May
23

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Daily Kickoff: Spotted at Trump’s Israel Museum speech | Dems & R’s switch on Jerusalem | Kushner’s other real estate empire | Norm Brownstein BDay

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TRUMP IN ISRAEL — Top 5 tweets: 1. Aaron David Miller: “In knowing working with Netanyahu for decades, never — and I mean never– have I seen him so relaxed in presence of a US president.” 2. Maggie Haberman: “Pooler extraordinaire Annie Karni notes that Netanyahu has repeatedly called Trump “Donald,” which I’ve only heard a few people do over years.” 3. Steven Portnoy‏: “US press traveling w/Trump to Abbas’s palace were advised by WH staff to remove creds displaying Israeli flag, pooler Mike Memoli reports.” 4. Yair Rosenberg: “Oh man, watch Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer (on right couch) react when Trump says—in Israel—”We just got back from the Middle East.” [Video] 5. Tal Shalev: “Jared Kushner and Amb. Dermer, sharing a moment” [Pic]

KEY MOMENT: In Jerusalem, Trump solemnly remembers Holocaust victims [AP] • Trump’s message in Yad Vashem guestbook: “It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends – so amazing + will never forget.” [Pic]

FAREWELL ADDRESS: “Trump: Israelis and Palestinians are ‘ready to reach for peace’” by Annie Karni: “In a brief speech at the Israel Museum, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he feels confident, after two days of meetings, that the lsraelis and the Palestinians are eager for a peace deal… But it is unclear if either side actually shares Trump’s confidence… Trump received a standing ovation from the audience — which included Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson — when he proclaimed: “Iran’s leaders routinely call for Israel’s destruction. Not with Donald J. Trump. Believe me.”” [Politico

HIGHLIGHTS — “My administration will always stand with Israel… Under my administration, you see the difference. Big, big beautiful difference… Iran calls for the destruction of Israel. Not with Donald J. Trump, believe me… Jerusalem is a sacred city. The ties of the Jewish people to this holy land are ancient and eternal… I can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace. I can tell you that my good friend Benjamin wants peace… My good friend Benjamin loves people.”

SPOTTED at the Israel Museum: Sheldon Adelson, Malcolm Hoenlein, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, RJC’s Matt Brooks and Norm Coleman, AIPAC’s Cameron Brown, Facebook’s Jordana Cutler, Rivka Kidron, GOP Israel’s Marc Zell, Shmuley Boteach, Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, Richard Heideman, David Hager, Dr. Joseph Frager, KamaTech’s Moshe Friedman, United Hatzalah’s Eli Beer, and Boaz Bismuth.

TAKEAWAYS — Aaron David Miller: “If President Trump wanted to demonstrate his stunningly pro-Israeli credentials to pave the way for pressing Netanyahu for concessions down the road, this trip couldn’t have gone any better.”

Elliott Abrams tells us: “The President’s belief that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace appears to be based on statements made to him by Mahmoud Abbas. But actions by the PLO speak louder than words. The previous Israeli offers of peace were rejected, the glorification of terror continues, and payments to terrorists continue to be made. The idea that an Israeli-Palestinian peace would lead to peace in the region is certainly not new, but it is just not correct. The problems in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, for example, would not be affected by an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, nor would it slow down the Iranian nuclear program. It was encouraging to see the President state flatly that he would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Last night, Trump had dinner with the Netanyahus, and the Prime Minister and his wife Sarah were the talk of the town after they made some awkward comments. “Thanks to you, we had a budget to paint the walls,” Bibi said as the Trumps signed the guest book at the Prime Minister’s residence. “The whole house was painted for you!” Sarah said, beaming. Soon after, Yair Netanyahu was introduced to the First Couple. Netanyahu pointed out that Yair looks like Sarah, but their other son, Avner, who was not present, looks more like him. Yair told the Trumps that he feels for Barron, because he was about the same age when his father first became prime minister. Dinner that night was prepared by celebrity chef Moshe Segev, who made sliders – perhaps to remind Trump of his favorite food, meatloaf – among other dishes. Entertainment was provided by singer-actress Shiri Maimon, most recently the star of “Evita” in Israel’s national theater, Habima. Maimon chose to belt out “New York, New York,” because she heard that Trump likes Sinatra. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

–Boaz Bismuth pointed out: “As I have seen at White House dinners, at Netanyahu’s dinner it was reported that no wine will be served. Trump has been anti-alcohol for years due to a family tragedy involving his brother.” [Twitter]

LET’S TALK ABOUT PEACE — “Trump Comes to Israel Citing a Palestinian Deal as Crucial” by Peter Baker and Ian Fisher: “Mr. Trump sought to showcase his friendship with Mr. Netanyahu as the two shared dinner with their wives and called each other “Donald” and “Bibi,” the prime minister’s nickname. But neither publicly cited any concrete steps in pursuing a peace agreement. Mr. Trump did not formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as some Israeli officials hoped he would do… Nor for that matter did he publicly press Israel to curb settlement construction in the West Bank as Palestinians hoped. Mr. Netanyahu offered nothing more than a few modest gestures like extending the hours at the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.” [NYTimes] Rosie Gray reports from Jerusalem: Trump Goes After ‘the Ultimate Deal’ [TheAtlantic]

“In Israel, Trump Makes the Word ‘Peace’ Great Again” by Barak Ravid: “An Israeli official who attended one of the meetings with the U.S. president noted that the latter is focused on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and isn’t budging a millimeter from the message he has reiterated.” [Haaretz] • If Kushner has a Mideast peace plan, it’s a secret so far [Reuters]

“Why Trump’s Western Wall Visit Is Actually Bad News for the Israeli Right” by Anshel Pfeffer: “He has made three mini-speeches since arriving in Israel and hasn’t mentioned the word “Jerusalem” in one of them. He was warned not to do so by his advisers, and that’s it… So why did Trump visit the Wall anyway? Who knows why he does anything. Maybe it was a paternal gesture to his daughter Ivanka, the convert to Judaism. Probably he assumes that a photograph by the most visible symbol of Judaism could help him back home with Jewish and evangelical voters if he runs for reelection in 2020. Maybe it’s because he loves big buildings and has been gripped recently with a special passion for walls.” [Haaretz

NO, LET’S TALK ABOUT INTELLIGENCE — Bibi Changes the News Narrative, Perhaps Intentionally — by Jacob Kornbluh: A story that has caused headaches for the Trump administration in recent weeks was brought to life during the President’s first overseas trip. Perhaps uncoincidentally, this shift of attention away from the White House’s push for a renewed peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians could have been just what Netanyahu was hoping for. As Trump and Netanyahu wrapped up their opening statements ahead of a bilateral meeting at the King David Hotel, Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev called out a question to the two leaders asking if there was concern about the Israeli intelligence that Trump shared with the Russians in the Oval Office. Trump appeared to ignore the question and starting walking away but Netanyahu decided to answer it. “The intelligence cooperation is terrific,” he said.

At that point, Trump appeared anxious to respond and engage the cameras. “Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel,” Trump insisted. “Never mentioned during that conversation…” Within minutes, Twitter and Cable News immediately picked up on the brief off-script moment as a leading news item. [JewishInsider

Former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro tells us… “President Trump risked stepping on his own narrative of strong support for Israel and restarting peace talks with his ‘I didn’t say the word Israel’ moment. From afar, it seems to have lit up Washington and the US press corps, giving new life to the Trump-Russia story. But here in Israel, it made a much smaller splash. Judging by the Channel 2 news broadcast, on which I served as a commentator, it rated a minor footnote to a visit in which the President’s diplomatic initiative and visit to the Kotel were dominating the coverage. That can pose a risk for the traveling White House staff, if they focus only on the good news from the road, and lose sight of a fire burning back home. Regardless, the President is likely to leave Israel with the well-deserved sense that the visit was a success.”

