Daily Kickoff: Trump’s Shadow National Security Council | Obama’s sanctions chief Adam Szubin asked by Trump to stay | Hasidim at Sundance

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HEARD LAST NIGHT: “At Dinner Honoring Mike Pence, Donald Trump Touches Many Bases” by Maggie Haberman: “President-elect Donald J. Trump, in a free-flowing speech Wednesday night at a dinner honoring his running mate, Mike Pence, jabbed at his new Republican allies and his critics alike, questioned the ethics of “super PACs” and talked about creating a “merit-based” immigration system… Mr. Trump also took aim at Mr. Cruz (a “smart guy, he was a little late to the plate, but that’s O.K.”); Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a rival in the primary (“he can be nasty, that Scott Walker”); members of the “Never Trump” movement (“they’re really right now on a respirator; they’re pretty much gone”); and the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson (he mocked him for being late to donate promised money to outside groups supporting his candidacy).” [NYTimes]

Mike Allen’s version of Trump’s remarks: “We could not have done it without the people in this room. The people in this room are very special. Everyone is special. [Applause.] They’re friends of mine. Sheldon Adelson is here someplace. … I think he only gave $125 million. [Applause.]” [Axios]

“Trump: ‘I did not forget’ Jerusalem embassy move pledge” by Alexander Fulbright:“Asked by the Israel Hayom on Tuesday night at the Chairman’s Global Dinner in Washington, DC — an exclusive black tie event for diplomats and members of the incoming administration — if “you have not forgotten your promise concerning the embassy in Jerusalem,” Trump responded that “of course I remember what I said about Jerusalem.” “You know that I am not a person who breaks promises,” the president-elect added in comments published in Hebrew by the paper on Thursday morning.” [ToI]

FIRST LOOK: “Inside Trump’s shadow national security council” by Josh Rogin: “As the Trump administration gets underway, its most influential foreign policy figures are not its Cabinet nominees, or even the National Security Council, but a handful of senior people close to the president-elect… When Trump’s Cabinet members are confirmed and their staffs are in place, heads of national security departments and agencies could be in a position to exert great influence. But for now, incoming chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus comprise an informal council that sits atop the Trump transition team’s executive committee and has the final say on national security personnel appointments. No major decision can go forward without their sign-off.” [WashPost]

SZUBIN STAYING ON: Edward-Isaac Dovere tweets “Adam Szubin, whom Rs in Congress wouldn’t confirm for his internat’l terrorism $ at Treasury, has been asked to stay in interim job by Trump” [Twitter]

Julie Davis: “Fascinating that Trump would ask Obama’s sanctions chief to stay in place. Has played key role in Iran deal, Russia, ISIS, Cuba policies” [NYTimes]

Of Note: “Mr. Szubin (the initial S in his name is irrationally silent, so when it’s said aloud it begins with the Z) is Teaneck born and bred; he went to Yavneh Academy until high school, when he commuted across the river to Ramaz, the modern Orthodox day school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.” [JewishStandard]

“Chicago fiscal wizard joins Trump team” by Michael Sneed: “GCM Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks, a top personal adviser to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, informed his firm that Grosvenor managing director Jeremy Katz is leaving to serve as deputy director of the National Economic Council — as well as a deputy assistant to the president. Katz, 39, a Chicago native, will report to NEC Director Gary Cohn.” [SunTimes]

ON THE HILL: “Haley: Trump Admin. Committed to Longstanding U.S. Policy on Settlements” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I do understand how they think that [settlements] could hinder peace,” [Nikki] Haley said during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when pressed on the issue by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). “But my question is are you committed to the bipartisan policy on settlements?” Udall pressed the South Carolina Governor. “Yes, I am,” Haley responded. Asked by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) if the incoming Trump Administration is also committed to the longstanding policy on the issue of settlements, Haley said, “I have not heard anything different.” Haley also stated she supports the two-state solution. But she was quick to point out that the recent UN resolution (UNSC 2334), which assailed Israel for its continued settlement construction, was “very harmful to achieving a two-state solution.”” [JewishInsider]

“UN nominee supports Trump on moving US embassy to Jerusalem” by AFP:“Haley… was asked at her senate confirmation hearing if she supported Trump’s campaign trail promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. “Absolutely,” Haley said. “And not only is that what Israel wants, but that is what this Congress has said that is what they support.”” [Yahoo]

Richard Haas:“The bigger argument is that moving the embassy risks making Jerusalem an even greater magnet for protest, violence and terrorism. The move could take a conflict that has lost more than a little salience in the Muslim world and transform it into a crisis, increasing the threat to American embassies and personnel world-wide.” [WSJ]

“Israel Wants Trump Understandings on Settlements, Minister Says” by David Wainer and Michael Arnold: “We will propose a law to extend Israeli law in Maaleh Adumim,” a large Jewish settlement outside Jerusalem, “but we do want to have a dialogue to reach understandings with the U.S. government,” [Justice Minister Ayelet] Shaked said… “It’s absurd that during Obama’s tenure we weren’t allowed to build in the settlement blocs,” Shaked said. “It’s absurd that these areas have had a shortage of housing.” [Bloomberg

IRAN DEAL: “Outgoing U.S. envoy says U.N. needs to ‘push’ Iran on arms embargo” by Michelle Nichols: “The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said on Wednesday amid U.N. concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah.” [Reuters]

PATH TO PENN AVE — In the run up to the inauguration we’re featuring the thoughts of several JI readers on what to expect from the incoming Trump Admin. Email us your thoughts at Editor@JewishInsider.com.

Andrew Weinstein, a Florida-based attorney and prominent Democratic donor: “My expectations of Donald Trump are extraordinarily low. I believe he and his team are historically unprepared to assume the awesome responsibilities of the presidency. As someone who loves his country I am rooting for Trump to succeed, but given his post-election conduct and comments I don’t think it’s likely.”

Hank Sheinkopf, political strategist: “President Trump will do exactly what President-elect Trump said he would do.”

Erin Schrode, former Democratic candidate for California’s 2nd Congressional District: “I’m an eternal optimist, yet in this case, I fear the worst – especially for the most vulnerable among us. In 100 short days, the US government could, or lay the groundwork to, reverse decades of veritable real world progress. I see Trump already beginning to dismantle the very infrastructure that allows us — the activists, the citizens, the stakeholders — to push for and bring about change. I see Congress repealing without replacement, following that similar and perilous trend.”

Q: What will the relationship between the Trump administration and the Jewish community look like?

Weinstein: “Trump’s relationship with Jewish organizations will be similar to his relationship with other entities and individuals. Those that praise him will have a seat at the table and those that don’t will be left out in the cold. That’s unfortunate because listening to all of the voices would give him a better understanding of our diverse community.”

