Daily Kickoff: How Israel is prepping for Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ | Jake Tapper on his start in journalism at Akiba Hebrew Academy | Google, Shmoogle

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KAFE KNESSET — Israeli View of Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The top-secret White House Middle East peace effort to design the “ultimate deal” and solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a major discussion topic in the Knesset’s corridors. The deadline for the grand plan’s announcement continues to be extended. What used to be the end of the year has now turned into early next year, with some reports listed March 2018. Netanyahu himself has said on several occasions in recent weeks that he is preparing for an American document or plan, but he told Likud ministers and MKs that he knows nothing about the details. Likud MKs assume that “it will be the friendliest plan Israel has ever had” as a senior Likud minister told Kafe Knesset this week, predicting that the US administration “will accept some of our positions and red lines” on issues such as security, the Jordan Valley and settlements.

Even if this is the friendliest deal ever, another source added, Netanyahu understands that he will have to concede on some “deal breakers” of his own, and make concessions which will not necessarily be accepted by his coalition partners, most notably Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett. Some in the Likud, like Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, are more worried about American pressure. Akunis, who attended the JFNA’s General Assembly in Los Angeles this week, said in an interview with JPost that he will vote against any plan demanding a two-state solution, and that he is confident that others in the cabinet will vote against, as well.

A senior Israeli official said: “The American proposal will shake things up, and many people, including the Prime Minister and his partners, will have to make a decision. To say “no” is also a decision, and a decision not to respond as well. But decisions will have to be made.” A senior member of the coalition told Kafe Knesset: “The Americans are spoiling us now, but there are no free gifts, they will submit the bill, and Netanyahu will have to decide whether to lose Bennett or lose Trump, and to avoid that choice – he could call for new elections.”

The flexible deadline of Trump’s peace efforts coincides with another clock ticking these days, in the Israeli police interrogation rooms. There is growing talk of a peace plan that is set to accompany the upcoming publication of Police recommendations in Netanyahu’s criminal affairs. In any case, from Bibi’s point of view, talk about peace is a welcome break from cigar and champagne scandals. If the PM needs a plan to dodge both the criminal investigations and the Trump peace plan, new Knesset elections could turn out to be the perfect solution. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “Israeli Military Chief Gives Unprecedented Interview to Saudi Media: ‘Ready to Share Intel on Iran'” by Amos Harel: “A Saudi newspaper published an unprecedented interview on Thursday with the Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. It marks the first time any senior Israel Defense Forces officer, let alone the chief of staff, has been interviewed by a media organization in Saudi Arabia, which does not have diplomatic ties with Israel. In the interview to the Saudi online newspaper Elaph, Eisenkot called Iran the “real and largest threat to the region.” He said Israel and Saudi Arabia are in complete agreement about Iran’s intentions.” [Haaretz]

TODAY AT TURTLE BAY: “US opposes Nazi speech, but will vote no at UN to banning it” by Josh Lederman: “Introduced by Russia, the resolution calls on all U.N. nations to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations… The United States votes against the resolution every year, along with just a handful of others… But this year, the “no” vote from the U.S. is likely to create more of a stir, given it’s the first rendition of the vote since President Donald Trump entered office. [Trump’s] blame-on-both-sides response to violence in August at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave fodder to Trump critics who say he’s insufficiently critical of neo-Nazis. So U.S. officials are working overtime this year to try to explain that no, America doesn’t support pro-Nazi speech — but can’t vote for a resolution that calls for outlawing it, either. The vote is scheduled for Thursday in the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee…”

“Will Israel, the close U.S. ally whose history is intertwined with the Holocaust, vote with the U.S.? In the past, Israel has voted for the resolution. But Washington has been pushing the Jewish state to vote “no” this year, or at a minimum to abstain. It’s unclear how Israel will vote.” [AP]

ON THE HILL — Democratic Congressman co-chairs caucus to defeat Palestinian ‘enemy’ — by Aaron Magid: The Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVS) convened yesterday to sign a joint declaration of support and cooperation towards an Israeli victory with members of the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus (KIVC), MKs Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) and Avraham Neguise (Likud). Explaining the caucus’ ideology, Daniel Pipes, who initiated the group noted, “Victory means imposing your will on your enemy and the Palestinians give up.” Dmitry Shiglik, president of the American Forum for Russian-Speaking Jewry, emphasized, “Historically — always — (the) winner dictates what to do to (the) loser.” Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA), one of only six House Democrats who declined to sign a letter in March endorsing the two-state solution, joined as a co-chair of the organization. The California lawmaker also introduced the anti-Israel Boycott Act along with Rep. Peter Roskam (D-IL). [JewishInsider]

“Steve Bannon Is Bad for the Jews” by Bret Stephens: “If Israel is going to retain mainstream political support, it cannot allow itself to become the pet cause of right-wing bigots and conspiracy theorists. That requires putting serious distance between Bannon and every pro-Israel organization, to say nothing of the Israeli government itself, by refusing to provide a platform for him and his ilk… That thought may have dawned on Sheldon Adelson, who skipped Sunday’s [ZOA] dinner.” [NYTimes]

CAMPUS BEAT: “University of Maryland SGA bill supporting BDS dies before reaching the floor for legislative debate” by Carly Taylor: “After about two hours of student debate, the SGA Student Affairs Committee presented an unfavorable report of the bill in a 1-21 vote with three abstentions… Groups outside of this university weighed in on the debate before it took place Wednesday night. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and six of Maryland’s Democratic U.S. Congressmen signed a letter to SGA President A.J. Pruitt in opposition to the BDS movement “that would only undermine efforts to achieving Middle East peace through a two-state solution.”” [DBKNews]

“University of Michigan unlikely to divest from companies tied to Israel” by Martin Slagter: “After eight hours of intense debate, the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government voted in favor of calling on university leaders to investigate divestment from companies that do business with Israel. The university, however, isn’t likely to take up the matter. UM Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the university appreciates hearing from its students. However, the primary purpose of investments through its endowment – which is approaching $11 billion – is to generate the greatest possible income, subject to the appropriate amount of risk, in support of the university’s mission of teaching, research, patient care and service.” [MLive]

HAPPENING TODAY: “Washington’s huge new Bible museum says it wants to stay out of politics. But its opening gala is at the Trump Hotel” by Michelle Boorstein: “Officials at the non-profit museum say the decision was for pragmatic, scheduling reasons but some museum employees and academic consultants refused to enter the hotel affiliated with the controversial president. Museum officials said by the time they started looking for space, about a year ago, the Trump hotel was the only ballroom available in Washington that could accommodate such a big group. The Thursday dinner gala will have about 750 people in attendance… [Vice President Mike] Pence had been invited to do the official ribbon-cutting “because he is a personal friend of a number of board members,” but wasn’t able, said Susan Davis, head of the communications firm handling the opening.” [WashPost