OR LET’S DISCUSS IRAN — Trump promises Israel Iran will never have nuclear weapons: “Speaking in Jerusalem, [President Trump] said Iran had negotiated a “fantastic deal” with his predecessor, Barack Obama, winning “a lifeline and prosperity”. But “instead of saying thank you”, the Iranians were backing terrorism, he said… “Iran will never have nuclear weapons, that I can tell you,” Mr Trump told Mr Netanyahu.” [BBC] • Trump, Netanyahu Cast Iran as Common Enemy [WSJ]

“Trump goes on Iran-bashing tour” by Laura Rozen: “I think there is a benefit to reassuring our Sunni partners and to pushing back on Iran for some of its behavior, especially given how anxious they were after the nuclear deal, and how much they … were irrationally angry at Obama,” [Ilan] Goldenberg, with CNAS, told Al-Monitor… “But there is a balance to be struck here. The right approach involves both pressure and engagement. And you also want to leave open channels to have a dialogue. And you don’t want to go so far as to become part of the conflict. And in some areas, [Trump administration officials] are trending dangerously close to that.” [Al-Monitor

OR BOTH… “Trump Bets Sunni Fears of Iran Can Win Israeli-Palestinian Peace” by Margaret Talev and David Wainer: “With appearances in Riyadh and Jerusalem, [Trump] has observed repeatedly that the threat posed by Iran is pushing Arab Gulf states and Israel closer together. He believes that realignment could create conditions for long-abandoned peace talks to resume… One idea floated is for increased commercial ties and Israeli overflight rights through Saudi Arabia in exchange for Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians and a freeze of settlement construction, according to an Israeli government official.” [Bloomberg]

“Why Trump’s flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel is such a big deal” by Adam Taylor: “Netanyahu is sometimes forced to make lengthy detours to avoid the airspace of Muslim-majority nations that do not have relations with Israel: In February, his flight from Singapore to Sydney added on four more hours and more than 1,000 miles to avoid Indonesian airspace… Trump is hoping that a renewed focus on a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians can help end the animosity between Israel and its Arab neighbors. For both Israelis and Arab states, a peace deal would carry the possibility of full diplomatic relations — with direct flights and any resulting deeper economic ties part of the appeal for both.” [WashPost

MAYBE THINGS ARE CHANGING — “Dubai and Saudi Arabia Among 104 Nations Producing Kosher Certified Products” [OUNews]

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM: “There’s No Such Thing As Bad News For Trump’s Israeli Fans. Literally” by Miriam Berger: “Niran Dishi doesn’t know anyone who doesn’t love Donald Trump. Since he first saw Trump debating Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on television during the campaign last year “all of my friends and all of my family love him,” he said… Dishi still reads Israel’s leading newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, but now prefers its main competitor, Yisrael Hayom, a free daily funded by Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul, GOP fundraiser… “What matters in the world today is not policy, it’s identity,” Amit Segal, a reporter for Israel’s Channel 2, told BuzzFeed News. “And people see Donald Trump as an extension of the right-wing in Israel because he’s anti-media and anti-elite.” Boaz Bismuth, Yisrael Hayom’s editor-in-chief, insists he’s just reporting what he sees…  These days he’s famous as Israel’s biggest Trump fan.” [BuzzFeed]

“Israelis angry at Trump’s failure to move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as promised” by Franco Ordonez: “For the record, we recognize Washington, D.C.,” said Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. who now serves as deputy minister for diplomacy in the Netanyahu government… Oren… said Trump had lost credibility with some Israelis who believed him when he promised during his campaign for the presidency to move the embassy… “If it had been a one-off and he said it one time,” Oren said, the promise could be forgotten. “But he said it several times. It was a staggering campaign promise.” [McClatchyDC]

“Ivanka ‘Yael’ touches Jewish hearts with tears at the Kotel” by Lahav Harkov: “Likely unaware of being filmed, Ivanka touched the ancient stones and shed tears… And while nothing will get all the detractors to come around, it seemed like Ivanka struck a chord. Even hardened Israeli pundits called her “Ivanka, a member of our people,” applauding her for the quiet moment.” [JPost] • Ivanka Trump Mistakenly Identifies the Western Wall as Judaism’s ‘Holiest Site’ [Tablet]

VIEW FROM BETHLEHEM: “In Bethlehem, Palestinians Confident Trump’s One-hour Visit ‘Won’t Change Anything'” by Noga Tarnopolsky: “[Rami] Zayed, the pharmacist, used a metaphor to describe his views. “Asking about Trump’s visit is like a joke question,” he said. “It’s like in medicine: a placebo. We just take it to feel that ‘I took medicine,’ but in fact nothing has changed.” [Haaretz

ON THE HILL — Democrats and Republicans flip roles on Western Wall — by Aaron Magid: On Capitol Hill, Members of Congress switched their traditional roles on this sensitive issue of Jerusalem’s status when responding to comments from Trump administration officials who were asked if the Western Wall is part of Israel. Sec. Tillerson told reporters on Air Force One the other day that “The wall is part of Jerusalem” without elaborating. “I think they’re being sensitive. Much like, what I would be sensitive. They are in the midst of some very interesting times and are being wise with what they want to weigh in and how they want to handle things,” Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) told Jewish Insider. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) refused to criticize comments made by Rex Tillerson and H.E. McMaster regarding the Western Wall. “I don’t know their reasons for not being able to answer, so I can’t comment on that,” Carter noted.

Democrats, however, critiqued the administration for this policy decision. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) emphasized that she “very much” believed that the Kotel is part of Israel. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) said, “I recognize that the Western Wall is part of Israel. I think most members of the House do.” [JewishInsider]

SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH: “Iran Deal Divides Ossoff, Handel” by Atlanta Jewish Times: “The 6th District rivals appeared separately at the monthly breakfast meeting of Jewish War Veterans Post 112 in Dunwoody… [Karen] Handel, a Republican, said Iran was the only nation to benefit from the deal the Obama administration and its international partners negotiated with Iran in 2015… “We should strictly and uncompromisingly monitor Iran’s compliance” through International Atomic Energy Agency inspections and U.S. intelligence capabilities, Democrat [Jon] Ossoff said. “If Iran in any way violates the agreement, we should immediately impose harsh sanctions to punish the government of Iran.” [AtlantaJewishTimes]

“At a synagogue, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart blames anti-Semitism on the left” by Moriah Balingit: “Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey A. Stewart told an audience at a Northern Virginia synagogue Sunday night that he blames the political left for rising anti-Semitism, stunning many in the audience who felt Stewart excused bigotry coming from his own supporters. “Today most of the anti-Semitic bigotry is not coming from the right. It’s coming from the left. We have to face it,” said Stewart, prompting a collective gasp and incredulous laughter from the crowd of about 400 at Temple Rodef Shalom in Fairfax County. “What about Keith Ellison from Minnesota?” Stewart said, referring to the Democratic congressman who has been criticized by some for his earlier support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Audience members shouted back, “What about Trump?” [WashPost]

2020 WATCH: “Eric Garcetti isn’t running for president (wink, wink)” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “He’s 46, just been re-elected to a second term with 81 percent of the vote, half-Mexican (he speaks Spanish fluently) and half-Jewish (he’s an active member of a very progressive L.A. synagogue), a Rhodes scholar and former Navy intelligence reserve officer. Hillary Clinton thought he was handsome, and that helped keep him in play in the consideration to be her running mate, though he didn’t make it to the finalist round, people familiar with those conversations told me. His deflection on 2020 lasted about 20 seconds… “I’m not focused on it, but the sky’s the limit in terms of what we need to be able to imagine for this country,” Garcetti said.” [Politico]

** Good Tuesday 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire: Baltimore-area renters complain about a property owner they say is a neglectful and litigious. Few know their landlord is the president’s son-in-law” by Alex MacGillis: “When Americans were introduced last year to Ivanka Trump’s husband and the nation’s prospective son-in-law in chief, it was as the preternaturally poised, Harvard-educated scion of a real estate empire whose glittering ambitions resembled Donald Trump’s own. But the Kushners’ empire, like Trump’s, was underwritten by years of dealing in much more modestly ambitioned properties. Jared’s grandfather Joseph Kushner, a Holocaust survivor from Belarus, over his lifetime built a small construction company in New Jersey into a real estate venture that owned and managed some 4,000 low-rise units concentrated in the suburbs of Newark.”

