Daily Kickoff: Oprah-Bloomberg 2020? | Michael Eisner’s new gig | Robert Siegel on retirement | Bibi attending AIPAC PC? | Lynn Blitzer BDay

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FIRST LOOK: “Michael Eisner Sketches a Happy Ending for Portsmouth F.C.” by Rory Smith: “Just like in any sports movie worth its salt, the montage told the story best. In early May 2017, Michael Eisner arrived at the Guildhall in Portsmouth, England, to face 1,500 fans of the city’s soccer team. His task was a delicate one: to persuade at least 75 percent of them to sell their beloved club, Portsmouth F.C., to “an ancient Hollywood executive” and his sons. There would be, he knew, a degree of skepticism. Portsmouth’s previous experience with foreign owners suggested they brought nothing but trouble. First under Russian-Israeli, and then Emirati, Saudi and Nepali ownership, the century-old club had sunk all the way from the Premier League to League Two, English soccer’s fourth tier.”

“Eisner is asked “all the time” why he has, at age 75, chosen to get involved with the ownership of an English soccer team, particularly one so stripped of glamour and so deprived of investment as Portsmouth. Even his wife has ventured the question. “I could ask, why not?” is his stock response… But he also knows that sports is the only “water-cooler friendly” content left. “If it’s a good sports movie, it’s to do with winning,” Eisner said. Sports and movies, to Eisner, are the same thing at heart: They are both — they are all — stories. He has spent his career telling them, and Portsmouth is simply the latest.”[NYTimes]

DRIVING THE DAY — “AP sources: Trump to extend sanctions relief for Iran” by Matt Lee and Josh Lederman: “President Donald Trump is expected this week to extend relief from economic sanctions to Iran as part of the nuclear deal, citing progress in amending U.S. legislation that governs Washington’s participation in the landmark accord… But Trump is likely to pair his decision to renew the concessions to Tehran with new, targeted sanctions on Iranian businesses and people.” [AP

— “Trump will seek to make a final decision on whether to waive the sanctions during a meeting with national security aides on Thursday, a senior administration official told Reuters.” [Reuters

“McMaster Rushes to Save the Iran Deal That Trump Promised to Kill” by Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman: “[H. R.] McMaster is searching for an agreement, even one just in principle, with the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee… McMaster considers that an agreement with Sens. Bob Corker and Ben Cardin that took away the congressional deadlines on Iran that Trump hates would be a face-saving way for the White House to accept the deal. “This would be a coup for McMaster and a bailout for Trump,” said a Republican lobbyist familiar with the talks…

“Two other well-wired sources expect the Corker/Cardin deal to include a provision that will kick in six years from now, as aspects of the Iran deal relax and start moving toward expiration. If Iran violates certain terms of its nuclear agreement after that point, then the Corker/Cardin deal would impose a 90-day countdown clock… Sources say a remaining question is whether Congress will need 50 or 60 votes to keep the sanctions from being reimposed, and that they expect it will be a 50-vote threshold… Tom Cotton—perhaps the Senate’s most dogged Iran hawk and potentially Trump’s next CIA director—recently met with McMaster to discuss Iran, and a source familiar with that meeting described it as a “train wreck.” [DailyBeast] • Krishnadev Calamur: The Iran Deal Lives Another Day [TheAtlantic

HEARD THE OTHER DAY — Former Senator Joe Lieberman gives the Trump administration an A grade on Iran: “I would give them an A. I disagree with a lot of other things President Trump has done, but on Iran, we went from an administration that was so focused on reaching this nuclear agreement that they tolerated suppression of human rights, turned a deaf ear to the protests in Iran (in 2009)… just let them get away with it. President Trump has now, basically, said ‘we know who our friends are in the Middle East’ – Arab nations and Israel, and we are going to support them; and we know who are enemies are, and that’s Iran and the radical Islamic terrorists. So I give him an A.” [BloombergTV

TALK OF THE REGION: “PM indirectly confirms Israel was sourceof Trump intel leak to Russia” by Yonah Jeremy Bob: “Speaking to a conference of NATO ambassadors on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu all but spelled it out. “When we talk about ISIS, it’s important to understand that Israel helps Europe in two fundamental ways,” Netanyahu said… “We have, through our intelligence services, provided information that has stopped several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries. Some of these could have been mass attacks, of the worst kind… even worse, because they involve civil aviation. Israel has prevented that, and thereby helped save many European lives.” … The prime minister surely would not have risked drawing attention to Israel’s part in providing the laptop-threat warning when it was still trying to keep its head down about Trump’s leak. But now Netanyahu may feel more comfortable that Trump has come through, having recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and having provided several signs that he will adopt much of Israel’s narrative in its dispute with the Palestinians.” [JPost]

REPORT: “Netanyahu Asked Obama to Consider Giving Palestinians Land in Sinai, Former U.S. Officials Say” by Amir Tibon: “The idea which the officials say was raised by Netanyahu in 2014 is somewhat similar to those mentioned in a number of recent news reports about the Trump administration’s peace plan… “We all thought this idea was a waste of time,” one of the officials said. “We knew it would be a complete non-starter for the Palestinians – why would they trade agricultural lands in the West Bank, close to their largest cities, for sand dunes in Sinai?” [Haaretz

Pence says moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem could take ‘several years’ — by Samuel Chamberlain: “The vice president [said] that “planning is underway” to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, but did not give a target date as to when the move would be completed. “I think it will probably be several years before we cut the ribbon, but the decision is made,” Pence said. “We’re moving our embassy to the capital of Israel.”” [FoxNews]

“Egypt Opens Criminal Inquiry Over New York Times Article” by Declan Walsh: “Egypt’s prosecutor general has ordered a criminal investigation over a New York Times article that described a covert effort by Egyptian intelligence to sway public opinion in favor of accepting President Trump’s decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The article “undermines Egypt’s security and public peace, and harms the country’s public interest,” the prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, said in a statement…” [NYTimes] • ‘Make Egypt Great Again’: Israeli experts question neighbor’s military buildup [DefenseNews]

BIBI COMING TO AIPAC? “Trump to meet Israel’s Netanyahu in March after Jerusalem embassy move” by Jack Moore: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he would meet with President Donald Trump in a March pow-wow in Washington, the fourth time since the American leader’s inauguration. Netanyahu said that he could possibly meet him before March but that had not been confirmed.” [Newsweek

