Daily Kickoff: OpEd – Young US Jew Explains Why He Chose The Marines Over IDF | U.S. Quick To Condemn ‘Murder’ | Israeli Startup Will Change Future Of Shopping

2016 WATCH, BIG HIRE: Cruz & Jews Continue Their Love Affair – Sen. Ted Cruz Names Nick Muzin Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy: Nick Muzin, a prominent ‘Jewish Insider,’ will join the 2016 hopeful’s team effective Monday, July 14th. “Muzin, 38, is a physician and attorney, who is currently the director of coalitions for the House Republican Conference, where he oversees strategy and outreach for the 233 Republican members of the House. He was previously chief of staff to Sen. Tim Scott during his term in the House, and directed his political action committee…“Nick’s broad range of experience and networks make him the ideal person to help us craft a positive, forward-looking vision for America and take that message to every corner of the country,” Sen. Cruz said. “I am delighted to have him on our team, and look forward to working together.” Muzin earned a bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University, an M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Before joining Sen. Scott’s campaign in 2010, he worked in the private sector in Charleston, South Carolina. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife and three children.”[PressRelease] (more…)

Daily Kickoff: Day 7 in search for kidnapped boys | ‘Heeb’ & ‘Redskin’ | Iran digs in | Study: Listing Religion On Resume Hurts – Unless You’re Jewish

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

SCENE LAST NIGHT: The Endowment for Middle East Truth held its 8th annual dinner last night at the Grand Hyatt in downtown D.C. The evening’s featured speakers were Dr. Charles Krauthammer, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Krauthammer noted that while there are multiple narratives in the Middle East today, there is only one history and one set of facts…. Krauthammer compared middle east news analysis to watching the weather. “The evening news shows present the weather with a map of the entire United States and then five minutes later – when they move on to cover the middle east – Israel takes up the same screen space as the entire U.S… In reality, the Jordan River is like Rock Creek Park after a rainstorm… Mt Olives is a speed bump… And the Sea of Galilee is a pond that could easily disappear in Cape Cod. Your job is to tell Americans the reality and the truth.” (more…)

Daily Kickoff: Day 6 in search for kidnapped boys | How Yeshiva University Lost $1B | US, Iran close to a deal? | NY Mistrial – No Yiddish Translation

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

DEEP DIVE: “How To Lose $1 Billion: Yeshiva University Blows Its Future on Loser Hedge Funds” by Steven I. Weiss in TakePart: “What they couldn’t have known… a decade ago was that the real danger in Yeshiva’s new leadership was not to the school’s spiritual welfare but to its very existence. Over the years to come, the new leadership at Yeshiva would ramp up risk in the school’s investment portfolio, vastly increase spending, and do little to insure against a rainy day. When rainy days did arrive, with the global financial meltdown of 2008, Yeshiva was heavily exposed. Today, its finances are overwhelmed by a sea of red ink. According to a recent announcement by credit ratings agency Moody’s, the school will run out of cash next year. (more…)

Jewish Insider Daily Kickoff – Dec. 3

First Look – Ron Dermer profile in Politico Magazine by Ron Kampeas — ‘Bibi’s Brain’ Comes to Washington: Can Dermer, dubbed “Bibi’s Brain” by an American Jewish publication and “Bibi’s Mirror” by an Israeli newspaper, reset the fraught relationship between Obama and Netanyahu? The “yes, he can” argument goes something like this: No one knows Netanyahu better than Dermer, who is also one of the few Israelis to really understand the American political landscape. “Ron Dermer’s significance now cannot be overrated,” says Ari Shavit, a writer for the liberal Haaretz newspaper. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is probably the loneliest head of state one can imagine,” Shavit told me. “There are very few people he truly trusts and appreciates, and Ron Dermer is one of them. If Washington plays it right and Dermer plays it right and they enable America and Israel to start a new page—a new dialogue in which leading American players will find a way to his heart and mind while he finds a way to their hearts and minds—it might be good news.”

–The other view is that Dermer will entrench in Washington a bunker mentality that has isolated Netanyahu and helped perpetuate the breakdown in relations with Israel’s closest and most important ally. “Among the White House’s inner circle—Denis McDonough, Ben Rhodes—Dermer is a red flag,” says Barak Ravid, Haaretz’s political correspondent, referring respectively to the White House chief of staff and deputy national security adviser. “They see him as the guy who incited Congress and Jewish organizations against Obama.” It’s a reputation that Dermer’s defenders say is unfair—it does not take into account missteps by Obama and his team, and understates Netanyahu’s determinative role in shaping relations with Washington. But it is a reputation that continues to dog Dermer nonetheless. When I asked about him, a Democratic source on the Hill who is close to Jewish groups blamed Dermer for distributing talking points on Iran, critical of the White House, to Republican members of Congress. Asked for evidence, the source said, “Who else?”

–Nicolas Muzin, the director of coalitions for the House Republican Conference, says Dermer was respectful and never partisan in his pitch—but emphatic. “He’s been trying to make the case that the sanctions relief is more than dollar value because it’s the change in momentum [that really matters],” Muzin says, underscoring an Israeli claim that the $7 billion the Obama administration says Iran could earn from eased sanctions may be a low-ball figure.

His predecessor Michael Oren says he believes that Dermer can and will overcome the suspicion that he was an architect of the Netanyahu-Obama tensions. “I understand that was the perception of him, but the reality is going to be different, because it has to be,” Oren told me. “He’s going to understand that to be an effective ambassador, he has to be scrupulously bipartisan.” Differences over Iran will be a test. “Clearly the prime minister is not impressed with this arrangement,” Oren adds. “Does that mean you actively campaign against it, lobby against it, or are you briefing people on the Hill? I have a feeling it will be the latter. Over the next six months, Israel will try to have a close conversation with the administration over what we consider a safe deal.” Can Dermer straddle the line between presenting Israel’s case and pressuring the United States to embrace it? “Lobbying has a negative connotation. Lobbying is putting pressure on someone,” Oren notes. “What an ambassador does is explain. That doesn’t involve attacking the president’s position but explaining ours.” [PoliticoMag]

Scene Last Night – JINSA (The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) awarded the 2013 Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award to Senator Mark Kirk in DC; Michael Bloomberg threw his final Hanukkah bash as NYC Mayor [Video] & announced he plans to use the $1M from the Geneses Prize “to promote commerce between the people in Palestine and the people in Israel”; Florida Gov. Rick Scott hosted a Hanukkah party in the Governors mansion; Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick lit the menorah at the Mass. State House: (more…)