Sheinkopf: “Liberal Jewish organizations will continue to lose influence. Israel advocates will be quiet initially.”

Q: Will Israel become more partisan in DC?

Weinstein: “The United States and Israel share an unbreakable bond that should never be subjected to partisan politics. Our common values and interests demand nothing less. Sadly, some Republicans try to equate blind devotion to Netanyahu with support for Israel. That’s just wrong. The reality is many of the most pro-Israel members of congress are Democrats and that’s not going to change.”

Sheinkopf: “Israel will continue to be defined as a partisan issue. More conservative, more religious, the more support. Jewish activists, however, will have to increase their activities and not take younger evangelicals for granted.”

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

WEF: “Davos Elite Fret About Inequality Over Vintage Wine and Canapés” by Peter Goodman: “Same as every other year, Davos is again plastered with the slogan of the World Economic Forum: “Committed to Improving the State of the World.” But whatever improvements are supposed to be made, one can safely assume they will not conflict with those in attendance continuing to enjoy the state of the world as it is now, with canapés and aged Bordeaux and private jets at the ready. Which means that the global populism insurrection is unlikely to lose momentum anytime soon.” [DealBook]

“Why the elites always rule” by Hugo Drochon: “Pareto’s thesis was that elites always rule. There is always the domination of the minority over the majority. And history is just the story of one elite replacing another. This is what he called the “circulation of elites”. When the current elite starts to decline, it is challenged and makes way for another. Pareto thought that this came about in two ways: either through assimilation, the new elite merging with elements of the old, or through revolution, the new elite wiping out the old. He used the metaphor of a river to make his point. Most of the time, the river flows continuously, smoothly incorporating its tributaries, but sometimes, after a storm, it floods and breaks its banks.” [NewStatesman]

TRANSITION: “The Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP) has selected its spring 2017 class of Visiting and Resident Fellows… Sarah Hurwitz, Special Assistant to the President, Senior Strategic and Policy Advisor to the Council On Women and Girls, and Senior Presidential Speechwriter. Served as the chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama (2010-17)… Jon Finer, Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning, and previously Deputy Chief of Staff, at the Department of State (2013-2017); Senior Advisor to the Deputy National Security Advisor; Middle East Advisor and Speechwriter for Vice President Joseph R. Biden (2011-2013); White House Fellow (2009-2010)” [HarvardIOP]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: AIPAC hosted its annual Northeast Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York City. With around 2,500 in attendance, the gathering provided a taste of the group’s larger annual Policy Conference, complete with a Roll Call of notable attendees. The evening’s program, held in the David Geffen hall, included discussions with MK Tzipi Livni and Dr. Michael Oren along with remarks from Israeli Consul Gen. Dani Dayan, new AIPAC national board member Yana Lukeman, and student activist Yannick Tona.

SPOTTED: Hundreds of JI readers were ‘spotted’ but, to avoid the risk of omitting anyone and to save some space, we’re limiting the list to elected officials and diplomats Members of Congress Yvette Clark, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, Elizabeth Esty, John Faso, Josh Gottheimer, Hakeen Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Tom Suozzi, and Lee Zeldin. New York State’s Attorney Gen. Eric Schneiderman, Assemb. Michael Blake, Walter Mosley, and David Weprin. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Members Andrew Cohen, Daniel Garodnick, David Greenfield, Barry Grodenchik, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Jumaane Williams. Canadian Amb. to the UN Marc-Andre Blanchard, Czech Republic’s Amb. to the UN Marie Chatardova, Estonia’s UN Amb. Sven Jurgenson, Lithuania’s Consul Gen. Julius Pranevicius, Romania’s UN Amb. Ion Jinga, Israeli officials David Roet and Amir Sagie.

TALK OF OUR NATION: “How did A Sundance filmmaker shoot a scripted movie in the insulated world of New York’s Hasidim?” by Steven Zeitchik: “The secular filmmaker Joshua Weinstein stood on a helter-skelter corner in this ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood next to shops selling conservative fashions and Internet-disabled smartphones, and pondered his recent guerrilla shoot. The strangest casting moment, let me think about that,” the director said, tilting back his head. “It might be all the times I sat through an hour of evening prayers because I happened to be talking to a potential actor and they needed a 10th man for a minyan [a prayer quorum]… Weinstein experienced a series of colorful moments to craft the low-key authenticity of “Menashe,” his heartfelt gem of a scripted drama that will premiere Monday at the Sundance Film Festival in the upstart Next section.” [LATimes]

“Jewish Centers Across U.S. Face New Wave of Bomb Threats” by Mitch Smith and Alan Blinder:On Wednesday, for the second time this month, someone called the Jewish community center outside Wilmington, Del., and said a bomb was on the property. For the second time this month, children were evacuated from schools, gym patrons had their workouts interrupted and police dogs searched the campus. And for the second time this month, it turned out to be part of a frightening nationwide hoax targeting Jewish facilities.” [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Once partners, bagel-making brothers are now competitors” by Pat Wechsler: “The dream of becoming a bagel mogul began for Matt Pomerantz when he and his brother, Adam, were working in finance after college. Both were living in Greenwich Village, and both hated that on weekends they couldn’t find a decent bagel nearby… In 1995, the brothers converted a pottery shop on Sixth Avenue, between West 12th and 13th streets, into a bagel bakery. They named the store Murray’s Bagels. Somewhere along the line, though, the brothers stopped working together. The reason is a family secret as closely held as their bagel recipe.” [Crains]

DESSERT: “The Non-Jewish Family That Serves ‘Kosher’ Quesadillas to Mexico City’s Jews” by Alan Grabinsky: “Every day, at around 5:30 in the evening, a white van loaded with kitchen utensils, cooking ingredients, chairs, tables, and a tent departs on an hour-and-a-half ride across Mexico City towards Bosques de la Reforma, a wealthy enclave on the outskirts of the megalopolis… They do this every weekday, except on Fridays, when it makes no financial sense: 90 percent of La Muertita’s customers are Jewish. And, like their clientele, the non-Jewish staff of the “kosher” quesadilla stand keep Shabbat.” [TabletMag]

“Lox Without the Line (or Check) at Russ & Daughters New Sabbath Brunch” by Liza Schoenfein: “Leave it to the 21st-century scions of a venerated 103-year-old smoked fish emporium to figure out how to serve a restaurant brunch on Saturday mornings to Sabbath-observant Jews — and anyone who can’t stand late-morning lines. Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper, the 4th-generation owners of Russ & Daughters, have done just that. At Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum, they are now offering a reservation-only, pay-in-advance, kosher-compliant, fixed-menu feast.” [Forward]

