Daily Kickoff

Jewish Insider Kickoff

Iran’s New President Calls for Nuclear Talks Without Rejecting Direct U.S. Role: “Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, on Tuesday used his first news conference to call for serious negotiations to solve the decade-long dispute over the country’s nuclear program and he repeatedly suggested openness to direct talks with the United States, an idea that until recently had been unthinkable for many years.” [NYTimes]

PM Netanyahu Meets with 36 Members of the US House of Representatives: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, met with 36 members of the US House of Representatives led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Iran’s president said that pressure won’t work. Not true! The only thing that has worked in the last two decades is pressure. And the only thing that will work now is increased pressure. I have said that before and I’ll say it again, because that’s important to understand.  You relent on the pressure, they will go all the way. You should sustain the pressure.” [PM’s Office]

Joint JPost op-ed by Congressmen Roskam and Deutch – Iron Dome is a game changer, but it’s just the beginning: “Cheap, unsophisticated rockets from Hamas are becoming a thing of the past as Iran and its proxies continue to develop more advanced medium- and longrange missiles. And these dangers are not exclusive to Israel. Many brave Americans serving overseas have been killed by enemy projectiles, including three of the last US troop casualties from the Iraq War, who were killed by a rocket from a Hezbollah affiliate. Moreover, just last month the Pentagon reported that Iran may possess ICBMs capable of reaching the east coast of the United States by 2015.

In response, the US and Israel are co-producing two revolutionary systems – David’s Sling and Arrow 3. David’s Sling will be able to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, long-range rockets, and cruise missiles. The program’s missile firing unit and interceptor – the Stunner – are being developed and manufactured in the US, and the system achieved its first interception in November 2012. The next generation of the Arrow Weapon System – a medium-range ballistic missile interceptor operational since 2000 – Arrow 3 is an exo-atmospheric interceptor designed to catch missiles at high altitude to minimize leakage from chemical or nuclear warheads. Arrow 3 completed its second successful flight test last month with an expected on-time deployment in the near future.

To further this strategic imperative for the US and Israel, we’ve joined together to introduce H.R. 2717, the bipartisan United States-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation Act of 2013, which authorizes further assistance and cooperation for these critical systems. This legislation underscores the mutually beneficial joint venture of developing these cooperative programs with Israel and helps ensure their continued inclusion in future authorization bills. We must continue to work with our allies on these types of programs in an effort to stay one step ahead of our enemies in order to minimize national security threats and work toward a peaceful, safe future.” [Jerusalem Post]

Most Israelis Oppose Peace Deal With Land Swaps, Poll Finds: “In a worrisome sign for U.S.-brokered Mideast peace talks, a poll released Tuesday found that more than half of Jewish Israelis would oppose a peace deal based on terms that have long been seen as the foundation of any resolution, including mutually agreeable land swaps that would allow Israel to keep its major settlements.” [LA Times]

Explosion wounds four Israeli soldiers near Lebanese border: “Four Israeli soldiers were wounded on Wednesday in an explosion along the border with Lebanon, a military spokesman said. The troops were involved in “an activity near the border”, the spokesman said, without providing further details of the circumstances of the blast. They were taken to hospital. Israeli forces routinely patrol the border with Lebanon, which has been largely quiet since a war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas in 2006.” [Reuters]

Ambassador Michael Oren’s Letter To the Editor of the New York Times – Stone-Throwers’ Victims: ” ‘My Hobby Is Throwing Stones’ ” (front page, Aug. 5) describes a scene in which a Palestinian teenager “hurled a rock at a passing car with yellow Israeli plates.” The scene continues, “The settlers stopped their car, got out, and began shouting.” A chart shows the amount of time Palestinian stone-throwers have spent in jail.

