Daily Kickoff: Bannon removed from National Security Council | Kushner’s 28-year-old protégé | Forbes Summit visits Rawabi | Dean Kamen BDay

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FORBES UNDER 30 SUMMIT EMEA — transitioned from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem yesterday: Last night, the Summit converged on Machane Yehuda Market, also known as ‘The Shuk’, for a food and bar crawl led by former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire. One organizer shared some numbers with us: 800 participants spending around 250 NIS each in food and drink coupons at the Shuk last night resulting in around 200,000 NIS injected into the local market’s economy. Tonight, attendees will gather at the Tower of David in the Old City of Jerusalem for a music festival.

Over dinner last night at Crave in the Shuk, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree Chloe Burch — who co-founded the handbag and shoe collection Neely & Chloe — told us: “I’m so happy that we got the opportunity to come here on a trip like this through Forbes because I don’t think I would have ever picked this place out randomly for a trip of my own or with my family. I’m not Jewish and I don’t necessarily have pre-existing ties to Israel but visiting such a historical place was amazing. A lot of people don’t realize they can come here — regardless of their religion — and really connect with the place.”

Also spotted at Crave: Member of Knesset Elazar Stern who just sponsored a bill in the Knesset this week that seeks to deduct funds to the Palestinian Authority according to the amount it gives to terrorists and their families.

Earlier today, around 50 participants from Forbes visited the town of Rawabi in the West Bank, the first planned city built for and by Palestinians. Bashar Masri, the developer of Rawabi and Chairman of Masri International, told the group that “we are building great infrastructure, a friendly place.” Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of the Portland Trust and Bridges Ventures, joined the visit and spoke of Masri’s grand vision. “The lesson for all of us is that businesses grow to the vision of their founder. Businesses rarely go beyond the vision of their founders. If you want to have an impact, you need to think big and you need scale. If you imagine Rawabi fully built you can benchmark it anywhere in the world. Profit with impact business has to deliver measurable social returns. You can see what can be replicated throughout Palestine. What’s most inspiring about Rawabi is the role model you have become.”

Of note, the brochure distributed to guests in Rawabi includes photos of visits from American Jews including Michael Steinhardt [Pic] and a delegation from J Street led by Jeremy Ben-Ami [Pic]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump’s surprisingly functional Israel policy” by Annie Karni:“You wouldn’t have a fundamentally different approach under a President Hillary Clinton, who would also be looking for a reset,” said Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security… “The one thing any American president needs, to have influence, is a perception from the Israeli public that this guy is on their side,” said Dennis Ross… On the right, there is less fear of Trump’s edict on settlements because of a sense of impermanence to Trump’s open-mindedness toward the Palestinians and a two-state solution. “The Israelis think this is a short-lived gambit,” said a foreign policy operative in Washington… “The attitude of the Israelis is, we need to get along for four years; he’s fundamentally inclined to like us; and his approach will become better informed by experience in a few months.” [Politico]

“Mixing Zionism And Politics Unavoidable, Dan Shapiro Says” by Gary Rosenblatt: “Now living in Israel, the Hebrew-speaking Shapiro said he plans to write about his experience as ambassador for five years, during which “a mythology arose” that portrayed the U.S.-Israel relationship in dark terms. “True, there were disagreements,” he acknowledged, but said it was a period when the relationship between the two countries was strengthened, particularly in terms of “security, missile defense technology, shared intelligence and economics.” He also noted that in spite of President Trump’s campaign pledges to shake up Washington’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, things are not that different today. “I have a lot of serious differences with this administration, but on Israel I have less difference than on anything else,” said Shapiro.” [JewishWeek]

BREAKING: “Bannon Removed From National Security Council Role in Shakeup” by Jennifer Jacobs: “President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council on Wednesday, removing his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and downgrading the role of his Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, according to a person familiar with the decision and a regulatory filing. Under the move, the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, are again “regular attendees” of the NSC’s principals committee.” [Bloomberg]

TOP TALKER: “Ivanka Trump distances herself from controversial policies in interview” by Ben Jacobs: “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” the president’s daughter said in an interview with CBS’s Gayle King… She added: “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard… Where I disagree with my father, he knows it and I express myself with total candor. Where I agree, I fully lean in and support the agenda.” .. Asked about whether she and her husband, Jared Kushner, were “complicit” in the Trump White House. Ivanka Trump replied: “If being complicit is wanting … to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit … I hope time will prove that I have done a good job, and, much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.” [Guardian; CBSNews]

PROFILE: “Jared Kushner’s 28-year-old protégé is his right-hand man in the White House” by Eliza Relman:“Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, told Business Insider that [Avi] Berkowitz’s role is primarily administrative and involves assisting Kushner with daily logistics — from getting coffee to coordinating meetings. But Berkowitz has been a part of some of the most high-profile moments of Kushner’s time on the transition team and in the White House. According to a Monday report in the Times, Kushner sent Berkowitz to meet with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016. Kislyak talked with Berkowitz about arranging a meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned bank that was under sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.” [BusinessInsider] • Jared Kushner Hiring Hollywood PR Exec for White House Role [HollywoodReporter]

HAPPENING TODAY: King Abdullah II of Jordan will meet with President Trump at the White House followed by a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at 1:10 pm EST. The two leaders will exchange views on a range of shared interests in the Middle East, including how the United States and Jordan can best “advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer said last week. Abdullah reportedly played a key role in establishing a line of communication between the new White House and the Palestinian Authority.

“At White House, Jordan king to present Arabs’ view on peace” by Karin Laub: “The White House meeting will affirm the king’s traditional role as Mideast mediator and raise his profile as an arbiter of Arab consensus… Netanyahu envoy Michael Oren, who recently met with Greenblatt, said on Monday that Israel wants Arab states to take concrete steps to “show that they are not just talking about peace, but actually mean it.” This would include “aspects of normalization,” Oren said, but did not elaborate. He described a process of mutual goodwill gestures that could gradually lead to a peace agreement.” [AP

ZOA’s Mort Klein tells us he met with Trump’s aide Sebastian Gorka at the White House last Thursday to present his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “It is clear that Gorka is a strong supporter of Israel and of the Jewish people,” Klein said amid allegations of Gorka’s ties to far-right and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary. “He cares deeply about the situation in Israel. That was crystal clear. This is a friend. And to have Jewish people criticize friends, this is a very bad idea.”

“Schiff: Trump told me I’m doing a ‘good job’ on Russia investigation” by Sarah Boxer: “While in the building, [Rep. Adam] Schiff said he and President Trump met in the Oval Office and spoke briefly about Schiff’s work on the committee. “He said I did a good job,” Schiff tells Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. “It was a perfectly cordial meeting.” Schiff says that Trump also personally assisted in fixing an issue that arose pertaining to the document viewing… Schiff says he heard “a lot of grumbling from the president’s staff behind me,” but the problem was resolved, and the staffer was able to see the documents.”

