Oct
25

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Daily Kickoff: ‘Davos in the Desert’ | Saudi bridge a sign of backchannel with Israel? | Drake’s bar mitzvah-themed party | Guy Oseary’s Rio wedding

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SPOTLIGHT: “In the Saudi Desert, World’s Business Leaders Follow the Money” by Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Private jets ferrying business titans from all over the globe began landing Monday in this sand-swept Saudi capital. For the next several days, the world’s power center will shift from places like New York and London to this desert city for an event that many invitees are privately calling “Davos in the Desert.” Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has summoned a Who’s Who from industry and politics to take part in a series of meetings, conversations and panels.”

“Among those making the pilgrimage are Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder of the private equity giant Blackstone Group; Masayoshi Son, founder of Japan’s SoftBank; the United States Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin; the venture capitalist Peter Thiel; Laurence D. Fink, founder of BlackRock; Leon Black of Apollo Group; Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the head of Colony NorthStar; and the entrepreneur Richard Branson. And that’s an abbreviated list. All told, the group of 3,500 invitees is estimated to control $22 trillion in assets.”[DealBook]

“Bridge Linking Saudi Arabia to Africa Might Need Israeli Signoff” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Connecting Egypt to a new $500 billion Saudi city via a bridge across the Red Sea will require cooperation from Israel, analysts say… Israel’s 1979 peace treaty with Egypt guarantees it access to the Red Sea’s Straits of Tiran, which the planned bridge and causeway would cross. That makes Israel’s involvement in the project crucial, says Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies… “There couldn’t be anything close to this unless Israel and the Saudis had the opportunity to discuss in detail their relations and this bridge,” Meital said. “There have to have been back channels.”” [Bloomberg]

“White House official says reports on imminent peace plan misleading” by Erez Linn: “A senior White House official dismissed on Tuesday ongoing reports in the Israeli media about an ambitious Middle East peace plan that could potentially destabilize the Israeli government…  “While we are having productive conversations with all relevant parties, we have not set a time frame nor created any deadlines…” he said. “The notion that this would cause a ‘political earthquake’ is nonsense and was in response to a false report created by people who want to play the role of spoiler. We are going to ignore the noise and focus on our work.”” [IsraelHayom]

Former U.S. Amb. Daniel Shapiro writes… “Move the Embassy to Jerusalem and Promote Peace: Packaging the unveiling of a U.S. peace plan with an announcement of the embassy move could ensure that the latter reinforces the former. But Mr. Trump must be clear on two points: The embassy will relocate to West Jerusalem… He also must explain that… the U.S. expects the outcome to include a Palestinian capital in the city’s Arab neighborhoods…This approach has two advantages. First, it reorients U.S. policy toward a two-state solution. Second, it punctures myths that both sides use to deceive themselves and delay progress.” [WSJ]

NOTEWORTHY — Kafe Knesset’s Tal Shalev tweets: “Netanyahu’s special envoy and close friend, Isaac Molcho, has asked to be relieved from his duties” [Twitter]

IRAN DEAL — Tillerson says US sanctions targeting Iran’s ‘malign behaviors’ aimed at helping Iranian people: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that US sanctions against Iran are targeting the country’s “malign behaviors” and are aimed at helping the Iranian people take control of their government… “Our fight is not with the Iranian people. Our disagreements are with the revolutionary regime,” Tillerson says. “We are taking actions to impose sanctions on the regime and in particular the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”[ToI]

“Why Israeli Nuclear Experts Disagree with Netanyahu on the Iran Deal” by By Bernard Avishai: “[Former Israeli National Security Advisor Uzi Arad] remains skeptical of Netanyahu’s campaign against it, recalling the conversation he had had with one very senior official, a veteran of the science and defense-policy community, who was in despair about Netanyahu’s call to abrogate the J.C.P.O.A. “I asked him what he thought of the Prime Minister’s policy. ‘Shigaon!’ he told me.” (“Shigaon” is normally translated as “lunacy.”)… “In order not to play into Iranian hands, and keep the other J.C.P.O.A. powers supportive, American leaders must make a conscientious effort to divorce from the nuclear deal any sanctions entertained in the context of missiles or terrorism,” he said.” [NewYorker]

ON THE HILL — by Aaron Magid: The House is expected vote today on four bills pressuring Iran and the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced H.R. 1698 that expands sanctions against Tehran for its ballistic missile program. Another bill restricting Hezbollah’s ability to fundraise by cracking down on foreign states that do business with them is authored by Royce and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). Legislation introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) that urges the European Union to designate Hezbollah’s political wing as a terror group will likely receive a floor vote.

TOP TALKER: “Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier” by Adam Entous and Devlin Barrett: “Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community… Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary. The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.” [WashPost

KAFE KNESSET — Everyone loves Rivlin again — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: After a couple of days of politicians fighting about President Rivlin because of his fiery speech in the Knesset, all that it took was someone calling him a Nazi to bring everyone back to the fold. Graffiti on a school in Bnei Brak calling Rivlin a Nazi made the headlines. Politicians on the Left pounced, calling it a result of “incitement” by the Right. Then the Right felt it had to condemn the graffiti, with even Netanyahu – who is not exactly Rivlin’s biggest fan – chiming in. The Haredi press, however, told a different story. It turns out that the graffiti was sprayed around a month ago when Rivlin visited the school, and it was never cleaned up. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset — including the latest on legislation regarding investigating sitting prime ministers — here [JewishInsider]

