Daily Kickoff: Interview with Danny Danon | The Mooch going to Israel | Natalie Portman awarded Genesis Prize | Tel Aviv, ‘Vegan capital of the world’

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TOP TALKER: “Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies: The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists” by Ronan Farrow: “In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein… began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations… The firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature. Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her…”

“‘Last fall, Weinstein began mentioning Black Cube by name in conversations with his associates and attorneys. The agency had made a name for itself digging up information for companies in Israel, Europe, and the U.S. that led to successful legal judgments against business rivals. But the firm has also faced legal questions about its employees’ use of fake identities and other tactics… One [contract]. dated July 11, 2017… states that the project’s “primary objectives” are to “provide intelligence which will help the Client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY newspaper” and to “obtain additional content of a book which currently being written and includes harmful negative information on and about the Client,” who is identified as Weinstein in multiple documents. (In one e-mail, a Black Cube executive asks lawyers retained by the agency to refer to Weinstein as “the end client” or “Mr. X,” noting that referring to him by name “will make him extremely angry.”).” [NewYorker

KAFE KNESSET — The Submarine Affair — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: After two days of guessing and hinting as to whom the Police detained in their investigation of the Submarine Affair, the court-imposed gag order expired this morning. The headlines broke the news revealing the identity of the last Netanyahu confidant to visit the Police investigation rooms: Isaac Molcho. Molcho was arrested on Sunday and has been questioned for over 20 hours, two days in a row, on suspicion of fraud and breach of trust as part of the File 3000, a/k/a the Submarine Affair.

The Molcho interrogation occurred while his partner, lawyer David Shimron, was questioned in a separate room. Shimron represented the German shipyard ThyssenKrupp’s representative in Israel. According to media reports, Molcho claimed he had no connection to the affair whatsoever, but his addition to the long list of Netanyahu associates involved in various criminal affairs is notable, and also sheds light on his decision to retire from his job as Bibi’s special envoy, just last week. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

INTRIGUE: “Why is the head of the OU Kashrut department in Qatar?” by Yair Ettinger: “A small group of Jewish leaders is currently visiting the Gulf state… The senior rabbinic figure on the delegation is Menachem Genack… head of the Orthodox Union’s (OU) Kashrut Division. The trip was organized by Nick Muzin, a prominent Jewish Republican operative who is on retainer by the Persian Gulf nation to establish ties with the American Jewish community. The group is scheduled to meet with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Allen Fagin, the OU’s Executive Vice President, said that Genack’s visit was private and was not connected to his work with the Jewish organization.” [JPost

JI INTERVIEW — Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN — by Jacob Kornbluh: So has the UN job tamed the once Likud hardliner? “Absolutely,” Danon tells Jewish Insider in an interview at his 2nd Avenue office. “I understand world diplomacy much better because that is what I do all day. You deal with global issues all day long, so your understanding is much better, but I didn’t change my values…” Contrasting the Obama administration and the Trump administration, Danon said, “I was sitting in the Security Council when the U.S. allowed the shameful resolution to pass in last December. It was a low moment between Israel and the US that the U.S. actually pushed for that resolution to pass. And today we have a great friend, Ambassador Haley, who stands with Israel.”

While in the U.S., Danon meets quite regularly with American Jewish business leaders and donors, but insists that he is not following Bibi’s model of using the position to develop personal alliances since he has already served as a Knesset Member and in the cabinet. “I know the Jewish community from before and I’m also a little bit older than the Prime Minister when he was in this position,” Danon explained. “I had connections with donors in the past. And actually, to be frank, we met on more occasions when I was in Israel. I’m in New York now. I don’t get to travel a lot outside of New York.”

Lightning Round: Favorite activity in private time? “I enjoy walking in Central Park on Shabbat, when it’s not too cold. I like to walk fast. I can allow myself to jog a little bit.” Favorite Broadway play? “I would say Fiddler on the Roof was the most exciting one I saw.” Favorite New York dish? “Deli sandwiches. You don’t get them in Israel.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) discussed the need for bipartisanship on Israel even in the age of Trump during a panel at the final session of the IAC conference: “I can’t think of anything more important than making sure that support for Israel continues to be a bipartisan objective because Israel has one friend in the world and Israel will be in much worse shape if Israel has only one half of one friend in the world. There is a Trump derangement syndrome [within the Democratic Party] – that whenever Trump says anything we have to be the opposite… We have to make sure that America is pro-Israel regardless of who is in Congress and who is in the White House and resist the Trump derangement syndrome.”

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC): “We have a new president with Donald Trump whose first focus is not on some type of vague peace process. His focus is to establish and maintain a strong relationship with the State of Israel, and it’s so refreshing that instead of focusing on something that can’t even be identified, that we have a president who has made it clear that he wants to work with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Hey, President Trump is for Israel, and he wants to reverse the tragic lack of veto that occurred last December.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer: Trump’s speechaddressing the Iran nuclear deal “was the second best day since I have been ambassador.”

Dermer on the peace process: “I’m more optimistic now because I see a change in the region. The Arab governments are in a different place than they were five years ago, certainly ten years or 15 years ago, because they see our interests as being aligned with theirs… Many things are happening underneath the surface, many remarkable things.”

“Egypt’s al-Sisi says Israelis ‘can be convinced of peace'” by Roi Kais: “We are trying, together with all sides who can contribute their part to this issue. The United States is the main world power that can steer the peace process toward a better future,” the Egyptian president said during the interview with the Arabic London-based [Asharq Al-Awsat] newspaper… “We, the Arabs, can convince public opinion in Israel of the advantages of peace…  The region is in need of peace because its absence has cost the region a high price and is draining its energy.” [Ynet]

“As Trump Goes, So Goes Netanyahu: Why is a master political survivor like the Israeli prime minister mimicking the moves of the rookie U.S. president?” by Daniel Gordis: “Netanyahu has clearly noted that Trump’s tactics are working… Trump’s unpredictability is also an enormous challenge for Netanyahu as he seeks to protect Israel in a turbulent region that the president clearly does not understand. It seems that the prime minister has opted for fawning as a protection against any future dustup with the American president. It is clever, and in the short run, it may work for Israel. But the dangers of this strategy are far-reaching. Trump’s attacks on the press, the judiciary and even America’s culture of civility will do damage, but that can be undone by the leaders who will follow. Israel’s democracy, however, is not two-and-a-half centuries old; it is less than 70.” [BloombergView]