BIRTHDAYS: Retired after 40 years of service as a news reporter and White House correspondent for ABC News, Ann Compton turns 70… Political journalist who has covered the White House, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the State Department, now Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News, Jonathan Karl turns 49… United Arab Emirates’ ambasssador to the USA, Yousef Al Otaiba turns 43 (h/t Playbook)… Actor since early childhood, has already appeared in over 20 films, played d’Artagnan in 2011’s “The Three Musketeers,” Logan Lerman turns 25… Television journalist, entrepreneur, social activist, YouTube creator and motivational speaker, Jessica Abo… VP of “Poverty to Prosperity” program at the Center for American Progress, previously a senior policy associate at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Melissa Boteach… DC-based Director of Political Outreach at AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy, Julie Fishman Rayman… Young Leadership board member at the Jewish Federation of Chicago, Deputy Director of Strategic Partnership and Global Affairs in the office of Chicago’s Mayor, after four years at AIPAC, Emily Berman Pevnick (h/t Playbook)… Alex Bronzo… Isaac Wolf

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Daily Kickoff: Haley to tap Jon Lerner as Deputy UN Amb | Ben Rhodes to join Holocaust Memorial Council | The Jewish awards hanging on Trump’s wall

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TURTLE BAY TRANSITION: “Jon Lerner to Serve as Deputy UN Ambassador” by Aaron Magid and Jacob Kornbluh: “Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for UN Ambassador, has selected Jon Lerner to be her deputy, according to FITSNews, a South Carolina political website. The selection was first reported by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, citing several sources… “Jon is one of the most brilliant minds in politics, having guided candidates such as Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and Marco Rubio,” Nick Muzin, a former senior advisor to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Jewish Insider. “He is also a tremendous mentsch, and a Kiddush Hashem. I can’t wait to see what he and Nikki will do at the UN.” … When asked about the appointment, Sean Spicer, the incoming White House Press Secretary, emailed Jewish Insider, “There have been no announcements.”” [JewishInsider

HAPPENING TODAY: Nikki Haley to testify at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 10:00AM EST. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott will introduce the South Carolina Governor. [Livestream]

PREVIEW: “U.N. nominee Haley to blast world body over Israel: testimony” by Patricia Zengerle: “Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel,” Haley will say in the opening remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ““I will not go to New York and abstain when the U.N. seeks to create an international environment that encourages boycotts of Israel. I will never abstain when the United Nations takes any action that comes in direct conflict with the interests and values of the United States… Any honest assessment also finds an institution that is often at odds with American national interests and American taxpayers.” [Reuters; WashPost

“S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley prepares for confirmation hearing in tough political terrain” by Emma Dumain: “Senators’ attitudes on Israel will, without question, come up during her confirmation hearing, and it could put her in a difficult spot. She is expected to be a strong proponent of Israel but it could be hard for her to reconcile her disapproval of the U.N. resolution with support for efforts to withhold funding for the new office she’s about to run.” [PostandCourier

TRANSITION TOWER: “Reed Cordish to join Trump administration” by John Fritze: “”I am humbled by the role and excited to work with the incredible people within the West Wing and the Agencies to effect change,” Cordish said in a statement released by the transition… The transition said Cordish will be responsible for “presidential initiatives that require multi-agency collaboration.” Cordish, whose appointment was first reported by Jewish Insider, will also focus on technological innovation and modernization.” [BaltimoreSun] • Our January 4th scoop [JewishInsider]

“Google’s Schmidt met with Kushner in Republican outreach” by Tony Romm: “Spotted on an unannounced visit to Trump Tower on Thursday, [Eric] Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, lunched privately with Jared Kushner… Exiting Trump Tower on Thursday, Schmidt — whose visit was not announced by the president-elect’s aides — ignored shouted questions from reporters.” [Politico

“A cliff-face of self promotion: what’s on Donald Trump’s other wall?” by Tim Dowling: “The Sholom Award: One of two that appear on the wall from Jewish organisations. The other, the Tree of Life award, was given to Trump by the Jewish National Fund in 1983, “in appreciation of his outstanding dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship.” They had little idea Trump would one day try to put his son-in-law in charge of Middle East peace negotiations. Other recipients of the Tree of Life include Dr Ben Carson and Al Gore.” [TheGuardian]

“Republicans Look to Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, to Bring Stability” by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “Ultimately, it’s a chief’s job to create an orderly process that gives a president the full range of opposing viewpoints so that he can make a decision based on the best information available,” said Joshua B. Bolten, who served as George W. Bush’s chief of staff. But even Mr. Bolten conceded that nothing mattered if Mr. Priebus could not “develop a good working relationship” with his president.” [NYTimes

PATH TO PENN AVE — “Redskins owner attends exclusive Trump inaugural celebration” by Jordan Fabian: “Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was among the guests at an exclusive reception in the nation’s capital Tuesday night to celebrate President-elect Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration… Other notable people in attendance include casino magnate Steve Wynn, actor Jon Voight, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer.” [TheHill] • Spotted: Trump with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the event last night” [Pic

In the run up to the inauguration we’re featuring the thoughts of various JI readers on what to expect from the incoming Trump Admin. Email us your thoughts at Editor@JewishInsider.com.

Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Ambassador to the US: “President-Elect Trump should abide by his word and move the US embassy to Jerusalem. He should strengthen the natural alliance between Israel and the US through strengthening Israel’s deterrence capability. He should help us to fight BDS, especially by blocking biased UN resolutions.”

Tevi Troy, former deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Jewish Liaison for President George W. Bush: “President-elect Trump has defied expectations so often that I am loathe to make predictions. I have been generally pleased with his cabinet and staff picks, who have been both qualified and conservative. Based on what I’ve seen in the transition, I expect to see an activist first 200 — not 100 — days, with lots of both regulatory and legislative activity.”

Susan Turnbull, former Chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and former Vice Chair of the DNC: “I have no expectations. He is consistently inconsistent and seems to have little understanding of the consequences of his actions.”

Q: What will the relationship between the Trump administration and the Jewish community look like?

Troy: “There is a healthy number in the cabinet and the White House staff, with more likely to come. And Trump seems certain to have much friendlier relations with Israel than the outgoing Obama administration. I fear that will not improve relations with the Democratic-leaning American Jewish community writ large, but it should lead to strong relations with the increasingly Republican Orthodox Jewish world.”

Turnbull: “The new President has shown no evidence that he understands that the Jewish community is not a monolith and all Jews do not have the same views on Israel and actually care about other critical issues both domestic and foreign. It is going to be one rocky road. Our organized community leaders are trying to get their footing and balance potential impacts with actual organizational positions so as not to alienate the 70+% of the community that did not support Trump. I wish them luck.”