PODCAST PLAYBACK — CNN anchor Jake Tapper talks to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg about his start in journalism: “I was a high-school journalist.. Jews for Jesus were really big in the ‘80s, and an alumnus started a thing called the Anti-Missionary Coalition. He was protesting Jews for Jesus, and there was a whole dispute how much Akiba [Hebrew Academy] should be associated with that, and I wrote a story about that…”

Goldberg: It got some attention? Tapper: “It was a school with 300 people… I mean, yes, a lot of 9th graders read it. It was very exciting (chuckle)… Then I went to Dartmouth, and I wanted to be a cartoonist and then I wanted to go into film, not as an actor but as a writer director, and then I found myself during film school at USC listening to the Clarence Thomas hearings in class on my walkman and I realized LA was not really for me. But one time I was on a ski trip and there was a guy there who has just written a freelance article with his brother for the New Republic. I read the New Republic religiously during that time and I said, ‘Oh, like real people could just right freelance stories.’ And then I just started submitting any freelance story anywhere I could and building up clips.”  [TheAtlantic]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer poised to buy 15 per cent Atletico Madrid stake [DailyMail] • David Rubenstein: Private equity model ‘starting to look like spent force’ [FinancialTimes• Avenue’s Marc Lasry raising $1 billion for distressed power bets [Reuters• Nelson Peltz Declares Victory in Procter & Gamble Proxy Fight [NYTimesWSJ] • Greenlight’s Einhorn Says Issues That Caused the Crisis Are Not Solved [Bloomberg]

SPOTLIGHT: “WeWork Takes a Dip in the Wave-Pool Business” by Eliot Brown: “WeWork Cos. has attained a $20 billion valuation as an office-leasing company. But its ambitions are extending well beyond the workplace—and into the water. The seven-year-old New York company has purchased a large stake in Wavegarden, a maker of wave pools, according to people informed by WeWork Chief Executive Adam Neumann in recent months. A WeWork spokeswoman said the investment occurred in mid-2016. It isn’t clear how Wavegarden—whose technology creates artificial waves up to 8 feet high for surfing at giant water facilities—would fit with WeWork.” [VanityFairWSJ]

“Ashton Kutcher-Backed Medical Startup Brings A.I.-Assisted Body Scans to L.A. Mall” by Kathryn Romeyn: “[Guy] Oseary says he and Kutcher “were swept up in excitement from the second we walked into Forward — when has that ever happened at a doctor’s office?” [THR]

MEDIA WATCH: “Jon Lovett on Bringing Late-Night Flavor to Political Podcasts” by Matt Wilstein: “It’s been about 10 months since Lovett, along with former Obama administration colleagues Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor, decided to end their Keepin’ It 1600 podcast and start Crooked Media, home to Pod Save America and a slew of other political offerings including Lovett’s comedy-driven show. “When we decided to do this, we didn’t have a plan. We just had this feeling like we wanted to launch a company that answered some of our frustrations and spoke to why we were worried, why we were angry, like a lot of other people,” Lovett says.” [DailyBeast]

“Steven Mnuchin Gets His Name on the Dollar” by Saleha Mohsin: “In just a few years, Steven Mnuchin has gone from Hollywood movie financier and regional banker to the signatory of the almighty buck. The U.S. Treasury secretary on Wednesday took a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to see production of the new $1 bills with his signature. His wife, Louise Linton, joined the visit, along with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, and several Treasury officials. The new bills are scheduled to go into circulation next month.” [Bloomberg]

“Ivanka Trump says child tax credit ‘not a pet project’” by Catherine Lucy: “I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt since I’ve been here,” Trump said this week, as she hit the road to promote the tax overhaul effort that has drawn Democratic criticism and spurred internal GOP conflict…Trump says she and husband Jared Kushner, a fellow White House adviser, have no plans to return to their old New York City life any time soon. “It’s definitely not short-term,” Trump said.” [AP]

HEADLINE DEPT: “Google, Shmoogle. Reference Librarians Are Busier Than Ever”  [WSJ]

“University of Texas President Shares Harrowing Story of His Father’s Holocaust Escape” by Shelby Hodge: “Tears fell across the ballroom as Gregory Fenves told of his father’s imprisonment at age 13 at Auschwitz, resulting in the loss of the young teen’s mother and grandmother, and how his trilingual skills as an interpreter enabled him to stay alive and to assist his sister who was kept in a neighboring compound. He was liberated by the Americans and in 1950 immigrated to the United States where he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.” [PaperCIty]

“How a Shirt Covered in Swastikas Ends Up in a Department Store” by Kim Bhasin and Polly Mosendz: “How exactly a shirt covered in swastikas made it through the design process, much less crammed into a rack in a Ross Dress for Less store in Florida where Bloomberg found it this week, can probably be chalked up to retailers’ vast and complex retail supply chains, where errors can often go overlooked. Michael Haddad said the end product looked different from the design his company had sent to the factory in India. “It was [the factory owner’s] mistake, and it became confusingly similar to a swastika,” he said. “There was nothing malicious intended here,” said Haddad. “I’m an Orthodox Jew. The problem was contained. It was remedied.” [Bloomberg]

HOLLYWOOD: Gal Gadot confirms Brett Ratner off Wonder Woman 2: “Gal Gadot said in an interview on Wednesday’s episode of NBC’s TODAY show that Wonder Woman producer Brett Ratner is off the sequel in the wake of several sexual misconduct allegations against the mogul. Gadot was asked about a report that claimed she refused to return for the highly anticipated 2019 sequel if Ratner was still on the project. Gadot replied, “The truth is, there’s so many people involved in making this movie, it’s not just me, and they all echoed the same sentiments.”” [EW

“Former Israeli Actress Alleged to Be Operative for Corporate-Investigation Firm” by Mark Maremont, Jacquie McNish and Rob Copeland: “[Stella Penn] Pechanac has been named in a court filing by Canadian financial firm West Face Capital Inc. alleging she is one of several Black Cube operatives who used false names, businesses and websites in recent months to obtain sensitive information from its current and former employees… Several West Face employees immediately recognized photos of the woman as “Maja Lazarov,” who claimed to be a London-based recruiter who had contacted the employees with potentially lucrative job offers.” [WSJ]

“Did Harvey Weinstein’s Israeli Spies Break the Law?” by Ashley Cullins: “The private investigators are accused of recording conversations without permission. Whether this is illegal depends on the physical location of the speakers. California is a two-party consent state, meaning if either of the parties is physically in the state during the conversation, both would have to agree to the recording. But New York is a one-party consent state… [Rose] McGowan is regularly spotted in both New York and California, and [Ben] Wallace is based in New York, meaning their surreptitious recording might have been legal… The scandal has moved Israeli parliamentarian Tamar Zandberg to call for an examination of Black Cube’s practices. “Instead of being used for Israel’s security … this knowledge is being used for harassing and lying and spying on women who are victims,” Zandberg tells THR.” [THR] • Deception and Ruses Fill the Toolkit of Investigators Used by Weinstein [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — in DC: The American Zionist movement (AZM) held an event at the Israeli Embassy, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration. With family of Abera Mengiustu in attendance, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer called for international action to free the captive Israeli who is currently being detained in Gaza.