** 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: Private-equity giant Carlyle Group’s co-CEOs David Rubenstein and William Conway are stepping down in biggest shakeup since it was founded [CNBC] • The future of retail is ‘micro malls,’ says T5 Capital General Partner Mark Ghermezian [EdmontonJournal] • Meet Wibbitz, one of the [Israeli] software startups that helps publishers make lots of videos very, very quickly [Recode] • Bids due this week for Rolling Stone sale[NYPost]

NEW MISSION: “Billionaire Michael Bloomberg wants to live to 125 years old: ‘Nobody’s done that before'” by Sam Shead: “Bloomberg’s billionaire founder and CEO Michael Bloomberg has said that he’s aiming to live until he’s 125-years-old — something no human has ever done before… “I look forward to another, I dunno, 50 years may be optimistic, but that’s my objective, to live another 50 years. Nobody’s done that I might point out so far,” he said at his new desk in London. Bloomberg… made his comments after being asked whether he intends to run US president in the future. “Who knows what the future holds but I don’t plan to,” said Bloomberg… “I’ll do everything I can to help our government and work on my foundation. It’s a good chance to work in the commercial world and the philanthropic world and to spend time with my new grandchildren and daughter.” [BI

“Mark Zuckerberg has bigger plans than the White House” by Alex Thompson: “The world’s fifth-richest man has publicly committed $45 million — most of it in the first 10 months of 2017 — into groups aligned with two political causes: ending the era of mass incarceration and fixing the affordable housing crisis in American cities. The sum…  represents the first series of investments by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (with wife Priscilla Chan), or CZI, which is setting goals to extend far beyond the next election cycle…With a $60 billion-plus funding commitment, CZI would be the biggest foundation in the world, almost 30 percent larger than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at $43 billion.” [Vice]

TALK OF THIS TOWN: “DC Judge Agrees to Ask Israel for Help in Case of Jewish Historical Texts Held by Russia” by Cogan Schneier: “A federal judge in D.C. agreed on Tuesday to officially ask Israeli authorities to get involved in a yearslong dispute over Jewish religious texts held by Russia. The Chabad-Lubavitch movement… has been fighting for years to secure the return of historical religious texts seized by the Russians in the early 20th century… Attorneys for Chabad told Lamberth in a conference Tuesday that an auction house in Israel obtained one of the books and intends to sell it… Nathan Lewin, a lawyer for Chabad, also indicated Tuesday that the group will file a motion this week for a temporary restraining order to block Kedem Auction House from selling the book. Lewin phoned into Tuesday’s conference from Jerusalem.” [Law]

“‘Hateful’ town illegally targeted Orthodox Jews, [NJ] state says” by Sara Jerde and Allison Pries: “Fearing an influx of Orthodox Jews from New York State, the Township of Mahwah introduced two hateful and discriminatory ordinances that illegally targeted that community, the state Attorney General’s office alleged in a stunning complaint filed against the town… “This is an extensive complaint … but the bottom line is very simple — the township council in Mahwah heard the angry, fear-driven voices of bigotry and acted to appease those voices,” Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a statement.” [NorthJersey]

MEDIA WATCH: “Leon Wieseltier Admits ‘Offenses’ Against Female Colleagues as New Magazine Is Killed” by Jennifer Schuessler: “Leon Wieseltier, a prominent editor at The New Republic for three decades who was preparing to unveil a new magazine next week, apologized on Tuesday… “For my offenses against some of my colleagues in the past I offer a shaken apology and ask for their forgiveness,” he wrote. “The women with whom I worked are smart and good people. I am ashamed to know that I made any of them feel demeaned and disrespected. I assure them I will not waste this reckoning.” In his statement, Mr. Wieseltier also offered an apology to his current collaborators, including a staff of a half dozen. “I am profoundly sorry to my extraordinary collaborators at the journal we began together that the misdeeds of my past have made it impossible to go forward,” he said. “My gratitude to them is boundless.” [NYTimes

HOLLYWOOD: “The most A-list wedding of the year?” by Carly Stern: “It takes a VIP to be able to drum up an A-list roster of celebrity guests at your wedding. But it takes a very, very important person to get them to come to your vow renewal a decade later. [Jerusalem-born] talent manager Guy Oseary, 45, tied the knot with wife Michelle Alves back in 2006, but the lovebirds reaffirmed their commitment with a second wedding on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — that is speculated to have cost a whopping $250,000. And they got some of the biggest names in the business to fly in for the lavish affair, including Madonna, Bono, Ashton Kutcher, Matthew McConaughey, Dakota Johnson, and Noel Gallagher.” [DailyMail]

“Drake throws bar mitzvah-themed 31st birthday party” by Alexis Benveniste: “The rapper rang in his birthday with a bar mitzvah-themed celebration in Los Angeles on Monday night. He kicked off the evening at the Catch LA rooftop… The half-Jewish, Toronto-born rapper then moved the party on to the nightclub Poppy, where his “31 going on 13”-themed soiree was equipped with “Aubrey’s re-bar mitzvah” cups, pizza boxes with his picture on them, a basketball photobooth and an ice hockey dance floor… Guests noshed on Dippin’ Dots and pizza — because what’s a good bar mitzvah without good food?” [PageSix]

“J.J. Redick’s Ideal Podcast Guest Is Barack Obama” by Alex Wong: “Harry Styles was amazing, So, Ben Winston [executive producer of The Late, Late Show with James Corden] is one of my best friends. He’s a great mate of mine and I’ve had many Shabbat dinners with him. I actually had a Shabbat dinner with Ben and Harry last season.” [GQ]