Schiff on Jared Kushner’s many portfolios: “He may be a perfectly fine gentleman, he may have very good advice for the president. … But he doesn’t have experience in any of these areas. And he’s acting as a super-secretary of state. I don’t know what that means in terms of Rex Tillerson’s job. But I can only imagine the firestorm that would have been provoked had Hillary Clinton made Chelsea her, essentially, second-in-command on all of these issues. So I think it does raise a real concern. You have a president, himself deeply inexperienced on all of these matters, relying so heavily on a son-in-law who is equally inexperienced in all these matters.” [Yahoo

“President Trump’s Son-In-Law Secretly Met With Muslim Leaders Weeks Before The Travel Ban” by Hannah Allam: “The Muslims in the room included a prominent imam, a civil rights attorney, the director of a nonprofit that studies violent extremism, and two venture capitalists — one of whom is a partner at Thrive Capital, the firm run by Kushner’s brother Joshua… Kushner set a friendly tone, soliciting ideas for how to improve Trump’s relations with Muslims, urging them to think big and boldly. He assured them that American Muslims weren’t going to be in the crosshairs: The threat was overseas, he said, with “the cancer” of radical Islam. Then Kushner surprised the delegates by asking them to recommend candidates for jobs in the administration, including the White House liaison to Muslim communities.” [BuzzFeed]

“Alex Jones and Roger Stone Are Starting to Think Jared Kushner Is Illuminati” by Eric Levitz: “There’s no question now, that sources tell me that the president’s son-in-law enjoys a very lively text exchange with Joe Scarborough,” [Roger] Stone said solemnly, standing in front of his pool, “Many of the anti–Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on Morning Joe are being dictated by Kushner.” [NYMag]

“Jared Kushner, Man of Steel” by Frank Bruni: “I’m told by insiders that when Trump’s long-shot campaign led to victory, he and Kushner became convinced not only that they’d tapped into something that everybody was missing about America, but that they’d tapped into something that everybody was missing about the two of them. Kushner was reborn with new powers, and to the heavens he ascended.” [NYTimes

SATIRE — “Jared Kushner Says He Read Up on Middle East During Minutes Waiting for Ski Lift” by Andy Borowitz: “Jared Kushner said on Tuesday that he became “incredibly well-informed” on the Middle East by reading up on the region while waiting for the ski lift on a recent trip to Aspen. “There would be times when you’d have to wait five or even ten minutes for the ski lift, and that’s when I’d take out my phone and read up on the Middle East,” he said. “I really got into it.” [NewYorker]

ON THE HILL — Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, told Jewish Insider yesterday that he is encouraged by President Trump’s recent policy on Israel. “I have been heartened to see a change in tone in the Trump Administration on the question of settlements. And I am glad that there has been a response from the Israeli government,” he told JI’s Aaron Magid. “I think it’s important that our policy towards settlements be consistent. Ultimately, we need to get both sides to the table and that wasn’t going to happen if settlement continued at the pace of late last year.” [JewishInsider

Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY) and Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) called on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to continue funding for U.S.-Israel defense cooperation programs in the President’s budget for fiscal year 2018. “Working in a bipartisan manner, Congressman Roskam and I previously helped secure increased aid for these defense cooperation programs, and I am pleased to partner with him again in seeking funding,” Meng said in a statement yesterday. “Full funding should be swiftly approved.” Read the full letter here [PDF]

Mounting Senate Concern on Tillerson’s Human Rights Commitment — by JI’s Aaron Magid: “Would I prefer that he be more engaged at this point? Yes. Do I wish human rights were more of a priority? Yes,” Rubio told Jewish Insider… “I am not making excuses for him, but if the State Department is still conducting its way in foreign policy in a couple of months the way it’s been doing up till now, then I think it’s going to be a real problem,” he said… When asked about Tillerson’s approach to human rights, a Democratic Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee who requested anonymity told Jewish Insider, “I am very concerned about the lack of engagement on human rights and democracy.” [JewishInsider]

“Aides said human rights remained a concern for Mr. Trump. But, they added, he believes he will be more effective raising the issue in private.” [NYTimes]

“The Silence of Rex Tillerson” by Eliot A. Cohen: “At the moment there is no Trump foreign policy doctrine, no coherent explanation of the world as seen by the Trump team, and the broad outlines of their policy for dealing with it… There is foreign policy conducted as though the United States government were a Middle Eastern court, where the ruler’s family counts for more than the sovereign’s foreign minister… Perhaps this will end. Perhaps Secretary Tillerson will find a voice. Perhaps he will somehow lay out a vision of foreign policy that reconciles America’s interests and its values, that reassures allies and promises a steady hand in the years to come… For the moment, however, his silence is as dismaying and depressing as the chirping of Trump’s tweets.” [TheAtlantic]

“Israel Deserves a Seat on the Security Council” by Danny Danon: “The past few months have raised serious questions about the credibility of the United Nations as a whole and the Security Council in particular as it continues its unending obsession with Israel while paying way too little attention to the other ills of the world. By electing Israel to serve on the Security Council, the members of the United Nations will make a strong statement finally accepting the Jewish state as a full and equal member.” [Politico]

KAFE KNESSET — Here comes trouble — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: A day after former Likud Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced his comeback to the political system, the troubles begin. A Channel 10 poll published last night revealed that if the Likud was headed by Sa’ar, it would win more seats than if it was led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the survey, if an election was held today, the Likud would receive 27 mandates and lose to Yesh Atid , which is projected to get 29 Knesset seats. However, if Sa’ar were to head the Likud, it would receive 29 seats, a tie with Yesh Atid’s 29. Netanyahu is still the clear winner in the question of leadership compatibility, with 23% saying that he is the most suitable to serve as prime minister, followed by Yair Lapid and Sa’ar, with 18% and 11%, respectively. The poll also examined internal Likud preferences, with 68% stating that Netanyahu should head the Likud, and only 13% said Sa’ar was the man….”

“According to the poll, Sa’ar is the runner-up for the day after Netanyahu, but it is going to be a tough race. Transportation and intelligence minister Israel Katz stated today that he believes he will be the next Likud leader. Replying to a question regarding Sa’ar’s comeback, Katz said he “is not currently dealing with political issues. Netanyahu is the prime minister, but when he finishes his term, I intend to run for the Likud leadership and the Prime Minister’s office on behalf of the Likud, and I am convinced that I will be elected,” he said.

Oops, she did it again: Britney Spears is playing her first-ever concert in Israel on July 3. If you’re wondering why this is relevant to Kafe Knesset, well, let’s just say that that fact is “not that innocent,” because July 3 was also the planned date of the Labor leadership primary. The party that tends to have a “Toxic” relationship with its leaders decided to reschedule the vote because of Britney’s show. Not that many of Labor’s elderly members are actually expected to attend the concert, but Tel Aviv goes into “Crazy” gridlock when there is a concert, and since Tel Aviv is where many left-wing voters – including party leader Isaac Herzog – reside, they’ll have a problem getting to the polls… So now, Herzog will ask Labor members, “From the Bottom of [His] Broken Heart,” to make him “stronger than yesterday” and elect him as leader “Baby One More Time” on July 5. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset 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: YouTube, Google graded poorly on hate, terrorism by Wiesenthal Center [JewishJournal] • Bitmain’s Israeli R&D Center Launches Bitcoin Mining Pool ConnectBTC [CoinJournal• 83North announces ‘oversubscribed’ $250 million fourth fund for European and Israeli startups [VentureBeat]