While Palestinian protagonists are described in detail, their Israeli victims are largely dehumanized “settlers” – no name, age or gender. And for the record, all Israelis, irrespective of residence and ethnicity, Jews and Arabs, drive with yellow plates. The article could have added another chart: the names of Israelis who have been killed or permanently maimed by rock throwers and the time they have spent hospitalized. One of the names would be Adele Biton, a 2-year-old seriously wounded by a stone in March. The article notes that Palestinian youths attack Israelis “because their brothers and fathers did.” By breaking that pattern, Palestinian leaders can prepare their people for peace.” [NYTimes]

All the Anti-Israel News That’s Fit to Print: “The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren is under renewed criticism from the pro-Israel community for, they say, glorifying Palestinian terrorists and inaccurately stating U.S. policy towards Israel.” [Free Beacon]

Embarrassment as Anti-Israel BDS Claims Debunked: “Last week, Electronic Intifada, a blog aligned with the BDS movement, announced its latest “victory,” claiming that Delta Air Lines had decided to stop serving a snack produced in the Barkan Industrial Zone, due to its location in Samaria. Electronic Intifada claimed that the decision was made after a complaint was lodged by a member of the far-left “Coalition of Women for Peace,” publishing what it said was the text of an email in which the airline said that it would be dropping the product. The blog’s editor, Ali Abunima, claimed that “Delta Air Lines lawyers ruled that Israeli settlement-made snacks should not be served.”

Veteran Israeli activist Avi Mayer, however, was unconvinced, and promptly discovered that claims of a boycott were completely false. In a letter to Mayer (which he promptly published on his Facebook page), the airline explained that the snack in question – a vanilla halva bar – had indeed been removed, but only as a result of “a normal catering cycle and review,” in which the in-flight menu regularly changes. But there was more. Not only were reports of a boycott unfounded, but Delta’s representative explained that more than 1,000 Israeli-made items are “sourced by our local caterer,” adding: “the snack (fruit) that replaced the bar is grown locally in Israel. Delta makes a practice of sourcing local goods for catering in most international markets we serve.”

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Mayer said he saw the revelation as proof that the BDS movement “has reached the point of desperation,” pointing to a number of similarly fabricated claims of BDS “success.” “Their efforts continue to rack up one devastating failure after another, and so they find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel and, when necessary, simply making stuff up. This has happened time and time again,” he said, noting that “it seems to be happening with increasing frequency.” [Arutz Sheva]

At Home in This Village: Yiddish Speakers – ” The very name of the village is a linguistic anomaly: New Square. Sounds as plain English as you can get, except that it was supposed to be called New Skvir after a Ukrainian town and was inadvertently Anglicized years ago as a result of a clerical error. (It is not shaped like a square, either.) But the village’s nondescript identity masks a distinct linguistic niche — New Square, a largely Hasidic community that is part of the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County, has a larger proportion of homes where residents speak a language other than English than any other community in the Northeast with a population of 5,000 or higher.

Nearly 93 percent of the 7,000 or so residents speak Yiddish at home, according to statistics released on Tuesday by the Census Bureau, which were based on the 2007-11 American Community Survey. While 93 percent might seem impressive, New Square ranks 28th in the country for languages other than English spoken at home in communities with at least 5,000 residents. In New Square, street signs are in English — almost all the streets in the village are named for American presidents — although signs on private homes identifying the street addresses are in Yiddish.

The incorporated village is tiny — not even a half-mile square — and it has no stoplight. “We’re not communicating in English,” said Israel Breuer, who works in the New Square supermarket and whose uncle is the village clerk. “It’s not a first language, but most people understand it — with an accent.” “We’re not on the moon,” said Israel Spitzer, New Square’s deputy mayor. “We conduct business normally,” said David Breuer, the village clerk, although some documents are in English and Yiddish. Virtually all the children in the village attend religious schools where they also learn English, he said.” [NYTimes]


Connecting Students to Israel Through Business and Innovation: “Many students are applying for programs like TAMID, Birthright Excel, Israel & Co. and Onward Israel that enable them to spend time in Israel gaining hands-on experience working for established Israeli powerhouses and innovative startups. These opportunities are critically important because they provide a potent avenue for students to gain cutting-edge work experience, expanded personal and professional networks and, most importantly, an enduring sense of connection to Israel.