Q: Will Israel become more partisan in DC?

Ayalon: “I hope not. US national security interests and morals should not be partisan. Hence, support for Israel should remain bipartisan, as it has always been. Unfortunately, lately we have seen some far-left elements of the Democratic party that are trying to change this, such as Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison.”

Q: What will happen with the Iran deal?

Ayalon: “Israel and the US must tighten their coordination and make sure that the Iranians abide by the current agreement to every letter. Any breach, however slight, must bear severe consequences. The other members of the P5+1 should follow suit, with renewed American leadership.”

Turnbull: “Since diplomacy is more complicated than saying you’re making a ‘deal,’ and because there will be significant learning curves and changed relationships, it is impossible to project what actually will occur and what will be attempted.”

“Fear of ‘Ill Will’ Toward Jews Helped Convince Rabbi to Pray at Trump Inauguration” by Amir Tibon: “Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of Los Angeles’ Simon Wiesenthal Center, told Haaretz that he accepted the invitation to say a prayer at Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday in part because refusing it would cause “ill will” toward Jews among the American public… As for the growing number of politicians who will boycott the event, Hier says he sees their protest as a mistake. “I know John Lewis and respect him. He is truly an iconic figure… But I think it’s wrong for him and others to boycott the inauguration. This kind of behavior undermines democracy, and it will bring about a dangerous tit-for-tat, once we go down that pathway.” Hier says that when it comes to Trump, there’s at least one thing he feels optimistic about: “I’m a big fan of his support for Israel. I hope he brings a change on this front.”” [Haaretz

“As he heads back to Boston, John Kerry sees North Korea and terrorism as the new administration’s main challenges” by Carol Morello: “Kerry said the U.N. resolution, and a speech he made defending it, was prompted by his conviction that the time for a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict is running out, and Israel has ignored U.S. entreaties to rein in settlement growth. “But if our good friends are just not ready to listen to us when we say we’re having a harder and harder time defending you, it’s getting harder and harder in the international community to defend it, I think that it was really important for us to support our own policy,” he said. “But I will stand up forever for the truth of the words I spoke about what is happening to Israel and about the choice Israel has.”” [WashPost] • Read the full transcript of Kerry’s conversation with Tom Friedman in Davos [State

“An Israel-Palestine peace conference—without Israel or Palestine” by The Economist: “Reactions to it were apathetic. Israelis are more preoccupied with a criminal investigation of Mr Netanyahu… Talk of an early election is in the air. Among Palestinians, politics is as stagnant as ever… The real target audience of the organisers was in midtown Manhattan, not on the Mediterranean… Diplomats promised to meet again in Paris later this year. It may be difficult to justify the trip.” [Economist

“Israel as the Lights Go Out” by Roger Cohen: “Speaking of Kushner, I was told he refused to meet with a senior French diplomat after a demand from Trump Tower that the Paris conference be canceled was ignored. Get used to my-way-or-the-highway diplomacy with team Trump.” [NYTimes]

“U.S. Envoy’s Farewell: Relations With Israel ‘Stronger, Closer’ Under Obama” by Judy Maltz: “When history is written about this period in the future, the historians and their readers will understand that relations between the two countries actually got stronger and closer,” [Ambassador Dan] Shapiro said at a farewell reception hosted in his honor by the Knesset caucus on U.S.-Israel relations. “It is true that there were controversies, and it is true that there were arguments, but it is also true that that is perfectly natural when it comes to friends,” he added, delivering his address in fluent Hebrew… National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, who represented the government at the gathering, called Shapiro “the best U.S. ambassador ever in Israel.” [Haaretz]

“Obama, Trump and the dangers of a ‘Jewish’ president” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “Where the Obama seder stressed a universal message – guests greeted Elijah by reciting the Emancipation Declaration – Trump’s seder will likely express a more traditionalist sensibility… American Jews need to resist the temptation of totally identifying their preferred president with Jewish interests and values. Revering any American president as an honorary member of the tribe risks debasing Jewish identity and communal discourse.” [ToI] • Shmuel Rosner: “Obama Jews, Trump Jews – is the division inevitable?” [JewishJournal]

DEEP DIVE: “Obama won the Jewish vote without winning over the pro-Israel mainstream” by Ron Kampeas: “Just as quickly as Obama could turn a Jewish room on, he could turn it off, chilling the air with an insensitive aside… It was there in 2008, when he met with Jewish leaders in Cleveland – a community known to be more conservative than coastal Jewish communities… The meeting went well, and then, during a Q&A, Obama said, “This is where I get to be honest and I hope I’m not out of school here. I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Some folks in the room said later that their jaws dropped… The Likud was not then in power, but it was a major party in Israel, and as president he would likely have to deal with it. Indeed, his eight years in office almost wholly coincided with Likud-led governments.” [JTA

INBOX — responding to the Yesha Council’s Eli Pieprz who, in listing settler leaders attending Trump’s inauguration in yesterday’s Daily Kickoff, referred to Maale Adumim Mayor Beni Kashriel as a ‘leading candidate to replace Natan Sharansky at the Jewish Agency in June,’ a JI reader with knowledge of the deliberations surrounding the election of the next Jewish Agency Chairman emailed “Kashriel is a leading candidate to replace Sharansky like I’m a leading candidate to replace the Pope.”

TOP OF THE HILL: “Senate Muslim Brotherhood Bill Provokes Controversy” by Aaron Magid: “Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act of 2017 last week in a bid to “fight against radical Islamic terrorism.” The bill notes that “it is the sense of Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood meets the criteria for designation as a foreign terrorist designation.” In addition to the bill’s affect abroad, Schanzer also noted that the Cruz measure may have an impact in America. “My sense is domestic charities are likely to come under scrutiny again,” he stated. “Some of these US-based charities could have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Schanzer added.” [JewishInsider] • Senate Bill Introduced to Protect States Countering BDS [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL: “DeVos pledges not to undo public education, pushes choice” by Maria Danilova and Jennifer C. Kerr: “Asked by Sanders about her views on tuition-free public colleges and universities, DeVos said: “I think we also have to consider the fact that there is nothing in life that is truly free. Somebody is going to pay for it.” She skirted Sanders’ question on whether she would support making child care free or much more affordable for low-income families as is the case in many countries around the world, saying only that she feels strongly about “parents having an opportunity for child care for their children.” “But it’s not a question of opportunity,” Sanders fired back, raising his voice. “It’s a question of being able to afford it!”” [AP

“Joe Lieberman disses the entire education establishment at Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing” by Valerie Strauss: “Lieberman — a member of the board of the organization that DeVos founded, the American Federation of Children — talked about DeVos in glowing terms… “She’s a mother and a grandmother. She cares about children more generally, and she has been involved in education, like so many parents and local citizen school board members across America for almost 30 years,” he said.” [WashPost]