ACROSS THE POND: “Labour ‘failing Jewish community’ with Livingstone ruling, says Tom Watson” by Rowena Mason and Matthew Weaver: “Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has accused his party of failing the Jewish community and bringing “shame on us all”, after a disciplinary panel decided not to expel Ken Livingstone for suggesting Hitler supported Zionism… The disciplinary body ruled that Livingstone should be suspended for another year for bringing the party into disrepute. The decision also caused senior Jewish politicians to question their future in the party, with Lord Levy, the chief fundraiser under Tony Blair, threatening to leave. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Levy said: “Do I stay in the party? It is something that I’m going to reflect on very seriously. I am very upset with the party’s attitude. I do not believe there has been a zero-tolerance policy towards antisemitism.”” [Guardian]

“Trump says he has the ‘best words.’ Merriam-Webster disagrees” by Dana Milbank: “Merriam-Webster reminded the White House that Holocaust refers especially to Jews after it issued a Holocaust remembrance statement that omitted any mention of Jews.” [WashPost

“After Seeing Himself in Old Newsreel Footage, Manhattan Man Discovers How He Survived Holocaust” by Michael Scotto: “[Michael] Bornstein’s memory was jolted in the 1980s when he saw newsreel footage of children showing their Auschwitz tattoos as they were liberated by Soviet soldiers. He realized he was one of those children captured on film… Through Auschwitz documents kept in Israel, he learned that, ironically, he lived because he had been sick. The Nazis left him behind when they evacuated the camp as Soviet troops closed in… Bornstein, with the help of his daughter Debbie, turned his personal story into a book, Survivors Club. He writes that of the Hundreds of thousands of children taken to Auschwitz. He was one of only 52 under the age of eight who lived.” [NY1]

MEDIA WATCH: “Here Come The Breitbart Books” by Steven Perlberg: “Rosie Gray, The Atlantic’s White House correspondent and a former BuzzFeed News reporter, has inked a deal with publishing giant HarperCollins for a book about the far-right news outlet, which hit its stride during the campaign as a key hyper-conservative voice boosting Donald Trump… Gray received an advance of about $350,000 for the book, according to three of the people. Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Joshua Green has signed on with Penguin to write a book about the rise of conservative populism during the election… According to a person familiar with the matter, the book will prominently explore the influence of Steve Bannon.” [BuzzFeed]

TRANSITION — Beatrice Kahn elected National Council of Jewish Women’s Board president, Kahn, who’s from New York, moves to the board’s leading role after serving as vice president for the past three years.

BIRTHDAYS: Vice-provost of the California Institute of Technology (1988-2007) where he also served as a professor of physics and applied physics, David Goodstein turns 78… Research scientist, science administrator, CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute and lecturer on Jewish medical ethics, Mark J. Poznansky turns 71… Engineer, inventor, businessman, best known for his invention of the Segway, holder of hundreds of other patents, Dean Kamen turns 66… CEO of Hess Corporation, a global energy company, John Barnett Hess turns 63… British novelist and screenwriter specializing in mystery and suspense, Anthony Horowitz turns 62… Enterprise editor for CNN Politics, handling domestic politics, Dan Berman turns 38… Academic Programs Associate at the American Enterprise Institute, Wilson Shirley turns 24… Los Angeles-based director of public relations for the Western US at the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Camila Seta turns 24… Managing Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, Adam Maslia… Congressional Reporter at GovTrack Insider and Box Office Analyst at BoxOffice Media, Jesse Rifkin… Senior Legislative Assistant for Representative Dina Titus (D-Nevada-1), Benjamin J. Rosenbaum… Harvey Levin… Gene Kadish

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Daily Kickoff: Inside the Jeff Zucker and Kushner/Trump relationship | Gideon Sa’ar returns | Elliott Abrams endorses Trump’s settlement policy

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NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN — HALEY AT THE UN — “US takes turn atop UN Security Council” by Richard Roth: “Some pundits predict United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley will one day run for president, but for a month, at least, she will be — of the 15-nation UN Security Council. Ambassadors take up the post each month, and April fell to Haley.” [CNN] • Headline — “UNSC Won’t Focus On Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Under Nikki Haley Presidency” [JPost]

“Ambassador to the U.N. says U.S. leverage for Mideast peace not harmed by support for Israel” by Anne Gearan: “[Haley] said she is not concerned that her strongly worded support for Israel creates the impression that the United States has a finger on the scale in any future negotiation. “I’ve been honest. That’s all I’ve done, is tell the truth,” she said.” [WashPost]

TEAM FRIEDMAN — “Orthodox rabbi to advise David Friedman at US embassy in Israel” by Michael Wilner: “Aryeh Lightstone, an Orthodox rabbi who works in Jewish education, will serve in an advisory role at the US embassy in Israel alongside Ambassador David Friedman, a State Department official confirmed on Sunday.” [JPost]

Word on the street: Lightstone is set to be Friedman’s Chief of Staff and will join the Ambassador in Israel…

Michael Fragin, a friend of Lightstone, emails us: “Lightstone possesses a comprehensive knowledge of the Jewish community in Israel and in the United States while being very well versed in DC politics at the highest levels. He will be a great asset for Ambassador Friedman as he seeks to balance the interests and needs of these varied demanding constituencies to represent the interests of the United States government.”

TOP TALKER: “Controversial Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka Backed Violent Anti-Semitic Militia” by Lili Bayer: “Asked directly on the TV interview program if he supports the move by Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic party, to establish the militia, [Seb] Gorka, appearing as a leader of his own newly formed party, replies immediately, “That is so.” The Guard, Gorka explains, is a response to “a big societal need.” … During the 11-minute interview, which aired on Hungary’s Echo TV, Gorka dismissed concerns expressed by the Jewish community, and in particular fears that the Guard provoked among Hungarian Holocaust survivors.” [Forward]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt tweets: “POTUS’ chief counter-terrorism adviser Gorka’s past support for antisemitic Hungarian Guard shocking” [Twitter]

INTERVIEW – Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) discussed his service in the Navy SEALs overseas, his work in Congress, and views on the Middle East in an interview with Jewish Insider‘s Aaron Magid. “Syria scares me. Syria is the most dangerous thing in the world right now,” Taylor said about the U.S. campaign against ISIS. “Unlike any other time that I know of since World War II, you have so many powers playing in the same sandbox. Israel, Russia, Turkey, Iran and us. There is tremendous potential for flash points and the inability to de-conflict. I don’t know exactly what the President’s plan is right now… I am worried about increased forces in Syria. What is the plan, what is the goal? And I want to hear those things.”

On Israel, the 37-year-old Congressman expresses skepticism regarding the two-state solution, once considered a cornerstone of American policy among both Republican and Democratic administrations. “From a military standpoint, the West Bank and Golan Heights, that land that Israel took in 1967 — from a tactical standpoint — there is no way in hell, I would give it back.” He explained that the current facts on the ground make an independent Palestinian state nearly impossible. “Most people think, there’s the Jews and there’s the Arabs. It’s just not like that because when you are actually in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, you are seeing Arab village, Jewish village – it’s just all over the place.” While few Members of Congress refer to the territory as Judea and Samaria, when asked why he uses this term, Taylor promptly responded, “Because that’s what it is.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi visited the White House yesterday. “We agree on so many things,” Trump said during a photo spray in the Oval Office, without addressing specific policy. “We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt.” Sisi, responding in kind, expressed his admiration of the President’s “unique personality” and praised his strong stance in fighting radical Islamic terrorism. In an apparent reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sisi told Trump, “You will find me supporting you very strongly and very earnestly in finding a solution to the problem of the century.”