BIRTHDAYS: US District Court Judge (now on senior status) serving in the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn, appointed by President Reagan, Judge Edward R. Korman turns 75… Chief Policy and Strategy Officer of Oscar Insurance since 2016, following stints as a Supreme Court clerk, White House counsel, Chancellor of the NYC schools and EVP at News Corporation, Joel Klein turns 71… President of Dallas-based SPR Ventures and SPR Packaging LLC, a manufacturer of flexible packaging, he serves on the boards of Texas Capital Bancshares and Cinemark, Steven Rosenberg turns 59… Community engagement professional at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco, Rachel Elana Schonwetter turns 28…

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Oct
24

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Daily Kickoff: Sen. Corker tells us no timetable on new Iran sanctions | Pickles and Israeli politics | Israel bans binary options | Scene at FIDF

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DRIVING THE CONVO — Corker says there’s no timetable on new Iran sanctions bill despite Trump’s threat — by JI’s Aaron Magid: “I don’t have any timetable,” Corker told Jewish Insider yesterday regarding tougher sanctions legislation on Iran. “We’ll get it passed when it’s ready.” Corker put much of the responsibility for passing the bill back on the President’s shoulders. “The White House and the State Department have a lot of work to do to bring our European allies along. There is going to be a period of venting, which they are going through right now. Democrats aren’t going to be really interested in coming on if our European allies are in a different place,” he explained.

The effort from Corker and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-TN), co-sponsor of Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), will likely require the backing of 60 Senators to overcome a Democratic filibuster. However, Corker clarified that they are interested in being “flexible” with Democrats to attract greater support. “Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) knows we aren’t trying to stuff him. This isn’t where we are trying to find 60 people. This is something we hope to pass with 80-85 votes, so this is something that we want to ease along with and be an overwhelming vote,” Corker noted. [JewishInsider]

HOT THIS AM: President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Bob Corker went to war on Tuesday, trading personal insults and name-calling on a number of topics. “When you send out tweets into the region to raise tensions, when you kneecap, which is what he’s done publicly, when you kneecap your secretary of state, whose diplomacy you have to depend upon…you really move our country into a binary choice which could lead to a world war,” Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told NBC’s “TODAY.” [NBC]

–Trump tweets: “Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts….” [Twitter]

–Corker fires back at Trump: ‘Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president’ [TheHill]

Richard Haass: “Potus tirade vs. Sen Corker not just undignified but bad for US nat’l security as works against US speaking/acting consistently in the world”[Twitter

Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) in an interview with Haaretz re Iran sanctions: “I met Republicans who told me: ‘The president might try and put this between us and his base and I am not going to let him do that and I will vote to re-impose sanctions.’  I think with the politics of this and the midterm elections Republicans in Congress might think, ‘Am I better off sticking with Trump never mind what the worldwide dangers might be?’ We will try and change that calculation the same way we tried to do it on the Iran deal.” said.” [Haaretz]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Hudson Institute forum in DC re Iran deal: “Congress is having a hard time sometimes finding its way to the bathroom… I think it is far better for the administration, for the president to deal with these issues. I think now Congress should hopefully a develop a way to increase the enforcement of that agreement and tie sanctions to the enforcement of it.”

Panetta likened Trump’s move on the Iran deal with Obama’s Syria red line: “When those chemical attacks did take place… the failure to actually take action at that point sent a message that we would not stand by our word on the red line. I think that had an impact in terms of credibility of the United States and the world. I think the same thing’s happening now with the failure to abide by our word on the nuclear agreement.” [Video]

“Bannon Backs Isolation of Qatar, Comparing Threat to North Korea” by Jennifer Jacobs: “I think the single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar,” Bannon said (at the Hudson Institute conference). “What’s happening in Qatar is every bit as important as what’s happening in North Korea.” .. Bannon called Trump’s speech (in Saudi Arabia) a milestone in U.S. policy toward the Mideast. “I don’t think it was just by happenstance that two weeks after the summit that we saw the blockade by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and Egypt and the king of Saudi Arabia on Qatar.” [Bloomberg]

“Stephen Bannon Haunts Tillerson From Beyond The White House” by John Hudson: “The Saudis and their allies believe that they have the inside track to the White House through Kushner and Bannon and they can ignore the State Department on issues like Qatar and Yemen,” said Bruce Riedel, a Brookings Institution scholar and former CIA officer. “So far they are right.” [BuzzFeedMcClatchy]

ON THE HILL — Rep. Royce: Taylor Force Act to advance House committee in “few weeks” — by Aaron Magid: Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) announced yesterday at the Hudson Institute conference that legislation to cut off U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) will advance through the committee in the upcoming weeks. Royce stressed the rationale for his support of the Taylor Force Act. Palestinians “are being lured there by the concept of pay to slay, by this inducement, by this financial reward that says the longer the sentence, the more people that are murdered, the greater the stipend.” [JewishInsider]

“Can Netanyahu say ‘no’ to Trump?” by Ben Caspit: “All indications are that the United States has no intention of giving up. There are an increasing number of leaks from Washington about the upcoming peace initiative. They seem to be saying that they will not force anything on either party, but at the same time, they certainly intend to present the parties with the “ultimate deal.” Will this be the first time that President Donald Trump forces Netanyahu’s hand and drags him to the negotiating table?” [Al-Monitor]

KAFE KNESSET — Pickles & Politics — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Both PM Netanyahu’s speech and President Rivlin’s speech at the Knesset winter session’s opening meeting yesterday made big waves. Netanyahu’s speech was based around a Hebrew pun on the word for “pickles,” which could also mean “sour.” Throughout his speech, he called his opponents in the Knesset and the media, sour pickles and sourpusses. What can we do, the pun only works in Hebrew! “Who won’t admit that Israel is flourishing economically, technologically and diplomatically, and that Israel ranks high on international happiness rankings. It is hard for you sour ones to accept it,” he said. “When sour ones talk, you hear conversations like, ‘Isn’t the situation here horrible and terrible? Isn’t everything falling apart? By the way, did you order tickets to London or Berlin?’ They are sour, and they fly away,” Netanyahu quipped. Of course, he thanked Trump in his speech, as well.