Chaskel Bennett‏: “At confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Agudath Israel of America represented by A.D. Motzen sitting behind the nominee. We wish her well.” [Twitter] • As DeVos confirmation begins, Orthodox enthusiastic, Reform concerned [JTA]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Netanyahu Offered Israeli Daily Yedioth Ahronoth to Murdoch Family” by Tali Heruti-Sover: “Lachlan Murdoch, the son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, who invited him to look into the matter. It’s not clear whether Murdoch met Yedioth publisher Arnon Mozes during that meeting.” [Haaretz

** 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “Bank Leumi CEO Plans More Cost Cuts After Eliminating 2,100 Jobs” by Alaa Shahine, Stephen Morris: “Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., Israel’s second-biggest lender, will continue to cut jobs and take steps to boost efficiency amid plans to reinstate its dividend. “Banks are going to be smaller,” Chief Executive Officer Rakafet Russak-Aminoach said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland. “We’re going to have very permanent streamlining processes. Unlike a decade ago, the model of banking is changing every day. If we don’t transform ourselves, we’ll be dead.” [Bloomberg]

“Elliot announces stake in Jersey-based power company” by Carleton English: “Elliott Management has a new activist target and for the first time ever it is working with a partner. The Paul Singer-led hedge fund on Tuesday announced a 6.9 percent stake in NRG Energy, a diversified power company with headquarters in Princeton, NJ.” [NYPost

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Country Club Member Who Left After Obama/Israel Controversy Says He’d Do Same Over Pence or Ivanka Trump” by Sarah Begley: “I think President Obama has been the best president for the Jewish people and for Israel. But I respect opposing viewpoints, and like I’ve been saying from the beginning, that’s all irrelevant to whether he should be admitted or not,” [said Jeffrey Slavin, the mayor of Somerset, Maryland]. “People are saying, ‘Would you feel the same way if it was Vice President Pence, or Ivanka Trump?’ And yes, I would feel exactly the same way if it was an attempt to blackball them.” [TIME

TOP TALKER: “Obama names Iran deal salesman to Holocaust Memorial Council” by Kyle Balluck: “[Ben] Rhodes, whose mother is Jewish, played a key role in shaping Obama’s foreign policy during his eight years in the White House. He also came under fire from some U.S. Jewish groups for his role in selling the Iran nuclear deal and the administration’s decision to allow a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity to pass the U.N. Security Council.” [TheHill]  • Exit interview: “What Worries Ben Rhodes About Trump” [PoliticoMag]

“Obama grants pardon to NYC nightlife impresario Ian Schrager” by Daniel Halper: “Among the 273 people on the latest White House pardon and commutation lists are Ian Schrager, who revolutionized New York City nightlife in the ’70s and ’80s disco era with Studio 54. It was that club that led to Schrager’s legal troubles. He served 20 months in prison and five years of probation, and paid a $20,000 fine for tax evasion.” [NYPost

“Steve Israel Finds New Platform” by Aileen Chuang: “Former New York Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, an eight-term veteran of the House, is joining CNN as a contributor to its political coverage… CNN anchor and media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted Tuesday morning that the former chairman of the House Democratic Policy… will join the network.” [RollCall

MEDIA WATCH: “Politico Names National Editor” by Chris O’Shea: “Politico has named Allison Hoffman a national editor responsible for overseeing coverage of the Trump admin. Hoffman previously worked for Businessweek, Tablet, the AP and LA Times. “Allison impressed us with her deep understanding of the political landscape, her big-picture approach to storytelling, her enterprise sensibility, and her creative ideas for breaking through the clutter and making sure we’re always telling readers something they didn’t already know,” wrote Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown, Paul Volpe and Karey Van Hall, in a memo.” [AdWeek

BIRTHDAYS: US Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district since 1996, following 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, Elijah Cummings turns 66… Microbiologist and professor of biology at Wichita State University since 2006, Mark A. Schneegurt, Ph.D. turns 55… Governor of Maryland (2007-2015) having previously served as the Mayor of Baltimore (1999-2007), Martin O’Malley turns 54… Actor, comedian, producer, composer, musician, singer and screenwriter, wrote and acted in both 2008’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and 2011’s “The Muppets,” Jason Jordan Segel turns 37… Baltimore-born basketball player, dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the “Jewish Jordan,” Tamir Goodman turns 35… Israeli-born, moved to Los Angeles as a child, comedian, actor, writer and television host, best known for his web series “Jake and Amir” (with Jake Hurwitz), Amir Blumenfeld turns 34… SVP of PR firm GMMB, with a focus on education policy, previously worked for seven years at the U.S. Department of Education including as press secretary, Samara Yudof Jones turns 39… Publisher of a weekly community newspaper founded in 2016, “The Boston Guardian,” after a 20 year stint as the publisher of the now defunct “Boston Courant,” David Jacobs… Director of Communications at NYC’s Department of Education, formerly at NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services and the NY Daily News, JoAnne Wasserman… Northeast Political Coordinator for AIPAC’s Grassroots Mobilization Network, Tali Alter… Linda Rubin

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Daily Kickoff: Meet Trump’s determined inaugural spokesman Boris Epshteyn | Ofer Brothers’ Lottery | Wary of Adelson, Jon Ralston launches news site

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HEARD AT DAVOS — “His expertise seems to be that he once went to Jewish summer camp,” Tom Friedman telling John Kerry about Jared Kushner becoming Trump’s Middle East peace envoy. [Twitter]

PATH TO PENN AVE — With Donald Trump’s inauguration only days away, several prominent JI readers shared with us their expectations for the upcoming Trump Administration, its relationship with the Jewish community and Israel, along with any advice they would give to the new President and his senior advisor Jared Kushner. Over the next few days, we will feature additional responses here. Email us your thoughts at Editor@JewishInsider.com

Q: What are your expectations of a President Trump? 

Dr. Dore Gold, former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry: “I hope President Trump will restore America’ deterrent power making its enemies think twice before they drag the US or its allies into another war.”

NYC Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn): “I expect President Trump will be more pragmatic than candidate Trump.”

Noam Neusner, WH Jewish Liaison for Bush 43: “Washington has never seen anything like a Donald Trump Administration. It’s impossible to predict what he will do, but one thing is for sure – 100 days won’t limit him in any way.”

Q: What will the relationship between the Trump administration and the Jewish community look like?

Greenfield: “The relationship between President Trump and most Jewish groups will likely be contentious with the exception of Orthodox Jewish groups that traditionally skew Republican.”