Jack Lew says he feared Hillary Clinton was headed to a crushing loss — by Ben White: “I had a bad feeling before the election,” [former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in the latest POLITICO Money podcast.] “I can’t say I expected it, but I can’t say I was completely surprised. I did not treat it as a done deal. The fact that President Obama went to Michigan on a rather urgent basis just a few days before the election was a bit of a canary in the coal mine that things weren’t where they needed to be.” Lew stayed in Washington on election night to monitor potential market reaction to a Trump win. And he tried to boost spirits at the White House — including Obama’s — the day after.” [Politico]

“The Wolff Eats Its Own” by Bret Stephens: “[Michael] Wolff’s book is Exhibit A in how not to damage Trump’s presidency, much less his chances of re-election… If the anti-Trump movement has a crippling defect, it’s smugness, and Wolff’s book reflects and richly feeds it. We’re the moral scolds who struggle to acknowledge the skeletons in our own closet, the smart people whose forecasts keep proving wrong. We said Trump couldn’t win. That the stock market would never recover from his election. That he would blow up NATO. That the Middle East would erupt in violence when Jerusalem was recognized as Israel’s capital. The catastrophes haven’t happened, and maybe that’s just a matter of luck. But by constantly predicting doom and painting the White House in the darkest colors, anti-Trumpers have only helped the president. We have set an almost impossibly high bar for Trumpian failure.”[NYTimes]  

2020 WATCH: Kevin Sheekey, Michael Bloomberg’s political strategist, posted a photo of Oprah Winfrey and Michael Bloomberg on stage. This prompted former NBC News reporter Luke Russert to reply, “The Ticket!” [Instagram

ON THE HILL — “Congressmen introduce bill to sanction Iran for taking hostages” by Eric Cortellessa: “Introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul and Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat from Florida, the [Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act] is designed to give the Trump administration tools to severely punish Tehran for taking hostages…” [ToI]

“Darrell Issa, a California Republican, Will Not Seek Re-election to House” by Nicholas Fandos: “Representative Darrell Issa, whose hard-edge partisan attacks on President Barack Obama began softening as his district trended toward the Democrats, said on Wednesday that he would not seek re-election… In a bizarre turn, facing a difficult re-election last year, Mr. Issa came to embrace Mr. Obama — a development the then-president called “the definition of chutzpah.”” [NYTimes

“Gillibrand Vows to Block Trump’s Likely Choice for U.S. Attorney in Manhattan” by Benjamin Weiser: “Senator Kirsten Gillibrand plans to use a prerogative given to home-state senators to try to block the confirmation of Geoffrey S. Berman if he is nominated by President Trump as the United States attorney in Manhattan… The senator, Democrat of New York, intends to use her “blue-slip prerogative” to lodge her objection over reports that President Trump had personally interviewed Mr. Berman as part of the selection process…” [NYTimes]

“Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admits extramarital affair but denies reports he blackmailed woman with photo” by Fred Barbash: “Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), responding to media reports, acknowledged Wednesday night that he was unfaithful to his wife “a few years ago” before being elected. But his lawyer denied sensational allegations aired by a local TV station that Greitens threatened to distribute naked photos he took of the woman with whom he was having a relationship if she ever said anything about it. The woman, who has not been named publicly, was Greitens’s hair stylist.” [WashPostNYMag

** 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: Israeli CEOs Saying Amazon Poaches Employees, Threatening to Leave Amazon Web Services [Calcalist] • Kushner’s real estate investing startup Cadre partners with Goldman Sachs [Reuters] • With its new newsletter director, Dan Oshinsky, The New Yorker wants to experiment with standalone and international-focused products [NiemanLab] • LionTree’s Aryeh Bourkoff Predicts “Golden Age” Of Mergers, Acquisitions [Deadline

SCENE AT CES: Layer3 TV’s Eric Kuhn with former NBA commissioner David Stern and Cheddar’s Jon Steinberg. Kuhn’s caption: “The law offices of Stern, Steinberg & Kuhn” [Pic]

“Bob Kraft-funded van will bring addiction services to city streets” by Jon Chesto: “The Kraft Center for Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital — funded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family’s charitable foundation — on Tuesday rolled out a specially equipped mobile van, dubbed CareZone, to bring health services to Boston residents who are struggling with addiction. The van will rotate between two locations in the city.” [BostonGlobe

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Robert Siegel, who recently retired after serving as NPR’s host of All Things Considered for thirty years, discussed recent developments and his next steps on The Atlantic Interview podcast with Jeffrey Goldberg: Talking about the #MeToo movement and the recent high-profile departures in media, politics and other industries after allegations of inappropriate behavior, Siegel said, “I don’t hope for a complete rebirth of human goodness and kindness, but rather restraints of bad behavior and feeling that there will be some penalty for doing wrong.” He then added, “It’s very Jewish of me to say that, I think.”

Siegel on his next steps: “Right now I am living purposely without purpose or plan… It really has been since when I was about 22 and didn’t know what was going to happen. I remember several months just not working – and living. That’s the only period of my life since I was about 15 that I’ve experienced that, and I want to try this first and see how that feels like, and see what it feels good to do.” [TheAtlantic

“Chris Rock’s Israel Show Included a Candid Message About His Relationship With God” by Jennie Fink: “I guess I am trying to find God before he finds me,” the Times of Israel reported [Rock] told the audience… After joking about being so broke he had to perform in Israel, he informed the crowd that part of ticket sales would go “toward helping little black girls attend private school.” “If anyone asks what you did tonight, you can say, ‘I made a difference,’” he said.” [IJR

“Palestinians in East Jerusalem cherish horses as family” by Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh: “Mahmoud Montasir, a Jerusalem teenager who has his own horse, said he had achieved his childhood dream of turning horse-riding into a pastime. “It is a great privilege to work with horses. A horse is a very clever animal and understands its human friend and his feelings. A horse also always shares its own feelings with its human friend but you need to understand it,” Montasir said.” [Reuters