DRIVING THE CONVO: “‘Game of Thrones’ Comes to Saudi Arabia” by Elliott Abrams: “Crown Prince Mohammed has spoken of a more modern Saudi Arabia, at least when it comes to the role of religion and the rights of women… But political liberalization is not in the cards… Few were in doubt about Crown Prince Mohammed’s ambition. Now there will be equal certainty about his determination. Those who think he’s going to fail, or hope he does, are on notice. This modernizer thinks the path forward is an absolute monarchy. Get out of his way.” [NYTimes]

“Is Saudi Arabia Pushing Israel Into War With Hezbollah and Iran?” by Daniel B. Shapiro: “With Assad clearly having survived the challenge posed by Saudi-backed rebels, the Saudi leadership may hope to move its confrontation with Iran from Syria to Lebanon. By pulling Hariri out of his office, they may hope to ensure that Hezbollah gets stuck with the blame and responsibility for Lebanon’s challenges… That could, the Saudis may believe, lead Hezbollah to seek an accelerated confrontation with Israel as a means of unifying Lebanese support for their dominance.” [Haaretz]

REPORT — Israel aligns with Saudis against Iran in Lebanon: “According to Channel 10, following Hariri’s resignation, Israel’s Foreign Ministry sent a message to all Israeli embassies around the world, instructing them to appeal to the highest political echelons in their host countries, asking that the nations of the world oppose the interference in Lebanon’s internal politics by the Hezbollah terrorist organization. The directive is unusual as it involves the internal politics of another country… The Foreign Ministry also asked Israel’s ambassadors to convey an unusual message of support for Saudi Arabia in light of the war it is engaged in against Iranian proxies in Yemen.” [INNTwitter] • Iran’s foreign minister blames Jared Kushner for fueling Middle East turmoil [BI]

THE MOOCH GOES TO ISRAEL — OJC Announces Executive VIP Tour of Israel with Wall Street Mogul Anthony Scaramucci: “The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce… has announced that it will host a trip to Israel on Sunday, November 19th through Wednesday, November 22nd. Former WH comms director Anthony Scaramucci will be a guest on the trip… “Our excitement to partner with Anthony Scaramucci in this quest knows no bounds,” says Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.” [JewishPress]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Activist William Ackman Loses Bid for ADP Board Seats [WSJBusinessInsider] • Signature Bank’s Scott Shay: What You Should Know Before Joining a Board [Entrepreneur] • Jon Steinberg’s Cheddar and WeWork form remote studio partnership [Axios] • Isaac Chetrit shopping Diamond District buildings for $200M [RealDeal]

MEDIA WATCH: “21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Disney” by David Faber: “21st Century Fox has been holding talks to sell most of the company to Walt Disney Co., leaving behind a media company tightly focused on news and sports, according to people familiar with the situation.” [CNBC] • Disney CEO Bob Iger Would Forever Secure His Legacy With Fox Deal [TheStreet]

HOLLYWOOD: “Natalie Portman Honored in Israel With ‘Jewish Nobel Prize'” by Josef Federman: “Natalie Portman has been awarded Israel’s 2018 Genesis Prize in recognition of her commitment to social causes and deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots… The $1 million award, known as “the Jewish Nobel Prize,” is granted each year to a person recognized as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through professional achievement and commitment to Jewish values. The Oscar-winning actress said she was “deeply touched and humbled” by the recognition.” [AP]

TALK OF THE NATION: “The Quiet Religious-Freedom Fight That Is Remaking America” by Emma Green: “Seventeen years ago, Congress unanimously passed a law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, to prevent cities and towns from using zoning as a weapon against groups that want space to worship. At the time, everyone cheered a rare moment of legislative success. In practice, though, few congregations have the time, knowledge, money, or energy to pursue the legal process set up by RLUIPA, leaving many in a desperate limbo with no place to pray…”

“The congressional testimony on RLUIPA  includes alarming anecdotes about local officials acting with hostility toward religious bodies. One New Jersey lawyer recounted a hearing on an Orthodox Jewish group’s zoning application where an objector stood up, turned to the yarmulke-wearing crowd, and said, “Hitler should have killed more of you.” These cases of outright bias get the most attention from the U.S. Department of Justice, which has the power to enforce RLUIPA.” [TheAtlantic]

TRANSITION — Eric Trager‏ joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s majority staff as the professional staff member covering the Middle East and North Africa. [Twitter]

DESSERT: “What happened to the big Jewish delis in Chicago?” by Louisa Chu: “”I think, in the next couple of years, we’re going to start seeing an influx of maybe not-so-traditional Jewish delis,” said [Max] Stern. “Places where you can get classic deli sandwiches and some other things. More of a modern ‘world’ deli instead of just a modern Jewish deli.” … Chicago has never been known as a deli town, but Chicagoland has in fact sustained dozens of neighborhood delis in the city and suburbs for decades. If the new generation of deli owners and diners has its say, we may yet become a “newish” Jewish-style delicatessen destination.” [ChicagoTribune]

“This is the vegan capital of the world” by Jasmine Phull: “In Tel Aviv, “there is a real emphasis on freshness of produce,” says vegan restaurant owner Merav Barzilay. Though he founded Meshek Barzilay on an organic farm 15 years ago, he says it was an easy choice to move to the city. Tel Aviv’s proximity to fresh vegetables “means a customer can eat a tomato the same day it was picked in the field.” [Independent]

BIRTHDAYS: Neuropsychiatrist, a 1944 graduate of Yeshiva of Flatbush and 2009 Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine, Eric Kandel turns 88… United States Senator from Minnesota (1978-1991) and now on the boards of AIPAC and JINSA, Rudy Boschwitz turns 87… Stage, screen and television actor, Barry Newman turns 79… MIT professor in electrical engineering and computer science, Barbara Liskov turns 78… Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2002-2010), the last four years of which he served as Vice Chairman, Donald Kohn turns 75… University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard, expert on Shakespeare and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Stephen Greenblatt turns 74… Professor of music at the Norwegian Academy of Music and founding member of jazz ensemble Moscow Art Trio,Mikhail Alperin turns 61… Canadian entrepreneur and CEO of Canadian Arctic luxury apparel company, Canada Goose, Dani Reiss turns 44…