“Amid the high-profile Manhattan and Brooklyn purchases, in 2011, Kushner Companies, with Jared now more firmly in command, pulled together a deal that looked much more like something from the firm’s humble past than from its high-rolling present. That June, the company and its equity partners bought 4,681 units of what are known in real estate jargon as “distress-ridden, Class B” apartment complexes: units whose prices fell somewhere in the middle of the market, typically of a certain age and wear, whose owners were in financial difficulty. Kushner’s largest concentration of multifamily units is in the Baltimore area, where the company controls 15 complexes in all — which, if you assume three residents per unit, could be home to more than 20,000 people…” [NYTimesMag]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Ghermezian’s American Dream Meadowlands: what’s next after getting $1.6B in private financing secured” by John Brennan: “Anyone who has seen me in the last four years and asked me “Is American Dream Meadowlands ever going to open?” (which is almost everyone) as well as Meadowlands Matters readers has gotten the same answer: If Triple Five sells the $1.15 billion in bonds, its eventual opening is a foregone conclusion.” … The institutional investors put their money in escrow over the weekend only because Triple Five has proven to their satisfaction that it has gotten similar commitments from “the big boy” bond buyers to fund that side of the equation. So the likelihood of this project coming to fruition has increased substantially, as noted by New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority President Wayne Hasenbalg on Monday.” [NorthJersey]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli startup Windward enters marine insurance” by Idan Rabi: “Founded in 2011 by CEO Ami Daniel and VP product Matan Peled, Windward has raised $22.5 million to date from the Aleph fund, Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures fund, former US CIA director David Petraeus, Start-Up Nation author Dan Senor, former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, and others. Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi is an advisor in the company, although he has not invested in it. Sources inform “Globes” that Windward has raised substantial additional amounts in recent months, but the identity of the investors was not disclosed.” [Globes]

“Amid complicated relations with U.S., Turkey hires longtime Trump lobbyist Brian Ballard” by Marc Caputo: “President Donald Trump’s longtime Florida lobbyist, Brian Ballard, has expanded his practice globally and just signed a $1.5 million contract with the government of Turkey, which will be represented by the firm’s new big hire, former Florida Congressman Robert Wexler. Ballard Partners’ Turkey contract, inked Friday, comes on the heels of two other international clients signed by the firm: A March 6$900,000 contract with the Dominican Republic and an April 1 $240,000 contract with the Socialist Party of Albania, the ruling party in the Balkan nation.” [Politico]

“Israeli Settlers Weren’t Always So Religious—They Were Once Secular Hippies” by Emma Green: “According to new research by Sara Yael Hirschhorn, a lecturer at Oxford University, about 60,000 out of the 400,000 settlers currently living in the West Bank are American—roughly 15 percent. In a new book about this group, City on a Hilltop, Hirschhorn writes that the Americans who came to Israel in the 1960s and ’70s defy today’s common stereotypes about settlers. Instead of being ultra-religious and conservative, “these new arrivals were usually young, single, highly educated, upwardly mobile, and traditional but not necessarily Orthodox in their religious practice, voted for Democratic Party candidates, and were politically supportive of and active in … the civil-rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War struggle.”” [TheAtlantic]

MEDIA WATCH: “Fox News staffers ‘disgusted’ at network’s promotion of Seth Rich conspiracy theory” by Oliver Darcy: “Multiple Fox News employees told CNN that Hannity… and others were hurting the credibility of the outlet by continuing to advance the [Seth Rich] theory, for which there is no real evidence. “It is disappointing because it drags the rest of us down,” said a senior Fox News employee, who asked how Fox News leadership could continue to allow Hannity to spread an unproven theory on the network. Another Fox News employee said he feels that Hannity isn’t letting go of the Rich story because he wants to “distract from any and all Trump scandals.” “ [CNNMoney]

DESSERT: “Assuage any Donald angst with the #Trumpburger” by Jessica Steinberg: “With President Trump in town, snarling up traffic and wreaking havoc for Jerusalem residents through Tuesday, the folks at Crave, the Mahane Yehuda restaurant known for its groovy gourmet street food, decided to assuage customer tensions with the Trumpburger… “It’s made from steak, ketchup and the Mexican wall,” quipped James Oppenheim… Topping the restaurant’s whole wheat buns (“perfect for squeezing”) is Mexican guacamole — representing the US/Mexico border wall that Trump wants to put in place — well-done steak sliders (“perfect for little hands”), pickled (im)peaches (alluding to Washington impeachment talk) and topped with crispy stalks of orange sweet potato (hair), for the president’s quizzically-colored pate and signature coloring. The burger, available only this week, costs NIS 69 and so far, it’s going over well with customers, said Oppenheim.” [ToI]

BIRTHDAYS: Founding member and chairman of Denver-based law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, super-lobbyist, long-time proponent of the US-Israel relationship and national board member of AIPAC, and House of Cards cameo star, Norman Brownstein turns 74… Businessman, attorney and philanthropist, he acquired and rebuilt the iconic restaurant in Miami Beach, The Forge, Alvin Malnik turns 84… Member of Congress from Washington State (1985-1993), State Department official (2002-2006), taught at Yale, GWU and English at a yeshiva high school in Mercer Island, Washington, John Ripin Miller turns 79… British fashion retailer and promoter of tennis in Israel, he is the founder, chairman and CEO of three international clothing lines including the French Connection, Great Plains and Toast brands, Stephen Marks turns 71… Israeli businessman with holdings in real estate, construction, energy, hotels and media, Ofer Nimrodi turns 6-0… President of Newton, MA-based Liberty Companies, a real estate development and management firm, he is a long-time Boston Jewish community leader, Andrew M. Cable turns 6-0 (h/t Abigail)… Best-selling author and journalist, whose works include “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Mitch Albom turns 59…

Israeli-born entrepreneur, author and former academic, now serving as the president and executive director of the Irvine, California-based Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook turns 56… Vancouver, British Columbia-native, former ski instructor, ordained by HUC-JIR in 1998, now rabbi of the Community Synagogue of Rye (NY), Daniel B. Gropper turns 49… Film and television director, Nanette Burstein turns 47… Prominent NYC matrimonial law attorney, daughter of TV journalist Jeff Greenfield, Casey Greenfield turns 44… Israeli educator and politician, she is a member of the Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party since 2015, Yifat Shasha-Biton turns 44… Professional golfer on the LPGA Tour, she turned pro at age 17 and is the youngest-ever winner of a modern LPGA major championship (the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship), Morgan Pressel turns 29… Professional boxer, winner of the California Golden Gloves Championship in 2010, known as “Kid Yamaka” (a phonetic spelling of “yarmulke”), Zachary Wohlman turns 29… Senior associate in social media engagement at United Airlines, Andrea Hiller turns 23… Stephanie Liss

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May
22

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Daily Kickoff: Trump trip highlights | Tillerson calls Tel Aviv ‘home of Judaism’ | The Israelis behind Waze Carpool | Seth Klarman wins the Preakness

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ISRAEL WELCOMES TRUMP — Top 5 tweets: 1. Gil Hoffman: “Camera picks up Sara Netanyahu telling the Trumps: Also us the press hates and the public loves.” 2. Amy Spiro: “OMG. MK Oren Hazan to Trump: “They call me the Israeli Donald Trump.” #imnotmakingthisup” • Hazan also took a selfie with Trump much to the chagrin of Bibi [Pic] 3. Dan Shapiro‏: “Jackets on.” [Pic] Flashback to Obama and Bibi on the runway [Pic4. Chemi Shalev‏: “If Trump would learn to stick to script, as he has on much of this trip, he wouldn’t have half the troubles he’s having.” 5. Jason Greenblatt‏: “With U.S. Amb. to Israel, David Friedman, and other colleagues aboard Marine 3. We are so lucky to be here with great care by the Marines!” [Pic]

Small talk: “What is the protocol?” Trump inquired of the Israeli Prime Minister as they walked the red carpet at Ben Gurion airport. “Who knows,” Netanyahu said. “I think they’ll just tell us where to stand.”

Trump in remarks at the welcoming ceremony: “During my travels in recent days, I have found new reasons for hope… We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony prosperity and peace… But we can only get there working together. We love Israel, we respect Israel, and I bring the warmest greetings from your friend and ally, all of the people of the United States of America.” [YouTube]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Every minister who was at the airport got a chance to share his or her two cents with POTUS. Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who often laments that Bibi doesn’t tell Trump what Israel really wants, said “It is the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, and we expect you to be the first President to recognize a united Jerusalem.” Trump responded: “That’s a good one.” Trump also complimented Regev on her dress. And, after introducing him to the first Druse minister Israel has ever had, Netanyahu had to steer Trump away from Ayoub Kara, who was talking too much for the premier’s taste. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

At the start of his meeting with President Rivlin in Jerusalem, Trump put pressure on his aides: “I have some talented people, but in particular, Jason [Greenblatt], you love Israel so much, that you left a very, very, very substantial job to be able to help on a peace treaty, you would like to see that, wouldn’t you. David Friedman, likewise, one of the most successful lawyers.” Trump pointed to Greenblatt and Friedman as his representatives to negotiate peace. “If not, you’ll be blamed because I just put it on record,” he joked.

