Daily Kickoff: Congress urges Trump to appoint a WH Jewish Liaison | When hackers attacked IDT, they timed it for the Sabbath | Bob Kraft on prayer


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FIRST LOOK: “A Cyberattack ‘the World Isn’t Ready For’” by Nicole Perlroth: “[Golan] Ben-Oni, 43, a Hasidic Jew, is a slight man with smiling eyes, a thick beard and a hacker’s penchant for mischief. He grew up in the hills of Berkeley, Calif., the son of Israeli immigrants. Even as a toddler, Mr. Ben-Oni’s mother said, he was not interested in toys… As a teenager, he aspired to become a rabbi but spent most of his free time hacking computers at the University of California, Berkeley, where his exploits once accidentally took down Belgium’s entire phone system for 15 minutes… At age 19, he crossed the country and took a job at IDT… Mr. Ben-Oni found himself responsible for securing shale oil projects in Mongolia and the Golan Heights… a yeshiva university that trains underprivileged students in cybersecurity, and a small mobile company that Verizon recently acquired for $3.1 billion.” 

“Nothing compared to the attack that struck in April. The assault on IDT relied on cyberweapons developed by the N.S.A. that were leaked online in April by a mysterious group of hackers calling themselves the Shadow Brokers — alternately believed to be Russia-backed cybercriminals, an N.S.A. mole, or both… Mr. Ben-Oni learned of the attack only when a contractor, working from home, switched on her computer to find that all her data had been encrypted and that attackers were demanding a ransom to unlock it. And he is determined to track down whoever did it. “I don’t pursue every attacker, just the ones that piss me off,” Mr. Ben-Oni told me recently over lentils in his office, which was strewn with empty Red Bull cans. “This pissed me off and, more importantly, it pissed my wife off, which is the real litmus test.”

“But the attack struck Mr. Ben-Oni as unique. For one thing, it was timed perfectly to the Sabbath. Attackers entered IDT’s network at 6 p.m.on Saturday on the dot, two and a half hours before the Sabbath would end and when most of IDT’s employees — 40 percent of whom identify as Orthodox Jews — would be off the clock… The black box of sorts, a network recording device made by the Israeli security company Secdo, shows that the ransomware was installed after the attackers had made off with the contractor’s credentials. And they managed to bypass every major security detection mechanism along the way. Finally, before they left, they encrypted her computer with ransomware, demanding $130 to unlock it, to cover up the more invasive attack on her computer.” [NYTimes]

–Flashback to May: How IDT Founder and Telecom Speculator Howard Jonas Made Billions From Verizon, AT&T [WSJ]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Trump Indicates Tweet on Tapes Was Meant to Affect Comey Testimony” by Maggie Haberman: “President Trump appeared to acknowledge on Friday in an interview that his tweet hinting of taped conversations with James B. Comey was intended to influence the fired F.B.I. director’s testimony before Congress, and he emphasized that he committed “no obstruction” of the inquiries into whether his campaign colluded with Russia.” [NYTimes]

“How Trump’s dubious claims make the entire government react” by Abby Phillip: “What happens with the president is he shoots himself in the foot, and soon the gangrene spreads to the entire body politic,” said Norm Eisen… “This is going to be the new normal: elements of the president’s own executive branch openly, or indirectly through leaks, responding to these false tweets.” … “There’s nothing criminal or illegal about bluffing,” said Alan Dershowitz… “I don’t think he would have said he had tapes if he had them… I don’t know whether it was an unforced error or a tactic, but it could have been both: a tactic that turned out to be an unforced error,” Dershowitz said. “He should have thought through all of that. I very often keep contemporaneous memos, particularly when I’m dealing with people who have credibility issues.”[WashPost]

“The Lasting Damage of Trump’s ‘Tapes’ Bluff” by David Frum: “And while the administration continues on a collision course with Iran, even they must wonder whether there is really very much to fear from a president who has alienated the big European countries—notably Germany… “Never bluff.” Each outgoing president should write those words by hand in the letter of advice he leaves atop the Resolute desk for his incoming successor. Trump showed the whole world that when he sweats, he panics. That’s a lesson that will be remembered by the planet’s bad actors for however long this president holds office.” [TheAtlantic]

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Jared and Ivanka, Despite Their Inexperience, Once Again Try to Take on the World” by Emily Jane Fox: “Both Ivanka and Kushner, millennial neophytes with no political experience or Washington know-how, are serving as the administration’s envoys to the highest levels on issues that no one has been able to solve for decades (Middle East peace and paid family leave, tax credits)… These two events were less about closing a deal—these deals are, as of now, essentially un-closable by anyone—and more akin to heirs apparent learning the ropes of a family business, which is the realm in which Trump, his daughter, and her husband are all much more familiar.” [VanityFair]

PALACE INTRIGUE: “Hosting congressional picnic, Trump calls for unity” by Jonathan Lemire: “Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s powerful son-in-law, were at one moment spotted in an animated conversation, though the two men quickly displayed over-the-top smiles and walked off together once they realized they had been spotted by photographers.” [AP] • Why Reince Priebus Can’t Save His Job [PoliticoMag]

SPOTTED AT THE WH PICNIC — Lee Zeldin posted a pic of his family with Sean Spicer: “Arianna totally called Press Sec Sean “Spicey”. Sean said Arianna is watching too much late night TV. Haha. We love you Sean.” [Pic]

“White House-media relations at breaking point as Spicer searches for replacement” by Dylan Byers: “In the middle is an overstretched and understaffed communications team that has spent over a month unsuccessfully looking for new staff to help relieve some of the pressure. So far, all that search has revealed is that the people the White House wants aren’t interested in the job and the people who are interested in the job aren’t wanted by the White House. Amid this chaos, the White House press office has opted for an ad-hoc strategy intended to screw with the media — the language used inside the White House is stronger — and make them look ridiculous.” [CNN]

TOP TALKER — Congress urges Trump to appoint a White House Jewish Liaison — by Jacob Kornbluh: Several members of Congress are urging President Donald Trump to continue a 40-year tradition by immediately appointing a White House liaison to the American Jewish community. “While it is still early in your term, increased anti-Semitism in the United States, the rise of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and persecution of religious minorities across the globe create an urgent need for a designated point of contact to work with and provide outreach to the American Jewish community,” Reps. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) wrote in the bipartisan letter addressed to the President. “On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, you declared in the Capitol Rotunda that you ‘will always stand with the Jewish people.’ We respectfully encourage you to follow through on this commitment and appoint the best person you believe would serve in this role.” [JewishInsider]

LATEST ON TAYLOR FORCE ACT: “After Kushner-Abbas Meeting, Issue of Payments to Palestinian Terrorists’ Families Remains Unresolved” by Jack Khoury, Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon: “Senior Palestinian officials stated after their meeting with [Jared] Kushner and [Jason] Greenblatt that the Palestinian leadership was greatly disappointed… “They sounded like Netanyahu’s advisers and not like fair arbiters,” a senior Palestinian official said. “They started presenting Netanyahu’s issues and then we asked to hear from them clear stances regarding the core issues of the conflict.” According to the senior Palestinian official… Abbas asked for clarifications regarding the White House’s stance on settlement construction…. “but received no answer.” Senior American officials stated that the matter was in fact discussed during the meeting but that it didn’t cast a shadow on the meeting, which they said was positive and helpful.” [HaaretzAP]  

“PA official: NGOs to bypass US pressure against paying terrorists” by Daniel Siryoti: “Senior Palestinian officials told Israel Hayom that Abbas has no intention of suspending the payments. Instead, said one senior PA official, Abbas has designed a bureaucratic ploy to continue the payments. According to the official, Abbas’ ruse was to dismantle the Palestinian Prisoners Society… and have its mechanisms integrated into Ramallah’s Interior Ministry, all while dozens of other nongovernmental organizations and associations will be established to replace the PPS. The new NGOs will receive hundreds of millions of dollars with which to pay imprisoned and released terrorists, and terrorists’ families.” [IsraelHayom]

“Abbas defends payments to convicted terrorists as ‘social responsibility’” by Dov Lieber: “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday defended the payments to Palestinian prisoners and convicted terrorists as a “social responsibility,” and said Israel was using the issue as a pretext to avoid peace talks. The comments were made in a speech that was read by Abbas’s foreign affairs adviser Nabil Shaath at the Herzliya Conference.” [ToI

Commanders for Israel’s Security warn about ramifications of the Taylor Force Act: “The government of Israel will do well to alert the Washington legislators to the potential adverse consequences of this bill. Their intentions are pure. Their friendship is beyond a doubt. But if enacted, this legislation might undermine PA stability; expand the circle of frustration and hostility; erode the security coordination; and thus hurt Israeli security.” [Doc

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe ‘Bogie’ Ya’alon (whose birthday is tomorrow) responds to the Commanders’ statement: I absolutely disagree with this approach. It is like choosing to be blackmailed. It is like feeding the tiger with more victims (of terror) in order not to make him angry. It is a clear surrender to terror!”

