Daily Kickoff: Who’s who attending Google Camp | PayPal CEO Dan Schulman on practicing Krav Maga | Where Russian elite dine in Tel Aviv

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DEEP DIVE — A fist bump, then a rancorous call: How Trump’s deal to free an American pastor in Turkey fell apart — by Carol Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Kareem Fahim and Karen DeYoung: “President Trump thought he had a deal. His NATO meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month had ended with a smile, a fist-bump and what Trump thought was an agreement to free Andrew Brunson, the American pastor imprisoned in Turkey… The deal was a carom shot, personally sealed by Trump, to trade a Turkish citizen imprisoned on terrorism charges in Israel for Brunson’s release. But it apparently fell apart on Wednesday, when a Turkish court, rather than sending the pastor home, ordered that he be transferred to house arrest while his trial continues.”

“On July 14, after traveling from the NATO gathering to his golf club in Scotland, Trump placed a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Trump… asked his Israeli ally if he would release Ebru Ozkan, a 27-year-old Turkish woman who was detained in Israel on charges of acting as a smuggler for Hamas… Erdogan’s government had expressed anger over Ozkan’s June 11 arrest as she attempted to fly home from Israel’s international airport in Tel Aviv. But the case was apparently considered weak by the Israeli court… On July 15, the day after Trump and Netanyahu spoke, Ozkan was deported from Israel.” [WashPost

REPORT — U.S. pressing Israel to implement pipeline project with Jordan — by Barak Ravid: “The U.S. is pressing Israel to implement a deal is has signed several years ago with Jordan for building the Red-Dead joint project… Last summer Israel froze the project in an attempt to use it as leverage to get the Jordanians to reopen the Israeli embassy in Amman. When the embassy crisis ended several months ago the Jordanians expected Israel to unfreeze it, but the Israelis refused… Senior Jordanian officials called White House officials and raised their concerns that Israel appeared to be trying to pull out of the project, requesting U.S. intervention.”

“U.S. ambassador to Jerusalem David Friedman, White House Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner raised the issue with their Israeli counterparts. A national security council spokesman told me: “The United States told Israel that the U.S. supports the project and expects Israel to live up to its obligations under the Red-Dead agreement or find a suitable alternative that is acceptable to Israel and Jordan.” [Axios]

Netanyahu May Have to Choose Between Trump and China — by Asaf Shalev: “New data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows that Israeli exports to China reached $2.8 billion in the first half of 2018, a 73% increase compared to last year. China was the destination country for 8.7% of Israeli exports for the last six months… The cozying up between the two countries may prove to be awkward for Netanyahu in his relationship with the White House… Netanyahu… has worked to be a close friend to both foreign powers— two countries that now appear to be locked into a trade war with each other.”[Calcalist]

ON THE GROUND — Islamic State fired at Israel in bid to draw it into Syria, says ex-intel chief — by Jacob Magid: “The former head of the IDF’s military intelligence [Amos Yadlin] said Thursday that the firing of a pair of missiles from Syria into the Sea of Galilee a day earlier was likely an effort by the Islamic State group to draw Israel into a confrontation with the Syrian regime… He also said Israel must remain wary of a possible IS attack, with the “desperate” jihadist group on the “verge of collapse” in the Golan Heights.”[ToI]

Dov Zakheim writes… “Moscow Holds the Key to Peace Between Jerusalem and Damascus: Only Russia can press Assad to abide by the 1974 agreement. Only Russia has any chance of maneuvering Tehran into agreeing to withdraw its forces sufficiently far from the Golan Heights to assuage Jerusalem.” [ForeignPolicy]

Shalom Lipner writes… “The Summer of Israel’s Contentment: These are surreal times in Israel. Despite being surrounded by conflict on almost every border, Israelis are surprisingly at ease with their regional predicament… Notwithstanding a nominal concern that fighting could escalate, Israelis trust that the Israel Defense Forces can protect them against all comers. Life in the country continues according to its own idiosyncratic rhythm.”[ForeignPolicy]

Australian PM Turnbull says ‘no reason to believe’ Trump is planning Iran strike — by Gareth Hutchens: “Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says he has “no reason” to believe US president Donald Trump is preparing to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability imminently, despite reports to the contrary. The Australian ABC reported on Friday that senior ministers in the Turnbull government were preparing for the possibility the United States could bomb Iran’s nuclear capability, perhaps as early as next month.” [TheGuardianABC] • Iranian General Locks Horns With Trump, Escalating Threat-Filled Feud [NYT]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Vice President Mike Pence speaking at the Ministerial To Advance Religious Freedom held at the State Department: “Just 70 years after the Holocaust, attacks on Jews, even on aging Holocaust survivors, are growing at an alarming rate. Last year, hate crimes against Jews hit a record high in the United Kingdom. And in the same period of time, there were an average of nearly four attacks against Jews every day.”

“In France and Germany, things have gotten so bad that Jewish religious leaders have warned their followers not to wear kippahs in public for fear that they could be violently attacked, and in too many cases, that’s exactly what’s happened… It is remarkable to think that within the very lifetimes of some French Jews — the same French Jews that were forced by the Nazis to wear identifiable Jewish clothing — that some of those same people are now being warned by their democratic leaders not to wear identifiable Jewish clothing. These acts of violence and hatred and anti-Semitism must end.”[Video

LOOKING AHEAD — How Trump Won Re-election in 2020 — by Bret Stephens: “With neither a recession nor a major war to run against, Democrats sought instead to cast the election in starkly moral terms. Yet by Election Day, the charge that Mr. Trump is morally or intellectually unfit for office had been made so often that it had lost most of its former edge among swing voters…” [NYTimes

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Trump Organization Finance Chief Called to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury — by Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Rebecca Ballhaus, Michael Rothfeld and  Alexandra Berzon: “Allen Weisselberg, a longtime financial gatekeeper for President Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in the criminal probe of Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen… Mr. Weisselberg is considered a witness in the investigation… [A] former executive said Mr. Trump would sometimes point out to him how Mr. Weisselberg had been loyal to him for decades.” [WSJ]

HEARD ON MORNING JOE — Timothy O’Brien, executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion: “The other thing that is significant beyond [Weisselberg’s] relationship with Donald Trump is this starts to bring the investigation into Donald Trump’s wallet… There were two people within the Trump Organization that Trump relied on to do business. One was Jason Greenblatt, who was the lawyer for the Trump Organization — he signed off on everything. And Allen Weisselberg, who was the money man.”

Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting — by Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen: “Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower… Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller… Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen’s account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians… Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.”

“According to people who have discussed the matter with Cohen, he has expressed hope that this claim about the Trump Tower meeting will help him reach out to Mueller and possibly lessen his legal troubles.” [CNN]

— Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time: “[Cohen] has been lying all week. I mean, he’s been lying for years… The man is a liar. A proven liar. There’s no way you’re going to bring down the president of the United States on the testimony uncorroborated of a proven liar. I guarantee you this guy is a proven liar.” [Video]

Trump tweets this morning: “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”

WHITE HOUSE BOOK CLUB — Trump tweets“Alan Dershowitz, a brilliant lawyer, who although a Liberal Democrat who probably didn’t vote for me, has discussed the Witch Hunt with great clarity and in a very positive way. He has written a new and very important book called “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” which I would encourage all people with Trump Derangement Syndrome to read!”

A Kushner Ally Was Up for a Federal Post. Then the F.B.I. Began Digging — by Jesse Drucker, Emily Steel and Danny Hakim: “Ken Kurson is a confidant of Rudolph W. Giuliani… And he is a close friend of Jared Kushner… This spring, those relationships appeared to yield a prestigious offer from the Trump White House: a seat on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities… First, Mr. Kurson had to undergo a government background check. As part of that process, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned about allegations that he had harassed a New York doctor in 2015…”

“Mr. Kurson said in an interview last week that he withdrew from consideration for the government post around early June, citing the amount of paperwork involved in the vetting process. Mr. Kurson’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said the F.B.I.’s questioning was related only to the background check. “That is a completely different ball of wax from a criminal investigation,” he said.”[NYTimes]

House Speaker rejects Rosenstein impeachment effort — by Daphne Psaledakis and Nate Raymond: “House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday rejected a move by fellow Republicans to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein… Earlier, Rosenstein’s boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, expressed confidence in the career civil servant… “My deputy, Rod Rosenstein, is highly capable. I have the highest confidence in him,” Sessions said during an appearance in Boston.” [Reuters]

** 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: U.S. Probes Web of Businesses for Ties to Alleged Hezbollah Supporters [WSJ] • Ziel Feldman’s HFZ adds to NoMad assemblage with $30M buy [TheRealDeal] • WeWork China raises $500M to triple the number of cities it covers [TechCrunch] • Jon Steinberg’s Cheddar, the company behind a financial news-focused streaming network for millennials, is cutting deals with small cable operators [WSJ] • Audrey Gelman’s The Wing expands Manhattan footprint [TheRealDeal]

HAPPENING ON SUNDAY — Google will host mega-wealthy celebrities and business leaders for a private summit, known as the Google Camp, at the Verdura Resort in Sicily. Expected participants, according to CNN’s PACIFIC newsletter, include Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, John & Ann Doerr, Kevin Durant and Cassandra Anderson, Daniel and Sofia Ek, Mike and Michelle Fries, Brian and Veronica Grazer, Reed Hastings, Ben and Felicia Horowitz, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Gayle King, Rich and Jana Kleiman, Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss, Robert and Luz Kyncl, Martin and Millie Lau, Carolyn McCall and Peter Frawley, Lorne Michaels, Neal and Hema Sareen Mohan, James and Kathryn Murdoch, Guy and Michelle Alves Oseary, Jonah Peretti and Andrea Harner, Richard Plepler and Lisa Plepler, Eric Schmidt, Shane and Tamyka Smith, and Evan Spiegel.

MEDIA WATCH — ‘I Quit, I Quit!’ Boardroom Turmoil Aggravates Univision’s Problems — by Shalini Ramachandran and Benjamin Mullin: “After a Univision Communications Inc. board meeting in December, tensions erupted between the media company’s billionaire chairman and its then-chief executive. Univision disclosed a big earnings shortfall not long after Chief Executive Randy Falco renewed his contract, angering Chairman Haim Saban and other directors. For his part, the CEO complained he was tired of Mr. Saban and his top deputy micromanaging the company, emailing and calling his direct reports—even asking what they thought of Mr. Falco… In Mr. Falco’s office, the two men screamed at each other. Staffers could hear them one floor below.”

“One source of Mr. Falco’s disenchantment was the rise of Isaac Lee, an executive who joined as president of news in 2010 and shot through the ranks, forging ties with Televisa and Mr. Saban. Mr. Lee vacationed with Televisa board members. At times, Mr. Falco would join a videoconference from New York and discover Mr. Lee sitting with Mr. Saban in his Los Angeles office… In a written statement, Mr. Saban said, “the past is water under the bridge.” He said the board is “very excited” about [Vincent] Sadusky, the new CEO, and believes he “will help lead the company to great success in the future.” [WSJ]

NYT CORNER OFFICE INTERVIEW — PayPal CEO Dan Schulman on practicing martial arts: “I practice Krav Maga. I spent some time in Israel when I was young, and they have what’s called Youth Military Training there, so I started then. That was when I was in my teens, and I’ve been doing Krav since then.”

— Have you ever gotten hurt? Schulman: “Oh my gosh. I mean, look at my knuckles. These are all from punches. I’m always black or blue or I have some scar on my face. I’ve dislocated my shoulder. I’ve had stitches. If you look carefully on my face, stitches here, stitches here. Smacked into a mat here, here. That’s how you learn how to be cool, calm and collected in very stressful situations. But the overrunning philosophy of Krav is that the best way to win a fight is to not get into a fight. It’s very Zen in that way. How do you de-escalate situations? We spend a lot of time thinking about that. It’s translated into the way that I think about business as well.” [NYTimes]

TEL AVIV SCENE: “Israel’s Rick’s Café for Russian Jewish Oligarchs” by Sophie Shulman: “From the outside, Shallot restaurant is no different from numerous other establishments in the area—a wide-ranging mix of Falafel joints, and medium to high-end eateries. But on a good day, the personal wealth of Shallot’s patrons can be in the billions. Sporting a modern design, Shallot is a stronghold of Israel’s new super-rich Russian immigrants. Roman Abramovich, one of Israel’s wealthiest new citizens, dines here, sometimes with David Davidovich, his one-time assistant and now a billionaire businessman on his own right. Exiled oligarch Leonid Nevzlin is a repeating customer, sometimes dining with his son-in-law, Israeli lawmaker Yuli Edelstein. The kosher menu is a mix of chicken kiev and caviar with the local hummus and tahini. It appears to fit the taste of the Russian elite.” [CTech]