Then, playing on the whole sour pickles theme, Netanyahu tweeted a photo of himself with an enormous can of pickles (in brine, the superior choice, not vinegar) and a huge grin, with the caption “We have a wonderful nation that loves pickles, but is not sour,” and a cucumber emoji. Likud MKs tweeted pictures of themselves enjoying pickles with the Prime Minister.

President Rivlin took the opportunity to address what he said was the politicization of everything: “A reality is growing in which everything is political. The media is political, democratic institutions are political – all of them, from the civil service to the state comptroller – the Supreme Court is political, security forces are political, even our IDF is political.” Rivlin warned that this attitude towards democratic institutions is weakening them. The opposition cheered for Rivlin, while the coalition was stony-faced. After the speeches ended, Likud MKs put out statements slamming Rivlin. This morning, Culture Minister Miri Regev said on Army Radio that Rivlin is the least statesmanlike president in Israel’s history. Asked about former president Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape, Regev said the question was unfair and that Katsav paid his debt to society. It appears that in Regev’s estimation, criticizing the Likud is worse than rape. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

Despite all the talk about defunding the United Nations, Trump proclaims October 24 as United Nations Day: “We remain hopeful that the United Nations can achieve its goals of maintaining international peace and security and developing friendly relations among nations,” Trump’s statement reads. “Although a great deal of work remains to be done for the United Nations to realize its full potential, we reaffirm our commitment to its goals in order to build a better tomorrow for future generations.”

AT 12PM TODAY: Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter, NJ will deliver the opening prayer at the start of the House of Representatives’ legislative business. [CSPAN

–Fun fact courtesy of Howard Mortman: This will the 9th time in 2017 that a rabbi has opened Congress in prayer (will be eight times in House, once in Senate). It’s the highest number of guest chaplain rabbis in one calendar year so far since 2003, when there were 14 in Congress (10 in Senate, 4 in House).

JARED INSIDER: “’It’s our secret talent’: Giggling Ivanka Trump reveals she and Jared love playing matchmaker for friends” by Emily Crane: “During an interview with Sean Hannity on Monday night, the First Daughter opened up about their hidden skill, saying the couple had successfully set up seven marriages. ‘This is Jared and my secret talent – people don’t realize it’s our hidden skill, we’re matchmakers,’ Ivanka said. ‘Seven marriages, zero divorces. Hopefully, God-willing that continues.’” [DailyMail]

STATE-SIDE: Maryland governor signs anti-BDs Executive Order — by Erin Cox: “[Gov. Larry] Hogan, surrounded by local and national Jewish leaders, said… all future state contracts would require companies to certify they will not economically discriminate against Israel, and that if any current state contractors refuse to agree, “they would be terminated. There is no place in our state for boycotts and threats,” Hogan said.” [BaltimoreSunNBC]

** 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: Israel bans binary options industry, finally closing vast, 10-year fraud [ToI] • Mike Bloomberg to open £1bn City of London headquarters [FT] • Lord & Taylor Building, Icon of New York Retail, to Become WeWork Headquarters [NYTimes] • Hedge fund Baupost snaps up claims against Toshiba [Reuters] • Berkeley DeepDrive Releases 36,000 Nexar Videos to Research Community [NewsWire]

STARTUP NATION: “Automated video creation startup Wibbitz raises $20M” by Anthony Ha: “Wibbitz, which uses artificial intelligence to create short videos based on text news stories, has raised $20 million in Series C funding. The money comes from some of big names in the media world, with Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (a subsidiary of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann) leading the round and participation from The Weather Channel, The Associated Press and TF1. Co-founder and CEO Zohar Dayan described the round as “a huge testament to what we’re doing and the value our technology brings to these companies.” [TechCrunch]

MEDIA WATCH: “Journalism’s Broken Business Model Won’t Be Solved by Billionaires” by William D. Cohan: “The story of Alice Rogoff and the Alaska Dispatch News is a cautionary tale that shows the limits of what a wealthy owner is willing, or able, to do for a struggling newspaper in the digital era… According to the bankruptcy filing, the paper was losing an average of a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars per week and owed its venders some $2.5 million. She still owes Northrim Bank around $10.2 million, the security for which is the regular payments that she receives as part of a “marital settlement agreement” with her husband (David Rubenstein), as well as her Wells Fargo investment accounts and the remaining assets of the paper.”[NewYorker]

“The Jared bubble: What my 18 months as Jared Kushner’s first editor taught me about the Trump family and the press” by Kyle Pope: ““You can’t say ‘hit job’ in here.” I was six months into my tenure as the editor of the New York Observer, and I was schooling my publisher, Jared Kushner, on why ordering up a slam of someone who had crossed his family in business didn’t pass the journalistic smell test. Kushner, in an earlier meeting, had asked for a hit piece on an official at Bank of America, and was now in my office to check on how the story was coming together. I had spent the previous weeks trying to avoid the subject with him, knowing full well that the Observer was never going to pursue a story about an anonymous banker whose only sin was running afoul of the Kushner family.” [CJR]