GULF CRISIS: “Qatar’s neighbors issue steep list of demands to end crisis” by Josh Lederman: “In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al-Qaida and the Islamic State group… The Iran provisions in the document say Qatar must shut down diplomatic posts in Iran, kick out from Qatar any members of the Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, and only conduct trade and commerce with Iran that complies with U.S. sanctions.”[AP

HEARD YESTERDAY — Ambassador Haley Blasts UN Forces in Lebanon — by Aaron Magid: Speaking at a Capitol Hill National Security Forum yesterday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for not directing sufficient attention to Hezbollah. “The UN troops there are not looking at Hezbollah or bringing any attention to that. They need to talk about if they see missiles or tunnels, if they see something like that happening,” Haley told moderator Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Haley emphasized that Israel’s northern border with Lebanon remains the country’s most dangerous threat. “To have conflict break out between Lebanon and Israel, the destabilization that would do would be horrible,” she said. [JewishInsider]

The Capitol Hill National Security Forum also hosted a panel to discuss the latest Middle East developments including the war in Syria, Egypt, and human rights across the region. The speakers included Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Elliott Abrams, former Deputy National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Tamara Cofman Wittes, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Commenting on the difficulties of autocratic governments fighting extremism, Abrams cited the case of Egypt before the 2011 revolution. “If you look at Mubarak, he didn’t crush the Muslim Brotherhood. He didn’t want to crush the Muslim Brotherhood because then he couldn’t come to the Americans and say, ‘It’s me or the Muslim Brotherhood.” Referring to the Qatar-Saudi spat, Crocker emphasized that if the US were to take a more aggressive line against Doha, Washington would be required to remove the large US military base currently residing in Qatar, a significant logistical hurdle.

BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Disgraced Lobbyist Abramoff Reveals Failed Bid for Trump Meeting” by Bill Allison and Ben Brody: “[Jack] Abramoff… disclosed his unsuccessful effort to arrange a December meeting between then-President-elect Donald Trump and an African leader in a [Justice Department] filing. Abramoff was unable to arrange the meeting or a phone call between the two leaders despite the assistance of Representative Dana Rohrabacher… The disclosures say that Abramoff… was not paid for his efforts on behalf of his client, Iancu Costel… an Italian national… Abramoff filed the disclosure after the Justice Department asked him to register as a foreign agent, according to a letter his attorneys sent the department. In the letter, the attorneys dispute that Abramoff needed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act because he wasn’t paid and because he didn’t have an actual agreement to act on behalf of a foreign government.” [BloombergPublicIntegrity] • Abramoff Ties Could Mean Trouble for Trump DOL Nominee [BNA]

VETTING FAIL: Trump Energy Department agency head apologizes for disparaging tweets — by Dino Grandoni: “Before William C. Bradford was appointed by the Trump administration to run the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy, he tweeted a slew of disparaging remarks about the real and imagined ethnic, religious and gender identities of former president Barack Obama, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg… In an email on Thursday, Bradford acknowledged the (now-deleted) Twitter account and apologized for his comments. “As a minority and member of the Jewish faith, I sincerely apologize for my disrespectful and offensive comments,” he wrote to The Washington Post. “These comments are inexcusable and I do not stand by them. Now, as a public servant, I hold myself to a higher standard, and I will work every day to better the lives of all Americans.” … The Trump official’s tweets came before he joined the administration and include a response to a story about Zuckerberg urging Iowans to vote against Trump ahead of a 2016 presidential caucus there, in which Bradford said: “Who is this little arrogant self-hating Jew to tell anyone for whom to vote?”” [WashPost]   

Trump wants Jets owner, former Dodgers co-owner as US envoys:“President Donald Trump says he’ll nominate New York Jets owner Woody Johnson to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom… Trump also announced his choice of Jamie McCourt, an attorney and former co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, to be the U.S. ambassador to Belgium.” [AP]

** 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: Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft at Cannes says NFL’s future is through live-streaming [NYPost] • Carlyle’s David Rubenstein Says More Focused on China, India [Bloomberg] • Thomas Friedman Says China Is the ‘Meta Story’, Not Hong Kong [Bloomberg] • Buyers Wrangle Discounts Off Asking Prices for Yitzchak Tessler’s 172 Madison Condos [RealDealWSJ]• Israel Doubles Down on High-Tech Air Power [PopularMechanics]

“Jump Man: How Sky Zone Went From Failed Extreme Sport To A $300 Million Business” by Noah Kirsch: “At the turn of the millennium, Rick Platt, Jeff’s father, had closed his scrap metal company in L.A. and was looking for a new venture. Opportunity came at one of his son’s high school volleyball games, where he heard an idea for a sport played on trampolines in which athletes would attempt to jump through a suspended hoop while holding a ball. He scouted a location in Las Vegas, then spent a year building a facility and another recruiting athletes. He used funds invested by family friends… The “sport,” called Sky Zone, was a massive flop. Platt quickly abandoned the concept and opened his trampolines to the public.” [Forbes]

“Trump’s Travel Ban Inspired Two Best Friends to Start a Law Firm” by Helena Okolicsanyi: “[Michelle] Stilwell’s background is in litigation, and she worked at nonprofits focused on human rights after working in Israel working at a human rights law firm, which used civil litigation to sue groups and organizations considered to be terrorists. It was Stilwell who mentioned to [Victoria] Slatton that they should start their own firm, then Slatton ran with it.” [TeenVogue

MEDIA WATCH — “Billionaires want to enlist you in their secret plans to take down the press” by Alyssa Rosenberg: 
“The core of “Nobody Speak” (which premieres on Netflix today) is [Brian] Knappenberger’s juxtaposition between the feverishly covered Gawker case and the takeover of the Las Vegas Review-Journal… Of course, among the things that unites Thiel and Adelson is their support for Trump. And since Trump was sworn in as president, he appears to have spent more mental energy on his feuds with the press than on any other subject… Because the Adelsons and the Thiels of the world act in secret, they avoid scrutiny. And by doing so, they also have the power to enlist accidental allies who would never be on board with their true intentions.” [WashPost]

“Wall Street Journal Scrutinizes Hundreds of Articles by Fired Reporter” by Sydney Ember and Gardiner Harris: “The Wall Street Journal is conducting a review of hundreds of articles by Jay Solomon, who was the paper’s chief foreign affairs correspondent… The son of a prominent diplomat, Mr. Solomon, who worked at The Journal for 23 years, commanded respect in Washington because of his foreign-affairs scoops about North Korea, Iran and other Middle East countries. But his closeness with some of his sources made some colleagues uncomfortable. During United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York, Mr. Azima often invited journalists to join him for drinks and dinner. Mr. Azima also appeared in Vienna in 2015 during negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal. In each setting, Mr. Solomon was a fixture at the bar and restaurant table with Mr. Azima.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — Coalition crisis over Western Wall and conversion — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Religious issues are on everyone’s lips today, with Haredi parties threatening the coalition’s stability over the Western Wall and conversions. United Torah Judaism and Shas plan to present a Kotel-related resolution at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. The resolution would cancel the cabinet decision to expand the egalitarian section at the southern end of the Western Wall. The Haredi parties want to avoid a court order requiring the government to start constructing the expanded prayer platform. Well-placed sources with knowledge of the efforts to implement the original plan acknowledged on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is opposed to repealing the agreement, but is nonetheless trying to appease his Haredi coalition partners. It is possible that the Netanyahu will agree to a resolution formally suspending implementation of the agreement, although leaders of the progressive Jewish denominations say they will oppose any formulation that permanently scuttles the agreement.

Meanwhile, conversions are back on center stage. A proposed bill giving the Chief Rabbinate the sole authority over conversions led Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky to ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take action, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post. The bill states that only conversions recognized by the Chief Rabbinate will make someone qualified under the Law of Return. Sharansky’s criticism comes ahead of next week’s Jewish Agency board meeting, with Jewish communal leaders arriving in Israel. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Why a Palm Beach synagogue celebrated ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ star Ben Platt” by Jan Sjostrom: “Platt’s nabbing the best actor award didn’t surprise his proud grandfather Robert Beren. “Ben was favored to win that Tony,” Beren said. “For a change, the favorite won.” Palm Beach Synagogue’s Rabbi Moshe Scheiner asked Beren to talk about his grandson Saturday during the refreshments that follow services. Beren told the congregation that Ben might never have pursued that path had his mother not declined to follow her older sisters’ example to enroll in Wellesley College. Instead, she chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she met her husband and Broadway producer Marc Platt. “Life is always a surprise,” Beren said. “You don’t know what action you take will lead to some other course.”” [PalmBeachDailyNews]

MAZEL TOV — The Israel Project’s Josh Block emails… “Kim and I are thrilled to welcome Henry Victor Block to our family. He was born Tuesdayafternoon, weighing-in at 8lbs 14.5oz. Mom and baby are doing great! Thanks for all your warm wishes!”