— “President Trump and President Al Sisi expressed their mutual interest in supporting the Israelis and Palestinians in moving toward a genuine and lasting peace,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting.

“Al-Sisi presents Trump with the position of the Arab states in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” by Roi Kais: “Egyptian sources told Al-Hayat that Egyptian President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi presented to US President Donald Trump the position of the Arab states regarding a just solution to the Palestinian issue based on the Arab peace initiative. He also expressed the opposition of the countries to the transfer of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” [Ynet

“Trump Shifts Course on Egypt, Praising Its Authoritarian Leader” by Peter Baker and Declan Walsh: “Nothing could have made Mr. Sisi happier. He arrived from Cairo with a list of financial, security and political requests, but effectively he got what he really wanted in the six minutes that news media photographers were permitted in the Oval Office… The picture of the general-turned-president in the White House, hosted by an American leader lavishing praise on him, was the seal of approval he had long craved.” [NYTimes]

Dan Shapiro‏ tweets: “Count the Israeli government and people among those who are satisfied by the warm embrace given by Trump to Egypt’s President al-Sisi… Israeli officials often spoke to me about al-Sisi using the term “miracle.” They weren’t being ironic… It’s understandable why Israelis choose short-term gain, given the threats they face, and welcome Trump’s embrace of al-Sisi.” [Twitter

“Donald Trump’s Arab fantasy” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “The Sunni Arabs are almost certain to disappoint Trump on Israeli-Palestinian peace, too… The 2002 Arab summit outlined an Arab peace plan whose trade-offs go well beyond what the Netanyahu government has been prepared to offer. If President Trump wants to get the Arab states to make peace with Israel, he’ll need to bring serious pressure on both sides, particularly on issues such as borders and Jerusalem. Right now there’s zero evidence that anyone, including Trump, is ready for that.” [CNN

“Trump’s policy on Israeli settlements is the way to go” by Elliott Abrams: “What has emerged is a good policy: sensible, flexible and realistic. Which is to say, it’s a lot like Bush policy… This is very close to the George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon understandings of 2003 and 2004. Our “deal” was no new settlements, no seizure of additional land for settlements, construction in already built-up areas and no financial inducements to move to a settlement… This is smart. The alternative approach, that of the Obama administration under George Mitchell, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Obama, was not.” [Newsweek

Alternative view… “Israel restrains settlements because it doesn’t trust Trump” by Shmuel Rosner: “Israeli decision makers have difficulties in trusting Trump because they don’t know him… Thus, restricting settlement building… is a sign that Israel is hesitant to move forward and prefers to play it safe. It is taking the necessary steps so as not to hand President Trump any ammunition with which he can hammer Israel or blame it for his failure to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian final-status agreement.” [JewishJournal]

KAFE KNESSET — Sa’ar is making a comeback — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu’s latest headache is the return of his archrival, Gideon Sa’ar, to politics. In case you forgot, Sa’ar, a former education and interior minister from the Likud, consistently held high public approval ratings and was seen by many as Netanyahu’s heir apparent, leading the Prime Minister to do all he can to try to tear Sa’ar down. So, in September 2014, Sa’ar decided to take a break from politics to dedicate time to his family.

For someone who took a break from politics over frustration with Netanyahu – though he would never openly admit as much – Sa’ar was very positive about the Prime Minister in his comeback speech at a Likud chapter in Akko. “I want to praise Prime Minister Netanyahu for protecting Israel’s interests during eight tough years,” Sa’ar said, referring to Obama’s presidency. However, Sa’ar, who in addition to hanging out with babies David and Shira, spent the last 2.5 years at the INSS think tank in Tel Aviv, warned that “there are still dangerous plans out there to pressure Israel to return to pre-1967 lines” and called for people to “support the prime minister in standing up to that pressure.”

Sa’ar added that he hopes to “strengthen the Likud for the future and guarantee that it will also lead the country in the future,” a/k/a, the post-Netanyahu era. He plans to launch a cross-country tour of Israel where he will meet with Likud activists and others to discuss his new ideas. There’s no Likud leadership race on the horizon, even if an election is called, because Netanyahu ran unopposed last year, and the vote was called off to save the party money… By the way, the family that Sa’ar took time off to spent time with includes wife and respected IBA News anchor Geula Even. At the height of the Netanyahu-Kahlon IBA-IBC crisis, the IBC announced that Even would be its nightly news anchor, a move that reportedly angered both sides of the dispute: Netanyahu, because he sees Even and Sa’ar as one and the same, and Kahlon, because he blamed IBC’s management for making it harder to end the crisis. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

IRAN DEAL: “Boeing Agrees to First Plane Sale to Iran Under Trump” by Robert Wall and Asa Fitch: “The sale is the first major deal between a U.S. company and an Iranian one since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, an outspoken critic of closer ties with Tehran. Boeing said it had received permission from the U.S. government to negotiate the sale, though it still needs signoff from the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control… The deal could become a high-profile test case for the Trump administration over how far Washington will allow U.S. companies to go in doing business in Iran.” [WSJ]

“White House violated protocol by confirming Jared Kushner trip before he landed in Iraq” by Ashley Parker and Dan Lamothe: “In a breach of protocol, senior White House officials confirmed reports of Kushner’s trip before he had landed in Iraq, raising security concerns from the Pentagon… As reporters caught wind of Kushner’s trip and began calling the White House Sunday night, senior administration confirmed the early reports of the visit, including the original — and incorrect — timeline, saying Kushner was already on the ground. Asked about the mistake, a White House official Monday said their timing on the logistics of the trip had been slightly off.” [WashPost] • Kushner Iraq trip part of wider Pentagon outreach to Trump [Politico]

“The military may have found an unlikely ally in the Trump administration” by David Choi: “If I were the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I would do exactly what general Dunford has done … because he does have the trust and confidence of the President,” Mark Hertling, the former commander of US Army Europe, said of Kushner in an interview with CNN… “That will allow Chairman Dunford and Secretary of Defense Mattis to help ‘lead-up’ when President Trump perhaps might be making a decision which is contrary to the security of the United States.” [BI] • Jared Kushner Went to Iraq Because the Pentagon Knows How Trump Operates [NYMag]

“Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel” by Eli Lake: “The pattern of [former national security adviser Susan] Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review… The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review… In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.” [Bloomberg; WSJ]

“Susan Rice Has No Defense” by Mike Doran: “The description of Rice’s motive — a dutiful effort to understand Russia’s engagement with American citizens — is belied by the behavior of the Obama White House in its final days.” [Medium]