“Turning Tables in Magnitsky Case, Russia Accuses a Nemesis of Murder” by Andrew Kramer: “The prosecutors say that [WIlliam] Browder was assigned the code name Agent Solomon by Western intelligence, while Mr. Navalny was called Agent Freedom. Referring to Agent Solomon, one filing recounts how he “was offered by proxies in the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service to arrange the termination of any medical services for [Sergei] Magnitsky.”” [NYTimes]

–Browder tweets: “GREAT NEWS! My ESTA (US visa waiver) was restored. I successfully checked into a US flight. Now we need to fix bogus Interpol arrest warrant” [Twitter]

“A Trump administration official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss an individual visa case, said it appeared that the initial action blocking Mr. Browder had been taken automatically in response to an Interpol notice filed against him by Russia and was not an affirmative action by the American government.” [NYT]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC — by Jacob Kornbluh: The Friends of IDF (FIDF) annual gala, at the Hilton Midtown, highlighted a special “Night of Heroes” saluting the brave soldiers and veterans from Israel’s military operations and historic wars. The gala raised at least $35 million, which included a $7 million pledge from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Speakers included outgoing Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, legendary IAF test pilot Danny Shapira, and Amir Ofer. from Operation Entebbe.

SPOTTED: Amb. Danny Danon, Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan, Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson [Pic], FIDF’s Arthur Stark, Rabbi Peter Weintraub, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, and Galit Brichta; Marc Perlman, Or Lachayal, Malcolm Hoenlein, Ken Abramowitz, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Thane Rosenbaum, Oren Alexander, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor Bronia Brandman, and PuderPR’s Joe Berkofsky.

HAPPENING TONIGHT IN SF: At 7PM, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco welcomes back Walter Isaacson for a fresh look at Leonardo da Vinci. Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his unconventional life, Isaacson tells the story of how Leonardo’s wide-ranging passions – from anatomy and birds to flying machines and weaponry – combined with his ability to stand at the crossroads of art and science, makes him history’s most creative genius. [JCCSF]

BIRTHDAYS: Russian-born businessman and owner of the Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich turns 51… Writer and adjunct instructor at Queensborough Community College, Ira Greenfest turns 74… Stock market analyst who has published books and appears regularly on CNBC and Bloomberg TV, Charles Biderman turns 71… Retired Department of Defense chief of staff, Judy Kopff turns 71 (h/t Playbook)… Financial planner and president of Laredo, Texas-based International Asset Management, Inc., Joseph Rothstein turns 65… Democratic member of the US House of Representatives from Southern California since 1997, Brad Sherman turns 63… Executive editor of The Washington Post since 2013, he was previously the executive editor of The Boston Globe (2001-2012), Martin “Marty” Baron turns 63… Chattanooga-based billionaire and CEO of Mohawk Industries, the world’s largest flooring company, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum turns 63… Program director at the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, Alan Divack turns 61… Co-founder and CEO (1990-2001) of Sirius Satellite Radio (now Sirius XM Radio), he made aliyah in 2002, David Margolese turns 60… Producer of CBS’s 60 Minutes since 2007 after 25 years at CNN, Henry Schuster turns 60…

Born in Kiev, he is a supporter of Jewish initiatives in Russia and elsewhere in Europe, an active member of the Russian Jewish Congress and a co-founder of the Genesis Prize, German Khan turns 56… Political communications consultant, she was formerly communications director and deputy chief of staff for Senator Patty Murray, Tovah Ravitz Meehan turns 48 (h/t Playbook)… Rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor, born to a Jewish mother in Toronto, Aubrey Drake Graham now known as Drake turns 31… Assistant executive director at the Jewish Community Council of Marine Park, Yitzy Weinberg turns 31… The Orthodox Union’s associate director of synagogue services and regional director for synagogues (Long Island and Queens), Yehuda Friedman… Former White House spokesman and communications director at the US Department of Education, Matt Lehrich (h/t Playbook)..

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Oct
23

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Daily Kickoff: Saudi Prince walks into a synagogue… to speak | New Yorker profiles the Sackler dynasty | WeWork acquires Flombaum’s Flatiron School

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TOP TALKER: “Russia Puts Browder on Interpol Wanted List, Blocking Travel” by Stephanie Baker: “Hermitage Capital Management founder William Browder said Russia put him on Interpol’s wanted list last week, its latest move to undermine the American-born fund manager’s global campaign against Russia over the death of his legal and tax adviser Sergei Magnitsky. Browder, a British citizen since giving up his U.S. citizenship in 1998, said he’d received an email from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notifying him his “global entry status” had been removed. He also found out his visa waiver for the U.S. had been revoked after Russia added him to the Interpol list using a loophole known as a “diffusion notice,” which allows countries to issue arrest warrants unilaterally without vetting from the organization.” [BloombergNationalReview]

REPORT — Trump peace proposal will seek regional deal — by Raphael Ahren: “Trump’s administration will shortly unveil a formal proposal for Middle East peace that aims to enable a “comprehensive regional arrangement,” but that will not be imposed on the sides, and that will not feature a rigid timetable, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported… The TV report said administration officials have revealed aspects of the proposal to Democratic politicians. An unnamed Democratic source was quoted saying that the Trump officials promised the Democrats that they would be “pleased” with the approach…”

“An administration official said… “It would be more newsworthy if we weren’t working towards an enduring peace. We are engaged in a productive dialogue with all relevant parties about an enduring peace deal but are not going to put an artificial deadline on anything. We have no imminent plans beyond continuing our conversations. As we have always said, our job is to facilitate a deal that works for both the Israelis and Palestinians, not to impose anything on them.”” [ToI]