Senior director of corporate reputation at GE, she was previously a deputy press secretary in the Obama White House (2014-2017), Jennifer B. Friedmanturns 37… RN at Johns Hopkins Hospital following multiple media stints, Avi Zenilman turns 33… Campaign reporter at Politico, focused on House and Senate races, she was formerly a news assistant at the New York Times, Elena Schneider turns 27… Toronto-native, he is the founder and CEO of Count Me In, a global youth empowerment organization, Shane Feldman turns 23… Co-Founder and CEO at NYX Technologies, Tomer Aharonovitch… Principal at Foothill Enterprises, Mary Streit

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Daily Kickoff: Paradise Papers | Adelson wants IAC to be AIPAC alternative but do Israeli-Americans? | WeWork’s WeGrow school pilots at Chabad in NYC

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — PARADISE PAPERS: “The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires. The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.” [TheGuardian]

“Paradise Papers: Leaks Show Wilbur Ross Hid Ties to Putin Cronies” by Richard Engel and Aggelos Petropoulos: “Ross — a billionaire industrialist — retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, that was partially owned by his former investment company. One of Navigator’s most important business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law and other members of the Russian president’s inner circle… Ross, through a Commerce Department spokesperson, issued a statement saying that he recuses himself as secretary from any matters regarding transoceanic shipping.” [NBCNews]

“Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments” by Jesse Drucker: “Leaked files show that a state-controlled bank in Moscow helped to fuel Yuri Milner’s ascent in Silicon Valley, where the Russia investigation has put tech companies under scrutiny… Milner has also been active beyond Silicon Valley. He is a founder of the Breakthrough Prize, a series of lucrative scientific awards. And in July 2015, he was one of several high-profile investors in Cadre, a New York-based real estate technology company founded by Jared Kushner and his brother, Joshua. He said he was introduced to the company through an early investor whose name he did not remember. He said he met Jared Kushner only once, at a conference in Aspen, Colo.” [NYTimes] • Yuri Milner says he was not working for Russia to turn social media against U.S. democracy [Recode

— Flashback to 2011: How Russian Tycoon Yuri Milner Bought His Way Into Silicon Valley [Wired]

“Everything you need to know about Glencore, Dan Gertler and their interest in DRC” by Ben Doherty: “The world’s largest mining company, Glencore, secretly loaned tens of millions of dollars to an Israeli billionaire after it enlisted him to secure a controversial mining agreement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Paradise Papers reveal. The documents show in forensic detail how the mining magnate Dan Gertler held Glencore’s imprimatur as key negotiator with DRC authorities.” [TheGuardianTheTimes]

“Papadopoulos And Flynn Client Both Tied To Israeli Energy Consortium” by Borzou Daragahi: “Last year, while serving as a Trump foreign policy adviser, [George] Papadopoulos appeared on an Israeli energy conference panel that included Yigal Landau, CEO of Ratio Oil Exploration, one of several Israeli and US firms that are part of the consortium exploiting Leviathan…. Ratio had a business relationship with Kamil Ekim Alptekin. The Dutch-Turkish businessman has been subpoenaed by Mueller’s investigators in connection to his hiring of [Mike] Flynn’s consulting firm… While there is no evidence of a connection between the panel and the energy deal, Alptekin’s firm Inovo and Ratio signed a consulting deal on April 13 last year.” [BuzzFeed]

TOP TALKER: “The Saudi crown prince just made a very risky power play” by David Ignatius: “Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he’s cracking down on corruption. But the sweeping arrests of cabinet ministers and senior princes Saturday night looked to many astonished Arab observers like a bold but risky consolidation of power. MBS is emboldened by strong support from President Trump and his inner circle, who see him as a kindred disrupter of the status quo — at once a wealthy tycoon and a populist insurgent. It was probably no accident that last month, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, made a personal visit to Riyadh. The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy.” [WashPost]

“US optimistic about Mideast peace deal” by Uri Savir: “According to a senior US diplomat, the administration conveyed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that it will not intervene against the new Palestinian agreement and that it demands the disarming of Hamas, yet not overnight… According to the American source, the US administration goal is to keep on one side a very pro-Israel line, and on the other to advance rapprochement with Egypt (and Saudi Arabia) as a counterbalance to Iran. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is scheduled to visit Riyadh again in the coming days.” [Al-Monitor

“Netanyahu rejects one-state solution, says settlements are a ‘side issue’” by Raphael Ahren: “No, I don’t want a one-state solution, I’ll be clear about that. And I’m unabashed about saying that,” [Netanyahu replied to BBC] interviewer Andrew Marr’s question about the death of the two-state solution. “But I want to make sure that what we have next to us is something that will not threaten our lives… I think you have to be more specific and say no, what we want is the recognition, finally, after a hundred years, after the Balfour Declaration, finally recognize the Jewish state.”

“Asked for his opinion of Trump, Netanyahu focused on the president’s view on Iran. “I think he has leadership qualities and I think sees in the Middle East something different,” the prime minister said… [Trump] “sees Iran as the problem,” Netanyahu said.” [ToIBBC]

As US prepares to leave UNESCO, envoy urges deep reforms: “The chief U.S. envoy at UNESCO says anti-Israel bias and opaque bureaucracy are hobbling the U.N. cultural agency and is urging deep reforms. Chris Hegadorn made the appeal Saturday at the agency’s Paris headquarters… Hegadorn said the decision to leave “wasn’t taken lightly” but was necessary because of budget reasons, UNESCO’s inclusion of Palestine as a member and countries using the agency to advance their political agendas.” [AP]

HEARD THE OTHER NIGHT — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) annual gathering in Washington, DC: “The same day we announced our withdrawal from UNESCO, Israel announced it would also withdraw. At first glance, it would seem like this should have been an even easier call for Israel than it was for America… The same reasoning that led Israel to withdraw from UNESCO could be applied to just about every UN organization, including the General Assembly. To its great credit, Israel has stayed committed to the United Nations. This small nation shows the collected nations of the world more deference and respect than they deserve. And the reason is because Israel knows it needs to stay and fight for its interests – and for its survival.”