SPOTTED: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Baroness Ruth Deech, Col. Richard Kemp, Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), Israeli cabinet ministers Yariv Levin and Eli Cohen, MKs Oded Feurer and Abraham Neguise, AZM President Richard Heideman, Herbert Block, Rabbi Josh Weinberg, Ann Lewis, Ezra Friedlander, Aaron Weinberg, Fred Lawrence, Ellen Hershkin, Shai Franklin, Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, and Daniel Flesch.

DESSERT: “A Deli Where Rye Comes in Slices and in a Glass” by Robert Simonson: “At the Upper East Side branch of the Second Avenue Deli, they have matzo ball soup for what ails you… On Nov. 27, the brothers Jeremy and Josh Lebewohl, who own the storied Jewish deli on First Avenue, plan to open 2nd Floor, a cocktail lounge just above the restaurant, with a separate entrance on East 75th Street… Some ingredients are not ones you’re likely to find at any other cocktail bar in town. Man-O-Manischewitz, a riff on the gin cocktail called the Bramble, uses a syrup made from Manischewitz wine rather than the traditional crème de mûre. The Upper Eastsider, a long drink that can be made with gin or vodka, has Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda as a component. A drink called the Shofar, similar to a Jack Rose, is made up of ingredients whose flavors are associated with Rosh Hashana, including apple brandy, pomegranate… and honey.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Retired Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada (2003-2013), Morris Fish turns 79… Roxanne White turns 69… Milwaukee-based founder and CEO of direct marketer, A.B. Data, Ltd., he is chair of the Pincus Fund for Jewish Education, Bruce A. Arbit turns 63… Professional golfer who has played on the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour starting in 1982, he won two gold medals at the 1981 Maccabiah Games, Corey Pavin turns 58… Susan Brooks turns 54… Television and film writer and producer, he was an executive producer of Fox’s “Fringe” (100 episodes 2008-2013) and co-writer of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014), Jeff Pinkner turns 53… Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition since 1990, Matt Brooks turns 52. Read his Playbook Q&A here… Ordained at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, now Dean of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, Rabbi Justus Baird turns 45… Stage, film and television actress, she is the older sister of actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Margalit Ruth “Maggie” Gyllenhaalturns 40… After 15 seasons in the NBA, he became an owner and player for Hapoel Jerusalem and led the team to the Israeli League championship in 2017, Amar’e Stoudemire turns 35… Senior Fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi

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Daily Kickoff: Has Bernie Bernstein called you? | Taylor Force Act passes House Foreign Affairs | Apple eyes Israeli Startups | Marijuana Matzo Balls

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SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH: “An Alabama Senate Candidate Keeps Democratic Leaders Away — but Not Their Money” by Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin: “As Republicans in Washington pressure [Roy] Moore to leave the race… Democratic leaders convey a stark public message to Mr. Jones: You’re on your own. “It’s an Alabama race,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said at a news conference on Monday, repeating the phrase three times for emphasis… For all his public caution, Mr. Schumer has been effusive about the Alabama campaign in private… Mr. Schumer has told allies he believes the race is now clearly winnable for Mr. Jones, but that Democrats must take pains not to nationalize the contest in a way that might offend voters in a deeply conservative state.”[NYTimes

“Asked by whether he would support Sen. Chuck Schumer as his party’s Senate leader, Jones declined to commit.” [NationalJournal

TOP-OP: “Roy Moore Reminds Me of My Rabbi” by Bethany Mandel: “If he wins, the Republicans may have a reliably conservative vote in the Senate, but one thing is guaranteed: Religious leaders who defend him risk their flock being infected with the same disenchantment I was after the arrest of my rabbi. Religious leaders often fret that such creeping faithlessness puts society at risk more than any political ideology. As a prominent evangelical put it in a 2006 Washington Times column: “Our peace and happiness as well as our prosperity depend not on any political party or any great leader, but rather upon our return as a nation to faith in Almighty God.” It’s a lovely message, but one that’s too often discredited by its messengers. The man who wrote that column? Roy Moore.” [NYTimes]

VIRAL: “Fake Reporter Bernie Bernstein’s Robocalls Add Bizarre Twist to Roy Moore’s Senate Bid” by Itay Hod: “According to WKRG, a local TV station in Mobile, Alabama, at least one person in the station’s coverage area has received a robocall from someone claiming to be “Bernie Bernstein,” offering cash to women willing to make “damaging remarks” about Republican candidate Roy Moore… Only one problem… the call is bogus, according to Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron… The report by WKRG was enough to make Bernie Bernstein a trending topic on Twitter Tuesday.” [TheWrapWKRG]

“An Alabama Robocall Invokes Ugly Tropes” by Matt Ford: “The Alabama robocall also seems to draw upon the dark motifs of antisemitism to accomplish its goal. The fake Bernstein’s nasally, high-pitched voice and forced New York accent evoke anti-Semitic caricatures and stereotypes.”[TheAtlantic]

TOP TWEETS —  John Podhoretz‏: Bernie Bernstein just won the coveted Jewlitzer Prize… Jeffrey Goldberg‏: I tried to hire Bernie Bernstein once. Couldn’t afford him… Rick Hasen‏: Bernie Bernstein is now trending, making his fictitious mother kvell… Daniel Dale: “Hello. It is The Jews. We have money. We would like to eat your Christian candidate with our Passover matzo. Please telephone us.”

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “How Mike Pompeo became the favorite to succeed Rex” by Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni: “Whereas Tillerson has consistently worked to counter the president’s hawkish instincts, pushing to open talks with North Korea and opposing the decertification of the Iran nuclear deal, for example, Pompeo’s views are more in tune with the president’s views on foreign policy… As Pompeo’s relationship with the president has deepened, people close to Trump say he has cooled on the idea of nominating U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to succeed Tillerson… The president has been turned off in part by speculation that Haley has her eyes on a presidential bid, two people close to the president said.” [Politico]

DRIVING THE DAY — House committee advances Taylor Force Act — by Aaron Magid: The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act on Wednesday. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) in February, would cut off U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until they cease payments to families of terrorists. The next step for the legislation is a floor wide vote at an undetermined time.