“U.S. Sees Possible Opportunity in Palestinian Reconciliation Led by Egypt, White House Official Says” by Barak Ravid: “Senior White House officials said the United States believes that Egyptian mediation between the Palestinian factions has created a possibly positive opportunity… On Thursday, the Trump administration’s special envoy on the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, was in Cairo for several hours… Greenblatt returned to Jerusalem, where on Sunday he is due to continue talks with Israel and the Palestinians… Greenblatt has been in regular contact over the past several days with presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner and has briefed Kushner on his contacts with the Egyptians, the Israelis and the Palestinians. Kushner himself also spoke with several officials in the region about the reconciliation agreement.” [Haaretz]

Greenblatt tweets this morning: “Hamas, which has only brought ruin and misery to Palestinians, now begs Iran for help and again vows to destroy Israel. Palestinians deserve so much better than this. We must find a better path forward toward peace and prosperity.” [Twitter]

“Jimmy Carter Lusts for a Trump Posting” by Maureen Dowd: “He also said he liked Trump’s initiative reaching out to Saudi Arabia. He doesn’t know Jared Kushner but is not totally dismissive of the idea that the son-in-law could succeed where others have failed. “I’ve seen in the Arab world, including the Palestinian world,” he said, “the high esteem that they pay to a member of one’s own family.” Indeed, Carter was harder on Obama during the interview than he was on Trump… Saying that he did not think “there’s much hope now that Israelis will ever permit a two-state solution,” he knocked Obama on the Middle East: “He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that.”” [NYTimes]

IRAN DEAL: “Tillerson Warns Against Doing Business With Iran’s Revolutionary Guards” by Nick Wadhams: “The Revolutionary Guards “foment instability in the region and create destruction in the region,” Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh on Sunday after talks with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and other top officials. European countries and companies that do business with the IRGC “really do so at great risk,” he said.” [Bloomberg] • Tillerson’s Mideast Aim Is a Saudi-Iraqi Axis Against Iran [NYT]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal at the Middle East Policy Forum in New York, hosted by the Israel Policy Forum and held at The Temple Emanu-El Striecker Center: “If you want to put pressure on Iran, you have to do whatever it means to do that and decertification is one way of putting in that pressure to make them live up not just to the letter of the deal, but the spirit. The signers of the deal when they signed it portrayed the holy picture that it was going to turn into a very friendly and open and hospitable place to do business with, but that hasn’t happened.” Pointing to Iran’s influence in the Middle East, Al-Faisal asserted, “The basic failure of the deal was to deal with [the] Iranian extraterritorial ambitions.”

Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy argued that Israel preferred the nuclear deal negotiated in 2015: “Israel is indestructible. We are able to, if necessary, protect ourselves and emerge intact. I have huge faith in our military establishment, our defense establishment, and our intelligence establishment. We are less indestructible than we ever were. Having said that, the Iran deal was not an ideal deal. But this was because Israel did not wish the negotiations to include all the items on the agenda… Israel wanted the U.S. to focus on the nuclear issue and nothing else. We didn’t want to delay the deal, we wanted it to come as quickly as possible and be as effective as possible.”

Al-Faisal at the start of the event: “I want to thank the IPF for giving me this opportunity to come for the first time to a synagogue. That is an occasion that I will value, and hopefully, it will not be the last.” [Video]

HAPPENING TODAY — at 12:15Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, General David Petraeus, and Steve Bannon will speak at the Hudson Institute’s conference on Countering Violent Extremism: Qatar, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The event will take place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in DC. [Livestream]

DRIVING THE WEEK — House to vote on non-nuclear Iran sanctions: “It is Congress’ responsibility to work with the executive branch on a clear-eyed strategy to stop Iran’s reckless behavior,” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy…  and Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a joint statement… “Immediate action towards this goal will come from the House [this] week as we vote on legislation that furthers sanctions on Hezbollah and Iran’s missile proliferation.” [Reuters]

“Talking North Korea and Iran With Israel’s Rocket Man: Yitzhak Ben-Israel thinks Kim’s cyberwarriors are third-rate, U.S. missile defense is good, and the Iran deal is a keeper” by Zev Chafets: “First, it must be remembered that North Korea has nuclear weapons. If the U.S. crosses a red line, the crazy dictator in Pyongyang could use them. Hezbollah and Hamas don’t have nuclear weapons, which is exactly why Israel doesn’t want Iran to have them. As far as conventional short-range artillery, we have solved that technological problem with the Iron Dome… North Korea’s rockets are not different from those of Hamas and Hezbollah. But North Korea has a great many more. If they were to launch a massive simultaneous barrage, you’d need a sufficient number of Iron Dome batteries.” [BloombergView]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “The most popular parlor game in Washington: Who will replace Tillerson?” by Josh Rogin: “The top two contenders, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, offer different paths for recovery… Haley took a middle-of-the-road approach in deliberations on the new Iran strategy, which ended up winning the day… But the Haley choice is risky for Haley. She already has amassed the foreign policy bona fides required for a future run for president. Her physical distance from the White House has allowed her to avoid internal conflicts and act independently. It’s not clear what she gains politically from moving up to secretary of state… Pompeo would be a secretary of state with deeper ties to Trump and views that align more with those of the White House. He is more hawkish on Iran than Haley is.” [WashPost]

DECISION TIME: “Inside the Fed chair decision” by Jonathan Swan: “Rupert Murdoch, who speaks regularly to Trump by telephone and is one of his most influential informal advisers, has urged the president to appoint either of the two free market conservative finalists, Stanford economist John Taylor or former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh… Trump has also spoken favorably of current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, further muddling the picture… Another source close to the process told me the smart money is still on [Jerome] Powell. Powell’s most aggressive advocate has been Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” [Axios]

Chris Christie’s Last Fight” by Jason Zengerle: “It’s conventional wisdom among political insiders that Christie’s problem isn’t so much with Trump as it is with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father Christie sent to prison when Christie was a federal prosecutor. Even on that score, Christie downplays any friction. “There’s a lot of history there, not between me and him but between me and his father,” Christie says, “and Jared has continued to tell me that he holds no grudge against me, so I have to take him at his word.”