“A Weekend Wedding for Steven Mnuchin” by Katie Rogers: “Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and his fiancée, the Scottish actress Louise Linton, are a match made in Hollywood, and one that tends to cut a conspicuous presence through this strait-laced capital. But they managed to keep their wedding plans secret until a fellow cabinet secretary spoiled the surprise. The couple’s plans to marry in Washington on Saturday were made public by Wilbur L. Ross, the Commerce secretary, who let the news slip during a conference in the capital this week.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK — Robert Kraft in an interview with Israel Hayom:Q: Do you still pray regularly? Before games? “I no longer use petitionary prayer, I mean I go [to synagogue] on the holidays. I used to put on tefillin on every morning. Except for yahrzeits or the High Holidays or going once in a while on Shabbat, I don’t [go to synagogue]. But do I pray before games? I still say the Shema, I try to say it every night before going to bed, giving thanks to the Lord, and when I am looking for special help and power.”” [IsraelHayom]

“What does kosher mean at the ballpark? Quite a lot” by Marc Bona: “In his third year at the ballpark, Cheron estimates that 95 percent of his customers are not Jewish. But he is willing to explain to anyone what they are getting in the all-beef hot dog that costs almost twice as much ($8) as a regular hot dog in the park. Kosher means fit. “It doesn’t mean the rabbi blesses the meat,” he said. But what exactly are you getting with a Kosher dog? Rules governing the entire process – from preparation to cooking – are set in the Torah, he said.” [Cleveland

DESSERT: “The L.A. Culinary Scene Is Having A Major Israeli Moment” by Oren Peleg: “Since the beginning of this year, Israeli cuisine and Middle Eastern flavors seem to have taken over the city’s culinary scene. In January, Kramer and Hymanson opened Kismet in Los Feliz. The California-Israeli restaurant launched the pair into the national foodie elite (including a spot on Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2017 list), and announced the arrival of high-brow Israeli fare to the L.A. crowd. Since then, Botanica and Mh Zh have opened in Silver Lake,The Exchange has opened downtown, Bestia’s Ori Menashe is working on his new Israeli restaurant in the Arts District, and Publiqué is set to open this summer in Santa Monica. Look deeper and you’ll see za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend composed primarily of sumac) on menus across the city, along with dishes like malabi (a Middle Eastern custard dessert), lamb, and cucumber salad.” [LAist]

** FRIDAY NIGHT IN ASPEN: For the second year in a row, Jewish Insideris partnering with OneTable and The Paul E. Singer Foundation to host a Fridaynight dinner on the sidelines of the Aspen Ideas Festival. The dinner, a week from today on June 30th, will also feature an upscale Israeli and California wine tasting from our own Yitz Applbaum. The dinner is open to all – whether you’re 25 or 65, we’ve got a seat at the table for you. RSVP Here [OneTable] **

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYDeputy Director of the National Economic Council and former Bush 43 Jewish liaison Jeremy Katz (h/t JLOTUS club)… Professor of medicine and health care policy at Harvard, previously president of Brandeis University (1991-1994) and president of Massachusetts General Hospital (1994-1996), Samuel O. Thier, M.D. turns 80… Real estate developer and co-founder of Tishman Speyer, Jerry Speyerturns 77… Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, for 40 years, the grandson of a synagogue cantor, James Levine turns 74… Author of 17 books on foreign affairs, global politics and travel, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in DC, and senior adviser at Eurasia Group, Robert D. Kaplan turns 65… Born in Mobile, Alabama, author Roy Hoffman turns 64… Los Angeles-based activist, socialite, restaurateur and breast cancer fundraiser, a 2008 Lifetime Television movie starring Renée Zellweger portrayed her cancer fighting efforts, Lilly Tartikoff Karatz turns 64… Klezmer expert, violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer and playwright, he is the artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University, Yale Strom turns 60… President and CEO of Amplify Public Affairs, also the founder of the Disruptive Women in Health Care blog, she serves on multiple non-profit health related boards, Robin Strongin turns 58… Award-winning actress and producer, Kyra Sedgwick turns 52… Member of the front office of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles since 2000, General Manager (2010-2014) and then EVP of football operations of the Eagles, Howie Roseman turns 42… Born in Israel and raised in France, founder of Innovation Africa to bring more reliable electricity to developing communities throughout Africa, Sivan Borowich-Ya’ari turns 39… Actress and comedienne, best known for playing Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on Seasons 4 and 5 of CBS’s sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” Melissa Rauch turns 37… Actress, singer and model, Marielle Jaffe turns 28… Ethiopian-born Israeli model who won the title of Miss Israel in 2013, Yityish Aynaw turns 26… Mr. Josh Lauder turns 22… Communications Assistant at West End Strategy Team, Jessica Johnson

SATURDAYChief Rabbi of Denmark from 1969 to 1996, Rabbi Bent Melchior turns 88… South African businessman and philanthropist, now living in London, his holdings include many large shopping centers, Sir Donald Gordon turns 87… Member of Congress (D-NJ-8) from 1993-1995, prominent civil litigator, real estate fund executive and member of multiple non-profit boards, Herb Klein turns 87… Billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz turns 75… Former Chairman and CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, Seymour “Sy” Sternberg turns 74… Professor of Jewish theology at the American Jewish University and chairman of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff turns 74… Founder of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Rabbi Avraham Haim Yosef Avi Weiss turns 73… Former Secretary of Labor (1993-97), author and professor at UC Berkeley, Robert Reich turns 71… Former Chief of Staff of the IDF and then Israeli Defense Minister, Lt. General (reserve) Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon turns 67… Member of the Canadian House of Commons from Hamilton, Ontario since 2006, he is a former CEO of Promise Keepers Canada, David Sweet turns 60… Principal of Mount Scopus Memorial College, a co-educational Jewish day school with over 1,500 students from K to 12, located in Melbourne, Australia, Rabbi James Kennard turns 53… The first on-air talent of the NFL Network when it debuted in 2003, he has become the face of the network ever since, Rich Eisen turns 48… Israeli businesswoman and owner of the soccer team, Hapoel Beer Sheva, her brother-in-law is the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, Alona Barkat turns 48… Author and columnist, Shulem Deen turns 43… Singer and songwriter Ariel Pink, born Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, turns 39… Conservative journalist and editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon, he is the son-in-law of political analyst and commentator Bill Kristol, Matthew Continetti turns 36… VP of Houston-based RIDA Development, a multi-national real estate development company started by his Holocaust-surviving grandfather, David Mitzner, Steven C. Mitzner turns 31… A 2015 contestant on Jeopardy! who earned $413,612 by winning 13 consecutive episodes, Matthew Barnett “Matt” Jackson turns 25… Chief Creative Officer at WildBrow MediaWorks, Peter Grossman… Sam Gill Lois Charles… Ruth Weinstein Mo Gruber

SUNDAYNew Jersey-based criminal defense attorney, his clients include many homicide defendants, organized crime figures and celebrities, Miles Feinstein turns 76… Music publicist in the 1970s and 1980s for Prince, Billy Joel and Styx, later an author on human behavior, Howard Bloom turns 74… Real estate developer and founder of The Continuum Company, Ian Bruce Eichner turns 72… Woodland Hills, California-based mentor, coach, and consultant for business executives through Vistage International, Gary Brennglass turns 65… President of his family’s Chicago-based investment firm, Henry Crown and Company, a director of JPMorgan Chase and General Dynamics, he is also the managing partner of the Aspen Skiing Company, James Crown turns 64… Chef, author and CNN host, Anthony Bourdainturns 61… Member of the Knesset since 2013, she is a leader of the Meretz party, Michal Rozin turns 48… CEO of the Boston-based Achievement Network, Mora Segal turns 44… Born in Manchester, England, he is the founder and director of The Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh, popularly known as the “Zoo Rabbi,” Natan Slifkin turns 42… Fashion model and television presenter, Michele Merkin turns 42… Marketing communications coordinator for Leidos, Isaac Snyder turns 30… CNN reporter since 2014, covering the first family, politics, and pop culture, she was previously at the Washington bureau of ABC News, Betsy Klein… Sheldon Sandler… Helen Chernikoff

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Daily Kickoff: Dems accuse GOP of stalling Iran sanctions | How WeWork was built | Evan Spiegel’s advice to an Israeli VC firm’s intern | THR 100


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TOP QUOTE: “When you’re writing, be riveting, be right, and ask people to pay. They will pay.” — Jeff Bezos, speaking yesterday at the Future of Newspapers conference in Turin, Italy [CNBC]

TOP TALKER: “Wall Street Journal Fires Reporter With Ties to Iranian-Born Magnate” by Michael Grynbaum and Sydney Ember: “The correspondent, Jay Solomon, is a highly regarded veteran of The Journal and Washington diplomatic circles, and his dismissal came as a shock to the paper’s newsroom. Shortly after the firing was announced, The Associated Press published a report detailing Mr. Solomon’s communications with Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born businessman, about a venture that at times involved aerial espionage in Iran and the sale of defense equipment to the United Arab Emirates. It was unclear if Mr. Solomon ever formally entered into a commercial arrangement or received compensation tied to Mr. Azima, according to the A.P. report. In a statement to the A.P., Mr. Solomon conceded “mistakes in my reporting” and apologized to his colleagues at The Journal.”[NYTimesAP]