ADVICE FROM AN ISRAEL TRIP PRO — Dan Senor: “Israel should have cut back on President’s residence ceremony and instead insisted on more time for Trump visit to Yad VaShem” [Twitter]

MAKING HISTORY: Trump becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall [Pic] • Video [YouTube]

David Horovitz: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not join him at the wall. The president was not overly acknowledging Israeli sovereignty at the site. This was not an act of provocation. It was a carefully calibrated signal of respect. And as such, immensely appreciated by his Israeli hosts.” [ToI]

Later today… Trump will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the King David Hotel. In the evening, Netanyahu will host the President and First Lady Melania Trump at his residence in Jerusalem.

Tuesday’s schedule… In the morning, Trump will visit Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The President will visit Yad Vashem at 1:00 pm(Israel time), accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu, and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. Trump will rekindle the eternal flame and lay a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance. Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev will present the President with a token of remembrance, an exact replica of the original Holocaust-era personal album that belonged to Ester Goldstein who was murdered during the Holocaust at the age of 16. [Livestream]

Trump arrived in Israel at a critical moment in the U.S.-Israeli relations. Eager to broker the ‘ultimate deal’ between Israel and the Palestinians, Trump will have to reassure wary Israelis that he has their back and that the early stumbles of his administration are of the past.

BUT… speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Sec. of State Rex Tillerson said this: “Onto the second stop, Tel Aviv, home of Judaism, obviously, second of the great religions the President is going to also ask to join with all of us in this fight against terrorism.”

Tillerson on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel: “The wall is part of Jerusalem.”

Asked if the President will pressure Netanyahu to freeze settlement activity, Tillerson said: “You know, settlements are part of the overall peace discussion. It’s just there are a number of elements that have presented challenges to the peace process in the past, settlements is clearly one of those.”

Dan Senor on CBS This Morning: “I think the president wants to send a message to Israel: ‘We have your back. You’re not alone.’ And if he can get Israel to lock arms with the United States, and make them feel that the bond is unbreakable – ‘We have your back and you can trust us,’ Israel will be more comfortable making concessions, taking some risks for peace.” [CBSNews]

WHAT TRUMP BRINGS TO THE TABLE: “Can Donald Trump solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?” by Oren Liebermann, James Masters and Ian Lee: “If Trump offers to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights or release Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, from the terms of his probation, it would be a political win for Netanyahu, and it would give the Israeli Prime Minister maneuvering room within Israeli politics. Trump could also offer to increase US military aid to Israel from its record level of nearly $4 billion a year. As a last option, Trump can move the embassy to Jerusalem, but such a move would require large concessions to the Palestinians to avoid regional turmoil.” [CNN]

THE PLAYERS — Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — by Amir Tibon: On Sunday night, as President Donald Trump was concluding a successful two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, the White House distributed a very rare press release: a statement attributed directly, “on the record”, to Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner… The statement was a testament to Kushner’s central role in organizing Trump’s foreign trip… Kushner’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain a mystery… The visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority could be the perfect opportunity for Kushner to take the stage and increase his involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian file.” [Haaretz]  

“Can Jason Greenblatt deliver peace for Donald Trump?” by Annie Karni: “Greenblatt, in large part, agrees with Trump, according to interviews with White House officials. He sees the experts trying to persuade him that peace is out of reach as having an outdated view of the region. He has described the current moment as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to broker peace, echoing Trump’s own words – in part because of his deep belief in Trump’s powers of negotiation, in part because of the shared threat of Iran to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. His success in Trump’s orbit has also made some skeptical of his ability to contradict the boss. “His job isn’t to listen to everyone and then come back to Trump and say here is what is possible and here is what is not,” said one outside adviser who has spoken extensively with Greenblatt. “Trump has said getting a deal is easier than it looks, and we’re going to do it. My impression is it’s not really possible to go back to him and say, ‘it can’t be done, not now.’”” [Politico]

–Greenblatt‏ tweeted: “Thanks to @USAinKSA and Ryan Cooper for all of their help during my stay in Riyadh and for getting me kosher food here #Frozenmealscanbegood.” [Twitter] • Pic of his Friday night meal [Twitter]

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM: “Behind triumphant Trump visit to Israel, a few old tensions return” by  Anne Gearan and Ruth Eglash: “Privately, Netanyahu has groused that Trump’s personal stake in what the president has called “the deal of the century” puts the Israeli leader in a difficult spot, former U.S. officials and others said. The Trump administration is also poised to disappoint some in Israel and among his own supporters in the United States by reneging on a campaign pledge to quickly move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital, Jerusalem… Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said disappointment with Trump is largely limited to members of Israel’s “deep-right wing that were sure that President Trump would be working for them.”” [WashPost]

“Preparations for Trump’s Visit Expose Political Rifts in Israel” by Isabel Kershner: “Some in the Israeli news media have already described the visit as “hysterical,” rather than “historical.” And squabbling within Mr. Netanyahu’s governing coalition has marred much of the festivity surrounding Mr. Trump’s visit: Right-wing politicians are disappointed that the Trump administration appears to be adhering to longstanding American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and they are agitating for Mr. Netanyahu to take a tougher stance.” [NYTimes

Among those disappointed with Trump: Naftali Bennett — by John Reed: “Throughout the past year, Donald Trump said some very positive statements, such as that ‘We will move the embassy’,” Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister and head of the far-right, pro-settler Jewish Home party… told the Financial Times. “He was very positive about Jewish communities, about Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria,” Mr Bennett added, referring to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. “Over the past few months there is a sense that something may have changed, and the source of the change is unclear.” [FT; INN]

Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of the Yesha Council who attended Trump’s inauguration, tells us… “We welcome President Trump to Israel and bless his trip with success. However, if he is going to try the same flawed policies that have failed for decades, he too will fail. The road to peace will begin in the towns and cities of Judea and Samaria and we pray that he will accept our invitation to come and see real peace and coexistence in action.”

“Israelis worry Trump’s changing stands look more and more like Obama’s” by Franco Ordonez: “He’s like any politician,” said Shlamit Lev-ran, 24, an art student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. “They say one thing and then after they’re elected they do another. I see no difference.” “Trump and Obama, they want the same thing,” said Elie Adler, a 60-year-old shopkeeper in downtown Jerusalem. “They just serve it up in a different dish.” [McClatchyDC]

ON THE HILL — Senator Cory Booker  (D-NJ) spoke with JI’s Aaron Magid ahead of Trump’s Israel trip: “I think it’s good for the President of the United States to be going to Israel. I think it’s very important. We need to continue to deepen our ties and cooperation. Everything from our intelligence sharing to economic cooperation.”

JI: What about the two state solution?

Booker: “For me, it’s got to be a priority. I can tell you a lot of things that I hope the President discusses with the leadership of the country — I’m not just talking about Netanyahu but also the Palestinian leadership — that can help encourage the right things to happen. I think that it is very important that he (Trump) play a role in supporting an ultimate two state solution.”

TOP TALKER — Ivanka’s rabbi said to deny permitting Shabbat travel: “Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, who heads Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is said to have told Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog that speculation he granted the couple the rabbinical dispensation was “fake news.” The Yedioth Ahronoth daily quoted Lookstein telling Herzog he has not been in touch with Ivanka for “several weeks,” and that the information was false.” [ToI]

“Does Flying On A Plane On Shabbos Make You Not Orthodox?” by Allison Josephs: “To clarify some of the halachic and historical reasons why many rabbis were defending Jared and Ivanka, we asked Rabbi Professor Jeffrey Woolf who teaches in the Talmud Department at Bar Ilan University… “One of these rare exceptions is for a person who fills a key, even unique, position in a Gentile government. Such an individual is described as being Karov l’Malchus (Literally, ‘close to the King or Kingdom’)… Since their unique status required them to make themselves available to the ruler, they were allowed to violate various rabbinic prohibitions… It is crucial to realize that their actions can be understood and justified within the parameters of the unique status of Karov l’Malchus, a position that they certainly hold.” [JewInTheCity