— “About Trump’s “both sides” rhetoric after the violence in Charlottesville, Christie told me, “I know he’s not a racist. He just blew it.” When I asked Christie how Trump kept blowing it if he’s not a racist—repeatedly failing to criticize neo-Nazis and white supremacists—he deflected: “Don’t confuse that with stubbornness. The president has a stubborn streak.””[GQ]

“Sen. Sherrod Brown: Steve Bannon ‘Is A White Supremacist’” by Igor Bobic: “I agree that Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, and [senior White House adviser] Stephen Miller seems to be. And I know that studies have shown that they have their allies sprinkled around the White House,” Brown said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” without naming the studies.”” [HuffPost]

THE MOOCH SPEAKS OUT: “Scaramucci to ‘Post’: I have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on Nazis” by Michael Wilner: “The fact that they’re even out there is a sign that something’s wrong,” [Anthony] Scaramucci told The Post… “You’ve got to have a zero tolerance policy on Nazis… I find it absolutely reprehensible and offensive that there are people walking around with swastikas on their arms in the United States,” Scaramucci said… Originally from Long Island, Scaramucci took note of the 200-odd bar mitzvahs he attended while growing up in New York. “I’m as close to being a Jew as you can get while still being Italian,” he joked.” [JPost

NJ GOV WATCH: “Murphy slams ‘anti-Semitic’ rhetoric around Mahwah eruv” by Tom Nobile: “Democratic nominee for governor Phil Murphy chided residents of Mahwah for creating an “overarching perception of anti-Semitism and discrimination” in its rejection of an eruv, he wrote in a pointed op-ed… “When a Holocaust survivor at a public meeting is heckled, and then denounced as a fraud, there is a problem,” Murphy wrote. “When well-intentioned residents are disparaged as ‘paid actors’ for a ‘Jewish money conspiracy scheme’ there is a problem.”” [NorthJersey]

KAFE KNESSET — Welcome back, Knesset — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: After a three-month summer recess, the Knesset has returned to regular work. As always, the afternoon plenum meeting will be full of pomp and circumstance, with speeches by Netanyahu, President Rivlin, and opposition leader Herzog. The situation today, though, is probably best represented by the Israeli idiom “full gas in neutral” – an exercise in futility. There’s a long list of influential and controversial bills on the agenda, dealing with everything from stopping the Supreme Court from canceling bills, banning investigations of a sitting prime minister, returning to evacuated settlements in northern Samaria, and more, but they were all frozen yesterday over coalition infighting. Even planned votes on the Jewish nation-state bill were stopped, because the Haredim are reconsidering their support for it. All in all, today is a lot of talk, and not much action. 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: WeWork just bought Avi Flombaum’s N.Y.C. coding bootcamp Flatiron School [FastCompanyAxios] • Rebecca Kaden joins Union Square Ventures as general partner [TechCrunch] • Jessica Lessin’s The Information reveals the startups in its first media accelerator and plans hiring spree [TechCrunch

LongRead: “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe: “The Brooklyn-born brothers Arthur, Mortimer, and Raymond Sackler, all physicians, donated lavishly during their lifetimes to an astounding range of institutions, many of which today bear the family name: the Sackler Gallery, in Washington; the Sackler Museum, at Harvard; the Sackler Center for Arts Education, at the Guggenheim; the Sackler Wing at the Louvre; and Sackler institutes and facilities at Columbia, Oxford, and a dozen other universities… Arthur and his brothers, the children of Jewish immigrants from Galicia and Poland, grew up in Brooklyn during the Depression. All three attended medical school, and worked together at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, in Queens, collectively publishing some hundred and fifty scholarly papers.”

“Over time, the origins of a clan’s largesse are largely forgotten, and we recall only the philanthropic legacy, prompted by the name on the building. According to Forbes, the Sacklers are now one of America’s richest families, with a collective net worth of thirteen billion dollars. The bulk of the Sacklers’ fortune has been accumulated only in recent decades, yet the source of their wealth is to most people as obscure as that of the robber barons. While the Sacklers are interviewed regularly on the subject of their generosity, they almost never speak publicly about the family business, Purdue Pharma—a privately held company, based in Stamford, Connecticut, that developed the prescription painkiller OxyContin. Upon its release, in 1995, OxyContin was hailed as a medical breakthrough, a long-lasting narcotic that could help patients suffering from moderate to severe pain.” [NewYorker]

“Giving Away Billions as Fast as They Can” by David Gelles: “Rather than try to solve discrete problems like disease, Open Society aims to promote values like democracy, tolerance and inclusion, which [George] Soros, a Holocaust survivor, holds dear. In practice, this means that his money is less likely to fund early stage medical research, and more likely to help refugees displaced by conflict. But while the issues they address are distinct, the broad outline of these billionaires’ efforts (Gates, Bloomberg, Mercer, Koch and Zuckerberg) have much in common: shaping the world in their moral image… Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, is also no stranger to criticism. The purpose of his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, is to “ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.” In practice, this has meant Mr. Bloomberg spending hundreds of millions of dollars on issues including gun control and obesity prevention.” [NYTimes]