Doctor says he’s sorry for posts on white nationalist sites — by Stephen Groves: “Dr. Dov Bechhofer, a resident radiologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, was removed from duty this week after an anonymous article on the blogging site Medium identified him as an online commenter on a website that promoted white nationalism… He also said he favored “‘tempered’ anti-Semitism” despite being Jewish himself… Bechhofer’s father is a rabbi who is a leader of the group Orthodox Jews Against Racism and Discrimination… Bechhofer began commenting on white-supremacist websites in the fall of 2016.” [AP]

Roseanne Barr Says She Believes She’s Been “Forgiven” After Controversial Tweet: “Roseanne Barr said she believes she’s been “forgiven” for her Valerie Jarrett tweet at a live podcast recording at the New York Comedy Club Thursday night. [Shmuley] Boteach introduced her as a “Jewish celebrity who takes her Jewishness very seriously.” He added, “at whatever expense to your career.” … In the aftermath of her tweet about Jarrett, Barr said she was afraid to go outside and “hiding in my mom’s basement,” comparing her experience to The Twilight Zone. When Boteach asked her what she learned from the experience, she said, “I figured out that the voice of the Jewish people is always left out, that’s what I thought.”” [HollywoodReporter]

— Barr on Fox News’ Hannity program: “That is a tweet about asking for accountability from the previous administration about the Iran deal, which Valerie Jarrett is the author of, and that was what was in my head… [Critics] were saying it’s racial when it’s political… And then everybody started saying I was a racist, which is like the worst thing you can call a Jewish person, especially one who, like me, grew up with Holocaust survivors.” [Video]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT — Halie Soifer, Executive Director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), and her husband Andrew Kauders hosted a fundraiser for Michigan House candidate Elissa Slotkin at their residence in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on Wednesday. Attendees included Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Matt Nosanchuk, Barbara Goldberg Goldman, and Ann Lewis. [Pic] • Soifer presented Slotkin with a homemade cake featuring the candidate’s logo [Pic]

DESSERT — Ample Hills Unleashes a Massive New Ice Cream Playground in Red Hook — by Stefanie Tuder: “With the help of an $8 million investment, co-founders Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith are turning 421 Van Brunt St. at Beard Street into an ice cream destination with the capability to produce 500,000 gallons a year… It’s no secret that Ample Hills is chasing after Ben & Jerry’s, and this factory is a step in that pursuit. Disney CEO Bob Iger has been a major ally in that goal, collaborating on a Star Wars pint and sending samples to Jimmy Kimmel, Mike Nichols, J.J. Abrams, Tom Hanks, and Oprah.” [EaterNY]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Television producer Norman Learturns 96… Former CIA Director (1995-1996) and Deputy Secretary of Defense (1994-1995), now a professor emeritus at MIT and on the boards of multiple Fortune 500 companies, John M. Deutch turns 80… Steven M. Mizel turns 79… Immediate past chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Stephen M. Greenberg turns 74…  Editor and producer at Israel’s Channel 1 TV, Yarin Kimor turns 66…  Comedienne, writer, producer and actress, Carol Leifer turns 62…  Journalist at the Christian Science Monitor since 1981 and now its Washington Bureau Chief,Linda Feldmann turns 59…  Former VP of global communications, marketing and public policy at Facebook (2008-2018), Elliot Schrage turns 58…  Member of the Hungarian Parliament (1990-2009) and member of the European Parliament since 2009, Tamás Deutsch turns 52…  Chief of Staff of the House Republican Conference, Jeremy Deutsch turns 42…  Sales and customer service representative at Travilah Beer and Wine, Benjamin Rothenberg turns 36…

SATURDAY: Survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau as a teen, he emigrated to Israel and became an artist, his work, mostly Holocaust themed, appears in the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem and the US Capitol, Yehuda Bacon turns 89…  Chicago radio news personality, Walter Jacobson turns 81…  Former US District Court Judge in Manhattan (1988-2006), then US Attorney General (2007-2009), now of counsel at the international law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton,Michael Mukasey turns 77… Swedish industrialist, chairman of the Nobel Foundation (manager of the Nobel Prize) from 2005 to 2013, his father was the chairman of the Swedish branch of the World Jewish Congress, Marcus Storch Ph.D. turns 76… In 1986 she became first woman in the IDF to hold the rank of Brigadier General, she was a member of Knesset (2006-2009), Amira Dotan turns 71…  President of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, Richard N. Haass turns 67…  Sports columnist, commentator and author of 36 sports-related books, John Feinstein turns 62… French-Israeli hairdresser and entrepreneur, Michel Mercier turns 57… Sports executive, attorney and former president of basketball operations for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves (2009-2013), David Kahn turns 57…  Co-founder and CEO of the personal genomics and biotechnology company “23andMe,” Anne Wojcicki turns 45…  CEO of NYC-based Xukuma, LLC (a consulting firm), Jennifer Lew Goldstone…  Managing Partner at Resolute Venture Partners and former White House liaison to the Jewish community, Jay Zeidman turns 35… Director of baseball research and development for the Washington Nationals, Sam Mondry-Cohen turns 31… Political Reporter at BuzzFeed, Ruby Cramer… Partner and managing director of private investment bank DH Capital, he serves on the boards of American Jewish World Service and Hazon, Marty Friedman Larry Gordon

SUNDAY: Billionaire banker and energy executive, he is the chairman of BOK Financial Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, George Kaiser turns 76… Newspaper columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth and author of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, Meir Shalev turns 70… Denver-based trial lawyer (formerly a prosecutor, now a criminal defense attorney), film producer and author Kenneth Eichner turns 64… Economics journalist Peter S. Goodman turns 52… Twin brothers, Los Angeles based philanthropists and businessmen, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz and Yisroel Zev Rechnitz turn 47… Vice President for Community Engagement at BBYO, Jayme David turns 41… Director of the Straus Center at Yeshiva University, he is also the Rabbi of NYC’s Congregation Shearith Israel (often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue), Rabbi Meir Soloveichik turns 41… Senior producer of data-based news and investigations at CNN, Aaron Kessler turns 39… Rabbi Levi Welton turns 35… Former Obama White House aide, then a venture capital investor for Steve Case, now a VP in the NYC office of SKDKnickerbocker, Herbie Ziskend turns 33… Former director of Israel and Jewish Advocacy at the Baltimore Jewish Council, now managing a political campaign for the Maryland legislature, Adrienne Potter Yoe… and her twin sister, Moira Yoe Bauer, who works in NYC on corporate governance and sustainability at Prudential Financial, both turn 31… Assistant editor of The Agenda at Politico, Danny Vinik turns 28… Uriel Wassnerturns 24… Deputy Editor at Politico Pro, previously at Kaiser Health News, CQ and Newsday (the latter for almost 20 years), Carol Eisenberg Jason Levin