“Rivlin: We must renew our partnership with the Diaspora” by Irit Avissar: “At the “Globes” Israel Business Conference, President Reuven Rivlin… called for the construction of a long-term vision that would ensure the realization of Israel’s potential in the world. “The time is ripe for creating a vision and a general strategy for the next 30 years, as a coordinated process involving the government and the private market. Within that, there is room for looking at joint action with the Jewish Diaspora on this and other matters, and for creating a new axis of partnership. We would like to strive for a reality in which Israel the innovator and Israel with all its capabilities, together with Diaspora Jewry, will be a main partner in dealing with global development problems.”” [Globes]

“Someone Tore Down the Mezuzah of UCLA’s Jewish Student President. Read Her Powerful Response” by Yair Rosenberg: “This past May, Arielle Yael Mokhtarzadeh was elected student body president of UCLA, one of America’s largest universities… This Monday, when she returned to school following winter break… She arrived at her office to find that her mezuzah… had been torn down. Rather than be cowed by this attempted act of intimidation, Mokhtarzadeh promptly announced this afternoon that she’d be publicly dedicating a new mezuzah and invited the campus to join her.” [Tablet

“German Idea to Fight Anti-Semitism: Make Immigrants Tour Concentration Camps” by Rick Gladstone: “Alarmed by displays of anti-Semitism among new immigrants to Germany, a German politician has offered a novel idea that appears to be gaining traction: required visits to Nazi concentration camp memorials. The idea, proposed by Sawsan Chebli, a Berlin state legislator of Palestinian heritage, received a significant boost on Wednesday when the leaders of Germany’s Central Council of Jews and the far larger World Jewish Congress agreed with her…” [NYTimes

TRANSITION — NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s senior aide Avi Fink has been promoted to Chief of Staff at the Office of Management and Budget. Fink was previously Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor.

PIC OF THE DAY — Zak The Baker in Miami: “Proud to be your baker @wholefoods. Shiny new Dadeland store is officially open and looking beautiful.” [Pic

BIRTHDAYS: Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, author of 40 books on jurisprudence and economics, Richard Posner turns 79… Film, television and theater director, best known for his TV series “Full House” and “Family Matters” and his films “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Fat Albert,” Joel Zwick turns 76… Las Vegas resident, Stephen Needleman turns 76… Economist and professor of banking at Columbia University, he was a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2006-2008), Frederic Stanley “Rick” Mishkin turns 67… Personal shopper at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Chevy Chase, noted gardner and florist, she has been married to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer since 1973, Lynn Greenfield Blitzer turns 67…

Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Experimental Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and author of five books, Dr. Jerome E. Groopman turns 66… Founder of VisibleWorld, a developer of viewer-customized television advertising, the company was acquired by Comcast in 2015 and is now known as FreeWheel, Seth Haberman turns 58… Former senior political analyst for MSNBC, Mark Halperin turns 53… Film, stage and television actress, star of the 2000 comedy film “The Whole Nine Yards,” Amanda Peet turns 46… Born in Montreal to a Moroccan Jewish family, former goaltender with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes who also played in six other leagues, Josh Tordjman turns 33… French-American actress, Flora Crossturns 25… Founder of Nannies by Noa, a full-service childcare agency, serving families in NYC and the Hamptons, teen entrepreneur Noa Mintz turns 17…

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: A Republican aboard the Oprah 2020 train? | Rand Paul aide reads letter from Trump at Jewish wedding | BDays: Jared; Jonathan Sarna

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JI INTERVIEW — Why this GOP veteran might support an Oprah 2020 run — by Jacob Kornbluh: “I think that people who are not taking her seriously are making a huge mistake,” Noam Neusner, a former speechwriter and Jewish liaison for President George W. Bush, told Jewish Insider on Tuesday. “And you know, she could definitely win. She could definitely win… She’s likable. She has spent the last 25-30 years of her professional career talking to people, listening to people, understanding how to win people over,” Neusner explained. “She’s great. She’s great at it, and provided that she wants to do this, she still has to present a political agenda, but I think that, politically speaking, what matters to voters for the most part is a comfort level and likability.”

Asked if someone like him, who is a traditional and longtime Republican, would vote for Oprah over Trump, Neusner said: “It’s possible. I mean, a lot depends on the condition of the country somewhere around the summer of 2020. If things are rough in the economy, if the country is facing a foreign policy crisis or a foreign policy headache, if there’s a sense that Trump doesn’t have command of the country’s interests, yeah, a Republican could very well decide to vote for Oprah,” he asserted.

“But that’s not going to determine the outcome of the election,” Neusner continued. “What will determine the outcome of the election will be the intensity that she creates among Democratic and liberal voters. And whether she gets key voters in swing states and married women. I think that it would be very hard for Trump to win in any group of female voters if he were running against Oprah. If she were a female Joe Biden on policy, she would probably do quite well. On the other hand, if Trump is sitting on a strong economy, decent prosperity, even with all the distractions that come with his presidency, and sometimes even with all the frustrations that come with this presidency, Republicans aren’t going to suddenly abandon him. They might actually really be excited to vote for him again.” [JewishInsider]

“Ivanka tries to have it both ways: Trump’s daughter and #MeToo supporter” by Annie Karni: “The first daughter didn’t consult with her aides on Monday night before expressing herself on Twitter… Friends and colleagues said the person they know would be oblivious to anything incongruous about her Winfrey support – and likely frustrated by backlash she sees as unfair. “She thinks she is part of the feminist club,” said one New York socialite who used to be friendly with Ivanka Trump on the benefit circuit. “She truly thinks of herself as the greatest champion of women. She would see no irony in it whatsoever.”” [Politico]

DRIVING THE WEEK — “Iran deal deadline approaching, as Trump weighs options” by Margaret Brennan and Kylie Atwood: “A White House official indicated that the decision may be pushed until early next week. The holiday weekend may give the White House more time to give congressional notification. A decision not to waive sanctions may deal a fatal blow to the Iran nuclear deal…”

“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will meet with the president Thursday to discuss the decision. They are expected to advise that the U.S. remain part of the nuclear agreement… Three… Trump administration officials… cautioned that it was not at all certain that the president will heed the advice of his national security team to uphold the agreement.” [CBSNews]

REPORT — Netanyahu tells NATO ambassadors there’s a ‘real possibility’ Trump will nix nuclear deal: “President Trump has to make a decision this week,” Netanyahu said at a Jerusalem luncheon, according to a Channel 10 news report. “You have to understand that there is a real possibility that he will work to cancel the nuclear agreement. If you do not act to amend the agreement, then Trump may cancel it.” [ToINana10]