”The Fall of a Foreign-Affairs Reporter” by David A. Graham: “The news stunned reporters at U.S. organizations, who frantically traded rumors and surprise on Slack and Gchat, and for good reason. Not only was Solomon a well-regarded reporter at a major newspaper, but it’s a clear breach of ethics for a journalist to become involved in arms deals or attempt to interfere in foreign relations through subterfuge. Which is not to say that it doesn’t happen… For as long as journalists have covered foreign affairs, they’ve felt the pull of getting involved in the conflicts themselves, whether to earn a little extra cash, to satisfy their own ambitions of grandeur, or as a method of covering up other work.” [TheAtlantic]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Reasons the U.S. cares about Saudi Arabia’s newly named crown prince” by Oren Dorell: “Diplomatic tensions with Iran are not likely to ease, but there could be an advantage to the prince’s hawkish stance, [Hussein] Ibish (of the Arab Gulf States Institute) said. “It’s easier for a hawk sometimes to make a compromise, because they’re less vulnerable to being accused of giving away the store,” he said… [Mohammed] Bin Salman would like to develop what today is a clandestine security and trade relationship with Israel into an open and deeper partnership, said Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Henderson said it’s unclear if bin Salman’s priority is to get a peace agreement or to find an interim solution that would “park (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) on one side of the road.”” [USAToday]  

“Trump’s Preferred Candidate Wins Again, This Time in Saudi Arabia” by Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti: “Even more than Karen Handel, the Republican who won a hotly contested House seat in a special election in Georgia this week, Prince Mohammed [bin Salman] was Mr. Trump’s anointed candidate — in this case, for the byzantine struggle to control the House of Saud. Mr. Trump views Prince Mohammed as a crucial ally in his effort to cement a Sunni Muslim alliance in the Persian Gulf… The young prince is also a favorite of the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner… Mr. Kushner also hopes for Prince Mohammed’s backing, or at least his blessing, in a peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“When the prince visited Washington in March, he dined with Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, at their home. When the couple joined Mr. Trump on his visit to Saudi Arabia last month, the prince hosted Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump for a dinner at his house. “There’s a certain compatibility there,” said Jon B. Alterman, the director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The president and his entourage think fellow billionaires who have an itch to get things done make the world go ‘round.” [NYTimes]

Trump spoke on the phone yesterday with the newly-appointed Saudi Crown Prince: Among other topics, Trump and Salman also “discussed efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” the White House said.

KAFE KNESSET — More highlights from the Herzliya Conference — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman: “The Palestinians do not have the ability to reach an agreement with the State of Israel alone. Without learning any lessons from the past 24 years we will not be able to move forward. The order must be reversed: First of all, a regional agreement and only then an agreement with the Palestinians.”

Tzipi Livni: “If Trump wants to correct Obama’s mistakes, he should lay the US principles on the table here and now. Netanyahu agreed in 2014 to discuss these principles with reservations. Trump should not force content on the sides but rather force them to make a decision according to existing principles. He can now lay a document on the table based on some basic principles. Netanyahu has no political problem to say yes – there is an alternative coalition in Israel for peace.”

Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Yisrael Katz: “Saudi King Salman should invite the prime minister to visit Saudi Arabia, like Sadat and Begin, or send the new heir to the throne, Mohammed bin Salman, for a public meeting in Israel.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union): “Netanyahu is afraid of leaving the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street. So every time Bennett lifts his head, he copies him. Netanyahu, at the logical level understands Israel’s demographic danger. But then his fears enter, and he cannot think or act. He cannot act like Sharon, Rabin or Olmert. He cannot take a risk and be de Gaulle. He has no desire for action. He is shocked that Trump is somewhere else, but he is using delay tactics very well. I say with certainty that Netanyahu is not capable of reaching peace with the Palestinians. He is able to talk and delay. I think he probably tried to do that with Kushner yesterday, too, and at some stage the White House will get tired of it or decide who is to blame for the lack of the process.” Full highlights and today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

JARED KUSHNER IN ISRAEL — Netanyahu, Abbas agree peace will take time: In respective readouts of Kushner’s meetings with Netanyahu and Abbas yesterday, the White House said both sides “underscored that forging peace will take time and stressed the importance of doing everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking.” The WH described both meetings as “productive.”

Journalists barred from photographing Kushner in Israel — by Peter Beaumont: “Journalists were prevented from even filming Kushner’s arrival at Netanyahu’s office. The Associated Press said one of its cameramen was prevented from filming the arrival of his convoy while another was ordered to delete his memory card of all images of the prime minister’s office.”[Guardian]

Prof. Alan Abbey, director of internet and media at Shalom Hartman Institute, tells us…“It does seem as if the Trump Administration has adopted a position of listening, rather than lecturing the Israelis and Palestinians. More than anything, both sides want to be heard, first to make their case, but perhaps even more deeply, because they feel that no one listens to them. Unfortunately, neither side has been able to really listen to the other at the upper, political levels. Even as there are many small, grassroots efforts for communication and cooperation under way, there is too much blood, sadness, anger, and resentment for most on both sides. There are times when it seems as if both sides wish that an outsider would just tell us what to do and to impose their will on us. But of course, each side will howl if it perceives that Big Daddy will favor one of us over the other.”

–Great Big Story highlights the Jerusalem Youth Chorus which brings together Palestinian and Israeli teens to learn about each other’s experiences and forge friendships in a famously divided city — and, of course, to make beautiful music. [Video]

“Jared Kushner’s falling into a trap on Mideast peace” by Benny Avni: “Yes, Kushner and Trump may have gained some respect from all sides here, and that’s not nothing. Who knows, they may even move the ball a few yards. But Mideast peace? A June drizzle greeting a guest may be extremely rare here, but it’s a long way before it turns him into a rainmaker.” [NYPost]

VIEW FROM RAMALLAH — “Kushner bolsters Trump Middle East peace push” by Laura Rozen: “I think, first of all, there is a message: The US is still committed and serious,” Ghaith al-Omari, a former member of the Palestinian negotiating team, told Al-Monitor. “The fact that Kushner is with [Greenblatt] is an indication of high-level interest from the administration and also strengthens Greenblatt. It shows he is not working on his own; he has the support of Kushner. The Palestinians ultimately are looking for only one thing in an American envoy: Is this person empowered or not?” al-Omari said. “In this regard, Kushner is seen as someone serious coming and supporting Greenblatt.” … The Trump administration “is making this effort a priority,” Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American analyst with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told Al-Monitor.” [Al-Monitor

“Taking a Lead From Trump, U.S. Mideast Envoy Greenblatt Tweets His Every Move in Israel” by Matthew Kalman: 
“Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special Middle East envoy, is discovering that there might be a downside in following his boss’s lead and constantly commenting on his every move and every thought on Twitter… Greenblatt may need all of his diplomatic skills to deal with one disappointed and influential woman. “Maybe when you have a chance you can sit down with the Moskowitz family, specifically my grandmother,” suggests rabbinical student Yechezkel Moskowitz. “She did give $1 million to the Trump campaign and did not even get a thank you.” Yechezkel’s grandmother is Cherna Moskowitz, wife of the late casino mogul Irving Moskowitz. She appeared on the list of top donors to the Trump presidential campaign last year. Yechezkel Moskowitz said he was in touch with Trump aide Kellyanne Conway to suggest that Trump might like to thank her for the donation, but is still waiting for a response. “She’s not in Israel. She’s in Miami. I would love to arrange a meeting. Never heard back from anyone,” he said.” [Haaretz]

ON THE HILL — Dems Charge GOP with Stalling Iran Sanctions Bill — by Aaron Magid: With the Senate passing bipartisan legislation strengthening sanctions against Iran last week by a vote of 97-2, the House bill targeting Tehran remains stalled. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Ed Royce (R-CA) told Jewish Insider, “It’s not going to be delayed long. It has to do with a blue slip issue.” The California lawmaker was referring to a constitutional requirement that all bills raising revenue for the government must originate in the House. Royce refused to elaborate when asked a follow-up question and quickly walked away.

The ranking Democrat on the Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY) blamed Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for holding up the legislation. “I think it’s disgraceful. We have an important bill that slaps sanctions on both Russia and Iran. Passes the Senate 98-2. About as bipartisan as it gets. The fastest way it could pass would be to bring it right to the floor and vote on it,” Engel explained. Citing the different committees that are citing jurisdiction including HFAC and the Ways and Means Committee, Engel added, “If you want to kill something, you make sure it passes by four committees.” [JewishInsider]

Following yesterday’s Washington Post article about the Trump administration’s efforts to free American hostages detained in Iran, Rep. Ted Deutch is drawing attention to the fact that article made no mention of Bob Levinson. “I feel very strongly that any article that references Americans in Iran needs to start with Bob Levinson, who is the longest held American hostage in history,” Deutch told Jewish Insider on Capitol Hill yesterday… “I have been in contact with the administration. They understand the importance of the Levinson case. I encouraged them to move as swiftly as possible at every possible level to bring Bob home.”