The House bill included three exemptions. The first is for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which was originally inserted in the Senate version. In addition, following an effort by the White House’s Jason Greenblatt, the updated legislation now allows for US assistance to Palestinian wastewater programs, even if they ‘directly benefit’ the P.A. Finally, a third exemption permits childhood vaccination programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) opposed the exemptions, “I believe that we should not allow for exceptions or carve outs in this legislation because that flexibility will be used to once again circumvent the spirit of the law and Congressional intent,” she cautioned. [JewishInsider]

INBOX — ZOA ‘reluctantly’ supports weakened Taylor Force Act: “The ZOA’s support for this latest House version of the Taylor Force Act comes with disappointment that the bill is not nearly as strong as it should be, or even as it was when originally introduced,” ZOA’s Mort Klein said in a statement. “ZOA feels strongly that the House Foreign Affairs Committee, during the course of the markup, should keep in mind the reason for the appropriateness of the much larger reductions in US aid in the original Taylor Force Act.”

JINSA’s Mike Makovsky: “The purpose of the Taylor Force Act is to put pressure on the PA to stop supporting terror, and to ensure that American taxpayer dollars do not in effect support that either. Every exemption granted undermines the purpose and effectiveness of the legislation. Ultimately, the Palestinian people will benefit more when he PA directs all their funding toward basic services and not toward terror.”

“In White House, Israeli widow laments payout to family of her husband’s killer” by Eric Cortellessa: “In a meeting with Trump’s Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, [Michal] Salomon “expressed dismay that the [family of the] terrorist would be receiving compensation from the Palestinian Authority for his action,” a senior White House official [said].” [ToI] • Israel demolishes home of Palestinian who killed 3 Israelis [WashPost]

REPORT: “Saudi document lays out plans for peace with Israel” by Yasser Okbi: “Saudi Arabia’s rapprochement with Israel involves a risk to the Muslim peoples of the Kingdom, because the Palestinian cause represents a spiritual and historical and religious heritage,” reads the report claiming to quote the document. “The Kingdom will not take this risk unless it feels the United States’ sincere approach to Iran…” A key demand of the Saudis… is the dismantling of Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons capabilities… Among the guidelines Riyadh is reportedly proposing are: the subordination of the city of Jerusalem to international sovereignty, the permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank or their naturalization by other Muslim states and the holding of a major summit to launch a final peace agreement.” [JPost

JARED INSIDER: “The Upstart Saudi Prince Who’s Throwing Caution to the Winds” by Ben Hubbard and David Kirkpatrick: “Jared is a bit of a black hole,” said one State Department official… “There is no sense of the positions he has advocated. We can only guess, based on what he has done and where he has been.” The official added: “The Emirates and the Saudis have been very careful to cultivate him and bring him along” toward their “confrontational posture in the region.” A White House official… disputed the characterization of Mr. Kushner, saying he regularly briefed the State Department and National Security Council on his trips and conversations.”

“Mr. Kushner made his third visit to the kingdom this year — this time unannounced until his return to Washington — in late October, when American officials say he stayed up late talking with Prince Mohammed at his ranch. The sweep of arrests unfolded days later, and Mr. Trump was quick to applaud, although several White House officials said the Saudis gave Mr. Kushner no heads up on what was about to take place.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL —Congress moves bill imposing certification requirements on sale of commercial aircraft to Iran — by Bryant Harris: “The Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act would make it much more difficult for Iran to purchase commercial aircraft from firms that do business in the United States… The House Financial Services Committee voted to advance the bill 38-21 [yesterday], paving the way for the full House to vote. All of the Republicans on the commitee voted yes, joined by only five Democrats… The bill, introduced by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas… imposes reporting and certification requirements that could well prompt the Treasury Department to cease issuing licenses allowing for such sales… Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., likened the bill to current law requiring the president to certify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal every 90 days, thereby giving Trump another avenue to unravel the deal.” [Al-Monitor]

“Israel PM offers quake aid to arch foe Iran” by AFP: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered aid to the victims of the weekend’s deadly earthquake in Iran… The offer, made in a video conference with the Jewish Federations of North America, was largely rhetorical. Iran does not recognise the Jewish state and Israeli media reported that the offer was swiftly turned down through the International Committee of the Red Cross.” [Yahoo]

Miss Israel, Miss Iraq find ‘peace and love’ amid Mideast tensions: “[Adar] Gandelsman on Tuesday posted a picture with [Sarah] Idan on Instagram, saying, “Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing,” followed by a heart emoji.  On her Instagram page, Idan also posted the picture, along with the caption “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”” [JNS]

Tom Friedman writes… China Could Sell Trump the Brooklyn Bridge: “China, with its ability to focus, is getting 90 percent out of its inferior system, and it has brought China a long way fast. And we, with too little focus, are getting 50 percent out of our superior system. If that persists, it will impact the balance of power. Now you know why the Chinese were so happy to throw a bash for Trump in Beijing.” [NYTimes]

DEEP DIVE: “Rural Wisconsin voters swung for Trump, change; found frustration” by Craig Gilbert: “This past summer, a New York-based group called Resetting the Table, which specializes in conflict resolution over Israel among American Jews, sat down with hundreds of voters in the Driftless Area to promote dialog across political lines. One thing it found was “just this sense of frustration to the point of repugnance with the … political class, shared on the left, shared on the center, shared on the right,” said Eyal Rabinovitch, the group’s co-founder.” [USAToday

Democratic Party leaders must take on Bernie Sanders on Israel — by American Jewish Congress’ Jack Rosen: “I have spoken to decision makers and privately, they are very critical of Sanders. But talking privately is no longer enough. If you are pro-Israel then you need to defend her publically… Changes are afoot within the Democratic Party, with new governors coming into power in New Jersey and Virginia, and a string of state legislative election victories last week…  There are prominent voices that could turn the tide, but they need to mobilize before more damage is done.” [NYDailyNews

TALK OF THE TOWN: “‘It’s a Disgrace’: New York G.O.P. Fund-Raiser Quits Over Tax Bill” by Shane Goldmacher: “Steve Louro, a Republican donor who hosted an event for Donald J. Trump at his Long Island home last year, abruptly quit his post as regional finance chairman for the state’s Republican Party on Tuesday over objections to the Republican-led tax bill advancing through Congress. “The bill that’s going to get passed is not going to take care of the American people. It’s a disgrace,” Mr. Louro said in a phone interview… Mr. Louro has been an outspoken supporter of Representative Lee Zeldin, whom he called “the best congressman” and who has opposed the elimination of state and local tax deductions. “The bottom line is I told Lee I’m done,” Mr. Louro said. “I’m totally done.” As recently as last week, Mr. Louro had been trying to drum up support for a fund-raising visit to New York by Mr. Trump in early December. Mr. Louro said he still supports the president.” [NYTimes

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Altice USA shares drop after filing shows Jana exited stake [FinancialTimes Housing rights group sues Jared Kushner’s ‘predatory’ real estate company for ignoring NYC rent stabilization laws[NYDailyNews] • The Plaza Hotel’s Secret Investor: Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, one of the most influential figures in Qatar[Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION: “Apple’s roaring chip business has a new M&A target, executive says: Israeli start-ups” by Jason Gewirtz and Anita Balakrishnan: “Israel could be a target for an Apple acquisition “because we have to have the best technology to differentiate ourselves,” Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, told Hebrew daily business paper Calcalist… Srouji said that it doesn’t necessarily matter if Apple acquires start-ups in Israel or elsewhere, as long as the technology is innovative. But he said Apple’s Israeli team is already involved “in all areas and new devices including the development of a new chip.”” [CNBCCTECH]