SAUDI VISIT: “In Saudi Arabia, Trump Reaches Out to Sunni Nations, at Iran’s Expense” by Ben Hubbard and Thomas Erdbrink: “In his speech on Sunday, Mr. Trump… spoke of a stronger alliance with mostly Sunni Muslim nations to fight terrorism and extremist ideology and to push back against Iran. “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region,” Mr. Trump told dozens of Muslim heads of state. “It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this very room.” That pointed to a departure from the policies of Mr. Obama, who pushed Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia to move toward greater self-sufficiency in defense while pressing for the agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.” [NYTimes]

“Trump’s Visit Cements Saudi Support, Avoids Thorny Regional Issues” by William Mauldin: “This is someone who is making it clear that we’re making common cause with those who are prepared to take on ISIS and the Iranians,” said Dennis Ross, a former U.S. envoy in the region and senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy… “He got in and out of the speech conundrum fairly well,” Aaron David Miller said. “He made a few of the right points, missed many of the bad ones, dodged the bullet on formulations of ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ that could be seen as terribly offending.” [WSJ

HEARD YESTERDAY — Elliott Abrams on CNN: “The idea that you can call him, you know, bigoted against Islam, I think, takes a big hit today. His first foreign trip he goes to Riyadh. You have all of these visuals of him meeting with Muslim leaders, not only from that region but from around the world, so I think he comes out looking better, not only as presidential, but as reaching out to Muslim leaders from around the world. I think he has helped himself a lot in pushing back against the idea that the origin of his position is some kind of prejudice.” [MediaMatters

“Trump’s Politically Correct Speech in Saudi Arabia” by Peter Beinart: “Trump criticized terrorist groups like ISIS for their “persecution of Jews,” and he condemned Iran for pledging “the destruction of Israel.” But since ISIS and Iran are Riyadh’s most bitter foes, those condemnations won’t have bothered the Saudi monarchs at all. Unlike Obama, Trump avoided the broader problem of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in Islamic countries, a problem in which his Saudi hosts are deeply complicit. Nor did he even hint at the fact that Saudi Arabia still does not recognize Israel.” [TheAtlantic

“Saudi King Confident Trump Can Solve Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Foreign Minister Says” by Daniel Marans: “The king “expressed the kingdom’s optimism that President Trump, with a new approach and determination, can bring a conclusion to this long conflict,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al] Jubeir said, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “He certainly has the vision and we believe the strength and the decisiveness,” Jubeir continued. “And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands prepared to work with the United States in order to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and Israelis and Arabs.”” [HuffPost

“High Fives in Riyadh as Trump Leaves Woes Behind for Deals” by Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs: “At one point, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner was seen high-fiving National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.” [Bloomberg

“Saudis pledge $20 billion to U.S.-focused infrastructure fund” by Dan Primack: “Saudi Arabia on Saturday made a tentative commitment of $20 billion to a new infrastructure investment fund that would be managed by The Blackstone Group, the private equity and real estate giant led by Trump economic advisor Steve Schwarzman.” [Axios

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Israeli minister expresses concern over U.S.-Saudi arms deal” by Ori Lewis: “Israel gave a muted response on Sunday… “This is a matter that really should trouble us,” said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz prior to the weekly cabinet meeting, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no mention of the deal in his customary public remarks… “We have also to make sure that those hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia will not, by any means, erode Israel’s qualitative edge, because Saudi Arabia is still a hostile country without any diplomatic relations and nobody knows what the future will be.” [Reuters

–When asked about Steinitz’s comments, Sec. Tillerson responded during a gaggle on AF1: “There has been nothing entered into with the arms sales agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any of the other countries that do not fully allow us to fulfill our commitments to Israel and the longstanding security arrangements we have with Israel. I’m sure we can answer those questions and address the concerns they have.”

Asked if the president plans to apologize for sharing Israeli intel with the Russians, Tillerson said, “I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for. To the extent the Israelis have any questions, or clarification, I’m sure we’re happy to provide that.”

“Why Israel Thinks Trump Is Focusing on the Wrong Enemy in Syria” by David Wainer: “Islamic State “is being decimated,” said Avi Dichter, chairman of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and a former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency. “They no longer have that many men on the ground. Iran, on the other hand, is a major regional threat.” If that threat is present in Syria and directed at Israel, he said, “that’s a casus belli.” … Now Israel is pinning its hopes on Trump.” [Bloomberg Israeli Officers to Trump: You’re Doing ISIS Wrong [Politico]

“How Trump could deal a blow to Iran — and help save Syria” by Josh Rogin: “Those who support the Syrian opposition in Washington are also noticing a shift in the U.S. approach toward confronting Iran in Syria. Whether that represents mission creep or a deliberate change in approach on a policy level is unclear — and ultimately irrelevant. Perhaps by accident, Trump is moving toward a Syria policy that is tougher on Iran and the Assad regime, and it’s having real effects on the ground.” [WashPost]

PROFILE: “James Mattis, a Warrior in Washington” by Dexter Filkins: “Late in 2011, the Obama White House was worried about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program and concerned that the Israeli military might launch a preëmptive strike. At a briefing for American diplomats in Qatar, Mattis was asked to discuss the possibility of a confrontation in the waters of the Persian Gulf. According to a senior American diplomat who attended the briefing, Mattis declared that, if the Iranians attacked American forces, he was authorized to defend them—and that he expected retaliation. “Mattis was basically saying, ‘I’m ready. If I respond, Iran will respond in an escalatory fashion—and I will be rocking and rolling,’ ” the diplomat told me. “It wasn’t what they wanted to hear. It scared them. Mattis was not reckless—he was the straightest guy in the room. He’s just way more honest than most people would be in a situation like that.”” [NewYorker]

** 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: Investors Think Twice About Deals With Trumps and Kushners [Bloomberg] • Kushner keeps most of his real estate but offers few clues about potential White House conflicts [WashPost

AVOIDING THE SPOTLIGHT — “Why Trump’s No. 2 donor isn’t asking for much” by Theodore Schleifer: “Trump and [Bernie] Marcus are not friends. But observers of the relationship say his absence from Trump’s network is unusual for a Republican who gave so much to support Trump during the campaign and implored other donors to do similarly. “He does not relish the game,” said Mike Leven, formerly Adelson’s chief deputy who now works for Marcus projects. In fact, despite all his contributions ($7M), Leven described Marcus as not politically energized until this cycle. “Bernie was never involved like Sheldon was involved,” he said, adding, “I don’t think it’s been fun for him at all.” … Marcus, an avid golfer even as he turned 88 last week, has told his team recently that he has no interest in hitting the links with the commander-in-chief. They have never even dined together… “He’s never had such access to a president,” said one person close to Marcus. But as of this month, he has yet to even visit the White House.” [CNN

STARTUP NATION: “Waze Wants to Help You Hitch a Ride” by Adam Satariano and Mark Bergen: “Di-Ann Eisnor, Waze’s head of growth, says she was languishing inside the Google behemoth; her stock options payout didn’t make her feel much better. “I had just made a bunch of money. I should have been happy,” she says. In 2015, two years in, her feelings hadn’t changed much. Eisnor says she and other executives huddled in Waze’s Tel Aviv offices to ask, “How the hell are we going to stay here if we’re bored?” Instead of leaving the company, the group decided to expand Waze beyond avoiding traffic accidents and speed traps. Waze Carpool, a separate app, started as a small pilot in Israel that year and is now also available in San Francisco and, soon, Brazil.” [Bloomberg]

“Can this contraption really help you sleep on a plane?” by Thomas Heath: “[Ephi Zlotnitsky] and a business partner have invested three years and $350,000 to create the JetComfy. The pillow is the size of a purse and sells for $39.99. About 10,000 units have been sold since it went on sale in January. Zlotnitsky said he has plans to open the first JetComfy comfort sales center in Dulles International Airport in August and hopes to expand to 25 locations at larger airports in a year. The pillow is available now on Amazon Prime and at Luggage Plus stores and will be offered online by Walmart later this month.” [WashPost

SPOTLIGHT: “Caught in White House Chaos, Justice Dept. Official Seeks Neutral Ground” by Julie Hirschfeld and Rebecca R. Ruiz: “[Rod] Rosenstein, 52, is an improbable character in the theatrics surrounding Mr. Trump. Reserved and bookish, he spends most of his time, friends say, working or spending time with his wife and children, including frequently shuttling his two teenage girls to soccer and softball games… He and his wife, Lisa Barsoomian, a former prosecutor who later worked as a lawyer for the National Institutes of Health and took time off to raise their daughters, live in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., in a brick raised ranch house. Mr. Rosenstein’s quirks, according to friends and colleagues, include handing out books by the management guru Peter Drucker to colleagues and sending lengthy emails to his staff before federal holidays, documenting their history and little-remembered factoids about their observance.” [NYTimes