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) tells reporters… “Even if legislation comes to fruition, Corker added, Trump “still could get out of” the deal. But Corker offered up three reasons why he believes now is not the time to withdraw from the accord. One was the North Korea issue… “Right now, because of the concerns they have about President Trump withdrawing,” Corker said of Europe, “they’re much more willing to work with us on lots of other issues, and so you lose that leverage if you just withdraw.”” [TheHill]

“Don’t End the Iran Deal, Fix It” by Michael Doran: “[Trump] and Congress could eliminate the nuclear deal’s sunset clauses—its most dangerous provisions—by making restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program permanent in U.S. law and requiring more robust inspections… The Trump administration has been conducting quiet conversations with Capitol Hill about such an approach, and in recent weeks the possibility of reaching an agreement has improved markedly. It would be a mistake if Mr. Trump, merely in order to meet an arbitrary legislative deadline, were to cut off this option, which offers the possibility of forging a new bipartisan consensus on Iran.” [WSJ]

“Europe’s High Representative for Appeasement” by Eli Lake: On Monday, [Federica Mogherini] invited Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, to Brussels next week for more discussions on the Iran nuclear deal. Alireza Nader, an Iran expert at the RAND Corporation, told me this week that Mogherini’s statement on Iran was “saying both sides are equal, when it’s Iranian security forces that are shooting and killing people.” … In Mogherini, Europe has a chief diplomat who doesn’t want to offend the envoys of tyrants.”[BloombergView]

ANOTHER DEBATE WITHIN ADMIN: “Trump administration split on cutting aid to Palestinian refugees” by Josh Rogin: “At a Jan. 5 interagency meeting in Washington, representatives from the State and Defense departments argued for at least partial funding for UNRWA, while the representative from America’s U.N. mission held firm to [Nikki] Haley’s view that no funding should be provided. The decision is technically that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has yet to personally weigh in. The upcoming Principals Committee meeting is meant to settle the dispute… Officials said one option is to give partial funding; another option is to ask others, such as Saudi Arabia, to foot the bill…”

“Sources close to Haley said she does not advocate abolishing UNRWA altogether, as some pro-Israel Republicans have long advocated. She simply believes that there can no more business as usual when it comes to giving aid to countries that oppose U.S. policy. This position is shared by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Jared Kushner.” [WashPost• Jonathan Ferziger: This Is Trump’s Next Hot-Button Issue in the Middle East [Bloomberg]

“Israel to approve hundreds of new settler homes in West Bank” by Maayan Lubell and Arshad Mohammed: “Israeli authorities were due to approve on Wednesday the construction of 1,285 housing units to be built in 2018 and advance planning for 2,500 others in about 20 different settlements… Asked about the construction plans, a U.S. State Department official said there had been no change in policy on settlements and the Israeli government had made clear that going forward “its intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes the President’s concerns into consideration.”” [Reuters]

“After Terror Attack, Israeli Army Imposes Partial Lockdown on West Bank City, Villages” by Yotam Berger and Yaniv Kubovich: “The Israel Defense Forces said late Tuesday that 35-year-old Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six from the settlement outpost of Havat Gilad, was killed when a gunman opened fire on his car… The army searched the villages in the area overnight in search of the terrorists behind the shooting attack.” [Haaretz]

Ambassador David Friedman tweets: “An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family.” [Twitter]

— MK Michael Oren‏: “While mourning Rabbi Raziel Shevach, I also salute US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for condemning Hamas’s praise of the attack and the Palestinian Authority for reconciling with Hamas. I agree that such hatred of Jews, and not settlements, is the reason there’s no peace.”[Twitter]

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami: “We all share grief over this terrible tragedy. I join prayers for bereaved family. Also question @USAmbIsrael analysis on why there is no peace. Must look further. Role is Ambassador of US not rep of Israel’s right wing. Balanced diplomacy not one sided advocacy will bring peace.” [Twitter]

TALK OF THE REGION — “Mohammed bin Salman’s Next Saudi Challenge: Curtailing Ultraconservative Islam” by Margherita Stancati: “The Muslim World League—a body that was once the key vehicle through which Saudi Arabia spread Wahhabi ideology beyond its border—is now led by a moderate cleric, who says promoting greater understanding among faiths is a priority. “In 1979 our religion was hijacked,” said Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa, a former minister of justice, who in a gesture of tolerance routinely encourages the non-Muslim women he meets to remove their headscarves, “Now we are eradicating the roots of extremism.” During a trip to Europe earlier this year, he became the first head of the Muslim League to meet the pope and visit a synagogue… Last month, authorities detained a senior prince, Khaled bin Talal, for opposing the government’s reforms such as the decision to curb the power of the religious police… Since the clampdown, many clerics have publicly endorsed the social reforms, while others have kept silent.”[WSJ]

IRAN PROTESTS — “Israel’s spy chief has said Mossad has eyes and ears in Iran and would like to see a revolution” by Callum Paton: “Israel’s spy chief has said… that the country’s external intelligence network Mossad has “eyes, ears and even more” trained on developments in the Islamic Republic. Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad… added that a revolution in Tehran would be a desirable outcome to the current unrest from an Israeli perspective. “I would like to see a revolution, but the protesters are faced with opposing forces,” Cohen was quoted as saying. The Mossad head also praised President Donald Trump, saying he had ushered in a new area of cooperation between the United States and Israel, especially when it came to countering the perceived threat from Iran. “We see a good change that may take Israeli security interests further into account, and by doing so it will help our struggle to change the direction of Iranian influence,” Cohen said.” [NewsweekAudio]

“Beyond tweets, here’s how Trump could help the Iranian protesters” by Kenneth Weinstein: “Now he should release information our intelligence agencies have compiled on how much wealth Iranian elites have amassed through their maze of front companies and hidden ownership of Iran’s resources. The Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, passed by the House of Representatives in December, would do just that. The president, however, doesn’t need to wait for an act of Congress to take action. He can immediately declassify information about the financial holdings of those affiliated with the Iranian government.” [LATimes

“Germany tells Iran not to spy against Israel on its territory” by Andrea Shalal: “Germany has summoned Iran’s ambassador to warn Tehran against spying on individuals and groups with close ties to Israel, calling such acts an unacceptable breach of German law. The move came after the March conviction of a Pakistani man for spying for Iran in Germany went into force.” [Reuters]

