Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: The Israel Primary | The Paul Singer Primary: Christie, Kasich to audition | President Obama to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month Friday

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DRIVING THE WEEK: “Obama to mark Jewish heritage month at D.C. synagogue: White House spokesman Eric Schultz, announcing the president’s schedule for next week, said that next Friday, May 22, Obama would speak at Adas Israel, a Conservative movement synagogue in the city’s northwest quadrant.” [JTA]

One source with knowledge of the event told Jewish Insider that although no specific time has been settled on yet, the President will be speaking Friday morning. Around 1,000 ticketed guests, by invitation only, are expected to attend the speech in the main sanctuary at Adas Israel. There will also be a much smaller and separate private reception for a few select D.C. Jewish community leaders. The event is set to coincide with the Lantos Foundation’s Solidarity Sabbath.

“Iran negotiations will pick up in coming weeks, however, and Mr. Obama is poised to ramp up his administration’s outreach to Israel and American Jews, if not Mr. Netanyahu directly. Mr. Obama plans to visit Adas Israel synagogue in Washington next week to celebrate Jewish Heritage Month, the White House announced.” [WSJ] • “Israel Girds for Gridlock with White House” [DefenseNews]

LongRead: “From Drone Strikes To Prison Torture, The CIA Has Been Pulling The Strings Of U.S. Foreign Policy Since 9/11. And If History Is A Guide, The Agency Will Be Calling The Shots In The Middle East For Years To Come” by Yochi Dreazen and Sean D. Naylor [ForeignPolicy]

2016 WATCH: “Scott Walker And The Israel Primary” by Rosie Gray: “When you run for president in 2015, you have to visit Iowa a lot. You have to go to New Hampshire. And, increasingly, you have to take a trip to Israel. The pilgrimage has become a near rite for Republican campaigns. And while the trips are really intended for domestic American consumption to signal credibility, their frequency belies a new, unspoken reality: Israel, a foreign country, is now seen as another constituency to win… If Israel is part of the campaign now, too, Israelis know it. While in the Negev, they met some heads of regional municipalities who pressed Walker for information about his campaign.”

–Dani Dayan Ready For Hillary? — ““We can live with a Clinton administration,” Dani Dayan said. “We definitely can live with a Clinton administration.” [BuzzFeed]

“After Israel trip, Walker says region not ready for Palestinian state” by Jason Stein: “I support — as presidents of both parties have, and Congress members and others — a two-state solution, ultimately. I thought this before going there, and I see it even more, they’re not ready for that right now,” Walker said in his first comments about the trip since his return. “The security risks are very real, and I think going forward there’s got to be a way to have secure borders for the state of Israel itself.” [JSonline]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12:45pm, The Council on Foreign Relations hosts a panel on “What to Do About The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process” with Elliot Abrams, Edward P. Djerejian, Martin Indyk, and Richard Haass. [Livestream]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Chris Christie to Call For Larger Military, Defend Intelligence Collection” by Zeke Miller: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will call for an expanded military and defend American intelligence programs Monday in a speech laying out his foreign policy vision in New Hampshire.” [Time]

SINGER PRIMARY: “NYC Hedge-Fund Manager to Host Manhattan Events for Christie, Kasich” by Heather Haddon: “Paul Singer is co-hosting a morning roundtable discussion for Ohio Gov. John Kasich next Wednesday at the Park Hyatt Hotel, according to an invitation viewed by The Wall Street Journal. On May 26, Mr. Singer is scheduled to co-lead a luncheon for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the Metropolitan Club.” [WSJ]

“Source: John Kasich ‘very likely’ to run in 2016” by Gloria Borger and Brian Rokus: “A source close to John Kasich said Sunday that the Ohio governor is “very likely” to run for president, but cautioned there would be nothing definitive for at least a few weeks. On Sunday, the source close to Kasich, a former congressman who is serving his second term as governor, said that fundraising was still an issue for any possible candidacy. Even so, sources close to Kasich have been sending out positive signals.” [CNN]

“Lindsey Graham to announce 2016 presidential decision on June 1” by Sean Sullivan: “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who in recent months has moved closer to running for president, announced Monday on CBS “This Morning” that he will announce if he will make a White House bid on June 1 from South Carolina.” [WashPost] • Lindsey Graham Op: “Much More Is Needed to Stop Iran From Getting the Bomb” [WSJ]

