ISRAEL ELECTIONS: “Massive turnout expected as vote for 20th Knesset underway” by Gil Hoffman: “Nearly six million voters will be eligible to cast ballots in more than 10,000 polling stations across the country Tuesday in an election that is expected to attract the highest voter turnout since 1999.”[JPost]
Aaron David Miller: “If Herzog does form the next Israeli government, the champagne corks will be popping at 1600 Pennsylvania and Foggy Bottom. There will be cosmic relief that both Netanyahu and Washington ambassador Ron Dermer are gone… But how much would a Herzog government really matter? How much would he, as a newly minted prime minister, even be able to transform issues relating to Israel’s foreign policy, particularly the Palestinian issue?” [ForeignPolicy] • “White House Treading Carefully in Israeli Elections” [NYTimes]
“How Obama Can Lose in Israel’s Election” by Eli Lake & Josh Rogin: “Even though the main opposition — the left-center Zionist Union coalition — has pledged to improve relations with the U.S., its leaders share Netanyahu’s reservations about the emerging Iran nuclear deal. Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog made his views on any Iran deal crystal-clear last week during a debate, when asked how his views differed from Netanyahu’s: “There are no differences about the strategic threat.”… And even if Netanyahu loses, U.S. progress on the first goal [Iran talks] may imperil Israeli support for the second [Israeli-Palestinian peace process]. [BloombergView]
TOP TALKER: “Netanyahu Says No to Statehood for Palestinians” by Jodi Rudoren: “Under pressure on the eve of a surprisingly close election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday doubled down on his appeal to right-wing voters, declaring definitively that if he was returned to office he would never establish a Palestinian state.” [NYTimes; WSJ] • Jeffrey Goldberg on Netanyahu’s decision [TheAtlantic]
TOP TWEET: @PaulBegala — “The Left-Right conspiracy! Look who I ran into in the Tel Aviv Hilton. @DanSenor #IsraelElections” [Twitter]
Yair Rosenberg: Check out Google Israel’s logo for election day. [Twitter]
ROUNDUP: “Vote Tests Netanyahu’s Survival Skills” [WSJ] • “Israel’s Game of Thrones: First the Vote. Then the Kingmaking” [Reuters] • “Israelis Vote in Election Weary of Netanyahu, Wary of Rivals”[Bloomberg] • “How the Result Will Affect U.S.-Israel Relations” [WSJ] • “Why Israel’s Election Is Too Close To Call” [FiveThirtyEight]
On This Day In… 1969: “Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.” [AP]
IRAN TALKS: “Iran, U.S. line up technical options as push for deal intensifies: “We have definitely made progress in terms of identifying technical options for each of the major areas,” the U.S. official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “There is no way around it. We still have a ways to go … But even within this space, we have some tough issues to address.” [Reuters] • “may open oil taps in months, not weeks” [Reuters]
Iranians Optimistic: “In an unusually upbeat assessment, Iran’s top nuclear official said Tuesday his government’s main disagreements with the U.S. and its negotiating partners have been resolved and expressed optimism about meeting a late March deadline for a framework deal.” [AP]
“Bob Corker may move on Iran nuclear bill next week: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is planning to act as soon as next week on a bipartisan bill that would allow Congress to approve or reject any nuclear agreement that President Barack Obama reaches with Iran.” [Politico] • “Whose Side Is Bob Corker On?” by Chas Sisk: “He’s balancing 47 unruly Republicans, an angry White House and an unpredictable Iranian regime.” [PoliticoMag]
“With Barbara Mikulski departing, Senate losing pro-Israel stalwart” by Dmitriy Shapiro:“Mikulski’s announcement on March 2 that she would not seek re-election in 2016 triggered fond memories for Jewish leaders of the career of the longest-serving woman in Congress’ upper chamber, as well as anxieties about who would take her place.” [JTA]
2016 WATCH: Rand Paul at Austin office opening yesterday: “People ask why I’m in Texas now and not in New Hampshire… Well, I go where the talent is” [Twitter] • “McConnell grapples with Rand’s plan[Politico] • “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ben Carson?” by Jim Rutenberg [NYTimesMag] • “Lindsey Graham: Not a punchline” by Rebecca Berg [WashExaminer] • “Christie’s Allies Seek to Bolster Support for Presidential Run” [WSJ] • “Jeb’s $100 million problem” [Politico] • Future Clinton Campaign Staffers Working As Volunteers” [BuzzFeed] • Ezra Klein: Al Gore should run for president”[Vox]
SXSW SCENE: From Israeli innovation to an awesome kosher food truck, we experienced quite the Jewish SouthBy experience yesterday. Some highlights…
Or Arbel, the co-founder and CEO of YO, was asked by TechCrunch’s Josh Constine at a packed panel to give an example of YO’s useful purpose. Arbel responded that during this past summer, an Israeli developer connected the app’s API to alert Israeli citizens whenever Hamas was firing rockets.