Daily Kickoff: Iran fires top banker for not foreseeing Trump’s withdrawal | Dershowitz criticizes nation-state law | Facebook buys Israel’s Redkix

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INSIDE THE ADMIN — Jared and Ivanka dig in for the long haul — by Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan: “A White House official with direct knowledge of the situation told Axios that in recent months, Jared and Ivanka have spent a good deal of time with the president in the private dining room adjoining the Oval Office and in the residence. West Wing watchers note that they weren’t accompanied by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly… Whenever Kelly departs, Javanka will be further empowered. They have outlived their enemies, and have a firmer grip on power than ever. No wonder friends say they are feeling emboldened, and aren’t going anywhere.”

“Both will also play roles in the midterms and 2020 presidential campaign: Jared will continue his behind-the-scenes role working on politics with reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel and Eric Trump. Ivanka will likely be onstage at key moments and in strategic locations, such as the suburbs where Trump is vulnerable with college-educated women.” [Axios]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Bibi Netanyahu rejected the timing of a Russian proposal to host a summit between the Israeli Prime Minister and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow, Barak Ravid reported this morning. In their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Netanyahu that Abbas has already agreed to meet. Netanyahu did not outright reject the offer to meet with Abbas, but maintained that it could not take place before the Trump peace plan rollout.

Trump team preparing economic plan as part of Mideast peace proposal — by Steve Holland: “A long-awaited Middle East peace plan from the Trump administration will include what the White House is calling a robust economic plan… Trump’s envoys are also working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the overall plan, the White House official said in a briefing with reporters on Monday… A rollout strategy was being developed, the official said.” [Reuters]

— “Earlier this week, Kushner and Greenblatt met in Washington with the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, Abbas Kamel, to discuss the situation in Gaza and Egypt’s attempts to prevent another war between Israel and Hamas.”[Haaretz]

— RESULTS: U.S. Releases $195 Million in Military Aid to Egypt — by Jared Malsin: “The Trump administration released $195 million in military aid to Egypt… A State Department spokesperson said the funds had been released in recognition of “steps Egypt has taken over the last year in response to specific U.S. concerns.” [WSJ]

After Trump cuts aid, U.N. relief agency lays off staff in Gaza and West Bank — by Loveday Morris: “The U.N. Relief and Works Agency… said it had cut 154 employees in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and another 113 in Gaza. About 580 other staff in Gaza will be moved to part-time contracts… The cuts in Gaza are “making an intolerable humanitarian crisis even more life threatening,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.”[WashPost]

REPORT — Paris turns into Mossad’s playground — by Tamar Shabak: “Paris has become a center of operations for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, according to an article published this week in French newspaper Le Monde. The article, titled “The Mossad’s shadow hovers over Paris,” cites senior French intelligence officials, one of whom claimed that “The city is the Mossad’s playground. The Chinese and the Russians may be our enemies, but let us not forget the Israelis and the Americans are also conducting themselves with great aggression.” … “Our ability to respond to their actions is limited because they rush to use the ‘diplomatic card’ and complain to the French prime minister and president’s offices,” the French intelligence official vented.” [Ynet]

HAPPENING TODAY — After Trump’s Threat to Iran, White House Convenes a Policy Meeting — by Michael Gordon, Nancy Youssef and Peter Nicholas: “National Security Adviser John Bolton is scheduled to hold a meeting Thursday of Pentagon and other top officials on the administration’s emerging strategy on Iran… The discussions are to take place among members of the administration’s Principals Committee, a Cabinet-level panel on national security issues that Mr. Bolton chairs and whose members include Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, among other senior officials.”

“Any strategy requires a clear objective and the means to pursue that objective,” said Dennis Ross, a former diplomat who is at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Right now, I am not sure what the objective is, and the only means being used are rhetoric and sanctions.” [WSJ]

Iran’s Top Banker Is Dismissed in Shake-Up as U.S. Sanctions Take a Toll — by Rick Gladstone: “Iran’s central banker was fired on Wednesdayin the first senior shake-up since the United States abandoned the nuclear agreement nearly three months ago and restored sanctions, moves that worsened an already weak Iranian economy. The dismissed official, Valiollah Seif… had been widely assailed for… failing to foresee that the Trump administration would withdraw from the nuclear agreement.”

“Mr. Seif may have been further impaired by the Trump administration’s decision, after reimposing sanctions, to blacklist him for what it called his role in money transfers to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant organization that the United States regards as a terrorist group. The blacklisting made it difficult for international bankers to deal with Mr. Seif without risking American penalties.”[NYTimes]

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky write… “Trump Has Acted Foolishly On Iran. Let’s Hope He Avoids War: Should the unpredictable Trump try to engage Iran in negotiations, he’d have to recommit to the nuclear accord and likely satisfy Iran with additional concessions should he want to alter it.” [NPR]

Israel detects Russian shift on Iran’s presence in Syria — by Ben Caspit: “Ironically, when it comes to the issue of Iran in Syria, we have a rare case of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hassan Rouhani and Bashar al-Assad all sharing a common interest,” a very senior military source told Al-Monitor… “All of these leaders want Iranian forces to get out of Syria.” [Al-Monitor]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) during a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “I can tell you that each time I have spoken with President Trump, both before Helsinki summit and after, Iran has been a central point that we have focused on with respect to U.S. policy in Syria. I’m confident it will remain so.”