“Kim Kardashian Backs New Fashion App Created by Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn and Jerusalem” by Liel Leibovitz: “Screenshop is a new application that’s being hailed as Shazam for fashion, allowing users to create an online shopping list just by capturing a screenshot of an outfit they like. It was co-founded by Mark Fishman and Molly Hurwitz, two Brooklyn-based Orthodox entrepreneurs. It’s CTO is Jonathan Caras, a Jerusalem-based computer scientist. And its investor, ambassador, and spirit animal is Kim Kardashian. “The fact that we brought on a team from Israel that has some of the best technology to figure out how to come up with something that no one has done before is so groundbreaking to me,” Kardashian told Mashable… After Kardashian started promoting the app in interviews and via her social media feeds, more than a million users flocked to Screenshop… But the reality TV star, said Caras, was more than just a promoter, and is intimately involved with the product. “She is a real part of the company,” he said in an interview with the Israeli press.” [Tablet]

“Joan Tisch’s kids ask judge for control of her $4 billion fortune” by Julia Marsh: “Steven, Laurie and Jonathan Tisch are asking a Surrogate’s Court judge to give them control over their mother’s finances “to preserve her estate in the face of an unpredictable securities market.” Tisch, who died at 90 earlier this month, inherited her vast wealth from her late husband Bob Tisch… Joan Tisch’s heirs will continue to run and own the struggling New York Giants, whose helmets now bear their late owner’s initials, JHT, as a tribute.”[NYPost]

COMING SOON TO DC: “New-look Labor leader vows to unseat Netanyahu in Israel” by Aron Heller: “Little known outside of Israel, Gabbay will soon make his debut on the international stage when he travels to Washington this month for the Saban Forum, an influential gathering of policy makers, and holds a series of meetings with American officials. Gabbay says he can topple Netanyahu — who has been prime minister since 2009 — by re-energizing the long listless Labor party. His strategy is to poach Netanyahu’s own supporters by adopting some positions of the conservative Likud Party. “I come from the people and I’m here to work for the people,” he said.” [AP]

“US State Dep’t: Israel won’t get visa waiver so fast” by Ran Dagoni: “A State Department spokesperson said, “We understand the interest shown by the Israeli government in the visa exemption program… Israel does not meet all the requirements at this stage, but we are working with the Israeli government on measures that Israel can take with the potential for enabling Israel to join the program.” … [Justice Minister Ayelet] Shaked is planning to visit Washington in two weeks, at which time she hopes to sign an “agreement in principle” for Israel’s accession to the visa waiver program. It is not clear, however, when the agreement, assuming that it is signed, will be implemented. The State Department did not mention Shaked’s planned visit or the possibility of any agreement whatsoever being signed.”” [Globes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — StandWithUs Northeast held their 3rd Annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala at the Edison Ballroom in New York. Honorees included Shir Levy of Francis Lewis High School, Eden Gorodischer from Hunter College, and Andrew Kligerman. The event also featured remarks from Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan, comedy from Elon Gold, and a keynote address by former Ambassador Dore Gold.

SPOTTED: Francine Raubvogel, Galit Peleg, Sam Schear, Avi Posnick, Shahar Azani, Lior Suchard, Idan Raichel, Udi Urman, Regev Gur, Herb London, Marcella Rosen, Bill Behrer, Nira and Ken Abramowitz, and Rabbi Mark Golub.

DESSERT: “Jewish foodies lose their minds over marijuana matzo balls” by Doree Lewak: “The Eastern European food staple, often served during Sabbath dinner, is traditionally made with matzo meal, egg, oil, salt, pepper and schmaltz… [Joan] Nathan’s controversial recipe adds hemp — specifically, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative… Some Jewish foodies think her marijuana matzo balls are blasphemous. “It is a bit sacrilegious,” says New Jersey-based professional chef Sarah Lasry. “Sabbath is such a high to begin with… There’s no need to infuse anything with weed.”” [NYPost]

“This ‘accidental’ vintner is crushing it with his homemade wines” by Alix Wall: “[Michael] Kaye, who lives in Berkeley, is a mashgiach (kosher certifier) for Gallo Wine in Fresno. He is somewhat of an accidental winemaker, and says it was either the hand of God or George Bush who put him on this path. In 2008, he was working as a book editor but had become a kosher certifier to earn extra money on the side. Rabbi Ben-Tzion Welton of the Vaad of Northern California started referring him to gigs, and then a winery called requesting that “Michael” be sent to help with sparkling wine production in Hopland… When he arrived, he was greeted with “Who are you?” As it turns out, the Michael the winery had requested no longer lived in the area. “But they needed someone, so they said ‘Well, you’ll do, we’ll have to show you what to do.’” [JWeekly]

BIRTHDAYS: Biochemist and winner of the Israel Prize in 1957, professor of microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (1966-1993), David Sidney Feingold turns 95… Actor best known for his role as Lou Grant in two TV series, former president of the Screen Actors Guild, Ed Asner (born Yitzhak Edward Asner) turns 88… Rosh Yeshiva of Ohr Etzion Yeshiva and the leader of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement, he was a long-time member of the Knesset (1977-2003), Rabbi Haim Drukman turns 85… Little Rock, Arkansas native, founder of Guardsmark, a privately owned security company with 17,000 employees which he sold in 2015, noted art collector, Ira A. Lipmanturns 77… Author of dozens of children’s books and young adult fiction, frequent NPR guest, Daniel Pinkwater turns 76… Pianist and conductor, formerly Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim turns 75… Stephen Wolff turns 72… Former Chairman and CEO of Film and Music Entertainment, now a consultant and movie producer, Lawrence (Larry) Lotman turns 70…

NYC-based consultant for non-profit organizations, previously held senior positions in the NYC government and Board of Education, Perry Davis turns 69… Immigration and nationality attorney in Southern California, Michael D. Ullman turns 68… Executive Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museums of Tolerance, Rabbi Meyer H. May turns 65… Executive producer and director of television programs, including Friends (1994-2004), one of the most popular TV programs of all time, Kevin S. Bright turns 63… Member of the Knesset since 2013 for the Yesh Atid party, he was previously the Minister of Welfare and Social Services (2013-2014) and mayor of Dimona (2003-2013), Meir Cohen turns 62… Senior IT project manager at Harbinger Partners, Michael A. Lewine turns 54… Member of Knesset since 2015 for the Likud party, she was previously a journalist at both Yedioth Ahronoth and Ma’ariv,Nava Boker turns 47… Reverse mortgage executive, Joshua Shein turns 45… As a 12-year old baseball fan in Yankee Stadium, he interfered with a ball batted by Derek Jeter in the 1996 ALCS that was ruled to be a game-tying home run, Jeffrey Maier turns 34… Political Reporter at Time Magazine, Zeke Miller turns 28… Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at Council for a Strong America, Ben Goodman turns 28… Alison Borowsky turns 23…

