinancialTimes] • Fallen Tycoons Nochi Dankner and Eliezer Fishman Strike Back [Haaretz] • Boston political power duo Larry Rasky and Joe Baerlein part ways [BostonGlobe] • Key board member resigns from embattled Banc of California, following chairman [LATimes] • Kushner trial vs. condo owners ends in sudden mistrial [CentralJersey] • Live Nation buys into Israeli concert business, launches Ticketmaster Israel [CMU]

SPOTLIGHT: “Chelsea Clinton’s Husband Closes His Hedge Fund” by Saijel Kishan: “Eaglevale Partners, the hedge fund co-founded by Marc Mezvinsky, the son-in-law of Hillary and Bill Clinton, closed in December, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Eaglevale, based in New York, is in the process of returning money to clients, said the person who asked not to be named because the firm is private. Eaglevale was started by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. traders Bennett Grau, Mark Mallon and Mezvinsky in 2011.” [Bloomberg

“Kevin Warsh is a contender for Federal Reserve Chair” by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa: “He’s young, he’s Republican and he was seen a key steward of the Federal Reserve’s financial crisis, Chairman Ben Bernanke’s right-hand man. It’s only natural that the name of Kevin Warsh, ex-Fed governor and now a fellow at the Hoover Institution, would come up as a potential replacement to Janet Yellen, whose term expires at the end of January 2018.” [BusinessInsider] • Warsh is married to Jane Lauder, daughter of Jo Carole Lauder and Ronald Lauder

PROFILE: “Nasdaq’s Black Belt CEO on IPOs, Unicorns, and Roundhouse Kicks” by Michael Regan: “The Roland Park Country School is just a few miles—but worlds away—from the hardscrabble streets of Baltimore that The Wire made famous. Yet this all-girls prep school was where Adena Friedman learned a lesson that’s helped her thrive in the historically all-boys club located on one of the meanest streets there is for smart, ambitious women like her: Wall Street. “You can be anything,” she recalls her teachers telling her. And it was something about financial markets that captivated young Friedman’s imagination when she visited her dad at T. Rowe Price, long before Take Our Daughters to Work Day was a thing. After business school, Friedman landed an internship at Nasdaq and, except for a two-year stint at Carlyle Group, she’s been there ever since. In January she became chief executive officer.” [Bloomberg]

“Rahm Emanuel: Too many Dems care more about being right than winning” by Kim Janssen: “Mayor Rahm Emanuel has warned Democrats they need to “take a chill pill” and realize that they are not going to take back national power anytime soon. “It ain’t gonna happen in 2018,” Emanuel said Monday at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in California. “Take a chill pill, man. You gotta be in this for the long haul.” As he did last month at an event in Washington, D.C., the mayor expanded on what he believes is the road map back to power for his party — putting moderate candidates such as veterans, football players, sheriffs and business people up in Republican districts, picking battles with Republicans, exploiting wedges within the GOP and fighting attempts to redistrict Congress on partisan grounds.”

“But this time he didn’t hold back on his frustration with some of his fellow Democrats. “Winning’s everything,” he said. “If you don’t win, you can’t make the public policy. I say that because it is hard for people in our party to accept that principle. Sometimes, you’ve just got to win, OK? Our party likes to be right, even if they lose.” He added, “I don’t go to moral victory speeches. I can’t stand them. I’ve never lost an election. It’s about winning, because if you win you then have the power to go do what has to get done.” [ChicagoTribune]

HOLLYWOOD: “Ari & Patrick Get Political As WME | IMG Forms PAC” by Dominic Patten: “When you represented the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host who is now the President of the United States and your Chicago Mayor brother was Chief of Staff to the previous POTUS, politics is never really at arm’s length. Now WME | IMG bosses Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell have decided to put their money in the arena. “In the coming weeks, you will hear more from us about this,” it adds and lists: The formation of a federal political action committee (PAC) in the U.S. • Convening internal and external forums with politicians and allied stakeholders • Connecting our clients with elected officials • Introducing company-wide matching policies to support donations of time and money • Developing actionable public policy solutions” [Deadline]

“Discovery’s Unabomber Drama Adds Brian D’Arcy James, Elizabeth Reaser” by Kate Stanhope: “Reaser will play the role of Ellie, the wife of Jim Fitzgerald (Sam Worthington), the FBI agent who deployed a radical approach to intelligence gathering to take down Kaczynski. The actress, best known for the Twilight films, Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Wife, is repped by UTA and Stone Genow.” [THR] • Natalie Portman Teaches Hebrew Slang [VanityFair]

SCENE YESTERDAY IN NYC — Masa Israel Journey hosted a panel yesterday featuring representatives from Israeli start-ups with a presence in New York, including WeWork and Playbuzz. Among those in attendance were Guy Franklin, founder of “Israeli Mapped in NY,” an interactive map of Israeli start-ups in New York; Shaul Olmert; Co-founder and CEO of Playbuzz; Shachar Orren, VP of Content at Playbuzz; Jonathan Poor of Startupbootcamp FinTech; Gal Sela of WeWork; Adi Hila Yoffe, Director of Business Development at Masa Isral Journey; Adi Barel, Director of International Business Development at Masa Israel Journey; and Meara Razon Ashtivker, COO at Masa Israel Journey.