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett in a discussion with Jewish Journal Editor-in-Chief David Suissa on the Israeli-Diaspora relationship last night: “One of the first weeks I was living in Manhattan with my wife, we came upon a sign saying ‘Come to the Beginner’s Minyan,” and it was a very different experience from Israel. No one looked at the color of my yarmulke or what my wife was wearing, it was just a feeling of – if you are Jewish, you are welcome. That’s something we need to bring to Israel.”

“Breaking With Script, Adelson Portrays IAC As A Hardline AIPAC Alternative” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “In blunt remarks Sunday night, Sheldon Adelson erased any doubt about his intentions for the Israeli-American Council, the nationwide group into which he has pumped more than $10 million over the past three years: He’s building a harder-line alternative to AIPAC.” [Forward]

“Adelson Has Hijacked the Israeli-American Community for His Hard-right Agenda” by Chemi Shalev: “For cash-strapped groups such as the Israeli Scouts Movement in America, the possibility of surviving with the help of Adelson’s handouts was an offer they could not refuse. For homesick Israelis seeking a genuine taste of home, the IAC’s galas and activities were irresistible… The only remaining question is how the thousands of Israelis who naively joined IAC and its activities out of a mistaken belief that it is only a benevolent apolitical group will react, now that they have been apprised of their true purpose. Even though many hold views that are diametrically opposed to Adelson’s, they are now, as his wife Miriam said, “our soldiers.” [Haaretz]

TALK OF THE REGION: “Lebanon’s Prime Minister resigns, plunging nation into new political crisis” by Chandrika Narayan: “In a televised address from Riyadh, [Saad] Hariri said he feared an assassination plot and accused Iran of meddling in the region, causing “devastation and chaos.” “Iran controls the region and the decision-making in both Syria and Iraq,” he said… Iran dismissed the reports, accusing the United States and Saudi Arabia of orchestrating the resignation.” [CNN]

PROFILE: “Is Tom Cotton the Future of Trumpism?” by Jeffrey Toobin: ““I told the President in July that he shouldn’t certify that Iran was complying with the agreement,” Cotton told me. “Putting aside the issue of technical compliance or noncompliance, it’s clear that the agreement is not in our national interest.” Following Trump’s action, Cotton joined forces with Senator Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, on a proposal that, if passed, would likely lead to the termination of the Iran nuclear deal and the reimposition of American sanctions…”

“Cotton appears to be a hybrid of insurgent and oldguard, who can play successfully to the warring constituencies of the Republican Party. As Bannon put it, “How many guys in town can give a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations and also get kudos in the pages of Breitbart? The answer is, one guy.”” [NewYorker]

“Bannon Protégée Gets a New Job in the White House—and It’s Not Going Well” by Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng: “In the months since (Bannon’s ouster), [Julia] Hahn has managed to hold on. But her position in the Trump administration has changed. Previously, she had worked as an aide to Bannon, advising on immigration policy… But her boss’s departure killed the specific office she worked for, and she quickly started expressing her wish to be transitioned into a communications role… It appears she got her wish. According to a source familiar with her situation, the former Breitbart rabble-rouser has, for the past few weeks, been working with the White House comms team, with a focus on outreach to conservative media outlets… Hahn also still works closely with Miller, particularly when pitching outlets on immigration-related stories.” [DailyBeast]

DRIVING THE WEEK: A Bob Menendez-shaped cloud” by Jonathan Swan: “The jury could reach a decision any day now, and the case looms large over the Senate… This is a huge deal for the Senate and there will be many open questions if Menendez is convicted. What happens if Menendez appeals it? What will Mitch McConnell, who will play a key role, do? How will Chuck Schumer and Menendez’s Democratic colleagues respond? Would they call for Menendez to step down?” [Axios

STATE VISIT: Missouri Gov. Greitens headed to Israel for trade mission: “Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is going on a trade mission to Israel. Greitens [left] Sunday for the trip to meet with government officials and leaders in business and education… Greitens is Missouri’s first Jewish governor. The Hawthorn Foundation and Republican Jewish Coalition are paying for the trip.” [AP]

KAFE KNESSET — The noose tightens around Bibi — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu never really gets any quality time off. And, as has happened in the past, his historic visit to London was disrupted by some legal news from home that surely did not make him happy. Early yesterday morning, the police detained his lawyer, David Shimron, and another close associate whose name is still protected by a gag order, for a 15 hour interrogation about File 3000, a/k/a the Submarine Affair.

This morning, the Israel Securities Agency’s investigation team announced its recommendation to indict two Netanyahu allies for fraud, violation of conflicts of interest rules and insider information sharing: One of the two men indicted is Shlomo Filber, Netanyahu’s confidant and Communications Ministry Director-General. The other person indicted is telecommunications tycoon, Shaul Alovitch, the owner of Bezeq, the Israeli telephone monopoly, and its subsidiaries, satellite TV company YES and major news site and e-mail provider Walla. Neyanyahu himself is also set to be questioned again any day now, and his rivals are doing their best to make sure the public knows the noose around him is tightening. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Toyota seeks more investments in Israeli auto tech, robotics [Reuters] • Chemi Peres: Israel’s Tech Ecosystem Has Matured[Calcalist] • Altice Jumps Into U.S. Wireless Business in Deal With Sprint[Bloomberg]

SPOTLIGHT: “WeWork Founder Hopes Her New School Will Help 5-Year-Olds Pursue Their Life’s Purpose” by David Lidsky: “When Rebekah Neumann and her husband Adam, WeWork’s founder and CEO, evaluated first-grade options for their daughter—”looking at schools both here [in New York City] and on the West Coast, by the way”—their dissatisfaction grew. In a matter of months, “we came up with this concept for the pilot class, gathered friends and families, and we launched,” she says of her new school for children in kindergarten through fifth grade… Seven children, ages 5, 6, and 8, are enrolled in WeGrow’s pilot class, which is currently running at a Chabad school in New York City. The program joins the growing ranks of “micro schools,” educational institutions that offer a modified Montessori-style program for students of different ages in a shared, multi-purpose space.” [FastCompanyBloomberg]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Macklowe vs. Macklowe: Courtroom tales from real estate’s biggest divorce — and how it could disrupt an empire” by E.B. Solomont: “Justice Laura Drager, the judge handling the ongoing trial, has promised to split the Macklowes’ holdings 50-50. But what Harry is worth, and what Linda is owed, is a matter of fiery debate. It’s Solomon splitting the baby, real estate edition… Michael Stutman, a divorce attorney who’s not involved in the case, agreed. “The judge doesn’t have a scalpel,” he said. “She has a chainsaw.”” [TRD]