“2016 Campaigns, Official or Not, Are Remade by ‘Super PACs'” by Nicholas Confessore and Eric Lichtblau: “With striking speed, the 2016 contenders are exploiting loopholes and regulatory gray areas to transform the way presidential campaigns are organized and paid for.” [NYTimes]

“With Another Bush Eyeing White House, Family Money Machine Springs to Life” by Beth Reinhard and Christopher S. Stewart: “Former first lady Barbara Bush began adding campaign donors to the family’s Christmas card list five decades ago, building an index-card file of well-heeled contributors who went on to serve as ambassadors, cabinet members and State Department advisers in the two Bush administrations.” [WSJ]

“Connecting the Dots Behind the 2016 Candidates” by Gregor Aisch and Karen Yourish: “Presidential candidates change, but the people who run the campaigns often remain the same. Here is how the teams behind some likely and announced candidates are connected to previous campaigns, administrations and organizations close to the possible nominees.” [NYTimes]

**Good Monday 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**

STARTUP NATION: “Tech, talent can turn Israel into a finance powerhouse, says Tal Keinan” by David Shamah: “To many people, the idea of using an Israeli firm to handle investment accounts worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars is, to put it politely, laughable. But according to investment expert Tal Keinan, Israel has progressed enough in its development of financial technology and regulatory environment to compete with the Wall Street banks and investment firms.” [ToI] • “M&A activity in Israel shifts beyond high tech” [Reuters] • “Taboola attracts major investment from China’s Baidu” [Globes]

“Israel’s First Ultra-Orthodox Tech Incubator Is Grooming Future CEOs — Or Rabbis” by Sophia Jones: “The Jews here aren’t integrated with the secular community,” he explains. “But we need money and we need work.” That’s why Crombie and his business partner, Racheli Ganot, decided to found a tech incubator four months ago as part of their Haredi Hi-Tech Forum. The incubator specifically targets the Haredi community — much of which lives below the poverty line — and is the first of its kind. The incubator’s program, set to last for two years, recently took in 10 startups, providing funding (85 percent from the Israeli government and 15 percent from investors) and mentorship for the entrepreneurs.” [HuffPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “The Long History and Rich Tradition of Cuban Jews: Jews have called Cuba home since the Diaspora began in 1492. Though the population has dwindled to close to one thousand people, the Jews of Cuba continue to thrive while writing their own meaning of what it is to be Jewish.” [NBC News]

JERUSALEM DAY: “A Celebration of Jerusalem’s Unification Helps Point Up Its Divisions” by Diaa Hadid: “The decades-old Jerusalem Day march has taken on a polarizing and nationalistic tone in recent years, with marchers attacking Palestinians in the cramped Arab quarter here and clashes erupting between Jewish and Palestinian youths, particularly near the Damascus Gate. Yet there has been a broad-based effort this year to keep the parade from erupting into outright violence. Israeli religious leaders have condemned the violence and implored participants to refrain from provoking residents.” [NYTimes]

LongRead: “Jerusalem, Spring 2015: What Is Normal Here?” by Matti Friedman: “Arabs feel like a beleaguered minority in Jerusalem. Jews feel like a beleaguered minority in the Middle East. Everyone is aggrieved and unsure about what lies ahead. Among their own, people think and say terrible things about each other. In the morning we brace ourselves as we leave home and make it work. People in this city are pulled apart by the forces of tribalism that are devouring our neighbors and held together by the force of normal life. Right now, normal life is stronger.” [Atavist/Tablet]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Cuomo Pushes for Education Tax Credit” by Joe Jackson: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pressed for education-tax-credit legislation Sunday, speaking at several Brooklyn churches before rallying with Jewish community leaders. “We are going to get it done this year,” he vowed to cheering students and parents at Yeshiva Shaare Torah.” [WSJ]

SPORTS BLINK: “For American Pharoah’s Owners, Chaotic Stretch After Derby Win” by Melissa Hoppert: “Ahmed Zayat; his wife, Joanne; and their children Ashley, Benjamin and Emma traveled from their home in Teaneck, N.J., to Egypt on Tuesday for business and a family wedding. They landed in Washington on Friday and drove to Baltimore — during the evening rush. On Saturday, the Zayats and their entourage, which included five of Justin’s classmates from N.Y.U., experienced the thrill of victory all over again. They did not allow themselves to worry about the amount of chaos they will encounter ahead of the Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah will attempt to capture the first Triple Crown sweep since 1978.” [NYTimes]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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