Neusner: “Cautious and wary, on both sides. But both sides of that relationship have a lot to gain by regular dialogue, and they’d both be smart to focus on where they can work together.”

Q: Will Israel become more partisan in DC?

Greenfield: “There is enough political support in both parties for Israel to remain bi-partisan. A good example of that is the significant number of senior Democratic members of Congress who slammed President Obama for the UN resolution. That’s good. Because it’s not in Israel’s interest for Israel to be a partisan issue.”

Neusner: “It already is – the party’s leadership and major supporters are still meaningfully and overwhelmingly pro-Israel, but a party’s base determines the party’s future – and the Democratic base has turned against Israel. The pro-Israel Democratic activists have their work cut out for them.”

Ann Lewis, former White House Communications Director for the Clinton Administration: “I think this new administration poses a serious challenge for the Jewish community. For decades, we have built bipartisan support for a strong US-Israel relationship, based on shared values and shared strategic interests. Unfortunately, it seems that Trump administration strategy is to make Israel a partisan issue, one that divides the Jewish community and our allies. That’s bad math and bad politics. It would reduce our ability to be effective on everything we care about: US-Israel and domestic issues alike. With so much at stake, I think the American Jewish community will be smart enough to overcome attempts to divide us – but we will have work to do.”

Q: What will happen with the Iran deal? 

Gold: “The agreement with Iran is dangerous for Israel and the West as a whole. It expires after little more than a decade allowing Iran to resume unlimited uranium enrichment with fast centrifuges. The agreement puts no limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program which will give it the ability to strike America, just as its enrichment program is restarted. The West needs an entirely new approach.”

Neusner: “Depends on a lot of things I don’t know – what does the intel say, what promises were made by the Obama administration have been broken by the Iranians, how angry are Republicans about being lied to and steamrolled by the Obama administration, and the appetite of Trump’s security team for a big effort to rebuild the international coalition blocking Iran from access to global banking, trade and energy markets. That takes a lot of work – they have to be willing to do it to tear up the deal. Also, it may be a major test for Trump and his relationship with Putin.”

PROFILE: “No Stars? No Problem! Meet Donald Trump’s Determined Inaugural Spokesman” by Olivia Nuzzi: “[Boris] Epshteyn’s journey to the center of Trump’s orbit begins, like Trump’s victory might’ve, in Moscow. He was raised there until 1993, when he immigrated to Princeton, New Jersey, with his father, who he said is a scientist, and mother, a real-estate agent. He describes his family as Jewish refugees and doesn’t have much by way of a sense of humor about the coincidence of his Russian heritage and the claims that the country meddled in the U.S. election that made his boss president. “I was 11,” he said, sternly, when asked about any connections he might have to Russia now. He added that rumors, like one that he’s a Russian spy, which have been floated on Democratic message boards, are “offensive.””

“Asked how he reconciles his Jewish faith with the enthusiastic support of some anti-Semites for the incoming president, he denied the premise. “If you look at my Twitter and the things the left has said about me, it’s as bad if not worse,” he said, “and I’ve had family who died in the Holocaust.” He added, “I know that the president-elect is somebody who’s accepting, uniting, kind, obviously he’s got members of his family who are Jewish—his daughter is Jewish, his son-in-law’s Jewish, his grandkids are Jewish, and to me personally, I cannot express the amount of support and positivity that I’ve experienced from the president-elect.”” [DailyBeast]

“Surprisingly, Trump inauguration shapes up to be a relatively low-key affair” by John Wagner and Karen Tumulty: “Trump’s trip down Pennsylvania Avenue is expected to clock in at 90 minutes — making it among the shortest on record. In a word, the 45th president’s inaugural activities will be “workmanlike,” said Boris Epshteyn, communications director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.” [WashPost]

Anshel Pfeffer: “Nearly every settler leader I’ve spoken to in the last few days is boarding a plane in 24 hours to Washington for the #TrumpInauguration” [Twitter

Eli Pieprz, Director of International Affairs for YESHA Council tells us that Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy for YESHA Council and Mayor of Efrat, will lead the delegation, which includes Yossi Dagan, Mayor of Samaria Regional Council, and Beni Kashriel, Mayor of Maale Adumim and leading candidate to replace Natan Sharansky as head of the Jewish Agency in June.

“Scalpers losing money on tickets to Trump inauguration” by Adam Edelman: “Yossi Rosenberg, 36, of upper Manhattan, told the Daily News, he bought a pair of tickets to Friday’sWashington, D.C. event from a woman in Westchester County for $700, thinking he could flip them for at least twice as much. But nobody’s biting. “Nobody wants to buy them,” Rosenberg told The News.” It looks like I’m stuck with them, I might even have to go.”” [NYDN

TOP TALKER: “Jared Kushner has Trump’s trust but lacks experience for Middle East role” by Peter Beaumont: “It has emerged that the only previous encounter Kushner… has had with Israel’s prime minister was when he was a child and Benjamin Netanyahu visited his father. Indeed, Kushner’s only other significant contact with a senior Israeli politician before last year appears to have been with the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat… Kushner’s views on the issue are believed to be reflected in his contribution to a speech Trump delivered to a pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in the spring… Palestinian officials… told the Guardian that they had been told several weeks ago that Kushner was calling “the shots on the issue”, including over the embassy move.” [Guardian

“Likud minister Tzachi Hanegbi: Trump could edge Palestinians toward peace” by Raphael Ahren: “The fact that we have such a major change in the US could make the Palestinians become more realistic and more pragmatic about going back to the negotiating table,” he said… If the Trump administration decides it wants to play a role in fostering Israeli-Palestinian peace, “we will be more than happy,” as long as Washington’s role remains helping the parties “sit in intimate environment to try to put our disputes to an end.” [ToI]

“For Israel, more unknowns than knowns with Trump” by Ben Caspit: “No one can remember the last time that Jews waited for anyone — apart from the Messiah… with the kind of eager anticipation they have of Trump taking office. One Likud member jokingly told Al-Monitor that the people of Israel expect Trump to forgo Air Force One and come riding in on a white donkey, as Jewish tradition has the Messiah arriving. The Israeli right’s expectations in regard to the new president are sky high… When it comes to Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem… Israel’s defense establishment prefers to wait until Trump formulates his positions. “There is no way of knowing which way he will go,” one senior defense official told Al-Monitor.” [Al-Monitor] • Yair Lapid: ‘Donald Trump is a great friend of Israel’ [France24]

John Kerry on Kushner as Mideast peace envoy: “Well, more power to them if they can do that. But you have to have a theory of how you’re going to do that and what compromises are going to be made to do it… The leaders of the two countries involved – one country and one entity, the Palestinian Authority – have failed to come to the table and reach [an] agreement. You know the old saying – you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink. Now, we did a lot of leading to a lot of water, but people decided they weren’t ready for one reason or another to move.” [State] • Kerry tells Benjamin Netanyahu: ‘You’re affecting the ability to make peace’ [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: “Already, the reaction of some of our closest partners in the region, most notably Jordan that has indicated that it would put great stress on their security – the internal dynamics in Jordan and throughout the region – because this is a very emotional issue and one that many presidents have considered when they were running for president, but not a single American President has chosen to date to make that decision because it’s an extremely volatile choice and one that would put stability inside of Israel and the Palestinian territories, and potentially even the security of American personnel in the region at risk.”