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Daily Kickoff: Why did Adelson skip the ZOA dinner? | Rivlin’s 5th Tribe: Diaspora Jews | Sarah Hofstetter’s advantage | Rogen & Goldberg’s Future Man

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INTRIGUE: “GOP megadonor Adelson publicly breaks with Bannon” by Alex Isenstadt and Josh Dawsey: “The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,” said Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman. “They are supporting Mitch McConnell 100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong.” … Bannon had been slated to introduce Adelson and his spouse, Miriam, at the [ZOA] event, according to a copy of the program. The Adelsons, however, did not make it to the event, one person close to the couple said — in part because Adelson was concerned that appearing publicly with Bannon would be seen as a tacit endorsement of his efforts.” [Politico]

Speaking to JI’s Jacob Kornbluh, ZOA’s Mort Klein insisted that Adelson never objected to Bannon introducing him at the dinner and the reason for Adelson’s absence was that he had also committed to attend the Yad Vashem annual tribute dinner the same night at The Pierre Hotel. “Bannon called me four months ago, when he was still in the White House, and he said, ‘Mort, I love Sheldon Adelson. Would you allow me to introduce him at your dinner?’ And he was the top White House guy working for Trump. I said, ‘Of course.’ Then he left the White House,” Klein explained. “All I can say is that Sheldon never said anything to me about that being an issue. What he might feel deep in his heart, I don’t know.”

Klein noted that Bannon did not actually get an award at the dinner.“We did not invite him to get an award at the dinner. He asked me to introduce Sheldon… Then when Sheldon didn’t come, he said, ‘Then, can I speak a little bit.’ I said, ‘Ok.'”

DRIVING THE CONVO: “The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks” by Julia Ioffe: “Though Trump Jr. mostly ignored the frequent messages from WikiLeaks, he at times appears to have acted on its requests… According to a source familiar with the congressional investigations… on the same day that Trump Jr. received the first message from WikiLeaks, he emailed other senior officials with the Trump campaign, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, telling them WikiLeaks had made contact. Kushner then forwarded the email to campaign communications staffer Hope Hicks.” [TheAtlantic]

— “Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.’s attorney, said his client’s exchanges with WikiLeaks were innocuous. “All sides in this campaign, the Clinton side, the Trump side, were monitoring WikiLeaks to see what they would publish next,” Futerfas said. “If The Washington Post or the New York Times was looking to see what was being released, does that suggest any impropriety on their part? Of course not.”” [WashPost]  

HEARD LAST NIGHT – President Reuven Rivlin at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in LA, his first major address outside of Israel to a Jewish-American audience: “I remember the first and only time that my father slapped me. It was just after my Bar-Mitzvah. Some relatives from the United States came to visit us. I asked them, “Why don’t you make Aliyah?” I told them, “Israel is the only place for Jews!” And then my father slapped me. He said, “Jews need to take care of each other, not threaten each other.” That slap made me realize that the relationship between us, the Jewish People, must be based on one simple demand: mutual responsibility… I always say that there are three principles in Israel’s foreign policy. First, the relations with the United States. Second, the relations with the United States. And third, the relations with the United States. You are an integral part of the unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States.” [Pic]

HOW IT PLAYED: “President Rivlin found a Fifth Tribe: Diaspora Jews” by Shmuel Rosner: “To be a fifth tribe is an honor – you are one of us – and a burden – you are one of us. It means that Rivlin just complicated the choreography of the already complicated dance of having to make four tribes get along with one another… Is the Jewish Diaspora a fifth tribe? Does it want to be a fifth tribe? This can be an interesting discussion – but a fifth tribe is surely better than a second people.” [JewishJournal] • Israel’s president tries to soothe rift between Israel and American Jewry [LATimes]

Consul General Dani Dayan during a panel on Israel-Diaspora relations: “I understand the frustration, but ‘Oy Vey’ and Gevald are beautiful Yiddish words but are not a substitute for policy and strategy. Moreover, press releases in English published in Manhattan will not sway one Israeli in Sderot, Kiryat Shmona, or even in Tel Aviv… I think you need boots on the ground in Israel to advance the causes you believe in… You have every right to come and educate and lobby. Do it.”

Asked is he’s optimistic about healing the rift, Dayan said: “In spite of the fact that we are Jewish, our marriage is Catholic. There is no divorce in this marriage (between Israel and Diaspora)… We may need marital advice… but there is no last straw [or] divorce in our relationship.”

HAPPENING TODAY AT THE GA — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the closing plenary session via satellite. Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky will talk about pluralism in Israel and ways to on strengthening the bond between U.S. Jewry and Israel, and three legislators – Canadain MP Michelle Rempel, Sara Feigenholtz, Assistant Majority Leader of Illinois House of Representatives. and Joyce Peppin, Majority Leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives – will speak about the anti-BDS legislation they put forward and helped pass in their states.

Re: the two-state solution, David Saranga, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to President Rivlin, tells us…“In bilateral meetings with heads of states, President Rivlin is presenting the position of the Israeli government. Having said that, he always adds that he, particularly, doesn’t believe right now in the two-state solution, and he emphasizes – now. But he also adds that in the future both sides will have to decide about the right solution, whether it’s a two-state solution, a one-state solution, a federation, or whatever the two sides decides on together.”

“Trump’s Middle East peace initiative still on hold” by Ben Caspit: “Al-Monitor has learned that Trump and his staff’s original plan was to launch the initiative in January 2018, one year after Trump assumed the presidency. It was supposed to take place in an impressive ceremony in Washington with the participation of Israel (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and the Palestinians (President Mahmoud Abbas), of course, as well as high-level representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan… The intention is to delay the launch until March 2018… The diplomatic sources involved in the process believe the American initiative will not see the light of day unless Netanyahu agrees to it. Another important factor is that Trump has not even approved it yet. It will be brought to him for approval only when it is finished.” [Al-Monitor• Worth noting: AIPAC’s DC Policy Conference is scheduled for March 4th – 6th.