2018 WATCH: “Josh Mandel ramps up criticism of ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ sanctuary cities” by Alan Johnson: “A look at Mandel’s Twitter feed from Nov. 9 through last week shows that of more than 250 postings, nearly half concerned either anti-Islamic terrorism (about 70) or sanctuary cities (more than 50)… Mandel denies a connection between his increased social-media activity and Trump. He said he has long been focused on “combating radical Islam terrorism,” but he acknowledged that his emphasis ramped up after a terrorist attack at Ohio State University on Nov. 28… Mandel, who is Jewish, said he saw terrorism firsthand in Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks. “I believe this is the main security threat of our generation. There are radical Muslims throughout the world who are teaching their children that it’s an honor to kill Americans, Christians, Jews and other Muslims in the name of Allah.”” [DispatchFlashback: Jewish Senate Candidate Tests Trump’s Model In Ohio [JewishInsider

** 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: Aryeh Bourkoff interviews Scooter Braun for the debut episode of LionTree’s KindredCast podcast [SoundCloud] • Sheryl Sandberg: Four years after ‘Lean In’ women are not better off [USAToday] • Starbucks’ new CEO tells us he’ll never be Howard Schultz — and that’s great news for the brand [BusinessInsider]  Veg-o-Matic Company’s IPO Gives Away Free Rotisserie With Stock [Fortune• Lakewood set to vote on yeshiva’s shopping center plan [APP; NJ1015] • Deco Capital and RWN pay $7.4M for Alton Road retail building [RealDeal

MEDIA WATCH: “CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It: Inside the strange symbiosis between Jeff Zucker and the president he helped create” y Jonathan Mahler: “Kushner told Zucker over the phone in June that in the future, Trump would be doing interviews with only friendly outlets. Zucker, who attended Kushner’s wedding to Ivanka Trump in 2009, said that he thought this was a mistake. He suggested that Kushner speak to one of his contributors, the former Obama campaign official David Axelrod, whose research for Obama showed that CNN’s viewers represent a key voting bloc. “You can’t win without us,” Zucker said.”

“Zucker had breakfast with Kushner a few weeks later in Manhattan. Kushner wanted to know why CNN still hadn’t fired anti-Trump commentators like Jones and Ana Navarro…  Zucker tried to explain that even though Trump won, the network still needed what he described as “a diversity of opinion.” Shortly before Trump was sworn in, Zucker heard that he was considering giving Fox News exclusive rights to televise the inauguration and that Kushner was in the process of brokering a deal with Rupert Murdoch, whom Kushner once courted as a mentor. Zucker called Trump. “Bottom line is that I said, ‘This is crazy,’ ” Zucker recalls.” [NYTimes]

SPOTLIGHT: “At Kushners’ Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal” by Charles V. Bagli: “More than a quarter of the office space in the building sits vacant. According to an analysis by Trepp L.L.C., a data and analytics firm that tracks bank lending, 666 Fifth Avenue has not generated enough money to pay its debts for several years, forcing the owners to cover the shortfall — at least $10 million in 2015. And that gap is growing. The interest-only $1.2 billion mortgage comes due in less than two years… The spokesman, James Yolles, said Charles Kushner remained optimistic that he would secure fresh investors who would not only pay off the existing debt on the building but also finance the demolition of the current structure and the construction of a 1,400-foot tower designed by Zaha Hadid.” [NYTimesNYPost]

TALK OF THIS TOWN: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Rent in Washington: $15,000 a Month” by Mark Maremont: “The rent is in line with that paid for similar luxury properties in the area, according to local brokers. Even so, it represents a seemingly poor financial deal for the landlord, according to real-estate experts. The owner, Andrónico Luksic, bought the house after the November election and paid $5.5 million for the six-bedroom property… The $15,000 monthly rent works out to an annual sum of about 2.5% of the home’s value, after subtracting about $40,000 in taxes and insurance that the landlord generally pays. “That’s a terrible investment” for the owner, said Joshua Adler, who owns multiple rental properties in Washington including a Kalorama house.” [WSJ• Kushner, Ivanka Trump face ethical land mines ahead [AP]

“Linda Sarsour: NYC’s queen of hate” by Lahav Harkov: “The Brooklyn-born [Linda] Sarsour, daughter of Palestinian immigrants, shared the dais Sunday with… Rasmea Odeh — convicted in Israel of killing two Hebrew University students in a 1969 terrorist attack… It’s a curious embrace of terrorism and anti-Semitism from a recipient of a $500,000 taxpayer grant from Mayor de Blasio, as Sarsour’s group, the Arab American Association of New York, was last year. Sarsour, in fact, has been an important ally of de Blasio’s since his election — a role she’s sure to reprise in the mayor’s bid for a second term.” [NYPost

“Jean-Michel Jarre to play Dead Sea concert” by Agence France-Presse: “The French musician, who shot to fame in the 1970s, will perform in front of the ancient Masada fortress in Israel on Thursday in a bid to draw attention to the “urgency of saving the Dead Sea,” he told AFP… “I want the Dead Sea, like Masada, to be part of Unesco’s world heritage,” Jarre said during a pre-show visit to the site. “This region belongs to humanity… For me, the whole point of this project is to make people aware of the urgency of dealing with the Earth as a whole,” Jarre said. “The concert will contribute to, I hope, organising the resistance against all the Trumps of the world.”” [Guardian]

“Leonard Litwin, New York Real Estate Mogul, Dies at 102” by Robert D. McFadden: “His imprint is on the Manhattan skyline in dozens of buildings he built, owned and operated — more than 8,700 apartments with high-end amenities and lofty rents. The holdings were assembled over six decades in a father-and-son enterprise that ventured into the city rental market in the early 1950s and expanded into an archipelago of towers with names like the Pavilion, the Lucerne and Liberty Plaza… He forged political connections in Albany and City Hall with campaign contributions, lobbying and payments that shaped rent laws affecting millions of tenants, as well as state and city regulations that helped the real estate industry thrive in New York.” [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC — JTA celebrated 100 years of Jewish reporting at its Centennial Gala held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan. The event featured a conversation with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. Honorees included Brian Sterling, a member of 70 Faces Media’s Board of Directors, Jane Weitzman, former Executive Vice President of Stuart Weitzman, and Mark Wilf, President and owner of the Minnesota Vikings.

SPOTTED: Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan, Amir Sagie, Bluelight’s Steve Rabinowitz, JFNA’s William Daroff, JDC’s David Schizer, Michael Geller and Amir Shaviv; URJ’s Rabbi Eric Yoffie, Arielle Dombasle, Noam Neusner, Matt Nosanchuk, Thane Rosenbaum, Zygi Wilf, Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Michael Glickman, West End Strategy’s Matt Dorf and Samantha Kupferman, ADL’s Todd Gutnick, Ilia Salita, Dana Raucher, Robert Frost, Alan Divack, Joseph Hyman, Alisa Doctoroff, David and Karen Lehmann Eisner, Rob and Elisa Spungen Bildner, JTA-70 Faces Media CEO & Executive Editor Ami Eden, Daniel Gorlin, Andrew Silow-Carroll, Debbie Kolben, Dani Elkins, Leo Lazar, Shuli Karkowsky, Lee Silverstein, Lisa Hostein, Julius Berman, David Rudis, Marshall Weinberg, Caryn Roseman Adelman, Ben Harris, Cnaan Liphshiz, Uriel Heilman, Ron Kampeas, Ben Sales, Gabe Friedman, Josefin Dolsten, Marc Brodsky, Gary Rosenblatt, Seth Lipsky, Alana Newhouse, Jane Eisner, Rachel Fishman Fedderson, Matt Berger, Ken Bandler, Mark Joffe, Israeli Consulate’s Shimon Mercer-Wood and Andrew Gross, and Dvir Assouline.