“Trump will arrive as charities flee Mar-a-Lago” by Terry Spencer: “The organizer of a gala supporting the group The Truth About Israel relocated his event to Mar-a-Lago from a nearby resort, grabbing the Feb. 25 slot vacated by supporters of an Israeli medical charity. Steven M. Alembik said he moved his benefit specifically because the other charities bolted. “This is ridiculous,” Alembik said of the cancellations. “The president has Israel’s back like no other president since the days of Ronald Reagan. He supports Israel, we support him. It’s that simple.” He said he has sold all 700 tickets, which cost $750 each.” [AP]

TALK OF THE NATION: “EPA Director Scott Pruitt Cites Bible for Industry-Led Science Boards and Gets the Bible Exactly Wrong” by Jay Michaelson: “Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt… made an unexpected biblical reference at a recent event regarding the agency’s science advisory boards…. “In the Book of Joshua there is a story about Joshua leading the people of Israel into the promised land after Moses passed away. And Joshua says to the people of Israel choose this day whom you’re going to serve… This is sort of like the ‘Joshua Principle’ that as it relates to grants to this agency, you are going to have to choose either service on the committee to provide counsel to us in an independent fashion or you can choose grants, but you cannot do both. That’s the fair and great thing to do.” Pruitt’s account of Scripture is correct. His interpretation of it, however, is 180 degrees backward… The passage Pruitt is citing is Joshua 24:15, which comes at the very end of the book… after the conquest of the land of Israel, which had been home to the Amorites, Perrizites, Canaanites, Hittites, and others, before Joshua’s armies annihilated them.” [DailyBeast

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Want to Help? Do Your Research Before You Donate” by John Hanc: “A supporter of Jewish causes, Dr. [Craig] Granowitz said that he had not normally given to disaster relief efforts. But this time he was moved to action. He contacted a rabbi he knew in New York and was referred to Rabbi Mendel Zarchi at Chabad of Puerto Rico… Dr. Granowitz managed to phone Rabbi Zarchi, who at the moment he got the call was helping to distribute portable generators to residents. Rabbi Zarchi described to Dr. Granowitz the desperate conditions on the island and how he had not been home in weeks as he worked to coordinate relief efforts.” [NYTimes]

“Traditional meets modern in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox art” by Mordechai Goldman: “A new ultra-Orthodox art gallery will shortly open in the Geula neighborhood, the heart of ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem, demonstrating the change in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox sector’s outlook on art. Until a few decades ago, there was hardly any connection between art and the ultra-Orthodox. While there was ultra-Orthodox art, it was not a means to express a personal perspective or tell a story and certainly not a medium for protest and criticism.” [AlMonitor]

LOCAL ELECTIONS: “Underground Yiddish War Rocks Orthodox Brooklyn City Council Race” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “This is possibly one of the most nasty and personal campaigns I’ve seen,” said Michael Fragin, an Orthodox political analyst… “WhatsApp has taken over the political discourse,” said Jacob Kornbluh, a political correspondent for the news website Jewish Insider. “The campaigns feel that in order to drive the message, they have to invest in this… You can never trace to where it came from.”[Forward] • The fight for Borough Park is among this election year’s nastiest[Politico]

SNL DEBATE: “Larry David’s Holocaust joke on SNL: Bad taste, or just bad comedy?” by Avi Selk: “Nearly through with his routine, David clasped his hands together on the stage and segued from the topic of sexual assaulters to Holocaust victims. “I’ve always, always, been obsessed with women, and I’ve often wondered — if I’d grown up in Poland when Hitler came to power and was sent to a concentration camp, would I still be checking out women in the camp?” said David, whose family is Jewish. “I think I would!” David said, and launched into an impression that the Times of Israel would later summarize as “picking up women in concentration camps during the Holocaust.” … “He managed to be offensive, insensitive and unfunny all at same time,” wrote the Anti-Defamation League’s chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt. “Quite a feat.”” [WashPost]

“Larry David Goes One Cringe Too Far” by Thane Rosenbaum: “Larry David may have finally gone one cringe too far.  Surely, he didn’t violate any laws… But after all these years, shouldn’t the Holocaust be able to take a joke?  Actually, it can’t, and what’s more, it shouldn’t have to.” [JewishJournal]

Rabbi David Wolpe tweets: “Larry David joking about how a starved, shaved & beaten woman might still reject him. I’m helpless with laughter.” [Twitter]

ALSO SATURDAY NIGHT: Sen. Roy Blunt and his wife Abigail hosted a bar mitzvah for their son Charlie in DC. h/t Danny Ayalon [Pic]

SIGHTING — Conan O’Brien on Facebook: “Walking through Central Park and ran into kids from a Jewish school in Toronto. No cameras on the Sabbath, so I’m posting this.” [Pic]

DESSERT: “Will Trader Joe’s Get Americans Hooked on Bamba?” by Karen Chernick: ““We were aware of the popularity of the product and the fact that it was difficult to find in the U.S.,” says Kenya Friend-Daniel, the public relations director of Trader Joe’s. “We wanted to make this popular snack available to our customers and give them the chance to enjoy it. Part of that is making it recognizable to them.” The familiar name easily identifies Trader Joe’s Bamba as the crunchy snack produced by Osem, but the package design is a Middle East-meets-West amalgamation.” [Eater]

