TOP TALKER: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Confuses Mazel Tov and Molotov” by Adam Edelman: “Oy vey. Simple-minded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker appears to not know the difference between a common Hebrew phrase and a homemade grenade. Newly released emails, first reported on by Madison.com, reveal the Dairy State Republican confusing the words “Mazel Tov” and “Molotov.” In an undated letter to a Jewish constituent, who appears to have previously asked Walker to display a Menorah at the Milwaukee County Courthouse in honor of Hanukkah, Walker thanks the man for his letter and happily agrees to the request. But in his valediction, Walker, who is rumored to be considering a 2016 presidential bid, makes a notable gaffe. “Thank you again and Molotov, Sincerely, Scott Walker,” he writes. Walker purportedly penned the note when he was the County Executive of Milwaukee.” [DailyNews;Madison]
—Walker’s Response:“My guess is it was a typo,” Walker said when asked about the slip-up by reporters at the governor’s mansion. Walker likened discussion of the “Molotov” typo to discussion during his re-election campaign about why his thumb had a bandage on it and comments he made about his bald spot being caused by hitting his head on a cabinet. “My thumb has healed up and my bald spot is boring now, and they have to talk about things like that,” he said.” [AP]
—TOP TWEET: Bloomberg’s @MarkHalperin:“Really, how many people in Wisconsin speak flawless Hebrew?” [Twitter]
—Our Take:Bottom line, silly episode which happened a long time ago. And since then Walker has become quite close with several Jewish donors including Sheldon Adelson (who he met with as recently as Tuesday in Las Vegas), Rich Roberts, and Paul Singer.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “U.S. ‘In Conversations’ About Releasing Alan Gross From CubanPrision” by Jim Avila: “In an interview with Jorge Ramos for Fusion — a sister network to ABC News – Obama said, “We’ve been in conversations about how we can get Alan Gross home for quite some time.” Sources have told ABC News previously that the Obama administration takes seriously promises by Gross to not spend another year in the Cuban military hospital and to begin a possible death inducing hunger strike by the end of this year, and is looking for a solution with the Cuban government.” [ABC News]
Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch Duo Send Hamas Human Shield Bill To President’s Desk: They issued the following statement — “Today, the United States Congress stood resolved in condemnation of the despicable actions of the terrorist group, Hamas, and its use of children, women and men as human shields. While Israel went to extraordinary lengths this summer in Gaza to protect innocent civilian lives, Hamas placed the Palestinian people directly in harm’s way by using them as human shields and placing its rockets near densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals and mosques. We cannot allow the false moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas to be used by those who seek to delegitimize Israel. It is time for other responsible nations to join the U.S. in condemning Hamas’ terror and urging the Palestinian leadership to get serious about negotiating peace with Israel.” [Statement] — Earlier this week, Sen.Ted Cruz, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sen. Joe Manchin passed the bipartisan bill in the Senate.
ISRAELEX: “Alliance Adds Twist to Israeli Elections” by Isabel Kershner: “Isaac Herzog, the leader of Israel’s center-left Labor Party, and Tzipi Livni, the recently dismissed justice minister and the leader of a small centrist faction, announced on Wednesday that they would run on a joint slate in elections next March in a bid to prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the conservative Likud Party from winning a fourth term.” [NYTimes] • “Netanyahu passes big test in Likud as party prepares for December 31 primaries” [JPost]
—FROM OUR INBOX: Pick your #Israelex briefing today. Haaretz’s Barak Ravid joins a J Street conference call at 12:30PM to discuss whether “Netanyahu has it in the bag” and the Jerusalem Post’s Gil Hoffman joins Step Up For Israel and JerusalemU for a 12:15PM briefing on “Navigating Israel’s Political Landscape.” [Ravid; Hoffman]
—Happening Today: The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference at the David Citadel hotel in Jerusalem “kicks off elections season.” The conference will feature speeches by Yesh Atid leaderand former finance minister Yair Lapid and Interior Minister Gilad Erdan of the Likud, in which they will likely outline their parties’ platforms for the coming election. “Featuring speeches by honored guests President Reuven Rivlin, former president Shimon Peres, and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, the conference, which will be moderated by Editor-in- Chief Steve Linde, will be attended by more than 300 ambassadors and attachés, 100 representatives of the local and international media, and leading Israeli civic, military and business leaders.” [Livestream]
UNDIPLOMATIC TALK FROM MICHAEL OREN: “This administration has a worldview that is not in accord with any Israeli government” by Gary Rosenblatt: “Fourteen months after returning to Israel, where he is lecturing at the IDC Herzliya College and writing a book about his experiences in Washington, the 59-year-old Oren is speaking out about his deep concerns over Israel’s standing in the world, and particularly its relationship with its most important ally, the U.S…. Many believe that Oren has his sights on a political career in Israel and that his experience in seeking to improve the relationship with the U.S. will stand him in good stead.”