PALACE INTRIGUE: “White House Looks to Chart Steadier Course Amid Turmoil Over Russia Probes” by Eli Stokols and Michael C. Bender: “Mr. Trump continues to privately express his frustration with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to head the Russia probe, and has at least given voice to the idea of shaking up the Justice Department… He also has discussed trying to fire Mr. Mueller with friends outside the White House and senior aides… [Steve] Bannon has expressed more openness to the idea… Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a top adviser, advocated Mr. Trump’s May 9 firing of James Comey as FBI director but has “backed off” on the subject of firing Mr. Mueller, the official said.” [WSJ] • Trump Turns an Iowa Rally Into a Venting Session [NYTimes

HAPPENING TODAY — The funeral of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old student who died after returning in a coma from captivity in North Korea, will be held at the Wyoming High School auditorium. [ABCNews

President Trump at a campaign-style rally in Iowa last night: “Look at Otto, beautiful Otto. Went over there a healthy, wonderful boy, and you see how he came back.” [WashPost]

“Rob Portman met secretly with North Koreans to push for Warmbier’s release” by Jessica Wehrman: “In a coffee with constituents Wednesday, Portman spoke emotionally about [Otto] Warmbier, mentioning that he secretly visited with the North Korean representatives in December that had been closely coordinated with the U.S. State Department. Portman brought photos of Warmbier to the meeting in New York, and urged the North Korean government to allow the Swedish ambassador to North Korea — the main U.S. contact with that government — to meet with Warmbier.” [Dispatch] • Otto Warmbier’s family kept his Jewishness under wraps while North Korea held him hostage [ToI]

** 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: Gus Wenner to Sell Men’s Journal, Continuing Shift From Print [NYTimes] • 12 Massachusetts cybersecurity companies with Israeli roots [BizJournals] • Israel to launch index of North American real estate companies [TRD] • Germany delays decision on Israeli drones, approves warships [Reuters] • Israel picks landing pads to draw foreign entrepreneurs[ToI]

SPOTLIGHT: “Out with $70M: Rotem Rosen leaves ASRR Capital” by Kathryn Brenzel and Chava Gourarie: “ASRR Capital’s Alex Sapir is buying out his partner Rotem Rosen for $70 million. Rosen is leaving his position as director of ASRR, a publicly traded Israeli real estate company, according to filings on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. His departure leaves Sapir with an 80.5 percent share of the company. According to news site Maariv, Rosen was represented by the law firm of Mark Kasowitz, President Trump’s attorney. Rosen is married to Zina Sapir, daughter of the late Tamir Sapir, founder of the Sapir Organization.” [RealDeal]

PODCAST PLAYBACK: WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey discussing how he first met Adam Neumann on NPR’s How I Built This podcast hosted by Guy Raz: “While I was working for the [architecture] firm, I had a co-worker – this Israeli guy named Gil – and I became friendly with him… And I remember he invited me over to his apartment one weekend and I went over there, and as we are walking into the building, in walks this other dude and we get introduced – and it’s Adam [Neumann] — it’s a hot summer day and he’s got his shirt off… I remember as we were like going up in the elevator, he is starting conversations with people who are on the elevator and then he’s like holding the door as the person got off and then continuing the conversation. I don’t know Israelis at all. First of all, I am coming from Oregon. I’ve never met an Israeli before, so I don’t even know this sort of abrasiveness – which I have come to love – but there’s that and there’s Adam who just has like a really exuberant sort of personality. He was Gil’s roommate. I didn’t know that at the time though. But sort of on that elevator ride it was all explained to me along the way.”

Raz: So you and Adam just like hit it off right there?

McKelvey: “Yeah, and that sounds weird because it doesn’t really make sense. I mean, besides from the fact that we are both tall we don’t have that much in common. We are totally different people. For whatever reason, we just connected.

McKelvey on WeWork’s first investment: “Before we even built the first location, we actually had an encounter with a potential investor, who was in a room for one of these potential real estate deals. So we were pitching the building, we really wanted to get this cool building down Canal street, and the owner of it was like, you know, I am not sure if I will give you the building, but I’ve got this friend who might be interested and he’s going to come over. So this guy shows up at the meeting, sits down, doesn’t really speak to us, doesn’t shake hands — these are Orthodox Jewish guys wearing the black suit and stuff… But he ends up calling later that day or the next day after the meeting and saying, hey I don’t think we are getting that building, but I want to partner with you guys. And we are like, well, we don’t really need a partner… He says, yeah, but what will it take? Whatever it takes, I want to be a partner with you… We were like, why not? Let’s throw out a number and we will make it outrageous – it is no chance he’ll say yes, but if he does, then hey we are fine – we did pretty well. We had no building, we had no signed lease even, and we proposed a $45 million valuation – that’s pretty high for a business that is unproven – and he said, yes!” [NPR]

“Snap CEO Evan Spiegel gave the best career advice to a 19-year-old aspiring entrepreneur” by Julie Bort: “Daniel Newman, a 19-year-old student at USC, grew up in Beverly Hills and loves Southern California’s star tech company, Snap. So when Snap’s famous founder, Evan Spiegel, came to USC and spoke to one of his classes, Newman was all over it. Newman approached Spiegel after the talk, and to his surprise, Spiegel gave him his contact information and a few days later took his call. They talked for about 30 minutes during which Spiegel gave him three pieces of career advice that has changed Newman’s aspirations, and quite possibly his life…”

“Newman upped his involvement in a student organization called TAMID, a group that matches US college kids with Israeli startups for mutual advice, internships, and the like. He and the TAMID team created a “Shark Tank” like event where students got to pitch to three VCs for prize money. And all of that helped Newman land a two-month internship at an Israeli VC firm, where he’s currently spending the summer. Most importantly, the conversation with Spiegel encouraged Newman to put himself out there, approach people and try and make things happen.” [BusinessInsider]

MEDIA WATCH: “Sizing Up BuzzFeed: Could This Unicorn Ever Go Public?” by Andrew Wallenstein and Todd Spangler: “All of which may explain why one such unicorn, BuzzFeed, has the tech industry abuzz in anticipation of an IPO of its own — even though CEO Jonah Peretti has yet to confirm that’s where he’s headed. In an interview with Variety last week (read the full Q&A here), he makes clear he’s aware of the attention that “one possible path” is bringing to his company. “I know that there’s a lot of focus on things like IPOs or potential transactions,” says Peretti. “The thing I try to stay focused on is the work itself.” [Variety]

THR 100: Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful People in Entertainment: “In compiling the THR 100, our second annual ranking of Hollywood’s most powerful people, we used one overarching criterion: the power of “yes.” THR 100 essentially is a greenlight list: who has the authority to take projects from a no to a yes or the talent and track record to make what he or she wants. There are objective factors, like the size of an executive’s empire (owning it helps, a la Shari Redstone), access to vast sums of money (both Megan Ellison and David Ellison)… 1. Bob Iger: Best advice I’ve received about power — “Always be humble. No matter how successful you are or how good the world thinks you are, it’s very important not to let that go to your head.” [HollywoodReporter]

MORE LISTS: “Observer’s 2017 Young Social Power List” by Zachary Weiss: “While their parents may hail from the worlds of politics or real estate, these PYTs are striking out on their own to make a name for themselves… 6. Larry & Toby Milstein … 7. Colby Jordan Mugrabi… 9. Gaby & Charlie Rosen… 20. James Sternlicht…” [Observer]

“Israeli man drowns while meditating face-down in Yuba River” by Michelle Robertson: “Yoav Timmer, a citizen of Israel, died at Rice’s Crossing, northwest of Nevada City, around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16, The Union reports. Timmer was practicing a type of meditation that involves floating face down in the water for a period of time. A friend meditating nearby checked on Timmer, according to the Sacramento Bee, and found him unresponsive.” [SFGate]

“Ben Jacobs’ glasses, David Fahrenthold’s notebook to go on display at Newseum on June 23 by Leah DePiero: “Ben Jacobs’ broken glasses and David Fahrenthold’s notebook used in his reporting on President Trump will go on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., later this week, the museum said. “On Friday, the Newseum will unveil two new artifacts in its News Corporation News History Gallery: a pair of broken eyeglasses and a legal pad scrawled with handwritten notes. These artifacts may appear unassuming, but they tell powerful stories about freedom of the press in the United States,” a press release said.” [WashExaminer]

“This 29-Year-Old Makes A Living Taking Insanely Cute Dog Photos” by Hannah Loewentheil: “Meet Elias Weiss Friedman…. He’s also the guy behind The Dogist — the viral Instagram account that’s racked up 2.6 million followers. All of those followers visit the account to look at the photos of real-life dogs that Elias snaps every day while he roams the streets of NYC. To date, he’s photographed over 25,000 dogs around the world. Elias got tons of followers, and within a year of starting the account, he scored a few paid photo shoots.” [BuzzFeed]

SPORTS BLINK: “Robert Kraft-led trip to Israel has profoundimpact on Hall of Famers” by Mike Reiss: “You could hear just really how proud [Netanyahu] is of his state and how resilient and tough they are,” [Andre] Reed said. “It really teaches a lesson. It’s really nice to see he’s so confident about… how the region can make other nations better.” Said [Jerome] Bettis, “One thing that was resounding was the resolve of the Jewish people… The message that you get — outside of the things that happened in each person’s individual life — was their love with the state of Israel, their country. But also the understanding that they were a people who were bashed and beaten, and they were able to rise and overcome it.” [ESPN]