“How Hitler’s plan to take over LA was thwarted by a Jewish lawyer” by Larry Getlen: “In 1933, the year Hitler became Germany’s chancellor, around 100 Nazis held their first meeting in LA to talk about unifying the area’s 150,000 Germans to promote Hitlerism in the US. [Leon] Lewis knew that decisive action needed to be taken. Having done “secret intelligence work for the military during World War I,” he established a private espionage organization, finding spies who could infiltrate the Nazis and expose their devious plans. Knowing that Semitic-looking men or women would be recognized as such, he sought non-Jews… [John H.] Schmidt was his first undercover operative… [He] began spending time at the Aryan Bookstore in LA’s San Pedro neighborhood. There, he found the prime topics of conversation were how Franklin Roosevelt was a tool of the Jews and how he should be replaced by a president with Nazi sympathies. Had Lewis not taken it upon himself to stop the Nazis, LA in the 1930s could have been a much more frightening place.” [NYPost]

HOLLYWOOD: “‘Transparent’s’ Jeffrey Tambor to Be Honored at Israel Film Festival” by Gregg Kilday: “Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor will be honored with the 2017 IFF Achievement in Television Award at the 31st Israel Film Festival’s opening night gala, which will be held Nov. 5 at the Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The fest also will present its 2017 IFF Cinematic Achievement Award to Israeli film star Lior Ashkenazi, winner of this year’s Israeli Academy Ophir Award as best actor for his work in Foxtrot… This year’s festival chairman is Adam Berkowitz, CAA co-head of TV. Serving as honorary chairman is Arnon Milchan, owner of New Regency Productions.” [THR]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “The Newseum Is Increasingly Relevant, but Can It Survive?” by Sopan Deb: “The Newseum has run up deficits every year since it opened a grand new home in 2008. Though it attracts a respectable number of visitors (820,000 expected this year) who pay top dollar ($24.95 for adults) in a city filled with free museums, the institution is simply not taking in enough money to cover its bills. It still owes roughly $300 million on its new building, and the interest rates on the loans spiked last year. Its fund-raising has long been sluggish for a museum with a $61 million operating budget. All of which has put the museum’s future in doubt. Jeffrey Herbst, who served as the Newseum’s chief executive officer and president for two years, stepped down from his post at the end of August. “We had different visions of how to address the Newseum’s financial challenges and at the end of the day, decided to separate amicably,” Mr. Herbst said in a phone interview.” [NYTimes]

MAZEL TOV: “Lauren Nicole Coyle and Jeffrey Rosen were married Oct. 20 in Washington. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court officiated in her chambers. Mrs. Rosen, 34, is an assistant professor of anthropology at Princeton… Mr. Rosen, 53, is the president and the chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.” [NYTimesh/t Playbook

SPOTTED at Julia Ioffe’s birthday party Saturday night at Mari Vanna in D.C.: Leon Wieseltier, Robert Draper and Kirsten Powers, Phil Rucker, Jamie Kirchick, Alex Isenstadt, Daniel Lippman, Zeke Miller, Jason Rezaian, Molly Ball and David Kihara, Alexandria Petri, Jamie Weinstein, Juleanna Glover and Christopher Reiter, Ben Schreckinger, Elizabeth Ralph, Katie Fossett, Michael Crowley, Annie Linskey, Evelyn Farkas, Elizabeth Drew, David Litt, Tracy Sefl, Yochi Dreazen.

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman emeritus of the shopping mall developer Simon Property Group and an owner of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, Herbert “Herb” Simon turns 83… Founder of New Democrat Network and the New Policy Institute, a liberal think tank and advocacy group based in DC, Simon Rosenberg turns 54… New England regional director for J Street, Shaina Wasserman turns 40… AIPAC’s associate area director for Bergen County NJ and Rockland County NY, Ayelet Kahane turns 29… Harvard Law School student, she has worked for Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI-1) and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Annika Lichtenbaum turns 25… Digital producer at Well & Lighthouse, Rachel Shabad turns 25 (h/ts Playbook)… Richard Rubenstein

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]

Greenblatt meeting with Netanyahu on Tuesday - photo by Haim Zach/GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 29

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Greenblatt’s tour: The President’s special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, stayed on after the senior White House delegation visited the region last week. According to senior Israeli sources, Greenblatt is…

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 28

Monday, August 28, 2017

Guterres in Jerusalem: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night, as he…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for August 25

Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump-Netanyahu Instagram diplomacy: The Kushner-Greenblatt-Powell short visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah hardly made headlines this morning. The niceties of the Kushner-Netanyahu meeting, and the smiles in the Ramallah…

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 24

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bibi-Putin bromance – the aftermath: Before Bibi headed to Putin’s dacha in Sochi, politicians across the political spectrum wished him luck. But now that the meeting is over,…

Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Netanyahu tells Congress: Remove sunset clause from Iran deal

Thursday, August 24, 2017

WASHINGTON – During a meeting with Republican Congressmen this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the lawmakers to “get rid of the sunset clause” from the 2015…

via Twitter/ @ofirgendelman

Kafe Knesset for August 23

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

While Bibi is meeting Putin in Sochi, the US special envoy to Syria, Michael Ratney, is in Jerusalem this week, Kafe Knesset has learned. Ratney will be meeting…