TALK OF THIS TOWN: “Gingrich spreads conspiracy theory about slain DNC staffer” by David Weigel: “Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a stalwart supporter of President Trump, used a Sunday-morning appearance on “Fox and Friends” to spread the conspiracy theory that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was killed last year to cover up the true story of how WikiLeaks obtained tens of thousands of hacked Democratic Party emails… Gingrich confidently made claims about Rich that have not been proven and that the family has denied.” [WashPost]

HOLLYWOOD: “Comic Adam Sandler turns tables on critics with Cannes triumph” by Deborah Cole: “Sandler… plays the unemployed son of a New York sculptor (Dustin Hoffman) who suffers in the shadow of his successful young brother (Ben Stiller). The picture by Noah Baumbach (“When We Were Young”) garnered enthusiastic applause at a press preview ahead of its red-carpet premiere at the world’s top film festival… Sandler looked moved as he was greeted with a cheer by Cannes reporters and thanked Baumbach for an “amazing script.”” [Yahoo]

SPORTS BLINK: “After attending race growing up, Baltimore-raised owner Seth Klarman soaking in Preakness victory” by Don Markus: “The victory by Cloud Computing — one of several horses Klarman owns that he gave names related to finance, technology and “other names that make sense in a business or economics content” — eclipsed his two most lasting sports memories. Along with the win by Secretariat, which Klarman watched from the infield, there was the four-game sweep by his beloved Orioles over the favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 World Series. “I was only nine when that happened,” said Klarman, who will celebrate his 60th birthday Sunday. Beth Klarman smiled at the memory of her husband’s involvement in horse racing, coming about a decade after they were married in 1983.” [BaltimoreSun]

MAZEL TOV — Jamie Stelter tweets: “It’s a girl! Sunny Ray Stelter was born yesterday weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces and 100% sunshine. Brian Stelter + I are over the moon” [Twitter]

BIRTHDAYS: President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Sanford Ronald (“Sandy”) Cardin turns 6-0… Actress, producer, model and singer, Noa Tishby turns 42… Co-founder of Facebook in 2004 and Asana in 2008, Forbes reported him to be the youngest self-made billionaire in history, worth more than $10 billion, Dustin Aaron Moskovitz turns 33… US economic and business columnist for The Sunday Times in London and The Courier-Mail in Australia, holder of a Ph.D in economics from Cornell University, Irwin M. Stelzer turns 85… Award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker since 1989, Connie Bruck turns 71… Cognitive scientist, former CEO of Haskins Laboratories in New Haven and director of the White House neuroscience initiative (2012-2015), Philip E. Rubin turns 68… Member of Knesset from the Zionist Union party, previously a Major General in the IDF where he served as commander of the military colleges and deputy commander of the Northern Command, Eyal Ben-Reuven turns 63… Democratic member of the US House of Representatives from Arizona’s 1st district (1993-1995), now a business and transactional attorney in Phoenix, Sam Coppersmith turns 62… Former head coach of the NBA’a Cleveland Cavaliers (2014-2016), winning coach of the EuroLeague Championship in 2014 with Maccabi Tel Aviv, now coaching an Istanbul team in the EuroLeague, David Blatt turns 58… British writer, philanthropist and documentary filmmaker, a member of the Rothschild banking family and daughter of Jacob Rothschild, the 4th Baron Rothschild, Hannah Mary Rothschild turns 55…

Chicago attorney clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist (1996-1997), then served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago (1998-2005) and Chicago Inspector General (2005-2009), David H. Hoffman turns 50… Former Major League Baseball relief pitcher, played from 1996 to 2005 for the White Sox, Rangers, Angels, Devil Rays, Royals, Tigers and Giants, Alan Brian “Al” Levine turns 49… Harvard Law School professor since 2007, clerked for Supreme Court Justice David Souter (1998-1999), Noah Feldman turns 47… Israeli cookbook author, food journalist, culinary editor and TV cookery show host, Shaily Lipa turns 43… Charismatic wide receiver and kick returner for the NFL’s New England Patriots since 2009, member of two Super Bowl winning teams, Julian Edelman turns 31… Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, Michael Wilner turns 28… Program manager at the Aspen Institute, Peter Kaplan… Emma Kaplan (h/ts Playbook)… Sacramento resident, Gloria Woodlock… Rebecca Weiss… Charles Scott… Benjamin Weiss… Aryeh Jacobson… rising political star Alex Friedman

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

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Daily Kickoff: Jared Kushner, the Saudis’ Personal Shopper | Shabbat Force One | Facebook snooping on Israeli Houseparty App | Israeli judge on emojis

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IF YOU SAY SO — “Ivanka and Jared get a rabbinical pass to fly Air Force One” by Annie Karni: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will be flying aboard Air Force One to Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump on Friday, after receiving a rabbinical dispensation to travel on the Jewish Sabbath, according to a White House official… The rules can be broken in life-threatening situations, or if there is a safety concern, according to Jewish law. It was not clear on what grounds the exception was made to accompany the president on his first international trip.” [Politico] • Ivanka Trump is going to Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Israel with Trump as a senior adviser [BusinessInsider]

–Flashback to February‘s Public Radio International story — “Does Israel recognize Ivanka Trump’s Jewishness? It does now” [PRI]

PERSONAL SHOPPER: “$110 Billion Weapons Sale to Saudis Has Jared Kushner’s Personal Touch” by Mark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Matt Apuzzo: “On the afternoon of May 1… Jared Kushner welcomed a high-level delegation of Saudis to a gilded reception room next door to the White House… The two sides discussed a shopping list that included planes, ships and precision-guided bombs. Then an American official raised the idea of the Saudis buying a sophisticated radar system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. Sensing that the cost might be a problem… Mr. Kushner picked up the phone and called Marillyn A. Hewson — the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, which makes the radar system — and asked her whether she could cut the price. As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it… The package also includes “maritime assets,” meaning ships, so the Saudis can assume more of the burden of policing the Persian Gulf and Red Sea against Iranian aggression. It does not include high-end items like the advanced F-35 fighter, whose sale to Saudi Arabia would alarm Israel.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL — Dem Senators undecided on imminent Iran sanctions vote — by Aaron Magid: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to advance legislation next week tightening sanctions against Iran with a vote possibly coming as early as Tuesday, according to multiple legislative sources who spoke with Jewish Insider. Leading Democrats remain undecided. “It continues to be a work in progress. Congress clearly retains the right in the wake of the nuclear agreement to apply new sanctions for Iran’s non-nuclear provocative behavior in the region,” Chris Murphy (D-CT) explained. “It’s a matter of right-sizing those sanctions to the actions Iran has taken.” When asked by Jewish Insider, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) explained, “I’m still looking at it. We are looking at it trust me, But, it’s a little bit premature.” On a similar note, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said, “We’re holding lots of conversations about it. There are a lot of amendments that are being considered. We don’t know the shape of the bill and I’m looking forward to what actually comes before the committee.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the SFRC, signaled her opposition to the legislation, telling Jewish Insider, “I have reservations about it. I am particularly concerned that we are acting on it when it’s more critical for us to act on Russia sanctions right now. I’m concerned about the impact it will have on the JCPOA.” [JewishInsider

TRUMP’S ISRAEL TRIP COVERAGE (there’s way too much of it, but here goes)

PRIOR TIES: “Trump’s Business Ties to Middle East Precede Him” by Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker: “Mr. Trump has come close to a major development deal in Israel…Last year, his executives were discussing a deal to be a partner on a 61-story tower in Tel Aviv that would have included residences and a hotel, according to Eric Danziger, the chief executive of the Trump hotel division. But Mr. Danziger said Mr. Trump’s election had prompted the Trumps to withdraw to comply with the ban on foreign deals. “We had to retreat, period, simply because of the election,” Mr. Danziger said. “Had he not won, we would have done” the deal. Eric Trump, one of the Trump sons now managing the company, said in an interview in February that the Israel deal was emblematic of the new realities facing the company. “You can’t build the tallest building in Tel Aviv and try to negotiate peace in the Middle East,” he said.”