BIRTHDAYS: Author of books about her childhood experiences as a Jewish girl in the Netherlands during the Holocaust, Johanna Reiss turns 85… Major League Baseball player for the Orioles, Senators, Athletics, Rangers and Angels (1996-1974), Mike Epstein turns 74… French-German politician who is a Green Party leader in Europe, Daniel Cohn-Bendit turns 72… Hungarian dramatist, novelist and essayist whose recent works are focused upon Jewish characters, György Spiró turns 71… Author of many books and over 100 articles, political historian who teaches at American University in Washington, D.C., Allan Jay Lichtman turns 70… Poet, essayist, editor, literary scholar, professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, Charles Bernstein turns 67… Chief of staff to former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (now an Australian MP), previously senior advisor to former Representatve Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Bruce Wolpe turns 66 (h/t Playbook)… Emmy Award-winning film director, producer, freelance journalist and writer, Simcha Jacobovici turns 64… Tel Aviv-born animator and film director, now a freelance director in NYC, Tatia Rosenthal turns 46…

Member of the Knesset since 2006, now a member of the Zionist Union (the coalition of the Labor Party and Hatnuah Party), Yoel Hasson turns 45… Actress since she was six years old, she has appeared in many movies and television series, Natasha Lyonne (born Natasha Bianca Lyonne Braunstein) turns 38… Israeli journalist who serves as the political correspondent and analyst for The Times of Israel, Haviv Rettig Gur turns 36… Israel’s top men’s tennis player, who has broken into the top 30 of world rankings, David “Dudi” Sela turns 32… NYC-based senior editor for Hearst Digital Media’s content studio, lifestyle writer, Daisy Melamed Sanders turns 30 (h/t Playbook)… Gloria Margulies… Phyllis Wilner

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Daily Kickoff: Live from Forbes Summit in Israel | Amb David Friedman could temper Trump | Jonathan Haidt on campus rage | Banksy spotted in Herzliya

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ON LOCATION — We’re live from the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem this week. Congrats to Seth Cohen and Randall Lane, along with the Schusterman and Singer Foundations, on bringing the Forbes Summit back to Israel for another year. Speakers today included Sir Ronald Cohen, Tinder’s Sean Rad, model Ashley Graham, and Hapoel Jerusalem’s Amar’e Stoudemire. [Forbes]

Drone view of Tel Aviv — JI reader Josh Lauder provided a quick aerial view of the Forbes Summit today by the beach [YouTube] • See Josh’s other work here [Vimeo]

We caught up with Chemi Peres earlier today who explained the importance of having the Forbes Summit in Israel: “I think this is an inspiring nation. I think the story of Israel is inspiring because it’s really a country that started as a nation of science and technology from its very beginning, from its inception, and I think Israel serves in a way as a model for many other countries and societies that want to build their future based on entrepreneurship and innovation. In my view, innovation represents the future, and it represents also the optimism and the ability to realize great dreams. So I think that by coming here – plus the fact that this is a vibrant city that is very dynamic and alive, and very suitable for the young generation – this is a country that has been founded and built by young people. So this is the best place to connect and draw the inspiration for young people as they are building their future.”

In September, Chemi is publishing the final book from his father Shimon Peres — No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel … so we asked Chemi what his own big dream is: “My dream is that the visions I have been reading about from the days of the Bible through many great people, including my father (Shimon Peres), would be realized and that is that we live in a world that is free of anger, that is free of discrimination, that is offering equal rights and equal opportunities… And I believe that with technology and innovation you can actually do that… I always like to quote what I heard from President [Bill] Clinton. He said that too many people are doing too much work in order to make sure that bad things do not happen, but very few people are doing very good things in order to make sure good things happen. And I think that as we are transitioning into a new era, I think more and more people will focus on making sure good things happen. That is a vision, that is a dream that I would like to be realized – and peace, of course, is in the heart of it.”

SPOTTED — Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and Noah Pollak enjoying lunch this past Friday at Char Bar in DC.

FIRST LOOK — SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH: “The Trump-Hate Weather Vane” by Olivia Nuzzi: “And so Republicans are watching, including rather powerful ones. “[Jon] Ossoff running smart campaign,” Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, told me in a text. A White House official close to him said he’s preoccupied with what’s happening some 600 miles south of Pennsylvania Avenue. “It’s something that I’m tracking specifically for Bannon,” the official said, “and keeping an eye on, following all the polls, following the kind of narrative out there…” On paper, Ossoff seems great to Democrats: He’s an overachieving millennial who looks like a cross between Gumby and Justin Trudeau and who speaks slowly and deliberately in a way that can remind you of Barack Obama, something he’s been told before… At Pour Bistro in Atlanta, Ossoff was introduced by a supporter as “the Ayatollah of the Sixth District,” and he appeared to hold back a grimace. “Hopefully that won’t become a famous moment,” he told the crowd, which laughed in response — perhaps not quite as worried about that as Ossoff is.” [NYMag]  

“Did a Democratic congressional hopeful inflate his national security credentials?” by Glenn Kessler: “Ossoff is just 30, but he had pitched himself as having had five years of experience as a “former national security aide” and holding a “top-secret clearance.” He has cut ads that show him standing in what appears to be a national security situation room or entering a vault assessed only by a code… Ossoff is pushing the envelope by referring to his “top-secret security clearance” in almost the same breath.” [WashPost

“Meet the Obama Holdovers Who Survived Trump’s Sweep” by Mark Landler: “For [Yael] Lempert… the appeal to Mr. Trump’s advisers was her experience in the complex, trap-filled world of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Her colleagues say she is well connected on both sides and is viewed as an honest broker… Lempert, who is Jewish and also served in the Bush administration, played a major role in negotiating a $38 billion military aid package for Israel on behalf of the Obama administration. Still, after reports surfaced that Mr. Netanyahu’s aides were suspicious of her involvement in the talks, the prime minister’s office felt obliged to issue a statement saying it had no objection to her… She declined to comment, as did colleagues from the Obama administration. Some said they worried that praise from them would hurt her with her new bosses.” [NYTimes]

Galei Tzahal report:“During one meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office, they pulled out maps of Israel and spoke about specific towns in order to explain to [Jason Greenblatt where they would put a new town for Amona’s expellees… Yael Lempert said, “The town of Kida isn’t mentioned here – you’ve forgotten it.” Those who were in the room with her were stunned by her familiarity with the topic.” [INN

THE FRIEDMAN EFFECT: “Controversial U.S. ambassador to Israel could temper Trump” by Katie Glueck: “[David] Friedman is comfortable being direct with the president in a way that might be challenging for newer members of the Trump orbit… “In the few places in life the president has been vulnerable, David has been by his side,” said one source who has known Friedman for years… “Mr. Trump very much relies upon people he trusts. He trusts David. David’s very close with Mr. Kushner, with Mrs. Kushner,” [Phil] Rosen said, referring to Ivanka Trump. “That will also reflect itself in how people deal with him. It’s going to be very much a positive for his job because of his closeness. It will reflect itself in how seriously they take him.” … “It’s very likely that an ambassador with a close relationship to President Trump would retain that voice,” said [former Ambassador Daniel] Shapiro, who has such a relationship with Obama. “It’s not the same as sitting in the White House and being part of the conversation day in, day out.” [McClatchyDC]