Jason Greenblatt posts‏: “Privileged to welcome Michal Salomon, her 5 children & her father to the White House yesterday. Her husband, sister-in-law, and father-in-law were brutally murdered by a terrorist at the Shabbat table. Michal & her children escaped certain death only because of her courage.” [Pic]

“Netanyahu Rival Avi Gabbay Makes an $18 Billion Case for Peace” by David Wainer and Michael Arnold: “Much like U.S. President Donald Trump, Israel’s Labor leader Avi Gabbay wants to use his business acumen to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The former chief executive officer of Israel’s largest telecom company even has a number for how much a peace deal would benefit Israel’s economy: 63 billion shekels ($18 billion) per year to the state’s coffers… “We are a technology power, but there’s still lots of countries and sectors that won’t do business with Israel because of the absence of a deal,” Gabbay… said in an interview… Just don’t ask Gabbay how he’d reach a deal; he won’t discuss his positions on the conflict, saying details should be negotiated during talks with the Palestinians.” [Bloomberg

“Echoing Netanyahu, Labor chief says leftists ‘forgot what it means to be a Jew’” by Alexander Fulbright: “In ’97 [Bibi] Netanyahu was caught on camera saying ‘the left forgot what it means to be Jews,’” Gabbay said at an event at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba. “You know what the left did in response to this? Forgot what it means to be a Jew.” [ToI]

KAFE KNESSET – Netanyahu and friends — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Last night, TV channels led their main news broadcasts with some juicy details from File 1000, the investigation into gifts given to Netanyahu from Arnon Milchan. News relates to the testimony of Milchan’s personal assistant, Hadas Klein, who was the liaison between the Netanyahus, Milchan, and Australian billionaire James Packer. It is alleged that Packer and Milchan split the costs of the gifts. Netanyahu is alleged to have demanded cigars and his wife would ask for champagne bottles, in boxes of six or twelve. “Sarah Netanyahu would call, say that the drink was over, meaning the champagne, and ask for more. There was an understanding that Arnon should provide the Netanyahu couple with what they want,” she said, according to the media reports, which defined the testimony as “dramatic.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL — 11 lawmakers warn against demolition of Palestinian villages — by Aaron Magid: Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) authored a letter signed by 11 House Democrats urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to pressure the Israeli government and prevent the demolition of Palestinian villages Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar. The letter was signed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), James McGovern (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Betty Mccollum (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). [Doc

“It is yet another example of the double standard that anti-Israel politicians apply to the nation state of the Jewish people,” asserted Alan Dershowitz, former law professor at Harvard University. “When is the last time these members of Congress complained about a domestic issue involving another foreign ally? How would Congressmen feel if Israeli members of Knesset started writing letters complaining about how America is dealing with some of its issues?” [JewishInsider]

“Congress Generous, Again, With US Funds for Israel’s Defense” by John Donnelly: “Congress is poised to provide Israel with another $705 million for that country’s missile defenses — nearly five times the Trump administration’s request and the second largest annual installment of such aid to date.” [RollCall]

REPORT: A senior U.S. national security delegation is due in Israel today to discuss the ceasefire deal in southwest Syria and the prospective deployment of Iranian-linked forces near the Golan Heights. [Twitter] • Despite Israeli Concerns, Russia Says Iran’s Presence in Syria Is Legitimate [Haaretz]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: A Big Deal in Big Food, Irene Rosenfeld Retires From Mondelēz [NYTimes] • Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group Bets on Beaten-Up Health Care [Barrons• Singer’s Elliott Builds Stake in Taubman, Urges Changes [Bloomberg• Barry Diller: I hope AT&T-Time Warner goes to court [Axios] • Geoff Lewis of Founders Fund has started his own venture capital firm with Eric Stromberg [Recode] • Aryeh Bourkoff on What Tennis Can Teach the World About Globalization [SportsIllustrated]

“Apollo Global promotes 2 executives to leadership roles” by Javier Espinoza: “Scott Kleinman, 44, the head of the group’s private equity business in the US, and James Zelter, 55, head of Apollo’s credit business, will take on the newly-created roles of co-presidents from January. Leon Black, 66, will retain his role of chairman and chief executive, Josh Harris, 52, will continue as senior managing director and Marc Rowan, 55, as senior managing director, the company said.” [FinancialTimes]

“This CEO Uses Her Jewish Faith as an Advantage” by  Jonathan Vanian: “Speaking Monday during Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Sarah Hofstetter, the CEO of digital advertising agency 360i described how her life as an observant Orthodox Jew often puts her at odds with colleagues in her field. While most advertising executives may be wining and dining clients or hammering out a big deal on a Friday night, Hofstetter hunkers down at home, where she lights candle, drinks wine, and observes the Sabbath. “You’re never gonna catch me working on a Saturday morning,” she said. “And just because I email you on a Saturday night, you don’t need to email me back. But those are assets.”” [Fortune]

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on the latest podcast episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher: “There is no way on God’s green earth, no matter how many customer service reps Mark Zuckerberg hires, he could ever keep up with the torrent of information,” Greenblatt said… As the Jewish CEO of a nonprofit founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism and other social ills, Greenblatt said his own Twitter mentions could definitely benefit from some smart AI filtering. “If I’m walking into Best Buy on a Sunday afternoon and I get tweeted a picture of an oven, that might be okay, because maybe there’s a sale on Whirlpool ovens in aisle 12,” he said. “But if I’m sitting here in your studio and I get tweeted a picture of two ovens and it says ‘Jewish Bunk Beds’ on it, that’s probably not such a nice thing to send to me.” [Recode]

TALK OF THE VALLEY — Yesterday, the ADL launched its Center for Technology and Society and announced that more than a dozen tech sector leaders will serve on CTS’s board of advisors. Board members include Reddit’s Steve Huffman, Facebook’s Guy Rosen; National Constitution Center’s Jeffrey Rosen, Snapchat’s Micah Shaffer, former Twitter executive Katie Jacobs Stanton, and Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe. [ADL]

TOP TALKER: “The New School Invites Linda Sarsour to Lead Panel on Anti-Semitism” by Liel Leibovitz: “Later this month, the university will co-sponsor a panel on anti-Semitism that will feature, among others, Linda Sarsour, who opined that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and believes one cannot support the right of Jews to a homeland of their own and still be a feminist.” [Tablet]

Groups protest speech by former Trump assistant at UNC-CH: “Christians United for Israel invited Sebastian Gorka, a former deputy assistant to Trump, to speak on Monday evening, but two groups challenged his beliefs as racist and feel he has no place on campus… Monday afternoon, UNC Hillel, a Jewish group on campus, published a letter in the student newspaper, also condemning Gorka’s visit. They believe he has expressed prejudice against Jews and Muslims. Gorka’s comments Monday night focused mainly on foreign policy, but after his speech, he responded to protesters’ claims… “They’re victims of fake news. They should read my book, read what I’ve said. They should listen afterward,” he said.” [WRAL]