ON THE HILL — House Republicans Mount a Long-Shot Bid to Impeach Rod Rosenstein — by Katie Benner: “A group of House Republicans escalated their feud with the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, on Wednesday, introducing articles of impeachment in a long-shot bid to oust the official overseeing the special counsel inquiry into Russian election interference… The group of 11, led by Representatives Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, would need the support of a majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate to convict Mr. Rosenstein.”[NYTimes]

ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — Interview with Perry Gershon, a Democratic challenger in New York’s 1st Congressional District running against Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin — by Jacob Kornbluh: Gershon, who volunteered on the presidential campaigns of Ted Kennedy and Gary Hart in the 1980s before starting a career in real estate, says he reignited his political activism following the election of President Trump. “It goes arm in arm with my beliefs as a Jew that I think we need to fight against what Donald Trump represents. I think he’s a threat to American democracy as we see it.” Gershon described Zeldin as a “Trump enabler” and criticized the Republican for seeking the support of Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.

Gershon on the Iran deal: “I do not agree with the Trump administration’s approach. I think that JCPOA was flawed but basically, a good deal. I think pulling out of it was an error on the Trump administration’s part. I think it’s critical that we do everything we can to make sure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons. And the Iran deal, though imperfect, was a helpful step towards achieving that agenda. I don’t think whether I would have supported it or opposed it in 2015 is relevant. The fact is, we were in the Iran deal and we should’ve stayed there. The Iran deal gave concessions to Iran and those were some costs, but we’ve already given those concessions. So if we pay too big of a price, we’ve already paid it.” Read the full interview [JewishInsider]

** 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: Jeffrey Katzenberg has closed his first $1 billion round of funding for WndrCo’s “New TV,” a mobile video platform that will aim to cater to our increasingly limited attention spans with short-form premium content [CNN-Pacific] • Murdoch and Iger to Skip Fox and Disney Shareholder Votes [NYT] • Facebook buys Israeli messaging company Redkix [ReutersRecode] • Mark Zuckerberg Loses $16.8 Billion in a Snap as Facebook Plunges [Bloomberg] • How Silicon Valley Has Disrupted Philanthropy [TheAtlantic] • Nestle CEO Defends Chairman After Criticism From Activist Loeb [Bloomberg] • Sam Zell to exit Chicago office market with sale of O’Hare complex [RealDeal] • US firm Upserve buys Israel restaurant tech startup SimpleOrder [ToICTech]

SPOTLIGHT — Sergio Marchionne’s Death Thrusts Agnelli Heir Into Spotlight — by Eric Sylvers: “John Elkann, head of the Italian family that controls Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, boarded his private jet last Friday in Turin, Italy, to fly to Zurich, where he went to a hospital to see his most important employee: FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne. The next day, Mr. Elkann, heir of Italy’s Agnelli family and chairman of Fiat Chrysler, announced the longtime CEO was seriously ill and wouldn’t be returning to the company. The 42-year-old owner swiftly appointed new management for the U.S.’s third-largest car maker and two other key family assets, including race-car maker Ferrari NV… The sudden turn of events is a wrenching change for Mr. Elkann, the scion of one of Europe’s most storied business dynasties, which was struggling to salvage a near-bankrupt car maker when the young Agnelli heir asked Mr. Marchionne to take the helm in 2004.” [WSJ]

— From Elkann’s Wikipedia page: “Born in New York City, John Elkann is the first son of Alain Elkann, a New York-born journalist and writer of French Jewish and Italian Jewish background.”

Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s latest: “The Big Business of Being Gwyneth Paltrow: Inside the growth of Goop — the most controversial brand in the wellness industry.” [NYTimesMag]

PROFILE — At 70, Founding A Cannabis Startup Can Be Quite A Trip — by Yaron Carni: “While her fellow startup founders e-scoot to co-working spaces around Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard — Israel’s version of Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road — Professor Leah Boehm, 70, rides her motorcycle the 40KM (24 miles) to Kibbutz Revadim in southern Israel every morning… At an age when most of her peers opt for retirement, look after their grandchildren, or go on long holidays abroad, Boehm co-founded and is building a new startup to tackle the inefficiencies in cannabis growing.”

“Boehm recognizes that she doesn’t fit the mold of a young startup founder, and that’s a good thing. “The concept that younger founders are energized risk-takers who have more free time and fewer family obligations sometimes makes us overlook the most knowledgeable and experienced of founders with a lot of passion for innovation,” she says.” [Forbes]

TOP TALKER — Alan Dershowitz says Israel ‘harder to defend’ after nation-state law: “Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and staunch supporter of Israel told i24NEWS “it was harder to defend Israel after the nation-state bill” passed last week… Dershowitz called Israel’s nation-state law “unnecessarily provocative,” explaining that it “only gives ammunition to the opposition.”” [i24News] • Finance minister says ‘hastily’ passed nation-state law is mistake, needs fixing [ToI]

MEDIA WATCH — Jerusalem Post Fires Cartoonist Over Caricature Mocking Netanyahu, Likud Lawmakers — by Itay Stern: “The Jerusalem Report, a news magazine published by Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, fired on Tuesday the illustrator Avi Katz after a cartoon of his mocked an image of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud lawmakers taking a selfie that was published following the passage of the nation-state law. The cartoon depicted the politicians as pigs… Despite the clear homage to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” … many people on social media were quick to compare it to anti-Semitic caricatures.” [HaaretzIndependent

ACROSS THE POND — Jewish newspapers claim Corbyn poses ‘existential threat’ — by Kevin Rawlinson and Pippa Crerar: “The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph each produced similar front pages for their Thursday editions attacking the Labour party’s decision not to fully absorb an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism into its code of conduct, and its wider record on the issue since Corbyn became leader in 2015. In their joint editorial, they said the party was until recently the natural home for the Jewish community, but that Labour had “seen its values and integrity eroded by Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel” and now faced being seen as institutionally racist…” [TheGuardian]

Before the Holocaust, Jewish Suffering Had One Name: Kishinev — by Anthony Julius: “In Kishinev, a provincial city of the Russian Empire (now Chisinau, Moldova), on April 19-20, 1903, 49 Jews were murdered… This was the “Kishinev pogrom,” a “dreadful moment” in Jewish Diaspora life, Steven J. Zipperstein writes in his impressive, heart-wrenching new book on the subject, “Pogrom.” The episode is so little known now that its facts are likely to come as a shock to most readers. Yet until the late 1930s it was practically synonymous with anti-Semitism. The word “pogrom,” which Kishinev concretized, “was believed to capture accurately centuries of Jewish vulnerability, the deep well of Jewish misery,” Zipperstein writes. It was the state directing mob violence, a phenomenon that would reach its apogee in the Holocaust.” [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — The Israeli Consulate in New York hosted a farewell reception for Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, who is departing after a 4-year term, at Hudson Yards in NYC. Speakers at the event included Consul General Dani Dayan, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Conference of Presidents’ Malcolm Hoenlein, JCRC’s Michael Miller, and Andrew Gross. Sagie will serve as a senior advisor to Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely upon his return to Israel. [Pic]