—ON IRAN: “Asked by moderator Robert Satloff about the West’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Oren first noted that Israel’s “margin for error is exactly zero” on this issue, given Iran’s longstanding threat to destroy the Jewish state. Then, his voice rising, he said that if you believe that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is indeed the moderate he claims to be, if you believe that Iran has reversed its policy of being the world’s leading exporter of terror, if you believe that its leaders have changed their long pattern of lying about the nuclear program, and if you believe the West is capable of and willing to respond militarily to prevent the production of a nuclear bomb, then yes, you should support the U.S. effort to reach an agreement with Iran. “But if your children and grandchildren’s’ lives depended on it, you may reach a different conclusion,” he asserted, adding: “We [the Jewish people] have not come back after 2,000 years to disappear.” [JewishWeek]
“Detention taking ‘devastating toll’ on Post reporter locked up in Iran” [WashPost] • “Hamas, Iran Rebuilding Military Ties in Tehran” [FreeBeacon] • “Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani looks to form own party” [AlMonitor] • “Iran says Pakistan gas pipeline to be built soon” [Xinhuanet]
HEARD YESTERDAY: “Ted Cruz at Heritage Renames Obama’s Foreign Policy and Butchers the Pronunctiation of Ahmadinejad” by Margaret Talev: “From Israel to Iran, the Texas Republican wants you to see Obama’s foreign policy decisions as Hillary Clinton’s problems. The Republican senator from Texas delivered this year’s “Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture” at the conservative think tank. The topic was: “The Power of Friendship: Embracing Allies to Revitalize American Leadership.” Pretty much in keeping with his other recent foreign policy speeches, Cruz spent most of his hour-plus talk bashing Obama as weak and ineffectual, and slammed him for entering into foolish negotiations with U.S. enemies at the expense of trust from longstanding allies. In a new tack, however, Cruz also took pains to tie Obama’s former secretary of state and the presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner for 2016, Hillary Clinton, to the legacy.” [Bloomberg; Video]
—Cruz’s speech in one line: “Our friends no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us”
—Funny line: When Cruz called former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “M-of-mow-mow’d-Ah-ma–ji–jinedad” and then laughed at his name-fumble. “It’d be easier if his name was Smith. Look, a Cuban Texan, there are limits to how many syllables we put in our names!” Cruz quipped.
TOP-OP: “Armed and Ready for Synagogue in Israel” by Daniel Gordis: “At the conclusion of synagogue services Friday night, there was a special announcement: “In light of the security situation, everyone who has a valid gun license and a weapon should please come to services armed. Unfortunately, not enough people have done so. So we are asking again. Those who can, please bring a gun.”… With the collapse of Israel’s government, the international media is mostly covering Israeli politics, not violence. In Israel, though, while the upcoming elections are the talk of the town, the recent murders in a Jerusalem synagogue and other attacks that have left a dozen people dead, mostly in Jerusalem, still cast a long shadow. Pedestrians move away from Arabs on the sidewalks. Many feel ashamed of that reaction — but do it anyway. One moment of decency-driven carelessness could be fatal.” [BloombergView]
2016 WATCH: “Hillary Clinton is the ultimate Washington insider. That’s not necessarily a bad thing” by Aaron Blake [WashPost] • “Confident Biden sets timeline for presidential candidacy” [TheHill] • “Rick Snyder, eyeing 2016, to take Detroit success story on the road” [Politico] • “Torture Reports Puts 2016 Politicians in Quiet Mode” [NYTimes] • “Jeb Bush Has a Mitt Romney Problem” [Bloomberg]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: The Top 8 Highest Paid New York Hedge Funders Are MOT: 1.David Tepper 2. Steve Cohen 3. John Paulson 4. James Simons 5. Israel “Izzy” Englander 6. Leon Cooperman 7. Lawrence Robbins 8.Daniel Loeb [Observer] • Steve Cohen donates $1.5M to the Republican Governors Association. Bruce Kovner donated $500G and Daniel Loeb donated $250G [FINalte] • “Henry Kravis Says KKR Seeks Stakes in Hedge Funds, Credit Firms”[Bloomberg] • “Jared Kushner buys 16-building portfolio for $132M” [RealDeal] • “Who is Ziel Feldman?” [JewishVoice] • “In Miami, the Braman family plans the Institute of Contemporary Art” [NYTimes] • “Report of Izod Center deal was ‘error,’ American Dream developers Ghermezian say” [NorthJersey] American Dream reportedly lining up big tenants [HudsonReporter] • Marc Andreessen interviews Jewish Salesforce founder Marc Benioff on philanthropy [A16Z]