NIKKI HALEY WATCH: “Trump’s U.N. ambassador emerges as fierce but unnuanced voice on foreign policy” by Anne Gearan: “Her fierce public denunciation of what she calls the ritualized “bashing of Israel” at the United Nations has made her a darling of many U.S. supporters of Israel, especially on the political right. She got a rock-star welcome when she addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s meeting in Washington last week. “I think they’re a little lukewarm,” former George W. Bush adviser Dan Senor quipped as he introduced Haley to thunderous applause at AIPAC… Haley is expected to focus on U.N. treatment of Israel… when the United States holds the rotating leadership of the Security Council this month. On Israel, Haley has drawn criticism from longtime Mideast experts for what many see as an unnuanced view of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” [WashPost] • Haley eclipses Tillerson on Trump’s foreign policy ladder [Politico]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Ambassador Haley on ABC’s “This Week” program: “We’ve changed the Israel bias that’s happening at the United Nations by making sure that we call out anyone that focuses on that as opposed to focusing on the conflict. We made sure that a ridiculous report that came out comparing Israel to apartheid state, we had that report pulled down, the director resigned.”

HAPPENING TODAY: President Trump will host Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for lunch and bilateral talks at the White House. According to a report by Israel’s national radio, citing the Dubai-based al-Khaleej Times, Sisi and King Abdullah of Jordan – who will be meeting with Trump on Wednesday – will present Trump with a framework for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, based on the two state solution.

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Jared Kushner Visits Iraq on Invitation From Joint Chiefs Chairman” by Maggie Haberman:“A senior administration official confirmed the visit, saying that Mr. Kushner, 36, who serves as a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, was invited by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff… Mr. Kushner is also taking the lead in preparing the West Wing for Mr. Trump’s meeting this week with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, at Mar-a-Lago.” [NYTimes]

“Inside the Kushner channel to China” by Josh Rogin: “The Kushner channel was established shortly after the election with the help of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger… In mid-November, Kissinger met Kushner, national security adviser designate Michael Flynn and the president-elect at Trump Tower. Trump asked Kissinger to travel to Beijing and deliver a verbal message to Xi saying that everything was on the table in terms of bilateral cooperation. Kissinger met Xi in Beijing on Dec. 2… Inside the administration, there’s concern Kushner is too eager to warm relations with China. He is seen as allied in that effort with other top officials, including economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.” [WashPost• China Learns How to Get Trump’s Ear: Through Jared Kushner [NYTimes

“Kushner’s privileged status stokes resentment in White House” by Josh Dawsey, Ken Vogel and Alex Isenstadt: “One pro-Israel operative who works with the administration said “there were high hopes” that Kushner… “was a guy who really understood our community” when Trump tapped him as a point person on the Middle East. But, the operative said, those hopes mostly have been supplanted by “deep concern that Jared is not the person we thought he was — that this guy who is supposed to be good at everything is totally out of his depth.” Influential Jewish Republicans including the mega-donor casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson lobbied Kushner to convince Trump to appoint prominent neoconservative foreign policy hand Elliott Abrams as the No. 2 official in Foggy Bottom and to remove Michael Ratney…”

“On Abrams, Kushner “got outmaneuvered by Bannon and couldn’t turn it around,” said a leading neoconservative who has spoken to both Kushner and Adelson in recent weeks. The leader added that, despite the attendance of Vice President Mike Pence at this week’s conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, Kushner’s absence was noted by attendees, who questioned the administration’s Israel policy and Kushner’s role in it.” [Politico

“Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Still Benefiting From Business Empire, Filings Show” by Jesse Drucker, Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner… will remain the beneficiaries of a sprawling real estate and investment business still worth as much as $740 million, despite their new government responsibilities, according to ethics filings released by the White House Friday night. Ms. Trump will also maintain a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel… has drawn protests from ethics experts who worry that foreign governments or special interests could stay there in order to curry favor with the administration… [Gary] Cohn is far wealthier, with assets valued between $253 million and $611 million, and income last year as high as $77 million. Another White House official, Reed Cordish, who heads up technology initiatives, accumulated assets as a Maryland developer valued as high as $424 million.” [NYTimes

— “[Jason] Greenblatt, a former Trump Organization lawyer advising the president on Middle East policy, listed assets of more than $1.4 million. Many of the holdings were stock mutual funds. He made $1.02 million last year at the Trump Organization.” [AP]

“After Trump Request, Netanyahu Formulating Goodwill Gestures Toward Palestinians” by Barak Ravid: “There are no limitations on construction in Jerusalem, but we will need to act wisely,” [Netanyahu] told ministers… In addition, Netanyahu informed the security cabinet a decision had been made to limit the activities of the highest-level planning committee of the IDF’s Civil Administration, which approves building plans for the settlements… At Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting Monday morning, [Yoav] Horowitz, who manages communications with the White House on the issue of the settlements, said that originally the Americans had requested a complete freeze in construction. “It started from zero,” Horowitz told the ministers. “The result we reached was much better.” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response: “I won’t go into it here, but you don’t know how right he is.”” [Haaretz]

“White House says no ‘formal negotiations’ with Israel on settlements” by Eric Cortellessa: “I would dissuade you from the notion that there is some set of formal negotiations regarding settlements,” the [WH] official said. “We continuously discuss a range of issues, including how to improve the overall climate.” [ToI]  

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: In case we thought that the IBC crisis is behind us, we should think again. The devil is always in the details: As the Justice Ministry and the Finance Ministry are diving into the little details of the agreement reached between PM Netanyahu and Finance Minister Kahlon last week, many potential stumbling blocks are emerging – such as budget constraints and timetable limits… Two petitions were submitted this morning to the Supreme Court demanding a freeze of any implementation of the agreement. 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: Israel’s medical marijuana pioneers look to cash in on $20bn market [TheGuardian]  Israel’s Elbit Systems U.S. unit wins $50 million Navy contract [Reuters• After sale to Intel, Mobileye’s founder raises sights on IPO for OrCam [Reuters] • Peretti Siblings Share a Sense of Humor, Not Just Genes [NYTimes]

SPOTLIGHT: “Ebay Entrepreneur Sells Millions In Mens Suits Online And Off” by Marcia Layton Turner: “From used clothing at thrift stores, he moved to new clothes sold at discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. “If TJ Maxx and Marshall’s can sell it and make a profit, then so can I,” [Marty] Babayov thought. And he did. Then Babayov expanded his new merchandise acquisition even farther, into department store liquidations. He would buy up last season’s merchandise at a deep discount and sell it on eBay for a profit. During college, he would arrange to buy up store returns and his mother would ship them to him so he could list and sell them from wherever he was.” [Forbes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Messy web of ties, some to Trump, in Turkish mogul’s case” by Josh Lederman: “Last month Trump fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who launched the case against [Reza] Zarrab, as part of a purge of Obama-era prosecutors… Bharara’s possible replacement: [Michael] Mukasey’s son, Marc Mukasey, who is frequently mentioned as a contender. That could put the younger Mukasey in charge of prosecuting the man his father has been trying to set free.” [AP]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Jonathan Haidt on the Cultural Roots of Campus Rage ” by Bari Weiss: “Down the hall from Mr. Haidt’s office, I noticed a poster advertising a “bias response hotline” students can call “to report an experience of bias, discrimination or harassment.” I joke that NYU seems to have its own version of the morality police in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia. “It’s like East Germany,” Mr. Haidt replies—with students, at least some of them, playing the part of the Stasi… Combine that with the universities’ shift to a “customer is always right” mind-set. Add in social media. Suddenly it’s “very, very easy to bring mobs together,” Mr. Haidt says, and make “people very afraid to stand out or stand up for what they think is right.” Students and professors know, he adds, that “if you step out of line at all, you will be called a racist, sexist or homophobe. In fact it’s gotten so bad out there that there’s a new term—‘ophobophobia,’ which is the fear of being called x-ophobic.”