“Coming soon to Davos: A Trump stink bomb” by John Harris and Ben White: “Trump’s controversial closing ad of the 2016 campaign featured video of GOP boogeyman George Soros speaking at a WEF (World Economic Forum) event and included Trump railing against a “global power structure” that was crushing the American worker… Now Trump will be the first sitting president since Bill Clinton in 2000 to attend… Beyond the emotional charge of appearing before many people who regard him as a mysterious new virus — as well as some Wall Street types, like Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, who have been more supportive — there seems to be at least a whisper of a strategic rationale for Trump going to Davos. One administration official said Trump’s appearance will be a “Nikki Haley at the U.N.” moment.” [Politico]

COMING SOON: The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Annual Leadership Meeting will take place on February 9th – 11th at the Venetian/Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas. High profile speakers include Anthony Scaramucci (The Mooch), House Speaker Paul Ryan, Governors Scott Walker and Eric Greitens, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, and John Bolton.

–Read more: Adelson to Host Scaramucci at Republican Jewish Gathering [Bloomberg]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Jared’s policy push on prison reform” by Mike Allen: “President Trump tomorrow will hold a listening session on prison reform, after six months of quiet exploration of the issue by senior adviser Jared Kushner… Under the auspices of Kushner’s Office of American Innovation, administration officials have met with faith-based leaders, former inmates who have been rehabilitated, conservative leaders, and experts on the issue… Koch Industries general counsel Mark Holden, a longtime champion of the issue, told me he has been impressed with Kushner’s passion… The issue is personal for Kushner, given the former imprisonment of his father, developer Charles Kushner.” [Axios]

** 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: David Zaslav Says Discovery Channel Headquarters to Leave Silver Spring [NBC4• Carl Icahn Made It Nine Days Into 2018 Before Demanding Someone Get Fired [Dealbreaker• Touro College snaps up dorm space at One West End [NYPost• Intel, Mobileye unveil first autonomous car [ToI]

MEDIA WATCH: “Trump Lawyer Cohen Sues Buzzfeed Over Claims in Russia Dossier” by Jennifer Jacobs: “It will be proven that I had no involvement in this Russian collusion conspiracy,” Michael Cohen said in an interview on Tuesday. “My name was included only because of my proximity to the president.” Cohen’s complaint against Buzzfeed names editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs, who were the bylines on the article Buzzfeed published accompanying the dossier… He declined to say whether he has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.” [Bloomberg

TALK OF THE TOWN: “RI, Mass. move dates of September primaries to avoid Jewish holidays” by Ted Nesi: “Rhode Islanders will make a rare Wednesday trip to the ballot box later this year, and Massachusetts residents will vote two weeks earlier than usual, as both states move their primaries to avoid conflicting with Jewish holidays.” [WPRI]

PIC OF THE DAY — Real estate developer Aby Rosen posted a photo of a Torah Ark curtain at the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum with an embroidered dedication to the Hongkou people for providing refuge to Jews during WWII [Pic]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN BROOKLYN — President Donald Trump sent a personal letter congratulating Shlomo Segal and Devorah Ganz on their wedding, which took place at Ateres Chynka hall in Brooklyn, NY. Mr. Segal is the son of Rabbi Nate Segal, an informal Jewish advisor to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The letter was hand-delivered by Sergio Gor, Sen. Paul’s Communications Director. Gor described Rabbi Segal as “the biggest macher” as he read out the letter on the wedding dance floor. [PicJewishInsider]

REMEMBERING: “Alan Sagner, Who Revitalized the Port Authority, Dies at 97” by Sam Roberts: “In 1984, he and the Port Authority were honored by the Broadway Association for improving conditions in Times Square… “You have a special problem,” the Rev. Robert G. Rappleyea of Holy Cross Church on West 42nd Street said in his invocation at the ceremony: “The Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge. In fact, you have so many problems you really need Moses.” Mr. Sagner, who was Jewish, replied in kind. “If you could bring Moses back and divide the waters of the Hudson so those traveling could travel dry-shod,” he said, “I might change my religion.”” [NYTimes

DESSERT: “For this acclaimed pastry chef, home tastes like a coffee cake” by Alex Witchel: “[Mindy Segal’s] mother owned a cookbook published by their synagogue with a recipe for sour cream coffee cake that caught Segal’s attention early on. “I have eaten this cake since I was a little girl,” she told me recently, as we stood in the kitchen of Mindy’s Hot­Chocolate… She later created what she calls a “yum yum” variation that she sometimes serves at the restaurant…” [WashPost

BIRTHDAYS: Jared Kushner turns 37… Former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012-2017), Baron David Edmond Neuberger turns 70… Founder of the Center for Research on Institutions and Social Policy, former speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy, Adam Walinskyturns 81… President of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and father of prominent VC Ben Horowitz, David Horowitz turns 79… Executive editor of Denver’s Intermountain Jewish News, Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, Ph.D. turns 72… Passaic, NJ-born musician, singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band “Steely Dan,” Donald Fagen turns 70… Riga, Latvia-born, world reknowned cellist, emigrated to Israel in 1971, has over 50 recordings on the Deutsche Grammophon label with many top orchestras, Mischa Maisky turns 70… Long-time editor at Bantam Books, Simon & Schuster and Crown Publishers, Sydny Weinberg Miner turns 67…

University Professor and Professor of American Jewish History in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, Jonathan D. Sarna turns 63… Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and the majority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Joe Lacob turns 62… Member of the Knesset since 2008 for the United Torah Judaism party, Uri Maklev turns 61… Actor with a recurring role in “Sex and the City” and author of two books on his recovery from acute myeloid leukemia, Evan Handler turns 57… Boston Area Director for Birthright Israel Foundation, Caryn Lazaroff turns 40… Speechwriter for Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-5), Adam Weissmann turns 35… Press secretary at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Morgan Aubrey Finkelstein turns 27 (h/ts Playbook)… Digital operations manager at JTA, Andrew Tobin

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Daily Kickoff: JI readers on Ed Royce’s retirement news | Ron Lauder defends Trump’s fitness | Meet Glossier’s Emily Weiss, millennials’ Estée Lauder