“This fall, Israeli chef Eyal Shani brings his renowned restaurant chain, Miznon, to New York’s Chelsea Market” by Anatoly Michaello:“Eyal Shani, one of Israel’s most acclaimed and eccentric chefs, has built an empire on humble ingredients—tomatoes sliced like sashimi, bespoke pita sandwiches, oven-baked heads of cauliflower blistered and wrapped in paper—at his raucous restaurants in Tel Aviv, Paris, Vienna and Melbourne. This month he makes his New York debut, launching a 180-seat outpost of Miznon, his everything-in-a-pita chain, inside Chelsea Market. The chef, who taught himself to cook in the galley of an Israeli missile ship sailing in the Indian Ocean, nearly moved to New York years ago—but he blew his tryout for Tribeca’s Layla by insisting on making pigeon stock with Evian (“water that came from God,” he says).” [WSJMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Investor, commentator, political adviser and author of Start-Up Nation, Dan Senor turns 46… Belgian theoretical physicist, a Holocaust survivor and 2013 Nobel prize laureate, François Englert turns 85… President and CEO of American Jewish World Service (1998-2016), formerly Manhattan borough president, Ruth Messinger turns 77… Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (2002-2011) and Vice Chair of NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2006-2012), Andrew Saulturns 71… Former aide to President Bill Clinton and a long-time advisor to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal turns 69… Research scientist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, Barbara Volsky turns 67… Actress best known for her lead role in the 1984 film “Footloose” and the television series “Fame,” Lori Singer turns 60… COO/Managing Director of the NFL Players Association, Ira Fishman turns 60… Founder of Nourish Snack, she is the health and nutrition expert on The Today Show and author of 12 New York Times best sellers, Joy Bauer turns 54… Vice Chairman and CEO of Genie Oil E&P and CEO of Genie Israel Holdings Ltd., he was previously Chairman and CEO of IDT Energy, Geoffrey Rochwarger turns 47… South Florida entrepreneur, Earl J. Campos-Devine

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Daily Kickoff: Congress skeptical about Boris Johnson’s upcoming visit | How much was raised at Saban’s FIDF Gala? | Ted Lerner’s World Series wish

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$53.8 MILLION — the amount raised last night at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala last night in Los Angeles: For the 11th year, FIDF National Board Member Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, chaired the star-studded gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Guests included prominent business, philanthropic, and political leaders and celebrated names in entertainment, fashion, sports, and technology, including Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg; Dutch LLC CEO Serge Azria and his wife, Florence; Managing Member of R.H. Book LLC and Chairman of Jet Support Services Inc. Robert Book and his wife, Amy; Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz; GUESS Founders Maurice and Paul Marciano; and Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his wife, Joelle. Celebrity guests included Miss Israel 2013 Yityish Titi Aynaw, Gerard Butler, David Foster, Joanna Krupa, Katharine McPhee, Paul Reubens, Melissa Rivers, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. [Pic]

The top donation announced at the event – and the largest single gift in FIDF’s history – was $16.6 million from Oracle Co-Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison.

SCENE LAST NIGHT — DC EDITION: Approximately 100 guests attended a reception hosted by UK Ambassador Kim Darroch to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration at the British Embassy.

SPOTTED: Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and his wife Rhoda, Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer (pic) and Joanna Breyer, Tom Rose, Victoria Coates, Reuven Azar, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Mandy Grunwald, Rep. Eliot Engel, Norm Ornstein, Judy Harris, Norman and Laurie Coleman, Louis and Manette Mayberg, Cliff May, Ken Weinstein and Amy Kauffman, Michael Siegel, Shmuley Boteach, Michael Froman, William Daroff, Jeffrey Goldberg and Pamela Reeves, Ann Lewis and Myron Sponder, Ruth Marcus, Bill Knapp and Jeanie Milbauer, David Weinberg, Rob Satloff and Jennie Litvack, Stuart Bernstein, Stuart Rothenberg, Alan Ronkin, Ghaith al-Omari, Harold Rhode, Ruth Marcus, Jennifer Rubin, Shira Ruderman, Lewis and Manette Mayberg, and Michael Makovsky.

BIBI IN THE UK: “Asked if he felt now was the moment for peace in the region, noting Trump’s involvement in peace efforts, he said: “Hope so.” “What’s being discussed now is an American initiative. Obviously we make our interests and our concerns known to Mr Trump. He’s coming with a sort of refreshing ‘can-do’ … they’re trying to think out of the box,” Netanyahu said at London’s Chatham House during a visit to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.” [Reuters]

HOW IT PLAYED: “Balfour Declaration of Support for Jewish Homeland Still Divisive at 100” by David Halbfinger: “It was the moment of conception of what would become the State of Israel — or it was the original sin in which Israel was conceived. The Balfour Declaration, the pivotal, 67-word assurance by the British foreign secretary that promised support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” turned 100 on Thursday, meeting with tributes in Jerusalem and London, and tear gas in Bethlehem.” [NYTimesWashPost]

DRIVING THE CONVO: Netanyahu softens stance on Iran deal after meeting with British PM Theresa May — by Anshel Pfeffer: “Netanyahu… said that after a diplomatic meeting in London with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the sides were “moving closer in the attempt to find ways to change the nuclear deal (with Iran).” Briefing Israeli journalists… Netanyahu noted that Israel is looking… to reach understandings on increasing oversight on Iran’s nuclear sites as well as imposing new sanctions on Iran for continuing its ballistic missile program… According to Netanyahu, Israel is now focusing its efforts to improve the deal and not see it canceled.” [Haaretz]

ON THE HILL — Congress skeptical about Britain’s upcoming lobbying efforts on Iran deal — by JI’s Aaron Magid: With British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson coming to town next week to lobby Congress to save the Iran Deal, lawmakers expressed skepticism regarding the efforts. “I don’t think it will play any part at all. We are not part of the European Union,” Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) said in reaction to Boris Johnson’s upcoming visit to lobby members of Congress to save the nuclear deal. “A politician from another country coming here to lobby us, he might as well save his airfare and stay home.”

“I respect the transatlantic partnership we have with Great Britain,” noted Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). “We will listen thoughtfully and respectfully to what he (Johnson) has to say, but at least in my case, he’s not going to change my mind.” Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) added, “I don’t know if it will influence any particular members, certainly not myself… First we have to look at American interests.”