SPOTTED: Dr. Michal Bejerano-Sagie, Izzy Tapoohi, Noam Gilboord, David Pollock, Alicia Post, Mendy Carlebach, Mark Levenson, Eli Slavin, Councilman Kalman Yeger, Jennie Berger, Elizabeth Gioia, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Judge Bruce Balter, Galit Peleg, Almog Elijis, Shani Dilian, Zack Pyzer, Sivan Aloni, Michael Alexander, Elizabeth Velez, Samuel Schear, and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.
DESSERT — Kosher Restaurant Puts On Receipt: ‘Immigrants Cooked Your Food And Served You Today’ — by Kylie Lobell: “Katsuji Tanabe, the restaurateur, executive chef, and owner of Mexikosher in Manhattan and Flushing, Queens, is now serving up immigrant support at his restaurants. The “Top Chef” alum and Japanese-Mexican immigrant is printing receipts at his establishments that say, “Immigrants cooked your food and served you today #ITookaRisk.” [Forward]

BIRTHDAYS: Photographer and documentary film maker, Elliott Erwitt turns 90… Member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Sally Oppenheim-Barnes turns 90… Mayor of Las Vegas (1999-2011), where he was succeeded by his wife, he is a noted criminal defense attorney who once served as president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Oscar Goodman turns 79… Administrator at the University of Illinois and the University of Houston (1972-1982), chancellor of the California State University system (1991-1998) and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1998-2006), Barry Munitz turns 77…

Member of the Florida House of Representatives since 2012, representing southern Broward County, Richard Stark turns 66… Sports columnist, tv and radio personality, he works for ESPN’s Charlotte-based SEC Network since 2014, Paul Finebaum turns 62… SVP of strategy and growth and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Health Intelligence, Alan H. Spiro, MD, MBA turns 66… Correspondent for ABC News, a co-anchor for Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America, Daniel B. “Dan” Harris turns 47… Israeli born classical music composer, Gilad Hochman turns 36… Israeli born R&B singer and songwriter, Hila Bronstein turns 35… Political correspondent at Israel’s Walla News and self-described “political junkie,” Tal Shalev




Daily Kickoff: Trump brags about ignoring world leaders calling to dissuade Jerusalem move | How Lacob & Guber beat Larry Ellison to buy the Warriors

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TALE OF THE TAPE — CNN obtains secret Trump-Cohen tape — by Chris Cuomo, Kara Scannell and Eli Watkins: “Presidential candidate Donald Trump is heard on tape discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model’s story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier… On the tape Cohen also says, “I’ve spoken with (Trump Organization chief financial officer) Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with funding.”” [CNN]

— Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis tells Axios’ Mike Allen that the tape’s release sends the message: “I am no longer the previous Michael Cohen that you knew — taking a bullet for Donald Trump, saying anything to defend him, being a good soldier… That is over.”

— “Rudy Giuliani said he spoke to the president Tuesday night and described him as “discouraged.” “He’s disappointed his own lawyer recorded him,” Giuliani said.” [WashPost]

Trump tweets this morning: “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things? I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!”

New Cohen Tape Surfaces a Bigger Trump Fish — by Timothy O’Brien: “[Allen] Weisselberg isn’t a bit player in Trumplandia and his emergence on the Cohen-Trump recording – as someone possibly facilitating a scheme apparently meant to disguise a payoff – should worry the president. Weisselberg has detailed information about the Trump Organization’s operations, business deals and finances. If he winds up in investigators’ crosshairs for secreting payoffs, he could potentially provide much more damaging information to prosecutors than Cohen ever could about the president’s dealmaking.” [BloombergView]

BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Two Trump Allies, Seeing Unlimited Opportunity, Instead Drew Scrutiny — by Ken Vogel, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman and David Kirkpatrick: “[Elliott] Broidy was a client of [Rick] Gates, and had paid him at least $125,000. For that money Mr. Gates advised Mr. Broidy on how to pursue both a contract for his business and appointments for his associates and provided insight into the new administration’s foreign policy plans, according to interviews as well as internal emails and documents obtained by The New York Times… After the inauguration, Mr. Gates began receiving monthly consulting payments for help navigating the new administration from a company headed by [Tom] Barrack, Colony NorthStar, which paid Mr. Gates $20,000 a month, and one owned by Mr. Broidy, which paid Mr. Gates $25,000 a month.” [NYTimes]

— On Monday, lawyers representing Broidy filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Jamal Benomar, who served as a special adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The suit alleges that Benomar had frequent contact with senior Qatari officials and with members of the Qatari team that carried out the hack of Broidy’s email server and then “helped to mastermind the dissemination of stolen materials to the media and other third parties.” [WSJ]

Ivanka Trump Closing Her Namesake Fashion Brand — by Rebecca Ballhaus and Suzanne Kapner: “Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter, is closing her namesake fashion brand, more than a year after she formally separated herself from the company and entered the White House as a senior adviser… “After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington,” she said. “So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.” [WSJ]

Ivanka Trump’s Latest Business Moves Signal a New Ambition — by Emily Jane Fox: “In some ways, this latest move reflects some level of self-preservation. Back in New York, her friend group is smaller, the invitations fewer and farther between, and the city’s denizens are still seething over her father’s election. Sure, she slinks in for meetings or hair appointments or small dinners with confidants every now and then, but former friends note there is not exactly a welcoming committee waiting upon her arrival.” [VanityFair]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Palestinian envoy says US peace plan is ‘dead upon arrival’ — by Edith Lederer: “Riyad Mansour told reporters that after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6 the United States “lost the qualification to be the only party to supervise the political process.” … “It seems to me that people in Washington, D.C. — they still think that ‘we are the only game in town. It’s us or nothing,'” Mansour said. “We are not a player to accommodate their desires.”” [AP]

Palestinians to Lead U.N.’s Biggest Bloc of Developing Countries — by Rick Gladstone: “The biggest bloc of developing countries at the United Nations has chosen the observer state of Palestine as its next leader… a decision that could cause new tensions with Israel and the United States… The bloc often speaks as one voice in the General Assembly… In an emailed statement, Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, was strongly critical. “The goal of the Group of 77 originally was to facilitate the economic advancement of underdeveloped nations,” he said. “It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement.” [NYTimes]