EXIT INTERVIEW — “Joe Biden: ‘I Wish to Hell I’d Just Kept Saying the Exact Same Thing’” by Jonathan Alter: “Biden’s national security adviser, Colin Kahl, who was with the vice president on the plane, interjected to outline the contradictions in Trump’s emerging foreign policy. If the United States is going to be more cooperative with Russia and Bashar al-Assad’s Syria but more confrontational with Iran, Kahl asked, how will Trump handle them joining together to fight ISIS? “It’s like a Rubik’s cube trying to figure this guy out,” Biden sighed. “We have no freakin’ idea what he’s gonna do.” [NYTimes]

“CIA Director John Brennan Rejects Donald Trump’s Criticism” by Shane Harris: “It’s when there are allegations made about leaking or about dishonesty or a lack of integrity, that’s where I think the line is crossed,” he continued, taking particular umbrage at Mr. Trump’s comments last week that leaking intelligence on political figures was something that Nazi Germany “would have done and did do.” “Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis,” Mr. Brennan said. “Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm’s way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant, and I will forever stand up for the integrity and patriotism of my officers who have done much over the years to sacrifice for their fellow citizens.” [WSJ

“Ex-CIA chief rejects report Israel was warned of sharing intel with Trump” by Yonah Jeremy Bob: “Former CIA and NSA director Gen. (ret.) Michael Hayden rejected a recent report that Obama administration intelligence officials told Israeli officials to be wary of sharing intelligence with the incoming Trump administration… “I don’t share those concerns. I saw the reporting. I don’t think, even looking at the dynamics we are talking about, I don’t think the Americans would do it. It is still America’s CIA.” Regarding US-Israeli intelligence cooperation in general, he said that Trump’s pick for CIA director, Mike Pompeo, should see to it that one of his first visits is to Israel.” [JPost

TRANSITION TOWER: “‘Never Trump’ national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted” by David Nakamura: “The conflict was exacerbated shortly after the election when Eliot Cohen… aired new criticism of the Trump transition… and he warned young policy experts against working for the administration. Cohen has had no further communications with the transition team. “Believe me — my phone is not ringing,” he said in a recent interview. Other letter signers said Cohen had misinterpreted emails from the transition official and overreacted, and some of them expressed a sense of regret.” [WashPost

“How a liberal Santa Monica high school produced a top Trump advisor and speechwriter” by Lisa Mascaro: “Miller grew up in the tony north-of-Montana neighborhood, the middle child, in a Jewish family of longtime Franklin Roosevelt Democrats. He played tennis and golf. But their status abruptly shifted when his parents’ real estate company faltered and the family moved to a rental on the south side of town. A subscription to Guns and Ammo magazine introduced him to the writings of National Rifle Assn. leader Wayne LaPierre, sparking Miller’s interest in politics. The conservative ideas were like nothing he had ever heard.” [LATimes]

“Mnuchin’s stiff prep” by Mike Allen: “Transition officials tell us they are worried about Steven Mnuchin’s readiness for his Thursday confirmation hearing to run Treasury. In early prep sessions, he came off as uneven and stiff, so extra people were brought in to help get him ready. (One spy at the transition office told me that all the suits surrounding a conference table during one of Mnuchin’s prep sessions made it look like a Fortune 500 board meeting.) And some insiders worry about how he’d react to demonstrators. Democrats hope to derail at least one pick, and Mnuchin still tops the list.” [Axios]

“Donald Trump Asks Richard LeFrak, Steven Roth to Monitor Infrastructure Plan’s Costs” by Peter Grant and Ted Mann: “Mr. Roth is chairman and chief executive of Vornado Realty Trust, a large real-estate investment trust that owns high profile office and retail property in New York, Washington, D.C. and other cities. Vornado controls two of Mr. Trump’s most valuable assets: 30% stakes in office buildings at 1290 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and 555 California Street in San Francisco. Mr. Trump’s annual pretax income from the two assets comes to roughly $22.7 million, according to a financial services firm’s analysis last year of Vornado filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.” [WSJ]

ON THE HILL: “McCain leans toward voting for Tillerson” by Cyra Master: “Some of my concerns have been satisfied, [but] I haven’t made up my mind completely,” McCain said… When pressed Monday evening on whether he’ll support Tillerson going forward, McCain said, “Barely, yes.” [TheHill

“Marco Rubio still mulling vote on Tillerson confirmation” by Patricia Mazzei: “We’re going to go through the transcripts of the hearing, which I’ve begun to do,” Rubio told reporters in Miami. “We need to have a foreign policy that while always acting in the national interest of the United States is always rooted in our values as a nation.” [TampaBay

“What will Feinstein do? California Democrats await senator’s reelection decision to plot their own futures” by Seema Mehta: “News that Feinstein was fitted with a pacemaker last week reignited the parlor game, with California political circles discussing anew what the procedure might mean for the veteran lawmaker as she evaluates her options.” [LATimes]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “New Leaks: Netanyahu and Mozes Discuss How Deeply Adelson’s Daily Must Be Cut” by Haaretz: “According to Channel 2, Netanyahu and Mozes discussed how the number of copies of Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom can be reduced in order to ease the competition with Mozes’ Yedioth Ahronoth… Meanwhile, Channel 10 reported Mondaythat the prime minister’s son Yair Netanyahu will arrive Tuesday evening at the offices of the police’s Lahav 433 fraud investigations unit to give his version of the gifts affair. The younger Netanyahu is expected to be asked about the financing he received from the Australian billionaire James Packer and Packer’s connection with his father.” [Haaretz

“Adelson expected to testify in Netanyahu probe — report” by Raoul Wootliff: “According to a Channel 10 report Monday, investigators are expected to ask Adelson whether he was aware of the alleged quid pro quo deal the prime minister discussed with Yedioth publisher Arnon Mozes. It is unclear if Adelson, who lives in the US, will come to Israel to speak with police or will provide a written or video testimony.” [ToI]  