Indeed, these programs are laying the foundation for a generation of new leaders in the global economic and technology sectors who feel deeply invested in Israeli innovation and ingenuity. While many of these programs are relatively young, they are already experiencing growing demand from students hungry for these opportunities. This year alone, TAMID, Excel and Israel & Co. will send more than 900 students to work in Israel. Excel, which places outstanding college students in summer internships with Israeli companies, received over 2,500 applications for 36 spots. Similarly, Israel & Co. and Onward Israel are also scaling rapidly in an effort to meet student demand.” [eJewish Philanthropy]

Your supermarket shelf, just the way you like it: “Israel’s Trax Technologies helps manufacturers and retailers keep an eye on what stores are doing with their products.” [ToI]

AOL Pays $405 Million for Israeli Web Video Company Adap.TV: “AOL says it will pay $322 million cash for Adap.TV, which is based in Silicon Valley but has strong Israeli roots; the remainder will come from AOL shares. Adap.tv is a leading and global unified programmatic video platform powering video advertising for brand advertisers, agencies, publishers and ad networks. Adap.tv’s platform allows buyers and sellers to make decisions together on a unified technology platform, leveraging comprehensive data intelligence, across all screens. The combination of AOL and Adap.tv is expected to create the only global company with a full end-to-end solution and video stack for publishers and advertisers.” [AllThingsD]

GE joins JVP as investors in ThetaRay: “Israel based cyber security startup ThetaRay, developer of solutions for Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) and Zero Day Attacks, announced that multi-national conglomerate General Electric will be joining Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) as one of the company’s investors. Exact investment numbers were not revealed as of this writing.” [Infoxicate]

Apple to significantly expand its Israel operations: “Apple is expanding its operations in Israel, with a massive new office space being rented in a new Herzliya project. Apple signed a contract to lease 12,500 square meters of office space in Bayside Land Corporation’s O2 development in Herzliya Pituach’s industrial zone, according to Bayside’s quarterly financial report, released yesterday. Renting enough space to house 600-1,200 employees signals Apple’s intends to significantly increase its development team in Israel over the next several years. It has been expanding its Israeli operations rapidly ever since it first entered the country in late 2011, with a current estimated workforce of 400-600 employees. The workers are at three development centers that focus on storage space, processors and communications chips.” [Haaretz]


Both are ‘Jewish’ Deals as well – In American Greetings Deal, Echoes of Larger Buyout for Dell: “This is a tale of two management-led buyouts. The first is the headline-grabbing $24.4 billion bid by Michael S. Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to buy the personal computer maker that Mr. Dell founded. The second is the lesser-known $612 million buyout by the Weiss family of the American Greetings Corporation, the greeting card company they control. Both deals illustrate the rising tide of shareholder power, as well as the devilish issues that emerge when management tries to buy a public company. And even though Dell’s board has changed the voting rules, both companies are being tested by shareholders who view the buyouts as undervaluing their companies.” [DealBook]

Chicago nursing home execs agree to pay $5 million to settle suit: “Two longtime nursing home operators agreed in principle Tuesday to pay the government $5 million to settle allegations that they took kickbacks related to the 2004 sale of a pharmacy company, federal court records and interviews show. A 6-year-old whistle-blower lawsuit alleges that the pharmaceutical giant Omnicare Inc. paid Philip Esformes and his father, Morris Esformes, a kickback by significantly inflating the price Omnicare paid in 2004 for Total Pharmacy, which was partially owned by Philip Esformes.