“The Making of an American Nazi: How did Andrew Anglin go from being an antiracist vegan to the alt-right’s most vicious troll and propagandist—and how might he be stopped?” by Luke O’Brien: “On a rainy Saturday, about 45 protesters, some with black masks covering their faces, gathered outside a drab two-story building in Worthington, a suburb of Columbus, where Anglin’s father, Greg, runs a Christian counseling service… Among the protesters in the rain outside Greg’s office, I met Anglin’s preschool teacher, Gail Burkholder, who described being shocked when she’d learned that her former student had grown up to be a notorious white nationalist. “Why would I think one of my students would become a Nazi who wants to kill me?” said Burkholder, who is Jewish… Anglin hadn’t been to the polls in years, but he wasn’t going to miss a chance to vote for Trump. His absentee ballot arrived in Ohio from Krasnodar, a city in southwest Russia near the Black Sea… That the Russian government wouldn’t know about an American inside its borders publishing a major neo-Nazi website seems improbable” [TheAtlantic]

“Holocaust victim’s family brought together by pendant found beneath death camp floorboards” by Georgina Prodhan: “Karolina Cohn may have known the Holocaust diarist Anne Frank: the two girls were born in Frankfurt just three weeks apart… Nothing more was known of her fate until archaeologists excavating the site of Sobibor in Poland found her pendant, inscribed with her date and place of birth and the words “good luck” in Hebrew. It was similar to one that belonged to Frank. After the pendant was found, researchers used the database of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem to contact Cohn’s family members around the world. On Monday 34 of them came together to witness the placing of a brass “Stolperstein”… in the pavement outside Cohn’s former family home.” [Reuters]

HOLLYWOOD: Gal Gadot Is GQ’s 2017 Wonder Woman of the Year: “GQ writer Caity Weaver travelled to Tel Aviv to find out more about this real-life wonder of a woman. Between beach days, egg sandwiches, and a litany of Danishes, [Gal] Gadot talks about breaking into Hollywood, life as one of the most famous people in Israel… including the definitive answer on how to pronounce her name.” [GQ• Watch: When Rivlin met Gadot  [JPost]

“Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s new action-comedy ‘Future Man’ happily draws from the past” by Chris Barton: “Future Man,” a half-hour action-comedy that arrives on Hulu Nov. 14, centers around Josh Futturman (“Hunger Games” alum Josh Hutcherson), a frustrated janitor who lives with his parents, the show blasts off when Josh completes an impossibly difficult video game. Seth Rogen executive produces the series along with his writing partner Evan Goldberg, who have often nodded to their influences in movies like “This Is the End” and “Pineapple Express.” [LATimes]

COMING SOON: “What to expect at Manna and Milk & Honey, the eateries at the new Museum of the Bible” by Holley Simmons: “Ellen Kassoff Gray admits that she and her husband, Todd, love getting geeky when it comes to food history… Her time in Israel, and their research on the cultural aspects of religion, helped spark Milk & Honey, a casual cafe, and Manna, a cafeteria-style restaurant serving Israeli street food, at the museum… Opening Friday, the Museum of the Bible — a 430,000-square foot, $500 million project founded by the head of Hobby Lobby Steven Green — features six floors of exhibitions and about 1,000 artifacts that trace the impact and history of the Bible. Milk & Honey (“What else would a Jewish girl call her cafe?” Ellen says) is located on the museum’s mezzanine level.” [WashPost

“Hobby Lobby Scion Spent Millions on Biblical Relics—Then Came a Reckoning” by Kelly Crow: “Green and his family have amassed a $205 million collection of roughly 40,000 artifacts over the past eight years, spanning Egyptian mummy masks from the time of Moses to sacred scrolls inscribed by rabbis and monks to a copy of the Bible once owned by Elvis Presley. Yet for the past three years, staff members at the museum have been sifting and rejecting potential donations from the Green collection that carried lingering questions of provenance, its director David Trobisch said.” [WSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Baltimore Homecoming aims to draw accomplished natives back home” by Lorraine Mirabella: “The nonprofit Baltimore Homecoming Inc., launched Monday by Baltimore natives Nate Loewentheil and JM Schapiro, aims to tap the talents and resources of Baltimore expatriates who have made a mark in their field but may have lost touch with the city.” [BaltimoreSunWJZ]

BIRTHDAYS: Managing Director of Media at Emerson Collective, he was previously the deputy business editor of The New York Times, Peter T. Lattman turns 47… Deputy National Security Advisor for President Obama and a key figure in the JCPOA with Iran, Ben Rhodes turns 40… US Secretary of State (2005-2009), now on the faculties of Stanford University and the Hoover Institution, Condoleezza Rice turns 63… Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama throughout his eight year term in the White House, Valerie Jarrett turns 61… Senior communications officer at the Detroit-based William Davidson Foundation, Cynthia Shaw turns 59… Former president of the University of Chicago (1993-2000), where he continues to teach economics, Hugo F. Sonnenschein, Ph.D. turns 77… Cellist and professor at Moscow Conservatoire, Natalia Gutman turns 75… Former professional bodybuilder who played for two seasons with the New York Jets, Mike Katz turns 73… Los Angeles businessman, community leader and political activist, Stanley Treitelturns 73…

Member of the UK’s House of Lords since 2010, he is a former Chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, Baron Jeremy Beecham turns 73… British Labour party member of Parliament since 1997, Louise Ellman turns 72… Democratic member of the New York State Assembly since 2001 from Brooklyn, Steven H. Cymbrowitz turns 64… President of Middlebury College in Vermont since 2015, Laurie L. Patton turns 56… Partner at the Santa Monica-based law firm of Murphy Rosen, Edward A. Klein turns 54… Senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, professor of political science at George Washington University and associate editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, Sarah A. Binder turns 53… Founder of White Light Strategies, Lana Talya Volftsun Fern turns 31 (h/ts Playbook)… Senior Director at Albright Stonebridge Group, he was previously a speechwriter for Secretaries of Defense Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, Jacob Freedman

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New book by former Bush 43 aide and Jewish liaison Tevi Troy

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dallas News reports on a new book on 200 years of popular culture in the White House written by former George W. Bush aide Tevi Troy. To be blunt,…

Nachama Soloveichik to launch new super PAC

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Politico reports that Nachama Soloveichik, a former senior aide to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and a onetime spokesperson for the conservative Club for Growth, will be launching a…

Atlantic Magazine: Casino Jack’s New Game

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mariah Blake of The Atlantic Magazine profiles Jack Abramoff. Jack Abramoff, the infamous lobbyist, was slumped over a table in a dimly lit Clear Channel studio on a recent Sunday…

An Israeli lollipop that helps you lose weight

Thursday, March 21, 2013

“Willy Wonka may have the secret recipe for the Everlasting Gobstopper, but it’s an Israeli candy company that is taking the confectionery and health food world by storm…

NYTIMES: Jailed Unjustly in the Death of a Rabbi, Man Nears Freedom

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On today’s front page, the NYTimes reports that a Brooklyn prosecutor plans to seek freedom of man convicted in 1990 killing of Rabbi.

Orthodox Jewish groups endorse Christie in Lakewood

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 reports Governor Christie visited Lakewood Tuesday to accept the endorsement of the town’s elected leadership and the Orthodox Jewish community, after he held a town hall-style meeting at…