Jared Kushner… who is expected to be part of the presidential delegation, has his own deep ties to Israel as a real estate developer and investor… The firm he ran until January, Kushner Companies, has taken out at least four loans from Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim… Another Kushner lender from Israel, Bank Leumi, admitted in 2014 that it had conspired to help American taxpayers hide income using offshore accounts. Kushner’s firm has also worked in partnership with Harel, a large Israeli insurance company, and almost bought another Israeli insurance company, Phoenix. Kushner Companies also bought several floors of the former New York Times building from Lev Leviev, an Israeli businessman and philanthropist.” [NYTimes]

“Israelis on edge before Trump visit” by Oren Liebermann: “Only days before President Donald Trump visits Jerusalem, Israeli politicians describe an atmosphere of “nervousness” and “confusion.” One politician put it more bluntly. “No one has any idea what the plan is.” A changing schedule and shifting locations have made planning for the visit difficult… An impulsive President, liable to make spontaneous statements, has only heightened the sense of anxiety… “Something will go wrong. That we know, but we don’t know what,” said one politician half-jokingly. “A successful visit right now is for it to be over.” [CNN] • Presidential visit to Israel, 43 years after Nixon’s, stirs memories of another era [LATimes]

Schedule as of Thursday evening: “The official visit is set to begin at 11:00 AM, when Trump’s Air Force One is expected to land at Ben-Gurion Airport. From the airport, Trump will fly via helicopter to his first stop in Jerusalem- the President’s Residence… From the President’s Residence, the Trump family will travel to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. They will then make their way to the King David Hotel for a two-hour rest period… The Trump family will attend a celebratory dinner at the Prime Minister’s Residence in the evening… The second day of Trump’s visit will begin with his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. After this meeting, Trump will return to Jerusalem and visit Yad Vashem. At 1:30 PM on Tuesday, Trump is expected to deliver a highly-anticipated speech at the Israel Museum.” [JerusalemOnline]

THE CARROT — Gil Hoffman: “Settlements are not an obstacle to peace, Donald Trump will tell Israelis in Jerusalem next week, according to 2 Ayala Hasson on Channel 10.” [Twitter]

THE STICK — “US source: Trump will ask Benjamin Netanyahu to curb West Bank settlement activity” by Michael Wilner: “[Trump] has expressed a general concern” with ongoing Israeli settlement activity, the [senior WH] official noted. “He will reiterate that,” the official said. “He has not abandoned the two-state solution.” Trump first outlined his concerns with Israel’s settlement construction outside of existing settlement blocs in February… Now Trump expects “assurances and signals from the Israeli government that they’ve heard his views,” the senior official said.” [JPost

“Shaked vexed by White House map missing WB” by Moran Azulay: “Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) voiced her disapproval Friday against a map of Israel recently circulated by the White House… which failed to include the West Bank and the Golan Heights. “I hope this is just ignorance and not policy,” Shaked said.” [YNet]

KAFE KNESSET — Pressure on Bibi — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: This week, ahead of Trump’s visit, 800 members of the Likud’s Central Committee signed a petition demanding a vote on a decision to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The signatures were collected by Shevach Stern and Natan Engelsman, heads of the Likud settler lobby, and will be brought to a vote within 30 days. Other senior Likud Ministers like Zeev Elkin and Yuval Steinitz gathered with hundreds of party activists this morning for a special event held by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat under the title “Unite with Jerusalem.” Barkat referred to the US Embassy move and said “I hear that there are people whispering to President Trump that moving the Embassy to Jerusalem will harm peace efforts … the truth is the opposite. Only US and international recognition of Israeli sovereignty will bring us closer to peace. President Trump, there is no deal without a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty – move the Embassy to the capital.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Michael Oren’s advice for Trump: Connect with Israelis and reassure them” by Raphael Ahren: “The sight of the president of the United States with a kippah on his head at the kotel is a powerful message to Israelis,” Oren said. “We cannot underestimate the depths of Israelis’ sense of threatened security in our region… and when the president of the United States comes here and makes a show of love and support for Israel, you’re going to see a bump up, not a bump down, in his popularity.” [ToI Poll: President’s popularity plummeting among Israeli Jews [JPost]

Aaron David Miller:“Lessons for Trump and Kushner From My 20 Years of Failing at Middle East Peace” [ForeignPolicy]

JI INTERVIEW — Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official under John Kerry and a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security, shared his thoughts about Trump’s trip and push for peace in a phone interview yesterday. “The first thing is, he just needs to avoid stepping in any stage management problems,” Goldenberg explained the complexity of Trump first visit to the Jewish State. “I’m worried about that. Whether it’s going to the Western Wall and messing around that… I just think you need to get that stuff right. And it’s delicate, difficult and hard to do as the President, especially when you’ve never done it…

Goldenberg on why Trump is investing so much time on peace process: “I think there are a few things that appeal to him about the issue. The first is, even though this Israeli-Palestinian issue is not what it used to be in terms of the importance of national interest, it’s still the international diplomatic holy grail. It’s still the peace deal that every leader wants to bring home. It still gets disproportionate amounts of coverage in the press. And so, somebody like Trump is probably attracted to the idea of being that guy, especially since he sees himself as the deal-maker… I feel like this is probably also a foreign policy issue that he’s been a lot more exposed to than others and therefore something that resonates more with him. And you can see by the company he seeks whether it’s Ron Lauder or [Sheldon] Adelson or whoever he’s talking to, this is part of his world and this issue comes up a lot.”

Goldenberg responds to the ZOA’s Mort Klein who called his former colleague Kris Bauman ‘pro-Hamas’: “First of all, Kris is a military professional. Ninety percent of people who work in any president’s National Security Council are career officials. Their job is to present the options themselves, and then it’s up to the political appointees and the people at the very top to really make the decisions about where the policy goes. Our whole report was about how to keep the West Bank from becoming Gaza. It seems hard to me to characterize somebody as “pro-Hamas” — it’s just ludicrous. This notion that he is this far-outside-the-mainstream official is just silly. I think that his views, and everything I’ve ever seen, reflect what is the real debate inside of Israel and what is the real debate inside the United States.” Read the entire interview here [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — in some circles at least — The Economist’s Cover Story: “Why Israel needs a Palestinian state” — “Most Israelis are in no rush to try offering land for peace again. Their security has improved, the economy is booming and Arab states are courting Israel for intelligence on terrorists and an alliance against Iran. The Palestinians are weak and divided, and might not be able to make a deal… A Palestinian state is long overdue. Rather than resist it, Israel should be the foremost champion of the future Palestine that will be its neighbour… The reason Israel must let the Palestinian people go is to preserve its own democracy… Israel is too strong for a Palestinian state to threaten its existence. In fact, such a state is vital to its future. Only when Palestine is born will Israel complete the victory of 1967.” [Economist]

BEHIND THE SCENES: “The Trump Administration’s Tug-of-war Over the Israel Embassy Move” by Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon: “The group urging Trump to refuse to sign the waiver and finally move the embassy is headed by Bannon himself. A number of these sources told Haaretz that Bannon doesn’t see the embassy move as a promise by Trump to Israel, but as a promise to the president’s right-wing nationalist base that put him in the White House… Another dominant figure in the group pushing for the embassy move is new U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman… “Friedman is working on the embassy issue all the time,” one [administration official] said… The administration’s internal debate is expected to continue right up until the June 1 deadline. Haaretz has learned that the camp which supports the embassy move, understanding that the other side currently has the upper hand, is now trying to push Trump to “compensate” Israel for the move’s postponement.” [Haaretz]

OVAL OFFICE INTERVIEW FOR SHELDON’S PAPER: “Trump says hasn’t ruled out visiting Western Wall with Netanyahu” by Boaz Bismuth: “U.S. President Donald Trump… told Israel Hayom in an exclusive interview Thursday: “We have great respect and friendship for [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” … The decision to visit the Western Wall “with the rabbi is more traditional, but that could change,” Trump told Israel Hayom Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth at the White House Thursday, when asked why Netanyahu would not accompany him… Q: You say that you still want to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, but considering the pressure coming from Arab leaders, some Israelis are worried that you might not do it. [Trump:] “We have some very interesting things in the works, we will be talking about that in the future.”” [IsraelHayom]