** FRIDAY NIGHT IN ASPEN: For the second year in a row, Jewish Insideris partnering with OneTable and The Paul E. Singer Foundation to host a Fridaynight dinner on the sidelines of the Aspen Ideas Festival. The dinner, on June 30th, will also feature an upscale Israeli and California wine tasting from our own Yitz Applbaum. The dinner is open to all – whether you’re 25 or 65, we’ve got a seat at the table for you. RSVP Here [OneTable] **

BIRTHDAYS: A leading securities, corporate and M&A attorney, he is a founding partner of the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Martin Lipton turns 86… United States Senator from California since 1992, Dianne Feinstein turns 84… Jerusalem-born 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, she is the director of a research center at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Ada Yonath turns 78… UK judge, who chaired high profile hearings on ethics in the media, prompted by the 2011 News of the World phone hacking affair, Sir Brian Henry Leveson turns 74… Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics, professor at Brown University, J. Michael Kosterlitz turns 74… A justice on Israel’s Supreme Court (2004-2014), previously she was the Israeli State Prosecutor (1996-2004), Edna Arbel turns 73… Member of the California State Assembly since 2012, prior to that he served as a member of the City Council and then Mayor of Santa Monica, Richard Hershel Bloomturns 64… Immediate past President of the UJA – Federation of New York, Alisa Robbins Doctoroff turns 59… Secretary of Veterans Affairs since he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on February 13, 2017, David Jonathon Shulkin turns 58… Democratic member of Congress since 2001, he is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiffturns 57…

Creator of the Android operating system which he sold to Google, then executive at Google (2005-2014), founder in 2014 and CEO of tech incubator Playground Global, a $300 million fund, Andrew E. “Andy” Rubin turns 55… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2009, he is currently serving as Minister of Tourism, Yariv Gideon Levin turns 48… Program director for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Rafi M. Rone turns 46… Second baseman for MLB’s Detroit Tigers since 2014, his first eight seasons were with the Texas Rangers, Ian Kinsler turns 35… Russian-Israeli Internet entrepreneur, co-founder of Russia’s largest social network VK.com, Vaizra Capital investment fund, and Selectel network centers, Lev Binzumovich Leviev (not the diamond dealer) turns 33… Israeli-born NBA player since 2009, Omri Casspi turns 29… Outfielder in the Washington Nationals organization, started all three games for Team Israel in the 2016 World Baseball Classic qualifier round, Rhett Wiseman turns 23…

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]




Daily Kickoff: Spinning Ossoff’s loss | Heard at Herzliya | What Yossi Klein Halevi told Jason Greenblatt | Israel’s missing Yemenite children affair


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GA06 ELECTION RESULTS: Democrat Jon Ossoff fell short in his bid for a vacant U.S. House seat, losing to Republican Karen Handel by almost 4 percentage points.

Ossoff’s loss means that Georgia still awaits its first Jewish member of Congress since Democrat Elliott Levitas left office in 1985… “About 8 percent of the district is Jewish, representing 40 percent or more of the population of Jewish Atlanta. It was a long night for those who campaigned for Ossoff, such as lawyer Matt Weiss, a member of the American Jewish Committee ACCESS steering board… “It’s obviously disappointing. It’s a very Republican district, so it’s always going to be tough,” Weiss said. “He made enormous progress in taking what was an 8- or 9-point Republican district and coming very close. Hopefully he’ll have another opportunity to do something else in politics.” [ATLJewishTimes• What Kind Of Democrat Will Be The Next Jon Ossoff? [BuzzFeed]

RJC Board Member Phil Rosen‏: “Most important for Israel – this was a resounding defeat of J Street which raised a chunk of the $26mm Osoff raised for this election.” [Twitter]

J Street spokeswoman Jessica Rosenblum tells us… “JStreetPAC is proud to have supported Jon Ossoff, who managed a double-digit swing in a district no one thought would have been competitive a year ago, all while standing up for the nuclear agreement with Iran, supporting bold US leadership to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and making the case for keeping our doors open to refugees. We are under no illusion as to the hard work that lies ahead of the 2018 elections, as we work to build a bulwark in Congress to protect and defend diplomacy-first policies. We are focused, energized and ready for the fight.”

Dem strategist Aaron Keyak emails: “It would have been much better if Ossoff won — and he was closer than anyone initially expected — but the Republican euphoria about holding onto a Republican seat is premature. They should be happy this morning but yesterday’s election is only one data point in an intense campaign leading up to the midterms. The fight continues. Lots of work to do.”

“What Democrats can learn from spending $30M on a House race — and losing” by John Podhoretz: “That $30 million could’ve funded six House races next year in which Democrats would’ve had a better shot than they did here… The Georgia results ought to be a warning shot for Democrats, not a battle cry. They have to be smarter. They have to spend their money more wisely. They have to win where they can, not where they hope to. As for Republicans and Trump: They, too, need to be cold-eyed and ruthless about what last night meant… Triumphalism would be short-sighted and foolish. This was no triumph. They dodged a bullet.” [NYPost]

Kellyanne Conway tweeted last night after the results came in: “Laughing my #Ossoff” [Twitter]

Representative Jacky Rosen (D-NV) confirmed to Jewish Insider that she plans on running against incumbent Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) in 2018. Rosen’s statement is the first on-the-record confirmation from the Congresswoman of her Senate campaign. Rosen’s spokesperson added that a formal announcement would come shortly. [JewishInsider]

JARED IN ISRAEL — Kushner lands in Israel, rushes to visit Malka family: “Kushner touched down in Israel on Wednesday morning before paying a visit to the family of 23-year-old MSG. Hadas Malka, who was murdered last Friday in a combined shooting and stabbing terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City… He was joined by US Ambassador David Friedman… A close friend of the Malka family said that the duration of the visit lasted for approximately half an hour. “He offered the condolences to the bereaved family from the US president, who spoke to his son-in-law on the way and asked that he be kept updated about the visit,” the friend said. “(Kushner) said that the President himself asked him to express condolences on behalf of the United States.”” [YNetNYPost]

Jared then visited Prime Minister Netanyahu and was joined in the meeting by Amb. David Friedman, Jason Greenblatt and Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer [PicsVideo]

Norm Eisen on Kushner’s visit: “I am of the school that you should always try. And I think, based on my own experience, it is no disadvantage if – like Trump, Greenblatt and Kushner – you are strongly associated with one side (with Israel). I frequently hosted Israelis and Palestinians on economic matters in Prague, using it as a meeting place away from the conflict. I think that everybody knew that I was a fervent Zionist and nobody cared. If anything, it enabled me to credibly push people towards the middle… But there’s a big caveat. The one thing you shouldn’t do is to excite beyond realistic expectations because when those expectations are disappointed, it can have consequences, including violence in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. But even though I tend to be critical of this administration in other areas, I do think that they have, so far, avoided that, and they are proceeding in a careful way.”

Yesterday, Jason Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem. No readouts were provided by the Prime Minister’s Office or the White House after the meeting.

What Yossi Klein Halevi told Jason Greenblatt — by Jacob Kornbluh: Greenblatt also met yesterday with noted Israeli author and columnist Yossi Klein Halevi and tweeted about it. In an email to Jewish Insider, Klein Halevi said he shared with Greenblatt his belief that the administration would be wise to focus on mediating an interim agreement rather than a comprehensive deal, “which I don’t believe is possible anytime soon,” he wrote. “I also said that there’s not much that the Palestinian leadership can really offer Israel — or is willing to offer Israel — and that the most likely tradeoff Israel will get for concessions in the territories will come from our Arab neighbors in the form of normalization.”

Klein Halevi praised Greenblatt’s approach to the region: 
“Jason Greenblatt is a superb listener. At least at this stage, he’s come to listen more than to speak. After years of hearing lectures from the Obama administration, this is a refreshing change.” [JewishInsider

“Trump Administration Pressuring Israel to Move Ahead With Peace Deal, Senior Israeli Minister Moshe Kahlon
 Says” by Barak Ravid: “There’s mounting American pressure to advance a deal,” Moshe Kahlon told a conference in central Israel on Tuesday. “Something has happened. The American government feels it can reach an agreement, maybe because the good ties with the Israeli government allow Trump more influence than was possible during Obama’s term.” [Haaretz

KAFE KNESSET — Herzliya conference highlights — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: 
Dozens of politicians, defense officials, academics, government officials and experts are convening this week for the Annual Herzliya conference, under the headline “Israel’s Strategic Balance – Opportunities and Risks.” Throughout the three days of the conference, various issues are on the agenda, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, the war against ISIS, the Palestinian peace process and regional peace initiatives. Here are some of the highlights from the first two days:

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on his dialogue with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Kahlon said: “This discourse is important and I am motivated by the interests of the Israeli people – if the Palestinians also benefit from it – I don’t mind. I am careful not to get into political issues. Hamdala told me, ‘We are doing a good job between us, the PA is satisfied with the economic ties, but without a political agreement it is very difficult.’ I think that the Palestinians aren’t ready for a political agreement. I got that impression from conversations with them. Who’s right: us or them? The truth is somewhere in the middle. They themselves say: Let’s get through these years. We have internal problems, problems with Gaza, etc. I don’t see them going now in the direction of an agreement.”