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RISING STAR PROFILE: “The Magic Skin of Glossier’s Emily Weiss: How fast can a beauty blogger become the millennials’ Estée Lauder? About three years” by Amy Larocca: “Emily Weiss has been something of a millennial icon, the star of her own fairy tale, ever since 2007, when she showed up on three episodes of MTV’s The Hills… Weiss herself is obviously Glossier’s secret sauce—its gloriously friendly, photogenic, hardworking face, the Estée of this baby Lauder. But maintaining both that image and distance from it is a complicated dance—there are thousands of pictures of Weiss out there in the world, so many Q and As, and it takes a while to figure out how carefully drawn and maintained her boundaries are… That two-step is not unusual for Weiss— gestures of intimacy deployed alongside strategic walls. She gets right in there on the comment boards, replying to her customers one-on-one, but you never get the sense that Weiss is vulnerable…”

“This isn’t a traditional, top-down, lifestyle, myth-creation, inspiration story,” she says. “This isn’t a Tory Burch, a Ralph Lauren, an Estée Lauder. A lot of our customers don’t even know who I am.” Weiss sees herself not as a visionary but as someone who realized something was happening—social media was transforming the way beauty products were talked about and bought— and then worked her ass off to get on top of it. If people want to be like her, well, it is the era of the aspiring she-E-O. “Me being CEO is probably aspirational to a lot of customers,” she admits. “There were very different value systems when a lot of different beauty brands were created in the ’40s and ’50s, and it had to do with glamour and a life of luxury. I think right now it’s about power.”” [NYMag]

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with clerk hires, signals desire to outlast Trump” by Joan Biskupic: “The cultural icon known as the “Notorious RBG” recently signaled that she intends to stay at least through 2020 by hiring law clerks for at least two more terms. Ginsburg, who turns 85 in March, would have to stay another decade to near the record of William O. Douglas, who served the longest at 36 years… If Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the presidency in 2016, liberal Ginsburg would likely have announced her retirement by this spring. Instead the justice… is not counting on leaving the stage any time soon.” [CNN]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “California Republican Rep. Ed Royce won’t seek reelection” by Christine Mai-Duc and Sarah Wire: “Surprised party leaders learned that Royce would not seek reelection when the 13-term congressman published his announcement on Twitter, saying he wanted to concentrate on his final year as [House  Foreign Affairs] Committee chairman… Royce… was among the House lawmakers considered vulnerable in the upcoming midterm elections…” [LATimes

Sander Gerber, the hedge fund manager behind the Taylor Force Act, tells us… “Ed Royce is the most humble champion of Israel in the House. After he saw the Palestinian Authority’s pay to slay laws, he did whatever he could to build support for their eradication. From personally walking me over to discuss the issue with Senator [Bob] Corker to holding hearings in Congress and ultimately passing the Taylor Force Act. And he gladly made himself available at all hours via cell, because he really cares.”

Joel Mowbray, who has spent much time on the road with Chairman Royce, shared his favorite story: “I was with him when he confronted Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian Authority presidential palace in Ramallah during an AIEF [America-Israel Educational Foundation] trip. There were four Jewish Democrats with him, he was the sole Republican on the trip… After the cameras left the room, Royce, in this toe-to-toe setting, confronted Abbas on his Holocaust denial and said, ‘Dr. Abbas, I know we’re supposed to call you doctor because you have a PhD in Holocaust denial. Abbas’s face goes ashen white, and he said, ‘I want to talk to you about an interview you gave recently to an Iranian-owned Hezbollah radio in Lebanon, in which you yet again denied the Holocaust. You know, my father was a Forward Observer in Patton’s Third Army,’ and Royce pulled out this full-size manila envelope with photos that his father took and starts putting them onto the table that’s set up between them and he says, ‘These are photos that my father took on the day Dachau was liberated. These photos represent one day at one camp. There were countless other such examples that occurred, and for you to say what you have said and continue to say about the Holocaust is deeply dangerous.’ He even, by the way, put one of the photos in Abbas’s lap, because he refused to look at them. To me, that sums up everything that Ed Royce is... The mark of Ed Royce is fearlessness, especially in terms of dealing with other people in diplomatic settings.”

ON THE HILL — The House will vote today on H.Res. 676 – supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression, condemning the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests, and for other purposes  – legislation sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce.

IRAN DEAL — “Trump plans to enforce sanctions against Iran state TV, says source” by Saeed Kamali Dehghan: “The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)…. has been subject to US sanctions since 2013, but both Barack Obama and Donald Trump have signed presidential waivers every 180 days to prevent them coming into force. The Guardian understands Trump is planning not to sign the waiver in regards to the state broadcaster when it comes up for renewal at the end of January, meaning the sanctions will become active… “It is a symbolic act. It will send a strong message to Iran without imposing more hardship on Iranians like other sanctions,” the source said.”[TheGuardian• Iran’s Zarif to powwow with Europeans on saving nuclear deal [ToI]

“On Iran, Trump Should Be Like Reagan” by Richard Goldberg and Dennis Ross: “The JCPOA must not prevent us from fulfilling our international obligations on human rights, terrorism and proliferation… Of course, the Iranian dictators… might even claim such sanctions violate the nuclear deal and threaten to abandon their commitments. But they would be wrong—and they alone would bear the blame and consequences of exiting the JCPOA.” [Politico]

TALK OF THE REGION — Egypt denies report it pressured the press on Trump’s Jerusalem move, despite tapes: “The Egyptian State Information Service (SIS)… [issued] a three-page statement saying that… The [NY] Times article didn’t provide any proof that [Captain Ashraf] al-Kholi is, indeed, an intelligence officer. The security service noted that Egypt has articulated a clear and consistent position on Jerusalem and submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council demanding that Trump reverse his decision to move the US embassy there.” [France24]

‘Nephew of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe among three tourists stabbed in Israel” by Peter Allen: “The nephew of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was among three tourists repeatedly stabbed in the Israeli seaside resort of Eilat… The wounded holidaymakers… were found lying on the promenade last Wednesday after being targeted by a gang of Israeli men. It comes at a time of heightened tension between France and Israel, as President Emmanuel Macron and Mr Philippe refuse to accept Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.” [Telegraph]

“Trump’s peace deal: A Gaza-centered Palestine” by Ben Caspit: “There isn’t a single member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet who has any expectations about President Donald Trump’s peace initiative. Instead, they share a rare consensus: It’s all about nothing, and it will never amount to anything. The same sentiment prevails in Ramallah: Trump’s “ultimate deal” is dead and buried…”

“The basic idea includes an extensive territorial exchange, in which Egypt would cede a piece of the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip. With this, Gaza’s territory would extend southward along the seashore, making it three or four times larger than it currently is. This would make it possible to relieve some of the pressure in Gaza… According to this plan, the center of power in the future Palestinian state would be in the Gaza Strip, expanded toward the north of Sinai, rather than the West Bank. In exchange… the Palestinians would give up territories in the West Bank, allowing Israel to annex the settlement blocs along with a generous amount of land around them… At the same time, Israel would give Egypt a narrow strip of territory along the lengthy southern border between the two countries.” [Al-Monitor]

Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official under John Kerry, tells us… “The Palestinians are not going to trade high quality land in the middle of the West Bank for a bunch of sand in the Sinai.”