TOP TALKER: “Lieberman Is a Finalist for F.B.I. Director, Trump Says” by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “President Trump… told reporters on Thursday that he was “very close” to choosing a successor to James B. Comey, and he named Joseph I. Lieberman… as a finalist. But members of Mr. Trump’s staff — alarmed by his rapid embrace of Mr. Lieberman, a charming 75-year-old political operator with no federal law enforcement experience — have quietly urged him to take more time to make such a critical hire. By late Thursday, the president appeared increasingly likely to leave Friday for a nine-day foreign trip without picking a new director… Mr. Trump and Mr. Lieberman had good chemistry when they met privately, one White House aide said — a key ingredient for Mr. Trump in hiring people. He is also friendly with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.” [NYTimes; CNN]

DERSHOWITZ’S ADVICE — “How Trump Can Get Out of His Jam” — “If I were President Trump, I would jump on the proposal to have Congress appoint an independent commission. If he’s innocent, it’s the best way to exonerate him. And even if he’s not, it’s the best way to discover the whole truth and not the partisan, partial truths favored by many politicians, journalists and pundits—and, most important, prosecutors.” [Politico]

JARED’S ADVICE — Kushner urged Trump to attack Mueller appointment — by Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Kushner — who had urged Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Comey — was one of the few dissenting voices, urging the president to counterattack, according to two senior administration officials.” [NYTimes]  

** 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: Cammeby’s taps Suffolk Construction for Coney Island’s tallest tower [TRD• Activist investor Paul Singer goes after Athenahealth [Axios] • Jessica Lessin built a business to prove information doesn’t have to be free [Recode] • Bill Rudin to replace Rob Speyer as REBNY chair [RealDeal]  WeWork founder Adam Neumann donates $1 million to help find bone marrow donors [CNN

STARTUP NATION: “Facebook wants to know why teens are using Israeli group video app Houseparty” by Kurt Wagner: “Facebook issued the survey to find teenagers who would come to Facebook headquarters to participate in a study about “texting and messaging apps,” including Houseparty. They offered participants $275 in Amazon gift cards to participate… Before Houseparty existed, the company’s main product was a live video streaming app called Meerkat. CEO Ben Rubin basically threw in the towel on live video broadcasting in part because Facebook’s live video efforts were starting to pick up and Twitter had recently bought a rival service, Periscope. So it’s possible that a survey like this means Facebook is preparing to get into group video calls.” [Recode]

SPOTLIGHT: “Mark Cuban Is Tired of Your ‘Uber of Something’ Pitch” by Adam Grant: “In his first Original Thinkers column, Adam Grant talks to the brash Shark Tank star and Dallas Mavericks owner about the ideas that shape him, from his take on ball hogs to the importance of after-work drinks.” [EsquireMag]

NYC 2017 WATCH — “Controversial Hedge Fund Giant to Host Fundraiser for NYC Mayoral Candidate Bo Dietl” by Will Bredderman: “Steven A. Cohen—whose multibillion-dollar S.A.C. Capital Advisors collapsed amid insider trading allegations—will host a May 23 fundraiser for the mayoral campaign of ex-NYPD cop Bo Dietl… A source forwarded the Observer an invitation to the “cocktail reception” to be held at the Beacon Court condominium complex on East 58th Street in Manhattan, where Cohen owns a duplex unit he has unsuccessfully sought for years to sell… In 2013, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the Securities and Exchange Commission accused S.A.C. Partners—although not Cohen personally—of profiting unfairly from illicitly gained insider information.” [Observer

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Emojis prove intent, a judge in Israel ruled” by Ephrat Livni: “Emoji have become an integral part of postmodern dialogue, so it’s only natural that the cute and convenient images are sneaking into lawsuits… The happy exchanges between parties, with pictograms, indicated an intent to do business, according to the ruling by Judge Amir Weizebbluth in a Tel Aviv small claims court about the apartment deal gone awry. He wrote in the opinion: The…text message sent by Defendant…included a smiley, a bottle of champagne, dancing figures and more. These icons convey great optimism. Although this message did not constitute a binding contract between the parties, [it] naturally led to the Plaintiff’s great reliance on the Defendants’ desire to rent his apartment…These symbols, which convey to the other side that everything is in order, were misleading.” … The judge awarded the misled landlord 8,000 shekels, covering damages and legal fees, which amounts to about $2,200.” [Quartz]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYSenior Counsel in the DC office of Blank Rome LLP specializing in government contracts law, Harvey Sherzer turns 73… A New York State judge since 1995, later serving as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (2009-2015), now of counsel in the NYC office of Latham & Watkins, Jonathan Lippman turns 72… Clinical psychologist, author, teacher, public speaker and ordained rabbi, Dennis G. Shulman turns 67… A nurse by profession who served as member of the Wisconsin State Assembly (2009-2015), Sandy Pasch turns 63… Harvey D. Harman turns 61… Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces since 2015, Gadi Eizenkot turns 57… Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic rabbi, born in Milan, now Chief Rabbi of Russia, friend of Vladimir Putin, Shlomo Dovber Pinchas Lazar (better known as Berel Lazar) turns 53… Journalist, teacher and playwright, now  deputy managing editor for news and a columnist at the New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman turns 52… Author of 23 novels that have sold over 14 million copies in 34 languages, four of which have been adapted into Lifetime Original Movies, Jodi Picoult turns 51… CEO of Bend the Arc, a Jewish partnership for justice, Stosh Cotler turns 49… Professional baseball player who pitched for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Zachary “Zack” James Thornton turns 29… Professional ice hockey forward for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Leipsic turns 23…

SATURDAY: Canadian businesswoman and elected official, she served in the Ontario Legislative Assembly (1985-1997) and as an MP in the Canadian House of Commons (1997-2004), Elinor Caplan turns 73… Democratic member of the New York State Assembly since 2007, representing the 97th Assembly District in Rockland County, Ellen Jaffee turns 73… Former member of the US House of Representatives from Connecticut’s 2nd district (1981-2001), Sam Gejdenson turns 69… Director of international affairs, policy and planning at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Michael Alan Salberg turns 65… President of the Aspen Institute, former CEO of CNN and former Managing Editor of Time, Walter Isaacson turns 65… Born in upstate NY as Michael Scott Bornstein, former Israeli ambassador to the US (2009-2013), now a member of Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party, Michael Oren turns 62… Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News (and son of First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams), Dan Abrams turns 51… Executive Director of Business Forward and Deputy National Finance Director for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, Ami Copeland turns 45… Program Associate at the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Vadim Avshalumov turns 32… Legislative Director for Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA 30), Lauren Wolman turns 31… VP of Austin-based digital agency Harris Media, Josh Canter turns 25… National Chair of the High School Democrats of America — and one of JI’s avid young daily readers — Aylon Berger turns 17… Ilene Leiter… Abraham Eckstein… Harold Fox

SUNDAY: Former MLB pitcher, played (1957-1967) for the White Sox, Indians, Angels and Astros, an All Star in 1961 and 1962, Barry Latman turns 81… US Senator from Minnesota since 2009, previously a comedian, actor and writer, Al Franken turns 66… Guitarist and composer, Marc Ribot turns 63… Billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthtropist, CEO of the Boston-based Baupost Group, Seth Klarman turns 60… Bestselling author, staff writer at The New Yorker and legal analyst at CNN, Jeffrey Toobin turns 57… Actress and playwright Lisa Edelstein turns 51… Head of Dewey Square’s sports business practice, author and former AP journalist, Frederic J. Frommer turns 50… Chief program and strategy officer at the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Darin McKeever turns 43… CBS Interactive’s executive producer, Mosheh Oinounou turns 35… Los Angeles-born, raised in Israel, international fashion model for Versace and others, Sharon Ganish turns 34… Director of Global Affairs at 1776, a global incubator and seed fund, Brandon Pollak… Ron Solomon

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Photo by Center for a New American Security

Interview with Ilan Goldenberg on Trump, Peace Process

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official under John Kerry and a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security, shared his thoughts about Trump’s trip and push…

Photo by Dov and Shmuel Lenchevsky

Republicans Struggle to Address Trump at Jerusalem Celebration

Thursday, May 18, 2017

WASHINGTON – In an overflowing room on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, a bipartisan group of Senators and House Members — including Ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for May 18

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Lowering expectations for Trump’s visit: Just four days before the President’s arrival,…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for May 17

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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David Boim HY"D - courtesy

Family of Terror Victim Files Lawsuit Against Pro-Palestinian Groups

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Over two decades after their son was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel, a U.S. couple is returning to court to fight against Palestinians organizations that they…

Photo by Jacob Kornbluh

Kafe Knesset for April 16

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Jerusalem syndrome: At Jewish weddings, we always recite the Psalm that we…