Ambassador Dennis Ross on the regional peace efforts: “There is a strange paradox today. There is a desperation amongst Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states for the US to stay in the region. There is a desire to ensure that the US isn’t going to retreat, and there is fear that after Raqqa and Mosul that the US may say mission accomplished and won’t stay there. That gives the Trump administration leverage with them. If the administration uses the leverage and says: OK – here is what we want from you on the peace issue they may well do that, but they will say if we are going to reach out to Israelis we have to show that we are delivering something for the Palestinians which they cannot deliver themselves.”

Former Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo: “I don’t think that a real move within the Arab countries will happen before they see something on the Palestinian issue. We might have excellent security and intel relationships but to make a real move will be only after we see some kind of movement by the Israeli government towards some kind of solution with the Palestinians.”

Former Obama advisor and CFR fellow Phil Gordon: “I will be surprised if anyone has success on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It was hard or unreachable for the past 30 years but arguably the conditions are worse now. Abbas is now 82 years old, in the 12th year of his 5 year term.  He is just not in a position to make political concessions that he can sell to his public. I don’t think the conditions are ripe for that ultimate deal. Saudis said to me in private discussions that ‘Israel is not killing us – Iran and ISIS are killing us’ but that doesn’t mean that they are willing to play the public role that would be necessary to give the Palestinians the cover.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “Saudi King Salman Ousts Nephew as Crown Prince, Installs Son” by  Nicholas Parasie, Margherita Stancati and Summer Said: “The new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is the elderly monarch’s 31-year old son and minister of defense… He replaces as crown prince Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a nephew of the king, who was stripped of all his positions, including interior minister. His ouster effectively ends the political career of a royal who was one of Washington’s most trusted security partners and was known as the country’s counterterrorism czar.” [WSJ] • State Department Demands Saudis Prove Terror Allegations Against Qatar [WSJNYTimes

Dan Shapiro writes: “For Israelis, a dynamic Saudi leader who shares their strategic outlook and openly acknowledges that it places them in the same camp, is nearly a dream come true. At the same time, MBS has demonstrated a penchant for confrontation with neighbors and adversaries quite unlike previous Saudi rulers, and his campaigns have not always been well-coordinated with the United States.” [Haaretz]

ON THE HILL – New sanctions on Russia and Iran hit House roadblock” by Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian: “The sanctions bill, known as the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, passed the Senate last week on a 98-to-2 vote. But this week, House staff flagged the bill for violating the constitutional provision that only the House can originate bills raising revenue for the government… House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has supported stronger sanctions on both Russia and Iran but has not specifically committed to bringing the Senate bill to the House floor… Rep. Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee… [called] the roadblock “nothing but a delay tactic” and said “anything short of an up-or-down vote on this tough sanctions package is an attempt to let Russia off the hook.” … If the House committees each get an independent shot at the bill, “it’ll be a big mess,” said one senior Senate Democratic aide.”[WashPost

WHAT THE WEST WING IS READING… “The Trump administration is working to free American hostages in Iran” by Josh Rogin: “The Trump administration has quietly ramped up its involvement in trying to free two Iranian Americans being held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, including one who is in very poor health. The effort is now not only a focus of the administration’s approach to Iran, but also part of an overall increase of attention to the plight of Americans held unjustly abroad.” [WashPost] • Detained Americans Fast Facts [CNN]

“Ivanka Trump on Capitol Hill, teams up with Rubio on tax reform” by Ashley Killough, Grace Hauck and Emily Karl: “Ivanka Trump met privately Tuesday morning for about an hour with Sen. Marco Rubio and other lawmakers on the Capitol Hill to discuss “pro-family” tax reform… Nebraska Rep. Deb Fischer, who introduced a bill this year to give tax credits to companies offering paid maternity and paternity leave, participated in Tuesday’s meeting… Fischer said the discussions are “still in the talking stage” and the point of the meeting was to make the White House “aware of what we all have here in the Senate and also in the House.”” [CNN• Rubio, Ivanka joke about ‘alleged’ failed hug [AP

“Nikki Haley Tells UN: States Supporting Terror Group Hamas Should Face Consequences” by Amir Tibon: “The United Nations Security Council gathered on Tuesday for a periodic discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with America’s envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, saying that states that support Hamas should pay a price for it. “We need to pressure Hamas to end its tyranny over the people of Gaza, we should name Hamas as the group responsible when rockets are fired from Gaza, and designate it as a terror organization in a resolution with consequences for anyone who supports it,” she said. “We stand with Israel against forces of terror,” she said.” [Haaretz] • Israel flouting U.N. Security Council settlement demand: U.N. envoy [Reuters]

TRUMP TRANSITION: “Grenell under consideration to be ambassador to Germany” bu Josh Dawsey: “Richard “Ric” Grenell, a former United Nations official and prominent backer of President Donald Trump, is under consideration to be ambassador to Germany… It is unclear if Grenell will get the nod, officials said, as internal disagreements remain about a number of ambassador jobs… The 50-year-old Grenell is often acerbic on Twitter… He is generally perceived as intelligent about foreign affairs. But he is also seen as “potentially problematic,” according to one White House official.” [Politico

“Why Trump’s Foreign Policy Can’t Be Stopped” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Trump lives in a Darwinian dog-eat-dog world where America needs to look to its own interests and cut the best deals it can — allies and adversaries be damned (perhaps minus Putin)… Trump also benefits because in [James] Mattis he has an experienced, intelligent, and sensible advisor who understands and accepts America’s responsibilities for global leadership and spends much of his time advising U.S. allies to ignore the tweetstorms from the man behind the curtain. Vice President Mike Pence, [Rex] Tillerson, and [H. R.] McMaster have also helped to calm the jittery nerves of allies… and, in the process, provide cover and legitimacy to Trump’s behavior.” [FP]

“Trump’s Not Ready for a Crisis: The White House national security team is still in transition, nearly five months on” — by Douglas Lute, who recently served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO: “We pay a heavy price for the ongoing extended transition. Without the team in place and procedures set, decision-making becomes ad hoc and unpredictable, leading to mistakes and poor execution. Coordination suffers, as the players are not on the same page, leading to misstatements and a perception of internal disputes… While we undergo this too-slow transition, the world continues to spin. Without our national security team and process in place, we are living on borrowed time before we confront a significant national security crisis that overnight becomes our first priority. Opponents deliberately will test us, friends will move on in their own interests, natural disasters will happen… We cannot afford 2017 to be a year of endless transition.” [PoliticoMag]

“Trump’s silent surge in the Middle East — and the slippery slope to war” by John Podesta and Brian Katulis: “In the Middle East’s tinderbox, for every action there’s a reaction, and it is not clear that the Trump administration has thought through what could go wrong — such as the possibility of slipping into a direct war with Iran or U.S. troops facing chemical weapons attacks by the Islamic State… The United States needs to work with partners to defeat terrorist groups and counter destabilizing policies from countries such as Iran. But in five months, the Trump administration has exposed the country to greater risks without a clear strategy.” [WashPost] 

** Good Wednesday 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: An insider describes the Bayrock Group, its links to the Trump family and its mysterious access to funds. It isn’t pretty. [Bloomberg] • Israeli-owned Dutch company in legal battle over fiber optics in Miami[JPost] • Israeli plastics company opens first U.S. operations in Gaston County[Bizjournals• Intel to collaborate with Israel’s Team8, Illusive on cybersecurity [ReutersFortune• Israeli blockchain companies that shoot for the stars [CNBC• Josh Kushner’s Oscar Health Will Expand Obamacare Footprint In Five States [ForbesBloomberg] • Uber Founder Travis Kalanick Resigns as CEO [NYTimes] • The summer of Alice Rogoff’s discontent [MustReadAlaska]

“Mnuchin Says He Divested Stake in Hollywood Financing Company” by Anousha Sakoui and Max Abelson: “The Treasury secretary, who had promised to sell his stake in a Hollywood financing company known as RatPac-Dune by last week, said in a filing released Tuesdaythat he has completed all divestitures under his ethics agreement… That would mean the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive and one-time hedge fund manager will no longer back major motion pictures such as “Wonder Woman” while helping run the economy for President Donald Trump.” [Bloomberg

SOUND BITES – Michael Bloomberg talked Trump last night on CNN’s AC360: “Donald Trump.. had a saying, ‘make America great again.’ I don’t know what ‘again’ means, but ‘America’? That’s patriotic. And ‘great’ — that’s a good word. And I thought it’s not quite that simple. But we do live in a world of 140 characters. And slogans matter… I never understood… why Hillary couldn’t find somebody to give her a good tagline. That’s what she should have done I always thought.” [JewishInsider]