NEW DATE — After a couple delays, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit Egypt, Jordan, and Israel next week. According to the schedule released by the White House yesterday, Pence will arrive in Egypt on January 20 to meet with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, and the following day, meet with King Abdullah II in Jordan. The Vice President will then spend two days in Israel, where he will hold meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, address the Knesset, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall. “The Vice President is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the United States’ allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations,” Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement.

NEW PLAYER: “’Walking a line’ — The shrewd tactics of the White House’s evangelical gatekeeper” by Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey: “As Israel has shot to the top of President Trump’s agenda, world leaders have looked for the perspective of one of Trump’s biggest and most reliable voting blocs. And Johnnie Moore, the White House’s evangelical gatekeeper, has been there to provide it. Moore, a wunderkind PR executive, has served through the Trump candidacy and presidency as the shepherd for many conversations between Trump aides and conservative evangelical leaders who, like Moore, consider the Jewish state — and the status of Jerusalem in particular — to be at the top of their priority list. At 34, Moore has been consulted about the topic at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave… Moore’s pragmatism appeals to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center… Cooper has become tight with Moore since Moore moved with his family from Virginia to Orange County, Calif., a couple of years ago. Now the pair travel together to places that include D.C. and Bahrain to promote religious tolerance, particularly of Jews and Christians.” [WashPost

HEARD YESTERDAY — MSNBC host Katy Tur asks Michael Wolff, author of ‘Fire And Fury,’ if he thinks Trump is anti-Semitic? Wolff: “I don’t know… I think he’s aware of who is Jewish in a way that might give — that might, that feels creepy.” [Video]

TOP TALKER — “The White House struggles to silence talk of Trump’s mental fitness” by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker: “He is absolutely no different than the day he got elected, and he has used this unconventional but very effective manner of managing for the 30 years that I’ve known him in business, finance, media and now governing,” Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Trump’s longtime friend and inauguration chairman, said in an interview Monday. “It’s not mental instability,” Barrack added. “It’s management by controlled and orchestrated chaos.” [WashPost

Ronald Lauder notes working with Trump on “diplomatic challenges” in a statement about the president’s fitness for office: “I have known Donald Trump for over 50 years, dating back to his time as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. And I now have had the privilege of working with him on some of the most complex diplomatic challenges imaginable. The President I have seen is a man of incredible insight and intelligence. But he is not a politician and that confuses his critics. When President Trump refuses to speak in stale political platitudes, his critics think he is missing something. But the truth is President Trump speaks to the country in an authentic and genuine way that Americans understand and appreciate.”

David Brooks writes… “The Decline of Anti-Trumpism: People who go into the White House to have a meeting with President Trump usually leave pleasantly surprised. They find that Trump is not the raving madman they expected from his tweetstorms or the media coverage… People who work in the Trump administration… think he is merely a distraction they can work around. Some think he is strange, but not impossible… I mention these inconvenient observations because the anti-Trump movement, of which I’m a proud member, seems to be getting dumber. It seems to be settling into a smug, fairy tale version of reality that filters out discordant information… I’d like to think it’s possible to be fervently anti-Trump while also not reducing everything to a fairy tale.” [NYTimes]

OPRAH 2020 TALK — “Oprah 2020? Democrats Swing From Giddy to Skeptical at the Prospect” by Alex Burns and Amy Chozick: “David Axelrod, the former chief strategist for Barack Obama… questioned, however, whether Ms. Winfrey would be the right fit for 2020: “Would she want to submit herself to the unforgiving, relentless and sometimes absurd process of running for president?” he wondered, adding: “Will there be hunger in 2020 for someone with some experience in government, after Trump?”” [NYTimes]

“Ivanka Trump praises Golden Globes speech that ignited ‘Oprah 2020’ speculation” by Samantha Schmidt: “Ivanka Trump on Mondaynight tweeted praise for Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech, describing it as “empowering” and “inspiring.” The tweet, posted about 24 hours after the Golden Globes awards show, also included a link to Winfrey’s speech.”[WashPost Ivanka Trump’s Tone-Deaf Praise For Oprah’s Speech Didn’t Go Over Well [HuffPostDailyBeast]

Jonathan Swan‏: “I’m getting texts re this.. some raised eyebrows in the WH.”[Twitter]

MARK CUBAN WEIGHS IN… “The Case Against President Oprah” by Ben Smith: ““What I think voters will sour on by 2020 is the concept that they will trust the skill set of a famous person simply because they are wealthy, famous, or both,” celebrity business guy and oft-mentioned potential candidate Mark Cuban told me in an email this morning.” [BuzzfeedBunsinessInsider]

2018 WATCH — Robert Barr raises big money in first bid for House race — by Deirdre Shesgreen: “Cincinnati Democrat and congressional candidate Robert Barr raised more than $230,000 in his first fundraising quarter, a surprisingly big sum for an otherwise little-known challenger in a Republican-leaning district. Barr is a rabbi and a newcomer to politics, aiming to oust incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Chabot of Westwood…  “People want something different,” Barr said in a statement touting his fourth-quarter fundraising totals.” [Cincinnati]

“’Hillbilly Elegy’ author Vance urged to run for Senate” by Seung Min Kim and Kevin Robillard: “Top Senate Republicans have quietly reached out to J.D. Vance — the star author of “Hillbilly Elegy” — about running for Senate in Ohio after the abrupt withdrawal of GOP candidate Josh Mandel last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has spoken with Vance about a potential bid.” [Politico