“In 2015 Haidt founded Heterodox Academy, which describes itself as “a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars” concerned about “the loss or lack of ‘viewpoint diversity’ ” on campuses. As Mr. Haidt puts it to me: “When a system loses all its diversity, weird things begin to happen.” [WSJ

“The most powerful Briton in America on what it’s really like in Donald Trump’s White House” by Ruth Sherlock: “”First I am an Islamophobe, then I’m an anti-Semite, then I am a fascist. Next I am going to be a Martian, you know, subversive.” [Sebastian] Gorka is referring to the allegation that he is a member of the Vitézi Rend, a Hungarian organisation that the US government designated as “under Nazi control” during the  Second World War… I suggest that, given the organisation’s controversial history, Gorka may want to disavow the group. He bristles slightly. He’s genuinely offended by the insinuation that he could be anti-Semitic. “It’s disgusting. It’s all bogus,” he tells me. “But this is a hatchet job… And I am proud of my father’s legacy. They,” he says, referring to the forces he believes to be conspiring against Trump, are “trying to build parallels” between him and Hungary’s nationalist leader Admiral Miklós Horthy, who established Vitézi Rend.” [Telegraph

SUPER SPOTTED — “Woman claims she has caught the elusive artist Banksy on camera for the first time at an exhibition of his art in Israel” by Alice Evans: “The world’s most famous street artist recently opened an interactive exhibition at a hotel in Bethlehem. But a witness claimed she filmed him days before at an art show at a shopping mall curated by his former manager in nearby Israel. The Israeli exhibition, The Art of Banksy, is due to open in the Arena mall in Herzliya Marina, not far from Tel Aviv.” [DailyMail]

WEEKEND WEDDING — Hadas Gold, Christopher Hooton: “Ms. Gold, 29, who will continue to use her name professionally, works in Washington as a media reporter for the political news website Politico… She is a daughter of Daphna Gold and Yoram Gold of Scottsdale… Her mother is a Hebrew teacher at Pardes Jewish Day School, also in Scottsdale. Mr. Hooton, 31, is the chief economist for the Internet Association in Washington. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami and received a master’s degree with distinction in local economic development from the London School of Economics… The couple met through mutual friends in January 2012, at a party in Washington.” [NYTimes

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT IN NYC — The American Sephardi Federations honored André Azoulay, Councillor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco, at the 20th Sephardic Jewish Film Festival’s Opening Night Pomegranate Award Ceremony in Manhattan.

SPOTTED: Mostafa Terrab, Chairman & Chief Executive of OCP in Morocco; Tony Marks, President of the NY Public Library; Conference of Presidents’ Steven Greenberg, former US Ambassador to Morocco Marc Ginsburg; Sir Charles Dahan, VP of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry; Center for Jewish History’s Joel Levy, Kivvunim’s Peter Geffen, ASF’s Jason Guberman-Pfeffer, and Yoel Lefkowitz.

Ted Cutler, premier arts patron in Boston, dies at 86: “Mr. Cutler was a musician who became a patron of the arts, an entrepreneur whose success deepened his community activism. His philanthropy addressed hunger and health care, education issues and Jewish causes — and even the cost of holiday lights for trees along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. “People said, ‘Why did a Jewish couple put the lights on Commonwealth Avenue?’ The answer was because we care about the city,” he said in 2010, after his wife died.” [BostonGlobe]

BIRTHDAYS: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who held a series of escalating posts at The New York Times from 1952 until 2000, including as executive editor (1986-1994), Max Frankel turns 87… Democratic political strategist, campaign manager, field director and consultant, founder in 2014 of GenderAvenger, a campaign to promote gender equality in public forums, Gina Glantz turns 74… Sociologist and research professor of Jewish social policy at HUC-JIR and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at Stanford University, Steven M. Cohen turns 67… Member of the Los Angeles City Council since 2009, previously a three-term member of the California State Assembly (2000-2006), Paul Koretz turns 62… Director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, contributing editor of The Atlantic, Eliot A. Cohen turns 61… Singer, songwriter and music producer, originally recording music for children on the Disney Channel, more recently producing and peforming Jewish-themed songs, Craig Reid Taubman turns 59… Jazz pianist, arranger and composer, best known for his film and television scores, James Gelfand turns 58…

Rabbi, author, speaker and dean at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Bradley Shavit Artson turns 58… CEO of Phase 2 Media, former Chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group, Sandy Grushow turns 57… Member of the Knesset for Likud, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection, Ze’ev Elkin turns 46… Award-winning Israeli classical pianist who currently lives in NYC, Ran Dank turns 35… Televison and film actress (active 1996-2010), now pursuing a career in fashion design, Amanda Bynes turns 31… Actress, comedian, singer, writer, producer and songwriter, Rachel Bloom turns 30… Professional tennis player currently on the WTA Tour, she defeated Serena Williams at the Auckland Classic in 1-2017, Madison Brengle turns 27… Tech entrepreneur and fellow of the inaugural cohort of Core 18, Eva Sasson turns 25… Midwest regional director of AIPAC, Daniel Goldwin… Harry Cohen… Nathan Guttman

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Sembler supports Liz Cheney

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Liz Cheney announced Tuesday that she will challenge Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi in a Republican primary next year. While the ‘establishment’ rushed to quickly throw their support behind…

Hatzollah rescues NYC Council Intern after 30 min. wait for FDNY ambulance

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A City Council intern who collapsed during a press conference for mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn this afternoon was forced to wait more than 30 minutes before a Hatzollah…

Israel’s Diplomatic Problems

Monday, July 15, 2013

Israel’s Washington, DC, embassy is having a rough day with two news reports detailing two unrelated problems. Apparently the US is ‘outraged’ with Israel after Israel backed out…

Rick Perry to visit Israel

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that he will visit Israel in October, a move that signals to the political world that he is seriously considering making another…

Dan Senor hosts Congressman Paul Ryan

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The New York Post’s Page Six reports in a post titled ‘Private Ryan party’ that Dan Señor, co-author of Start-Up Nation and former George W. Bush aide who advised Mitt…

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish college wins $10.6 million in public funds

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jarrett Renshaw and Kelly Heyboer report for The Star-Ledger that Beth Medrash Govoha, a 70-year-old, all-male, Orthodox Jewish rabbinical school in Lakewood, was awarded $10.6 million in New Jersey…