HAPPENING TODAY: The New York Times’ DealBook Conference will take place at One World Trade Center all day tomorrow. This year’s speaker lineup includes Lloyd Blankfein, Laurence Fink, Sec.Jacob Lew, Tony Schwartz, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Adam Silver, and Paul Singer. DealBook founder and editor Andrew Ross Sorkin will lead most of the interviews. [DealBook]
FOUNDER FOCUS: “After Starting 4 Businesses, [Jewish] College Entrepreneur Decides on Degree” by John Grossmann: “Daniel Fine is the founder and chief executive of Glass-U, a two-year-old, 10-employee maker of foldable sunglasses bearing the licensed brands of universities, music festivals like Lollapalooza, and the World Cup soccer tournament last summer. He arranges for the manufacture of the glasses in China and their distribution around the country. He’s also a senior in college. Mr. Fine financed Glass-U, which operates out of off-campus housing, in part with proceeds from a tutoring company, NexTutors, that he started right after high school. He has also founded Fine Prints, a custom apparel company he started during high school, and Dosed, a health care technology company that is working on a smartphone app to help diabetics. In a recent conversation that has been condensed and edited, Mr. Fine, who is 21 and attends the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, talked about how he got started in entrepreneurship and why he decided not to complete his application for a Thiel Fellowship, which rewards students who leave school to start companies.” [NYTimes]
STARTUP NATION: “Uber recruiting drivers in Israel, before law permits” by Daniel Schmil: “Uber, the controversial ride-sharing service, is starting to sign up private drivers for its service even though Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has yet to approve the service – and may not any time soon with elections approaching. Seeking to step up the pressure on regulators, Uber said on Wednesday it had begun recruiting candidates to join its UberX service as paid drivers to register on its Internet site. The company conducted a free trial of the service about a month ago, but it remains illegal in Israel to charge for rides if you are not a licensed taxi driver.” [Haaretz] • “Israel’s Silicom Buys Danish Network Appliance Company Fiberblaze For $10M” [Globes] • “Jerusalem-based OurCrowdSees $4 Million Invested in 24 Hours at Global Investor Summit” [CrowdFundInsider]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “Polish court overturns ban on ritual slaughter” [AP] • “Israel Boycott Fails at American Anthropoligical Association” [WashPost] • Gil Marks, Historian of Jewish Food and Culture, Dies at 62 [NYT] • “Yeshiva University Plan To Shed Albert Einstein Money Pit Collapses” [Forward]
Victim of Brooklyn Synagogue Stabbing ‘Feels Good,’ Says Father: “Mr. Rosenblat, listed Wednesday in serious but stable condition, was expected to be released from Bellevue Hospital Center in the coming days, and his mother was traveling to the U.S. to be with him, his father said.” [WSJ] • “Security Heightened at Brooklyn Synagogue After Knife Attack” [Ibid] • Attacker at Brooklyn Synagogue Had History of Mental Illness [NYT]
FOLLOW UP: Harvard Professor Ben Edelman Apologizes – “Many people have seen my emails with Ran Duan of Sichuan Garden restaurant in Brookline. Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future. I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.” [Statement] • Boston Editor’s Note: “Earlier tonight, Boston.com published a piece suggesting Harvard Business School Professor Ben Edelman sent an email with racist overtones to Sichuan Garden. We cannot verify that Edelman, in fact, sent the email. We have taken the story down.”[Boston]
LONGREAD: “I Spent 40 Years Covering the White House This is what I saw” by Ann Compton: “Another tiny country would be at the center of a tectonic political shift in the world’s order. On a stormy Sunday night in September 1978, after an agonizing 13 days of negotiations at Camp David, President Jimmy Carter finally struck a Middle East peace accord between Israel and Egypt. I was escorted as the pool reporter to the camp’s helipad. President Carter, Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat emerged from a single limousine. Through a foggy haze of landing lights worthy of a Hollywood stage set, they silently boarded Marine One for the flight to the White House and an official announcement that would reshape an enduring trouble-spot. The moment of drama would not be the first in which I found a journalist’s neutrality did not make me immune to a sense of awe as I watched the world change.” [PoliticoMag]
—LONGFORM: “Mysterious ’08 Turkey Pipeline Blast Opened New Cyberwar Era” [Bloomberg]
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sec. John Kerry turns 71 today.
SPORTS BLINK: “Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Aims for U.S. Success: After opening an office in New York, it’s hoping to be the first Euroleague club to make it big in America” [Bloomberg] • “David Blatt and the Cavaliers Are Putting the Pieces Together” [NYTImes]