** Good Tuesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Telecom Mogul Patrick Drahi Reorganizes Altice in Separate Companies for U.S. and Europe [VarietyBloomberg] • Kushners’ Observer Media names new president: James Karklins will need to win over advertisers wary of doing business with the family [Crains] • Israel’s religious parties get more control over Saturday trading [Reuters]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Recording of Netanyahu Son Outside Strip Club Aired on Israel TV” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Yair Netanyahu was recorded while cruising between strip clubs in downtown Tel Aviv in a government-supplied armored car with one of the sons of Isramco Negev 2 LP shareholder Jackob Maimon, according to Hadashot TV news… Amid raunchy jokes about a night of drinking at the adult clubs, the younger Netanyahu can be heard complaining that the friend won’t lend him money to pay a dancer even though his father benefited from the lucrative gas business with the government.” [BloombergTheGuardian Netanyahu: My wife and I taught our children to respect women [Ynet]

HOLLYWOOD: “Oscars: How Real-World Events Could Impact the Foreign-Language Race” by Scott Roxborough: “The most obviously political football in the race is Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot, from Israel. The film, a look at the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and the Israeli soldiers who man security checkpoints, has plenty of fans in the Academy. And Israel, which has been nominated 10 times for the foreign-language Oscar, is arguably overdue for a win. But at home Foxtrot has proved controversial, in particular for a scene in which Israeli soldiers kill a family in their car and then cover up the act… Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel… adds another twist. Will Academy voters view support for Foxtrot as tacit support for Trump’s Middle East politics?” [HollywoodReporter]

Jerry Seinfeld and Family Visit Anti-terror Fantasy Camp in West Bank: “Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his family visited the Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy during their visit in Israel, revealed Caliber 3 in a Facebook post on Monday. “Finally we are allowed to tell you!! The legendary Jerry Seinfeld and his family were at Caliber 3 during their visit to Israel last week, they came to us for shooting training with displays of combat, Krav Maga, assault dogs and lots of Zionism. It was great,” said the post.” [Haaretz]

PICS OF THE DAY — Jeff Ross poses with Chris Rock and Anthony Jeselnik in Israel [Pic]

Alex Soros posts from Mismeah Yeshua Synagogue in Myanmar: “In December 2010, I came with my family to Myanmar for the first time. I arrived a few days after my father who had already seen Yangon’s only synagogue and said that I must go see it too. It was one of the first things that I saw in Myanmar and today I reconnected with it on Shabbat. The Mismeah Yeshua Synagogue was built in 1896 on a street that is filled with Muslim and Hindu shops. At the start of #WorldWar2 there were 2500 Jews here and an amazing 126 Torah scrolls. Today there are less than 20 Jews left in Myanmar…”[Instagram]

Gwyneth Paltrow engaged to Jewish TV writer-producer: “Gwyneth Paltrow is engaged to television writer-producer Brad Falchuk. The couple told “Good Morning America” in a joint statement that they felt “incredibly lucky.” Falchuk, 46, who is Jewish and whose mother Nancy Falchuk served as president of the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America from 2007 to 2011, co-created the television series “Glee” with Ryan Murphy.” [ToI]

DESSERT: “Eyal Shani, an Israeli Celebrity Chef, Makes His New York Debut” by Florence Fabricant: “Whole roasted cauliflower as interpreted by Eyal Shani, an Israeli celebrity chef, is about to make its debut in New York. The chef’s signature dish will be on the menu at a branch of Miznon, his global group of casual counter-service restaurants, opening at Chelsea Market in a couple of weeks… Whether or not he was first, whole cauliflower and cauliflower steaks have become an international trend. And to hear this 59-year-old chef with impressively sculpted hair tell it, the cauliflower is only one of his achievements, including, as he claims, inventing “the first carpaccio in the world made from fish.” He also boasts about his tomato sashimi. “The world started copying me, and nobody gave me credit,” he said.” [NYTimes

“Midtown spot to be replaced with new kosher restaurant” by Steve Cuozzo: “It took just two weeks for Eastern Consolidated’s James Famularo team to bring a new, up-market kosher restaurant to 211 E. 46th St., where Indian eatery Tulsi was. Famularo and Jeff Geoghegan… brought in chef Joshua Kessler, a veteran of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and kosher eatery Mike’s Bistro… The site is on a busy block between Third and Lexington avenues across the street from Sparks Steak House.” [NYPost]

CONGRATS to our friend Rick Sorkin on the release of his new song ‘There’s a Calm’ [Spotify]

BIRTHDAYS: Novelist, with eight books that have been turned into mini-series, Judith Krantz turns 90… Law professor at Georgetown University, high-ranking HHS official during the Clinton Administration, a founder of New Israel Fund and board member of Americans for Peace Now, Peter Edelmanturns 80… Swiss politician, member of the Swiss Federal Council (1993-2002), President of the Swiss Confederation in 1999, the first woman to ever hold this position, Ruth Dreifuss turns 78… Rabbi Emeritus of Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas, Herbert Jay Mandl turns 73… Vice Chairman of the private equity firm Gilbert Global Equity Partners, long-time executive at investment banks Schroder & Co. and its predecessor firm, Wertheim & Co., Steven Kotler turns 71… Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times for 40 years, covering the US Supreme Court for most of that time (1978-2007), Linda Greenhouse turns 71…

Presidential historian, spokesman for the 9/11 Commission, visiting fellow or lecturer at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, GW, and Hopkins universities, Alvin S. Felzenberg turns 69… Composer, singer Yossi Toiv turns 69… Australian author of more than 40 books of children’s and young adult fiction, including a five-book series about a 10-year old Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Poland, Morris Gleitzman turns 65… Governor of the Bank of Israel since 2013 (succeeding Stanley Fischer), the first woman to hold this post, Karnit Flug turns 63… Program Officer at Maimonides Fund, Allison Liebman Rubinturns 31… Former contestant on the third season of NBC’s “The Voice,” now a contributing writer at The New Yorker, writer of many articles on Syria, Ben Taub turns 27… Born in Saugatuck, a small town in western Michigan, now an associate at DC-based Bluelight Strategies, Madeline Peterson turns 26… Television and film actress, starred in 2014’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” daughter of businessman Nelson Peltz, Nicola Peltz turns 23… Co-chairman of NYC-based investment bank, Dalmore Group, Joel Plasco

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