MEDIA WATCH: “Wary of Sheldon Adelson, Nevada Journalist Starts a News Website” by Timothy Pratt and Sydney Emberjan: “In blog posts and postings on Twitter, Jon Ralston, perhaps the state’s most prominent political reporter and columnist, referred to The Review-Journal as “The Adelson News,” suggesting Mr. Adelson was unduly influencing Nevada’s largest newspaper… On Tuesday, Mr. Ralston will set off on his own with The Nevada Independent, a nonprofit, donation-based news website that he hopes will add more journalistic heft to the coverage of state politics… The site, he said, will focus on state and local politics, and public policy, but it will also delve into areas like business… Mr. Ralston said he did not start The Independent as a response to Mr. Adelson’s acquisition or any other negative perceptions about the state of the news media in Nevada.” [NYTimes]

** 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 **

DAVOS SCENE: “Trump’s Translator Wants The Global Elite To Understand Him” by Miriam Elder: “Anthony Scaramucci was once known as the party boy of Davos, hosting a shindig at the hotel piano bar that is the center of social life during the week that the small Alpine village turns into a gathering of the global elite. This year, the asset manager turned Trump adviser came to the World Economic Forum, as one participant put it, as an “ambassador and future interpreter.” Those gathered at Davos represent the epitome of what Donald Trump ran against — men (and a few women) in fine suits cloistered away in the Swiss Alps discussing their prescriptions for making the world a better place, while ensuring the average Joe remains far from the checkpoints that line the roads to the village center.” [BuzzFeed]

SPOTLIGHT: “One Winner, One Loser in Brothers’ Lottery Worth Billions” by Devon Pendleton and Yaacov Benmeleh: “After outside managers divvied up shipping magnate Sammy Ofer’s hundreds of tankers, container carriers, and other cargo vessels into two groups of equal value, sons Idan and Eyal each picked one out of a hat as their mother looked on. “We literally reached in and grabbed an envelope,” says the younger brother, Idan, 61. “And that’s it. It was peaceful, no drama.” … When the split was finalized in 2013, both brothers were worth more than $6 billion. Idan’s stash has since dropped to $3 billion while the fortune of Eyal has grown to $8.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.” [Bloomberg]

“Mark Zuckerberg: Don’t Raise Your Child as a JewBu” by Naomi Schaefer Riley: “Last month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wished Facebook users a Happy Chanukah and a Merry Christmas… It was a lovely sentiment. But wait, one of his more sharp-eyed “friends” responded, “Aren’t you an atheist?” “No,” wrote back Zuckerberg. “I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”” [Acculturated]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Dispute over Obama’s membership in largely Jewish country club heats up” by George Altshuler: “[Jeffrey] Slavin wrote in a widely circulated email to Woodmont General Manager Brian Pizzimenti that he was withdrawing from the club… “I can no longer belong to a community where intolerance is accepted, where history is forgotten, where freedom of speech is denied and where the nation’s first black president is disrespected,” wrote Slavin, who is active in the Democratic Party and the liberal pro-Israel organization J Street… Slavin said that he was inspired this weekend to resign from the club after attending an interfaith Shabbat service at Washington Hebrew Congregation that honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He added that since he went public with his resignation, he had received a good amount of hate email, including from Jews who accused him of being anti-Semitic.” [WashJewishWeek; TheHill]

“Will Holocaust survivor, longtime presidents’ tailor, dress Trump?” by Renee Ghert-Zand: “Martin Greenfield, 88, has made suits for both Democratic and Republican presidents, including President Dwight Eisenhower, who, as a Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe had liberated Greenfield from the Buchenwald concentration camp in April 1945… Whether or not Trump would be open to changing his look, Jay Greenfield said Martin Greenfield Clothiers would be appreciative to get a suit order from the White House after January 20. “It is always an honor to dress the president of the United States,” he said.” [ToI

“The alt-right eats its own: Neo-Nazi podcaster “Mike Enoch” quits after doxxers reveal his wife is Jewish” by Matthew Sheffield: “Mike Enoch’s downfall was set in motion in December when a former alt-right vlogger named Mike Cernovich hinted to his viewers that one of his rivals “is morbidly obese and is married to a Jewish woman.” He declined to say whom he meant, but that salacious rumor set the cyber-sleuths to their task. As the doxxing unfolded this weekend, Peinovich said nothing on Twitter or on his own site… When asked if he would be willing to conduct a telephone interview, Peinovich replied, “Let me talk to my wife.” He never answered back.” [Salon

HOW I BUILT THIS — Honest Tea: Seth Goldman: “In 1997, after going for a long run, Seth Goldman was frustrated with the sugar-filled drinks at the corner market. So he brewed up a beverage in his kitchen, and turned it into Honest Tea.” [NPR]

SPORTS BLINK: “Theo Epstein on baseball, politics and what he may do next” by Matthew Jaffe: “What’s next when you have helped snap the two longest championship droughts in sports history and, at 43, have all but clinched a place in baseball’s Hall of Fame? If you are Theo Epstein of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, the answer is at some point you could own a baseball franchise and not just run one.” [CNN] • Rabbi Jack Moline at the White House yesterday for the Cubs celebration with a kippah signed by the players [Pic]

WEEKEND WEDDING: Alisha Kinman, marketing coordinator at UF Health, recently married Nadav Katz, assistant director at University of Florida’s Division of Enrollment Management. “The wedding was at the UF Hilton in Gainesville, Florida. Nadav and I met at our local synagogue in Gainesville, Congregation B’nai Israel. Nadav moved to Gainesville from Jerusalem, Israel at 16 years old. However, we didn’t start dating until about 6 years ago when we reconnected over the high holidays at B’nai.” [Instapic]

BIRTHDAYS: Host of tv tabloid talk show “Maury,” originally known as the “Maury Povich Show,” Maury Povich turns 78… Joseph Berger turns 71… Majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, founder and Chairman of Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert turns 55… Odessa-born, dancer, choreographer and dance instructor, widely known as one of the professional dancers in “Dancing with the Stars,” Maksim Chmerkovskiy turns 37… Freelance writer and digital content manager at Emily’s List, Alyssa Franke turns 25… President and co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, a marketing, media relations, message development, branding and social media firm, Steve Rabinowitz… Kansas City-native, now DC-based SVP for PR firm Finsbury, previously VP of media strategy at Ketchum, and for 15 years prior to that a reporter for both Reuters and Bloomberg, Jeremy Pelofsky (h/t Playbook)… New York Director of Institutional Advancement for Moishe House, previously director of individual giving at the JCC Association, Jason Freeman… National Political Reporter at RealClearPolitics, previously a writer for the Washington Examiner and BuzzFeed, Rebecca Berg… Aisha Creswick

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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

NorthJersey.com 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…