HEARD AT THE UN — Haley pressures Arab states to step up on Palestinian aid: ‘We are not fools’ — by Adam Shaw: “At a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, [Nikki] Haley noted there is “no end” to speeches from Arab states criticizing Israel’s actions in the region… “If those words were useful in the schools, the hospitals, and the streets of their communities, the Palestinian people would not be facing the desperate conditions we are discussing here today,” she said…

— Haley continued: “Americans are very generous people. We are humanitarian oriented… But we are not fools. If we extend a hand in friendship and generosity, we do not expect our hand to be bitten. And as we extend our hand, we also expect others to extend theirs as well.” [FoxNews]

— UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Nickolay Mladenov: Israel and Hamas were “minutes away” from another “devastating confrontation” in Gaza on Saturday… “Unless we begin in earnest the crucial work required to change the current deteriorating dynamics, another explosion is almost a certainty.” [AP]

Israeli minister sees Gaza-style measures for U.S.-Mexico border — by Dan Williams: “The United States could apply some of the security measures used for Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip to its own frontier with Mexico, an Israeli cabinet minister said on Tuesday. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last month hosted his U.S. counterpart, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen… “She told me there is certainly a lot to learn here, and I reckon that some of this will certainly be implemented in what the United States is setting up on its border with Mexico,” Erdan told Israel’s Ynet TV.”[Reuters

HEARD YESTERDAY — President Trump at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City, MO: “Earlier this year, I recognized the true capital of Israel, Jerusalem, where we just opened the American Embassy. They thought it would never be named. And after it was named, they thought it would never get built, and I built it within four months.”

— NEW DETAILS: “When it came [the] time, and when people were hearing rumors about it, I was inundated from calls of every leader from all over the world, imploring me, even demanding that we not do it, to a point where I never took their calls. I called them back after I did it. You know, it’s one of those jobs, ‘Let me call them back.’ I was getting calls from kings and presidents and dictators. And when I knew what it was about, I’d say, ‘Tell them I’ll call them next week.’ Then I called them and I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you felt that way. Well, it’s too late.'”

TRUMPIAN LINE: “We did it. We’re proud of it. It’s there. Enjoy it.” [CSPAN]

— WORTH NOTING – On the embassy’s website: “Please note when making an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem that you must select Jerusalem as the city and Jerusalem as the country. If you choose Israel as the country, the system will automatically redirect you to make an appointment at the Branch Office in Tel Aviv.” h/t Allison Sommer

Trump on Iran: “We will see what happens, but we’re ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the previous administration, which was a disaster ”

— Trump’s defense secretary, Jim Mattis, declined to directly answer a question about whether he was concerned that Trump’s rhetoric might ratchet up tensions in the region… “It’s time for Iran to shape up and show responsibility as a responsible nation. It cannot continue to show irresponsibility as a revolutionary organization that is intent on exporting terrorism, exporting disruption, across the region,” said Mattis… “So I think the president was making very clear that they’re on the wrong track.” [Reuters]

HAPPENING TODAY — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “American Diplomacy to Advance Our National Security Strategy” at 3PM EDT [CSPAN]

ON THE HILL — Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) introduced legislation this week to reform U.S. contributions to UNWRA so that the group limits their scope to the original refugees from 1948 and not include descendants who in some instances did not even grown up in the Middle East.

Lamborn tells us: “We don’t accept UNWRA’s unique definition, which is not used anywhere else in the UN when it comes to dealing with refugees. They need to get back to their original definition and original mission, and then, in light of that, we will adjust the funding accordingly. The number will go down because we’re dealing with a much smaller number of people as opposed to their current number, which is 5.3 million Palestinian refugees. We know the number is a fraction of that.”

TALK OF THE REGION — With Syria focused on ending war, it’s unlikely downed jet was threat to Israel — by Avi Issacharoff: “There is little to suggest the Syrian air force had any intention of striking Israeli targets; rather, the pilot was probably busy bombing rebel targets adjacent to the Syria-Jordan-Israel border triangle as part of a wide Syrian and Russian offensive… If the pattern in other areas is any guide, soon enough this triangle region, too, will also be under Syrian control and quiet may return to Israel’s Golan frontier.” [ToI] •

Bennett: Jewish Nation-State Law harms Druze — by Gil Hoffman: “Education Minister Naftali Bennett took a surprising stand Wednesday when he accused his own government of making a mistake in the Jewish Nation-State Law that passed last Thursday… Bennett’s change of heart came after holding many discussions with what he called “our Druze brothers.” … “It has become clear that the manner in which the Nation-State Law was enacted was very damaging, especially to them and to anyone who has tied his fate to the Jewish state,” Bennett said.” [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Israel’s nation-state law: “We hesitate to respond – or to answer questions about other country’s legislation… We are certainly aware of that new law. I’d have to refer you to the Government of Israel for the specifics of that law and their position on that. But I can tell as a general matter, and as it pertains to this, that we believe in equality of all persons before the law.”

2018 WATCH — Romney has a massive campaign cash advantage over Wilson — by Bryan Schott: “[Mitt] Romney pulled in more than $2.4 million in campaign contributions from April to July… Among Romney’s contributors are GOP megadonors Sheldon Adelson and Frank Vandersloot, and former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci.” [UtahPolicy]

** 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: Untold Story — How Joe Lacob and Peter Guber won the Warriors and Oracle founder Larry Ellison lost (worth the read but behind a paywall) [TheAthletic] • Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe Gets $300 Million Boost From GlaxoSmithKline To Develop New Drugs [Forbes] • Seagram Heiress Clare Bronfman Arrested For Ties To Alleged Sex Cult [TheCut] — Clare Bronfman was released on a $100 million bond [Crains] • Kushner Real Estate Group purchase $56M N.J. property, continue apartment-buying spree [NJAdvance]

ASPEN, the most interesting local news town — “The Spy Who Drove Me” — by Julia Ioffe: “It all started last Wednesday night, after the first day of the Aspen Security Forum, perhaps the most high-level annual gathering of national security types: spooks, former spooks, people who rely on spooks to set U.S. foreign policy, people who write about spooks, people who study spooks, and any politicians who want to participate in the forum. That night, I stood waiting for an Uber… Finally, a car pulled up and our designated Uber driver, a woman I’ll call Gloria, welcomed us in. She was an older woman, somewhere in her sixties, and had a sweet and heavy Hispanic accent.”