Former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones told Loop88’s Dave Weinberg that “SXSW is way more ‘bashert’ than it is serendipitous.” [Twitter]
SXSW’s first kosher food truck, driven from Miami to Austin by Sholom Zeines, has seen large lines but swift service as word has spread quickly throughout downtown Austin about chef Deborah Benaim’s amazing beef brisket and chicken arepas. The Kosher Carne truck was arranged by Rabbi Mordechai and Chana Lightstone together with the Jewish National Fund’s Jessica Schwartz-Schapiro. [Twitter]
SCENE LAST NIGHT: Israeli Government’s Ministry of Economy hosted an Israeli innovation showcase and networking event at The Madison in Austin. Eight Israeli startups pitched a panel of experts and a roomful of investors. Startups included Qork – a location-based local news discovery app; Homage – a video creation platform that allows consumers to insert themselves into video games; Styleit – started by 8200 alums to help consumers shop their personal style; SeatServe – the ‘Uber’ for stadium concessions; the live video messaging app Glide; Talkitt – helping those with language disorders to easily communicate using their voice; Onysus – a visual editor for augmented, virtual reality; and unique gifting app CheerZ. Jerusalem-based ZUtA Labs was also on hand to demo their new portable printer. Drop us a note if you’d like to get in touch with any of the founders.
—Spotted: Galia Chanoch, Daniel Rubin, Susanne Goldstone, Dani Klein, Rebecca Seider, Dave Weinberg, Danny Weissberg, Tomer Harry, OurCrowd’s Zack Miller and Leah Stern, Hannah Janal, Nathaniel Malka, Alan Weinkrantz, Shay Dadush, Chaim Haas, Adam May, Sam Michelson, Jonathan Kopp, Lior Kodner, Gal Friedman, Blumberg Capital’s Bruce Taragin, and Fallon’s Jeff Kling.
STARTUP NATION: “Ben Rubin’s Meerkat releases update to help with stream discovery, adds search feature” [TNW] • “Remember YO? It’s back, on the Apple Watch” [CNN Money] • Elliot Cohen’s Citymaps brings the tourist map experience and more to your iPhone” [AppAdvice]
Facebook moves to curb spread of terror, hate speech: “Facebook said Monday it won’t allow the social network to be used to promote terrorism or hate speech as it unveiled a wide-ranging update of its “community standards.” [Yahoo] • The Anti-Defamation League welcomed Facebook’s new statement providing more clarity about its Community Standards, saying the social media platform’s update is a “significant step in the battle to confront online hate” that places more emphasis on transparency. [ADL]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “The Jinx” Subject Robert Durst, Scion Of NYC Real Estate Royalty, Could Face Death Penalty” by Erin Carlyle: “The Durst family story in New York begins withJoseph Durst, a tailor, who traveled from what is now Poland in 1902 and arrived in New York with three dollars to his name. He bought his first building, in Manhattan’s Garment District, in 1915… As with the World Trade Center, a quasi-governmental entity had intervened in the market, dictating a $2.6 billion redevelopment with $240 million in tax abatements granted to a different real estate kingpin, George Klein. The Dursts vehemently opposed the plan.” [Forbes]
“Met Founds Research Institute Centered on Lauder’s Cubist Gift” by Judith H. Dobrzynski:“When the cosmetics magnate Leonard A. Lauder was trying to decide which museum should inherit his $1 billion collection of Cubist art, he asked those he was considering how they would keep the collection alive as a focus of intellectual inquiry and public interest… So the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s proposal to establish and help finance a scholarly center devoted to the study of Cubism and Modern art found receptive ears.” [NYTimes]
DESSERT: “10 Things I Wish I’D Known Before Moving to Israel” by Jennifer Lang in the Wall Street Journal’s Expat Column: “1. That you need thick skin. 2. That you should tap into your inner chutzpa, even if it’s out of your comfort zone, because no never means no. 3. That bureaucracy is excessive but humane. 4. That the roughly six million Jews in this country of eight million people regard one another as mishpacha, one big family. 5. That Israelis are superstitious. 6. That strangers stick their noses in your business. 7. That in such a minuscule country where strangers stick their noses in everybody’s business, good deeds and acts of kindness arise organically, especially in times of tension. 8.That soldiers are highly regarded and deeply appreciated. 9. That spontaneity trumps advance planning. 10. That life goes on. No matter what. Live in the moment. Keep moving forward.” [WSJ]
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