“The Secret Room, the Nazi Artifacts and an Argentine Mystery” by Russell Goldman: “In a hidden treasure room dedicated to celebrating the Third Reich, Argentine police officers have found a trove of Nazi artifacts, including a bust of Hitler, that they believe were taken to the country by fugitive Germans… The police also found toys and musical instruments, including a box of harmonicas, emblazoned with swastikas and Nazi symbols, that would have been used to indoctrinate children… “We know the history, we know of the horrible experiments conducted by Josef Mengele,” said Ariel Cohen Sabban, president of the Delegation of Israelite-Argentines Associations, the country’s largest Jewish organization. “When I see these objects,” Mr. Sabban said, “I see the infamy of that terrible era of humanity that has caused so much damage, so much sadness.”” [NYTimes]

“Missing babies: Israel’s Yemenite children affair” by Yolande Knell: “In the years after the creation of the Israeli state hundreds of babies went missing. Their parents, mostly Jewish immigrants from Yemen, were told their children had died, but suspicions linger that they were secretly given away to childless families – and newly released documents have revealed some disturbing evidence…”

“Working with [MK] Nurit Koren, MyHeritage, a company that researches family ancestry, recently began offering help to Yemenite Jews who have a missing child, or who think they were secretly adopted. Leah Aharoni, who has long been convinced that her daughter, Hanna, could be alive and searching for her biological family, gave a DNA sample… to be checked against others in a new database for Yemenite-Israelis. “I want to find out where my daughter went. I want her to know that I didn’t abandon her, that I love her,” Leah says… A few months ago, Yehuda Kantor became the first person to be reunited with his biological family through the MyHeritage testing programme.” [BBC

“Why Have Jewish Orgs. Been Silent About Otto Warmbier’s Death?” by Liel Leibovitz: “Otto Warmbier, an American student at the University of Virginia—who was active in Hillel and who went on Birthright, where he received a Hebrew name—died yesterday after being arrested and tortured by North Korea. You’d think that the cluster of handsomely funded Jewish organizations that fly the banner of promoting and protecting Jewish life in America and abroad would notice and acknowledge Warmbier’s murder. So far, though, American Jewish officialdom has been deafeningly silent. The odious Anne Frank Center… didn’t bother taking a break from bashing Donald Trump to lament a young Jew put to death by the world’s worst offender of human rights. Nor did the ADL, an organization quick to stand up with Linda Sarsour as she denied Jews their right to self-determination but not so swift when the victim was a young Jewish man whose crime was pulling a silly prank at his hotel.” [Tablet• Otto Warmbier’s family objects to autopsy [NYPost

MEDIA WATCH — “Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump surrogate, now defends him as a Sinclair TV pundit” by Paul Farhi: “In his initial pieces for Sinclair, the owner of the largest string of TV stations in the nation, Epshteyn has played much the same role he did during the presidential campaign — as a Trump booster and defender. His “Bottom Line With Boris” segments have echoed positions taken by Trump himself… Epshteyn appears by himself on his two-minute segments, making him more akin to commentators such as Fox’s Sean Hannity or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.” [WashPost]

“Under New Editor, Adelson’s Israel Hayom Quietly Getting Less Netanyahu Friendly” by Nati Tucker: “[Boaz] Bismuth also has more ambitious editorial plans than his predecessor Amos Regev did… Bismuth is pressing reporters to get scoops and is highlighting them on the front page. He is also following the advice of the U.S. consulting team and making the newspaper’s website more dynamic. Breaking stories and scoops now go up on the site before they appear in the newspaper. For readers, however, the biggest change of all is how Israel Hayom presents itself. It is quietly trying to jettison the image of Netanyahu’s newspaper and become a newspaper of the center-right… Photos of Sara Netanyahu attending events or traveling with her husband abroad, once a staple of the paper, have largely disappeared from its pages. But articles that present the prime minster in a bad light still don’t get published.” [Haaretz]

HEARD THE OTHER DAY — American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon on Israel national radio: “Every morning I wake up and in the seconds before I turn my phone on to see what the latest news is, I have this boundless sense of optimism and hope that this is the day that [Trump] is going to have a massive stroke and be carted out of the White House on a gurney. And every day, so far, I have been disappointed in that hope, but, you know, hope springs eternal.” [Kann]

Israel Prime Minister Compares Peace Policy to NFL Football: “Netanyahu told a group of NFL Hall of Famers that his approach to peace is “no different” from how a football player prepares for victory … be strong or else. The meeting was arranged by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft… “You seek peace but you’ve got to be strong. If you’re not strong you’ll never get peace and if you’re not strong you’ll be more in turmoil and the worst thing is you’ll lose… Your game is no different from ours. The only difference is if we lose the consequences are immutable. And we’ve had enough of that in our history. So we won’t let that happen again.”” [TMZ]

“Jim Brown meets with Browns Backers of Israel” by Andrew Gribble: “Browns legend Jim Brown met Tuesday with the Israel chapter of Browns Backers as he traveled through the country with 17 other Pro Football Hall of Famers. Brown is participating in the weeklong “Touchdown in Israel II”…  The Browns Backers Worldwide (BBW) is considered to be one of the largest organized fan clubs in all of professional sports with members and Clubs established throughout the world.” [CLVBrowns]

Israeli Alon Day is set to make NASCAR debut: “Alon Day will become the first driver from Israel to ever compete in NASCAR’s top series next weekend in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 driving the BK Racing No. 23 EarthWater Limited Toyota Camry. Day, a 25 year-old native of Tel Aviv, Israel, was named Israel’s 2016 “Athlete of the Year”… “I’m very excited to make my debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next week in Sonoma,” said Day. He continued, “Being the first Israeli who is going to race in NASCAR’s highest Series is a dream come true.”” [RacingNews]

DESSERT: “Hidden message reveals ancient soldiers’ thirst for wine” by Chris Mercer: “Scientists from Tel Aviv University used ground-breaking image technology to uncover an eroded message on the shard of pottery, found near the site of an ancient fortress and dating to around 600 BC. Their research revealed an order for wine, oil and flour, most likely from soldiers stationed at the fortress, located near to the modern-day Israeli city of Arad… ‘It begins with a request for wine – “If there is any wine, send [quantity]” – as well as a guarantee for assistance if the addressee has any requests of his own,’ researchers said.” [Decanter]

“Christian-Born Teaneck Pizza Shop Owner Feels Connected To Kosher Community” by Cecilia Levine: “A Jewish star hangs around Hanna Mendez’ neck as she tends to business in her Teaneck store. But Mendez, who recently took over Cedar Lane’s Pizzalicious — and added frozen yogurt section Berrylicious to it — is not Jewish: She was born and raised a Christian in Mexico. “People will never understand when you’re not Jewish but you feel that you are,” said Mendez of White Plains, N.Y. “It’s something that pulls so hard.” [DailyVoice]

“Restaurant Review: Is This Silver Lake Israeli Spot Worth the Hype?” by Besha Rodell: “Chef-owner Conor Shemtov… grew up in Los Angeles, but his father is Israeli, and he’s spent a lot of time eating in Israel. As such, this is being billed as an Israeli restaurant, a distinction that’s becoming common as a catch-all designation for restaurants with jumbled Middle Eastern influences.” [LAWeekly]

** FRIDAY NIGHT IN ASPEN: For the second year in a row, Jewish Insideris partnering with OneTable and The Paul E. Singer Foundation to host a Fridaynight dinner on the sidelines of the Aspen Ideas Festival. The dinner, on June 30th, will also feature an upscale Israeli and California wine tasting from our own Yitz Applbaum. The dinner is open to all – whether you’re 25 or 65, we’ve got a seat at the table for you. RSVP Here [OneTable] **

BIRTHDAYS: Former member of the US House of Representatives (1993-1995), mother-in-law of Chelsea Clinton, Marjorie Margolies (formerly known as Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky) turns 75… British businessman, co-founder with his brother Charles of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi which became the largest in the world, appointed to the House of Lords in 1996, Baron Maurice Saatchi turns 71… UK cabinet minister in both the Thatcher and Major governments, Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind turns 71… Creditors rights’ attorney at Chicago-area Blitt & Gaines, David Stephen Miller turns 67… Senior counselor at The Reis Group, a PR firm, since 2013, following 32 years of experience as an award-winning journalist with The Washington Post, Peter Perl turns 67… Member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party since 2013, he was the head of Jerusalem branch of the Israel Police (2000-2003) and then an attache at the Israeli embassy in Washington, Mickey Levy turns 66… Washington Institute fellow and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, David Makovsky turns 57… Former general manager of Bloomberg Politics, Tanya Rebecca Singer turns 44… Former Trump aide, hired and fired three times, Sam Nunberg turns 36… Born in Melbourne, Australia, now living in San Francisco, co-founder and CEO of Kaggle, a data science platform acquired by Google in March 2017, Anthony Goldbloom turns 34… Director of communications and marketing at the New York Community Trust, he is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, David L. Marcus… Susan Gutman… Daniel Padilla

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Kafe Knesset for June 23

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