Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Jewish leaders endorse Cuomo | Rand claims he’s no isolationist | Remembering Rivers | ISIS Crisis, Overblown? | Paltrow to Judaism

THE DARK AND MURKY KEY TO MIDDLE EAST STABILITY: A series of natural gas deals are in the works between Israel and moderate Arab countries in the region. Noble Energy, a US company, as well as the US State Department have been heavily involved in brokering the agreements, which could help insulate peaceful actors in the region from ISIS and other radical groups by way of energy independence. The tentative deal between Israel and Jordan would represent the largest economic agreement between the two countries, and is estimated to be worth close to $15 billion. A larger deal with Egypt is also underway, but relations between Israel and Egypt are often strained by Egypt’s disdain for Israel’s presence in the West Bank. [Foreign PolicyWashington PostUS State Dept]

THE OBAMA BUMBLES: “No strategy” on ISIS. A weak policy towards Russia. “Enraged” at Israel, yet silent on his Secretary of State failing in his mission to solve Israeli-Palestinian tensions at the negotiating table. Will Obama be able to use this week’s NATO summit in Whales to muster up a new, “muscular multilateralism” and address global threats to the West, or is his foreign policy legacy doomed? [The Daily BeastNew York TimesPolitico]

NO PARTY, NO PROBLEM: A little-known Senate candidate from Kansas could dramatically shake up party politics in the Senate. Greg Orman,who criss-crosses party lines (and has voted for both Obama and Romney), is running on a platform that appeals to the largely Republican state emphasizing that the current administration has failed the country on everything from illegal immigration to Iraq. The Democratic party, who’s candidate Chad Taylor ubruptly dropped out of the race Wednesday, may be banking on Orman aligning with Democrats in the Senate, tipping the majority balance in their favor, but judging from Ormans varied record, perhaps they shouldn’t count on it. Orman is a strong supporter of Israel, emphasizing that ” Israel is one of America’s key allies and in the Senate I will work to strengthen our bond with Israel and increase economic and diplomatic cooperation.” On the recent escalation with Gaza, Orman notes that “if rockets were flying over the United States our nation would rightly demand action to stop them. At the same time, all nations at war should do everything possible to minimize civilian casualties, which Israel has done.” [Washington PostNew York TimesOrman for Senate]

ISIS CRISIS, OVERBLOWN: Media outlets and government officials alike can’t pump out the articles on ISIS fast enough, full of juicy soundbites from government officials calling the group the greatest threat to global security since Al Qaeda. However, though certainly a devastating regional force with a PR-game (possibly run by an American Fugitive) to be reckoned with, the top US counterterrorism expert Matthew Olsen says that “no credible information” points to the possibility of a devastating attack from ISIS towards the US. The statement stands in stark contrast to what seems to be the official view coming from the White House. The Obama administration has been heavily criticized for what is perceived as a lack of strategy on the issue of ISIS, notably from chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Diane Feinstein, who called the president “too cautious.” [Foreign PolicyABC News]

TOP-OPS AND INTERVIEWS: Eric Cantor has made it clear that he wants to return to politics after he tires of his new job in Wall Street. However, that might not be so easily done, as the political climate is currently one of largely populist and anti-Wall Street sentiment, writes Ben White for Politico. • Hillary Clinton reviews Henry Kissinger’s latest book on the challenges of America’s role as a world leader in responding to global crises for the Washington Post. • On the same theme, Rand Paul discusses why, contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t believe in a fully isolationist foreign policy in Politico.

**Good Friday 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**

POLITICAL PULSE: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has apologized for using too-strong language in her critique of Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker’s policies concerning women after she compared the Governor’s actions to “ha[ving] given women the back of his hand.” [Politico] • Jewish leaders across New York have endorsed Governor Andrew Cuomo for Governor and former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul for Lieutenant Governor in next week’s Democratic primary. The Governor’s campaign has been likely overshadowed by other races, but could prove to be an important election. [NY Times] • Jeb Bush’s advisors are being asked not to endorse other candidates until he makes up his mind about running for the 2016 Presidential elections, which he is expected to do following this year’s round of elections in November. [WSJ]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Sheldon Adelson, Gambling’s richest man and majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino company, saw his net worth decline by more than $11 billion this year. [Bloomberg] • Billionaire Paul Singer had the audacity to expect Argentina not on default on the bond payments it owes him and his investors at Elliot Management. Paying back the entire sum would cost the impoverished country about $15 billion, or roughly half of its reserves. [NY Post]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: Billionaire Israel Englander has purchased a Park Avenue apartment for a cool $71.3 million, making the most expensive co-op purchase in history. The apartment boasts 7 bedrooms (if you count the “maid’s room”) and has a breathtaking view of… the adjacent apartment building. [Photos here] • Real estate mogul Bruce Ratner is neck deep in negotiations over how to revitalize his latest apartment building project, which has been an expensive project full of complications. The latest round of disputes involves the closing of a modular building company which is vital to finishing the buildings in a timely and cost-effective manner, and which Ratner is demanding re-opens immediately. [NY Daily News] • New York Jewish real estate mogul, Joseph Chetrit has agreed to pay more than $190 million to acquire the Hotel Carter, the former Times Square flophouse that was coveted by numerous developers, hotel operators and investors around the globe. [WSJ]

STARTUP NATION: What do the Israeli Air Force and professional tennis players have in common? The need for a technology that can instantly analyze precise behaviors and provide immediate visual feedback. Endorsed by the likes of Novak Djokovic and Billie Jean King, a new Israeli technology, PlaySight, could replace the need for much of tennis coaching through hi-tech software and intricate video feeds, allowing players a way to constantly evaluate and fine-tune their skills. [Bloomberg] •  Israel-based ironSource, which helps software developers market and monetized their applications, has aqcuired Upopa, adding mobile game expertise to its arsenal. [Reuters]

ON THIS DATE IN… (via the AP): “On Sept. 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists attacked the Israeli Olympic team at the summer games in Munich; 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, five terrorists and a police officer were killed.” [AP]

TALK OF OUR NATION: A new report shows that the kidnapping and brutal murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank which arguably kicked off the latest round of conflict between Israel and Hamas was financed by Hamas with about $600,000 in locally appropriated funds, but that higher Hamas leadership likely had no “prior knowledge of the plot.” [NY Times]

THE WORLD REMEMBERS HER CHUTZPAH: Following a series of medical complications, Joan Rivers, beloved comedian, has passed away at age 81. She will be remembered for her sharp wit and sharper tongue and her ability to bring laughter to any situation. She is survived by her daughter Melissa Rivers. [New York TimesHuffington Post]

PAGE6: According to sources, Gwyneth Paltrow is converting to Judaism. [PageSix]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Ambassador John Bolton headlined a fundraiser for Bruce Blakeman running for New York’s fourth congressional seat. The fundraiser was hosted by Morton Davis at his home in Lawrence, NY. Spotted: Cedarhurst Mayor Andy Parise, John Cahill, the Republican candidate for NYS Attorney General, Ezra Friedlander, Meir Laufer, Michael Fragin, Joe Frager, and Avi Fertig.

HAPPENING SUNDAY: Norpac hosts new House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) at 7PM at the home of Drs. Mort & Esther Friedman in Teaneck, New Jersey.

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Erica Brown turns 48 on Sunday.

That’s all folks; have a great weekend! 

**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**

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