Even Democrats appeared to throw cold water on Johnson’s lobbying efforts. “I don’t think it will be very effective at all. What standing does he have? I don’t think we need him to help us understand that issue.” Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) said. “He is certainly more than welcome to be here, but I don’t know that he will sway American lawmakers one way or the other.” An opponent of additional nuclear sanctions, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) argued that foreign diplomats might not be the ideal messenger to persuade U.S. lawmakers. “The best vehicle would be the members here who oppose putting sanctions, talking to other members,” he explained. [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “Inside Trump’s Search for a Fed Leader” by Peter Nicholas, Kate Davidson and Michael Bender: “Weeks after his inauguration, [Trump] told Ms. Yellen during an Oval Office meeting that she was doing a good job and said he considered her, like himself, a “low-interest-rate” person… Ms. Yellen also appeared to have a fan in Ivanka Trump… As recently as mid-October, the president was still privately raising concerns about [Gary] Cohn’s Charlottesville comments… In a private meeting at the White House, the president questioned whether Mr. Cohn was “up to the job” of Fed chairman… As Mr. Cohn’s prospects fell, Ms. Yellen’s appeared to rise. But by September, White House aides had presented the president with three other possible options: Mr. Powell, Mr. Taylor and former Fed governor Kevin Warsh… Mr. Trump sought advice from unexpected places, even talking with casino mogul Steve Wynn, one administration official said…”

“The interview with Mr. Warsh didn’t go as well. Mr. Trump came away underwhelmed. One person briefed on the Warsh interview said Mr. Trump remarked during the meeting about Mr. Warsh’s youth — he is 47 years old — and good looks, leaving the impression that the president believed him too young to be viewed credibly by the markets in the event of a financial crisis. After the interview the president would stumble over Mr. Warsh’s name, referring to him as “Walsh” before correcting himself. “It’s with an R?” he asked his team.” [WSJ]

“Gary Cohn Says He’s Still a Democrat” by Margaret Talev: “Cohn… confirmed he’s still a Democrat in remarks to the Economic Club of Washington… Cohn called Trump’s Fed decision a “spectacular choice” and said “I’m really supportive.” … Cohn said his relationship with Trump is as strong as it’s ever been and that he’ll remain in his job “as long as I possibly can.””[Bloomberg]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Jared Kushner’s team turned over documents to special counsel in Russia investigation” by Evan Perez, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz: “Mueller’s investigators have expressed interest in Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, as part of its probe into Russian meddling, including potential obstruction of justice in Comey’s firing… Kushner voluntarily turned over documents he had from the campaign and the transition, and these related to any contacts with Russia… Two separate sources told CNN that investigators have asked other witnesses about Kushner’s role in firing Comey…White House sources say it was the President alone who made that decision after watching Comey’s congressional testimony May 3. While Kushner and those close to the White House will only say he was in favor of the decision.” [CNN

“Ivanka Trump Used Private Emails With Treasury Officials” by Nina Burleigh: “Months after Ivanka Trump took an official White House position, she was still using a private email account to communicate with the U.S. Treasury Department… The correspondence also indicates that Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, were among a select group of regulars, including Cabinet secretaries and actual budget experts and economists, to attend a weekly “Economic Principals Lunch” hosted by National Economic Council (NEC) head Gary Cohn in his office… Ivanka Trump and Kushner were also included in a larger meeting of “NEC Principals” that was to be held on May 9… That meeting, in the White House Situation Room, was canceled. On the invitee list, “Ivanka Kushner” again appears to not have a White House email address, while others do.” [Newsweek

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Just as PM Netanyahu took off to London, two new television-sponsored polls were published, giving him some troubling news for the weekend. If elections were held today, both polls showed, Likud would remain the largest party, but Netanyahu would be losing power. A Channel 2 poll gave the Likud 24 seats – six less than in the current Knesset, followed by the Zionist Union and Avi Gabai with 21 seats and Yesh Atid with 20 seats, Jewish Home and the Joint Arab list with 12 mandates each, Kulanu with 8, UTJ with 7, Israel Beitenu and Meretz with 6, and Shas with only 4. A Channel 10 poll gave the Likud 26 seats, Yesh Atid – 22, Zionist Union 19, Joint List 12, Jewish Home 11, Kulanu 7, UTJ 6, Israel Beietenu 5 and Shas 4. The most interesting figure of this poll goes to Left wing Meretz, whose popularity spiked up to give them 9 seats, compared to the 5 they have today, and overall – with Gabai and Lapid – bringing the Jewish center-left anti-Bibi bloc to start at 49.

The rise in Meretz’s popularity is attributed to Left wing peaceniks who are abandoning the Zionist Union in the wake of Avi Gabai’s attempts to expand the party’s electorate, which appears to be succeeding. While polls are taken here with a big grain of salt, a common observation about the latest numbers was that they brush off any speculation that Netanyahu might be inclined to take the country to early elections in order to avoid or stall criminal procedures. Moreover, pundits and analysts have identified a trend: a steady decline in the Likud’s standing. The crazy campaign Netanyahu and his loyalists have been waging against the media and law enforcement authorities, might consolidate the Likud base, but apparently it is driving other voters away. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Leon Black’s Apollo Global eyeing Qdoba [NYPost] • Les Wexner’s L Brands Sales Show Signs of Life [WWD] • WeWork is opening a second headquarters — in San Francisco [Recode] • Jared Kushner’s family company faces more than 170 Baltimore violations [Newsweek]

SPOTLIGHT: “Does Ashkenazy have an inside track at the Plaza?” by Mark Maurer: “After decades of buying and holding real estate in the five boroughs, Ben Ashkenazy scored an industry coup a few months ago when he bought a minority stake in the Plaza Hotel — in what was by far his splashiest New York purchase ever. Sources say that if Ashkenazy — which has $12 billion worth of assets in North America and the United Kingdom — does take control of the hotel, it’s likely to pour cash into the property to overhaul the gold and marble lobby, along with the retail and the building’s historic façade.” [TheRealDeal]

WHAT DAVID MAGERMAN IS READING — “Hedge Fund Billionaire Robert Mercer Will Step Down As CEO Of His Company Following BuzzFeed News Exposé” by Joseph Bernstein: “Robert Mercer, the hedge fund billionaire who has come under media scrutiny for his role in helping elect Donald Trump, announced… he would step down from his role as co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies. The decision… followed a BuzzFeed News exposé revealing the connections of Breitbart — partially owned by Mercer — to white nationalists and neo-Nazis.” [BuzzFeedBloomberg]