“It was all very standard Uber chit-chat fare: Have you been to Aspen before? What brings you here? “So what’s going on with North Korea?” Gloria asked. “What are people saying?” I murmured something as I dug around Instagram. “You know, I’ve been to North Korea,” Gloria said. I looked up. “What?” I asked, startled. “How? When?” “As part of a delegation.” “What kind of delegation?” I asked. Gloria was silent, driving through the dark streets.”

“[The next morning] I texted Gloria and asked her to pick me up in downtown Aspen and take me back to the conference site… “Since I saw your face yesterday, I’ve been wondering,” she said, “are you from a Russian background?” Suddenly, I was jolted from my self-flagellating reverie. How the hell did Gloria know I was from Russia? I certainly hadn’t mentioned it, and my last name wasn’t on my Uber profile. And, since I’m Jewish, I don’t even look particularly Russian—that is, classically Slavic. What else did Gloria know, and how did she know it?” [GQ]

Pink recalls bringing family to Berlin Holocaust memorial — by Amy Spiro: “Singer Pink opened up to friend and actress Reese Witherspoon in a recent episode of her new talk show, and discussed an emotional moment on tour with her family. “We went to Berlin and the Holocaust Memorial,” Pink told Witherspoon in a recent episode of Hello Sunshine…  The singer told Witherspoon that her then 6-year-old daughter Willow’s reaction to the visit was deeply moving. “She was like, ‘wait, so [grandma’s] Jewish… my mom’s Jewish, well then I’m Jewish,'” Pink recalled her daughter saying. “‘Well then this could have been us,’ and at six, it’s just like, to watch those wheels turn,” the singer, born Alecia Beth Moore, recounted.” [JPost]

MAZEL TOV: Karlie Kloss Is Engaged to Joshua Kushner: ‘Their Hearts Are Full’ — by Colleen Kratofil: “Supermodel Karlie Kloss and her boyfriend Joshua Kushner are engaged after six years of dating! … Prior to their engagement, a source tells PEOPLE that Kloss converted to Judaism in early June (a step Ivanka Trump also took before her engagement to the elder Kushner brother).” [PeopleNYT]

VIRAL — “Move over Horah, dancing with jet packs are the new hot Jewish wedding ritual.” [BarstoolSports]

One of Instagram’s biggest influencers wants influencers to know the end is near — by Chloe Melas: “The Fat Jewish, whose real name is Josh Ostrovsky, says the online phenomenon that made him a tidy sum of money has nearly run its course. The end of the influencer age, he says, is nigh. The future lies in making real things for real people. “Everybody just wants to be an influencer now. Nobody wants to get a job,” he told CNNMoney in a recent interview…” [CNN

DESSERT — Shops Come and Go. But 2 New York Photographers Don’t Want to Forget — by Laura Holson: “James and Karla Murray have lived in the East Village for 22 years. And they have highlighted some of the family-owned stores they frequented in “Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S.,” a mixed media art installation recently opened in Seward Park on the Lower East Side. All of the storefronts represented, except for Katz’s Delicatessen, have shuttered.” [NYTimes

‘Food Fight,’ a new kosher web series — by Jeanne Muchnick: “Rorie Weisberg, a health coach and founder of Full n’ Free, is competing against three other contestants in “Food Fight,” airing at Kosher[dot]com/foodfight. Her challenge: To create a dish that’s more beautiful, better executed, and above all, more delicious than the rest — all within a half-hour time period and using one key ingredient. The series, which runs once per week, premiered July 25 and was filmed in Tarrytown.” [Lohud]

BIRTHDAYS: Journalist, writer and author, the mother of John Podhoretz, Midge Decter (born Midge Rosenthal) turns 91… Cinematographer, whose work includes “The Empire Strikes Back,” Peter Suschitzky turns 77… Member of the New York City Council since 2014, Alan N. Maisel turns 72… Born in Casablanca, nightclub owner, entrepreneur and film producer, he produced “The Woman in Red” and “Weekend at Bernie’s,” Victor Drai turns 71… Former IDF Brigadier General (he was part of Operation Entebbe in 1976), a former leader of the National Religious Party, then a member of Knesset (2003-2009), now President of Genie Oil and Gas, Efraim “Effi” Eitam turns 66… Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist, formerly of the Washington Post editorial board (2002-2006), Anne Applebaum turns 54…

Retired MLB pitcher (1988-1997) from the small Jewish community in the Dominican Republic, he maintains a kosher home (not to be confused with the current NY Mets player of the same name), José Bautista turns 54… Israeli journalist, television news anchor on Channel 10 and author of a non-fiction book and a novel, Oshrat Kotler turns 53… Senior managing director of the Orthodox Union, Rabbi Steven Weil turns 53… Member of the Los Angeles City Council, representing a district in the San Fernando Valley, Mitchell Englander turns 48… NYC-based criminal defense attorney, Arkady L. Bukh turns 46… Head coach of the men’s basketball team at Kent State University, Rob Senderoff turns 45… Baseball pitcher in the Oakland Athletics organization, he pitched for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Joseph “Joey” Samuel Wagman turns 27… Erin Seidler

Kafe Knesset for October 3

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Palestinian party pooper: As the Palestinian government convened in Gaza for the first time since 2014, the Israeli PM poured cold water over the latest reconciliation attempts in…

Kafe Knesset for September 29

Friday, September 29, 2017

Rawabi – the background story: Israel rejected an American request to transfer planning authorities to the Palestinians in order to complete the construction of the main access road…

Kafe Knesset for September 28

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Settlements staying put: Netanyahu relayed a very clear message in his speech at the national ceremony honoring the 50tth anniversary of the return to Judea, Samaria, Jordan Valley…

Kafe Knesset for September 27

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Israel versus Palestinians 0-1: The Israeli diplomatic efforts against the PA’s attempts to gain international recognition suffered a severe blow this morning in Beijing. Interpol’s General Assembly, meeting…

Kafe Knesset for September 26

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The tragic news of the Har Adar terror attack took over the agenda of the weekly cabinet meeting, which was postponed from Sunday and convened this morning. The…

Kafe Knesset for September 25

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump’s mystery peace plan: Jason Greenblatt is on his way back to Israel for another round of peace talks followed by a family Sukkot holiday, and the Israeli…