SPORTS BLINK: “Patriots Owner Invites Ezra Schwartz’s Family as His VIP Guests To Super Bowl” by Eddie Dvir: “Ezra Schwarz’s aunt, Rachel Deri, reached out to OS News with this amazing message of Hakarat Hatov… “Robert Kraft invited my sis and her fam to the superbowl. He called and invited them as vip guests… flights included. My sis is Ezra Schwartz’s mom. As you prob remember he was shot and murdered last yr in Gush Etzion.. What a nice gesture of Robert Kraft… What a mensch…and a good neshama… What a great turn-around and win for Kraft’s Patriots…bc of his mitzvahs and good heart!”” [OnlySimchas

“With their abysmal on-court record, the Philadelphia 76ers have decided to pivot — to investing in startups” by Andrew Zaleski: “The Sixers’ fling with startups traces back to a conversation about high-IQ office furniture. In 2011, a nine-person group, including several prominent financiers, bought the Sixers for $280 million. The new owners installed Scott O’Neil as the new CEO. He’s the kind of guy who runs an inter-organization pickup league that hoops at 6:30 in the morning. O’Neil faced an immediate problem: New deals weren’t rolling in for the victory-challenged Sixers. As O’Neil puts it, “On the court the last three years, we won 45 or some-odd games. Partners weren’t ringing us because of the incredible interest in a winning team.” So to attract new lines of business, he cast a wide net.” [BackChannel]

“MMA fighter Jared Cannonier explains why he holds up Jewish prayer shawl after victories” by Ariel Helwani: “I’m not Jewish. I don’t put any title on my belief system. I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The talit is what I use as a tool to remind me that God is my father, that I follow his commandments, and it helps me keep myself in check.” [MMAFighting]

BIRTHDAYS: Grammy Award winning songwriter Barry Mann (born Barry Imberman) turns 78… Economist and a professor at Columbia University, Nobel laureate in Economics in 2001, Joseph Stiglitz turns 74… Two-time Tony Award and two-time Emmy Award winning actress, Judith Light turns 68… Professor of history and modern Jewish studies at UCSD since 2004, has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Hebrew U, Tel Aviv U and the University of Haifa, Deborah Hertz turns 68… Israeli singer mostly in the Mizrahi music tradition, who has released over 30 albums, Shimi Tavori (born Shimshon Tawili) turns 64… Australian billionaire, philanthropist and owner of a series of mineral and energy companies, Georgina Hope “Gina” Rinehart turns 63… Chair of the DNC (2001-2005), Chair of two Clinton presidential campaigns (Bill’s in 1996, Hillary’s in 2008), now Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, a/k/a ‘the macker,’ turns 60… Theoretical physics professor at Columbia University since 1996, author of multiple books written for the general public such as “Icarus at the Edge of Time,” Brian Greene turns 54… Managing Director of Tiedemann Wealth Management, Jeffrey L. Zlot turns 46… Television and film actress, born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in the Soviet Union (now Russian Federation), living in the US since 1991, Margarita Levieva turns 37… Deputy Director of Congressional Relations at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Boris Zilberman turns 33… Israeli-Arab teenager who, in 2014, was forced to go into hiding after he publicly expressed support for Zionism and the State of Israel, Muhammad Zoabi turns 20… Isaac Lieberman… Rafael Regla

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Screenshot via YouTube/IsraeliPM

Kafe Knesset for Feb. 8

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

It was a bright, sunny day today in Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to enjoy the great winter weather with a publicized outdoor stroll. He invited…

Photo via Facebook/Sen. Ben Cardin

Cardin: No Delay in Friedman’s Confirmation Hearing

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WASHINGTON – Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) denied a Ynet report on Tuesday that the confirmation process for David Friedman, President Trump’s nominee for US Ambassador to Israel, has…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for Feb. 7

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Three months after the controversial land appropriation bill was approved in its first legislation stage, the Knesset finalized the law and passed it in its 2nd and 3rd…

President Anwar Sadat addressing the Knesset in 1977

Bipartisan Legislation Honors Sadat with Congressional Gold Medal

Friday, February 3, 2017

WASHINGTON – The House and Senate introduced on Wednesday bipartisan legislation to honor former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill was presented by…

courtesy of the Trump campaign

Kafe Knesset for Feb. 3

Friday, February 3, 2017

Israeli politicians and pundits woke up this morning to the White House settlement statement, a chilly breeze on the heat and excitement amongst the Israeli right wing over…

PHOTO: REUTERS

House Introduces Bill to Cut Funding to the PA

Thursday, February 2, 2017

WASHINGTON – Republican Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) introduced legislation yesterday to end funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if Ramallah doesn’t “cease all financial…