MEDIA WATCH: “DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shutting Down” by Andy Newman and John Leland: “A week ago, reporters and editors in the combined newsroom of DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of New York City’s leading digital purveyors of local news, celebrated victory in their vote to join a union. On Thursday, they lost their jobs, as Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the sites, shut them down…The decision puts 115 journalists out of work… They are getting three months of paid “administrative leave” at their full salaries, plus four weeks of severance.” [NYTimes

“Times of Israel, Asia Times websites hijacked and defaced by suspected pro-Palestine Turkish hackers” by Hyacinth Mascarenhas:“Hackers affiliated with the hacking group Akincila, which means “Raiders” in Turkish, claimed responsibility for the cyberattacks and briefly took over the news websites, replacing their main pages with images of children waving the Turkish flag.” [IBTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION — Anti-Semitic incidents spike in 2017, especially after Charlottesville, ADL says: “The number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country increased by 67 percent in the first three quarters of 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016, a new report finds… The ADL documented 703 incidents of harassment in the first eight months of 2017, including 162 bomb threats against Jewish institutions… The report says that anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism in elementary and high schools and on college campuses has also been on the rise in 2017.” [CBSNews]

Holocaust survivor pulled from car stuck on train tracks before collision: “A Holocaust survivor and a South Florida woman are sharing their story after she captured the frightening moments when he was saved from an oncoming train, Tuesday night. Police said 93-year-old Henry Flescher was heading westbound on Ives Dairy Road in Aventura when he made a wrong turn onto the train tracks near West Dixie Highway, at around 7:20 p.m. She said other good Samaritans pulled Flescher out of the car in the nick of time. “Honestly, it was insane,” she said.” [WSVNFoxNews]

SPORTS BLINK: “The most important voice for the Nationals is the one from whom we seldom hear” by Barry Svrluga: “When the Lerners bought the Nationals from Major League Baseball in the summer of 2006 and began this odyssey, Ted Lerner was 80 — with so much ahead of him… All this time later, there is a sense not of desperation but at least of mortality. Who knows how many Fall Classics any of us have left, even those on this side of 92? The dozen World Series since the Lerners bought the Nats have produced eight different champions, including the Cubs, who won for the first time in 108 years, and the Astros, who won for the first time in team history. What Lerner and his family have learned is that, even though someone has to win every year, that task can seem impossibly hard.” [WashPost]

HOLLYWOOD: “[Jerry] Seinfeld gets spectacularly real on the intimacy of performing stand-up for Jews” by Alex Suskind: “Nothing rattles me. But there is nothing like that particular gathering of Jewish people — when you get them in a group they are very different from most of the groups of people that I am in… Obviously I have a stronger connection to them. And I have this connection to Israel. So it’s just very intimate. It’s powerful. I love it. I love that they think I’m their son.” [ToI

DESSERT: “Why 30,000 Orthodox women belong to this recipe-sharing Facebook group” by Yvette Alt Miller: “What if there was a way to trade time-and family-tested meals with a like-minded bunch of people? That’s where the Facebook page I Don’t Cook But I Give Out Recipes comes in. Born in 2007, it’s the brainchild of two Brooklyn sisters — Goldie Adler Nathan, 35, and Esty Adler Wolbe, 29 — who created a forum to allow kosher cooks from across the globe to trade recipes, swapping information about everything from chicken soup and cholent to Italian desserts and kung pao tofu.” [JTA]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYPast chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary, Ismar Schorsch, Ph.D. turns 82… Major League Baseball pitcher (1965-1979) with more career victories (174) than any other Jewish pitcher (Koufax included), Ken Holtzman turns 72… Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine, professor at Yale University, James Rothman turns 67… Rabbi at Temple Anshe Sholom in Olympia Fields, Illinois since 2000, Paul Caplan turns 65… Actress, comedian, writer, and television producer, best known for the long-running and award winning television sitcom Roseanne (1988-1997), Roseanne Barr turns 65… Comedian, talk show host, political commentator, sports commentator, actor and television and radio personality, Dennis Miller turns 64… Senior contributing editor at The Jerusalem Report, he is an author of books on the stigma of childlessness and on the Balfour Declaration, Elliot Jager, Ph.D. turns 63… Founder, owner and chairman of the NYC-based real estate investment advisory firm, the Carlton Group, Howard Michaels turns 62… Regional Director of Development in West Palm Beach for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Jeanne Epstein turns 53… SVP and counsel at Zurich Financial Services, he is co-chair of the board of the Yeshiva University Museum, Edward Stelzer turns 49… Founder of AKM Consulting, during the 2016 election cycle she served as Finance Director for Priorities USA Action, Amie Kershner turns 39… Amy Rosenbaum… Ben Kirshner… Stu Rosenberg (h/ts Playbook)…

SATURDAYPresident and CEO of the Hudson Institute, Ken Weinsteinturns 56… Political scientist Edward Luttwak turns 75… U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district, John Yarmuth turns 70… Former IDF paratrooper, he served as the IDF’s Chief of the General Staff (1998-2002), Minister of Defense (2002-2006) and member of Knesset for Kadima (2006-2015), Lieutenant General Shaul Mofaz turns 69… Professor of medicine at England’s University of Birmingham, James Max Neuberger turns 68… Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 2013, Kenneth I. Gordon turns 58… Professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University, Claire Elise Katz turns 53… BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith turns 41… Bob Rubin

SUNDAYFounder of F-Cancer, a health organization working for early detection and prevention of cancer, Yael Cohen Braun turns 31… French public intellectual, media personality and author, Bernard-Henri Lévy turns 69… American-born Rosh Yeshiva of the Kamenitz Yeshiva of Jerusalem, Rabbi Yitzchok Scheiner turns 95… Singer, poet and actor, best known as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, Art Garfunkel turns 76… Economist and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs turns 63… Psychologist, and wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sara Netanyahu turns 59… Chairman of Israel’s Yesh Atid Party with 11 seats in the Knesset, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid turns 54… Senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, he focuses on issues of national security and law, Benjamin Wittes turns 48… Business Insider’s Jacob Shamsian turns 24… Communications and Project Coordinator at Los Angeles based Creative Community for Peace, Tara Khoshbin

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