The plaintiff, former Total Pharmacy employee Maureen Nehls, states in the suit that Omnicare’s $32 million purchase of Total included a multimillion-dollar kickback to secure long-term pharmacy contracts with more than two dozen nursing homes the Esformeses operated or influenced. In June, Omnicare agreed to pay $17.2 million to the government to settle its part of the ongoing lawsuit. Nehls stands to get 28 percent of that, or roughly $4.8 million, attorneys involved in the case said. From Tuesday’s settlement in principle, Nehls will likely get 25 to 30 percent of the $5 million, according to lawyers involved in the case. In addition to the $5 million, the Esformeses also have agreed in principle to pay roughly $1 million toward Nehls’ attorneys’ fees, the attorneys said. The agreement, forged days before a scheduled federal trial in Chicago, still must be formally drafted and then requires signoff from the U.S. Justice Department, as well as state agencies.” [Chicago Tribune]

Minnesota Vikings: Judge’s ruling against Wilf family won’t affect new stadium plans – “A judge’s ruling against the Wilf family in a 21-year-old New Jersey lawsuit will not affect the Vikings’ plans to build a new stadium, team vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley said Tuesday. Bagley deferred further comment to the Wilfs’ lawyers. The Wilfs’ lead attorney, Shep Guryan, said in a statement that “the Wilf family has been in business for 58 years and has earned a well-deserved reputation for integrity and honest dealings. “As with many businesses, disputes occasionally arise, and since we are currently in the midst of a legal process to resolve this civil lawsuit, we must decline further comment.” The Vikings are scheduled to break ground this fall on a $975 million stadium scheduled to open in 2016 on the Metrodome’s current site. The state will provide $498 million for the stadium, with the team responsible for the other $477 million.” [Twin Cities]

Macklowe’s 737 Park must stop harassing Holocaust survivor: “Harry Macklowe has been ordered by a judge to restore essential services at 737 Park Avenue for a Holocaust survivor who is a longtime resident of the controversial building, the New York Post reported. John Holzer, who has lived in the building at East 71st Street since 1980, claimed in a lawsuit in Housing Court that he had been without gas since January, according to the Post. The management of the building had also subjected him to “harassment,” he said, including intermittent shutdowns of electricity and holes punched in his walls. The judge did not make a ruling on the harassment charge, but ordered certain violations corrected within 24 hours and gas restored within 30 days.” [The Real Deal]

Subpoenas Sent to NYC’s Big Jewish Landlords: “A New York state commission to investigate corruption has issued subpoenas to three high-profile New York City real-estate developers, seeking information related to valuable tax breaks they received in state legislation, according to people informed of the subpoenas. The subpoenas were sent in recent days to Extell Development Co.,Silverstein Properties Inc. and Thor Equities, the people said, and seek information related to a housing bill that passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in late January. The bill included a provision that would allow for greatly reduced residential property taxes for years on five specific Manhattan development sites, including Extell’s 1,004-foot hotel condo tower called One57 by Central Park, Silverstein’s planned Four Seasons tower in Lower Manhattan, and a Thor Equities site on Fifth Avenue.” [Wall Street Journal]

–Meet Jake Butler, the Princeton economics grad who resigned from Thor Equities last year to become a cage fighter: [Yahoo]

Ovadia & Sons On the Rise: “Ovadia & Sons is taking the New York Fashion Week plunge. The vintage-inspired men’s collection will hold its first presentation at High Beam Studios on Monday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. Shimon Ovadia, who designs the collection with his twin brother Ariel, said that they decided against a runway show because in the men’s world “people like to touch and feel the collection, see the fabrics and the textures. In a runway show, you only see it for two seconds and then it’s gone.” Ovadia & Sons, which launched in 2010, is now carried in over 20 stores, he said, including Barneys New York, and the line has been nominated for a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. It has also been named one of GQ’s Best New Designers in America. “We’ve had a successful season and added a bunch of new stores, so we thought it was the right time to show the retailers and the editors what we’re doing,” he said.” [WWD]

Thats all folks, have a great Wednesday! 

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