Good Tuesday morning!
Trian CEO Nelson Peltzhosted President Donald Trump for a $10 million fundraiser at his waterfront estate in Florida’s Palm Beach on Saturday night. Guests included Marvel Entertainment’s Ike Perlmutter. Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison will host Trump for a fundraiser at his golf course in Rancho Mirage, California, tomorrow.
Former Senator Norm Coleman, who currently serves as national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, will host a fundraiser next week in support of Minnesota GOP Senate candidate Jason Lewis, who alleged in 2013 that members of the Republican Party were “dual citizens” of the U.S. and Israel and that the party was being controlled by the “Jewish lobby.”
Coleman defended his endorsement, telling JI that the former congressman’s two-year pro-Israel record in Congress speaks louder “than talk radio rhetoric.”
Last night, during an event at Duke University, former National Security Advisor John Bolton said he doesn’t think the administration is applying maximum pressure on Iran. In his first public appearance since he was kept from testifying in the president’s impeachment trial, Bolton told the audience that the White House was attempting to designate parts of his upcoming book as classified to prevent them from being published.
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Who’s on the U.S.-Israel committee for annexation
The Trump administration and the Israeli government announced over the weekend the members of the joint U.S.-Israel committee that will draw up a map outlining the annexation of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
On the Israeli side: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Ronen Peretz, acting director general of the prime minister’s office, will represent Israel on the committee. In remarks to the Conference of Presidents’ annual leadership mission, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu introduced Peretz, telling the group: “You should applaud this man because he’s doing a mitzvah.” Netanyahu called the expected U.S. recognition of annexation a “breakthrough” and a done deal “once we complete the mapping process.”
On the American side: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, his senior advisor Aryeh Lightstone and Scott Leith, director of Israeli and Palestinian affairs at the National Security Council, will make up the U.S. side of the committee.
Notably absent: Deputy National Security advisor Victoria Coates, who was brought into the administration to assist Jason Greenblatt with the peace plan, is not among the American representatives on the committee. This comes amid a whisper campaign claiming that she is the “anonymous” Trump administration whistleblower who authored the bestseller A Warning, a charge Coates has denied.
Rumored shift: According to an Axiosreport yesterday, the White House is considering reassigning Coates from the National Security Council to the Department of Energy.
Would a Coates reassignment have any implications for Israel policy? “This will have no effect on U.S.-Israel relations at all,” a former U.S. official close to the administration tells JI. They are in the hands of [Jared] Kushner and Friedman, and both [National Security Advisor Robert] O’Brien and [his deputy Matthew] Pottinger are also very pro-Israel.”
Bonus: Lightstone officiated the wedding of White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller and Katie Rose Waldman, press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
The Israeli journalist getting up close and personal with American Jewry
Until last year, Israeli journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir had rarely spent more than a long weekend in the United States. But now, living in New York as an emissary for the World Mizrachi movement, Rahav-Meir and her family have come to experience a whole new swath of Jewish life — and holidays.
From majority to minority: “I was sent here in order to teach, but basically I think I came here to learn,” Rahav-Meir told Jewish Insider’s Amy Spiro in a recent interview. “I see how it is to shape your identity as a minority and not a majority. I’m used to living in a place where my culture is the culture. But since we’ve been here, we’ve had Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Super Bowl.”
Coast to coast: In late August, Rahav-Meir and her husband, Yedidya Meir, a writer and radio host — plus their five young children — left their home in Jerusalem to temporarily put down roots in Woodmere, New York, for a year of teaching, lecturing, touring and connecting with Jews across North America. At times with Yedidya but often solo, Rahav-Meir gives Torah classes, political briefings, lectures on parenting and marriage as well as speeches about bridging gaps between secular and religious and Israeli and American Jews, everywhere from California to Florida to Montreal.
Unexpected experiences: Rahav-Meir never imagined she would be reporting live for Israel’s Channel 12 News from the site of violent attacks against Jews in the U.S. “I covered a lot of terror attacks in Israel over the years,” she said. “I came here and the last thing I thought was that I would report live from terror attacks here.” While she said she is not afraid on the streets of New York, “it is shocking, and it forces us to ask hard questions about our identity.” America, she said, was once thought of as “the ultimate place” for Jews to feel safe, “the goldene medina. And it turns out, no, this is not the promised land.”
Politics, politics, politics: The veteran journalist and longtime news anchor has missed not one but two election campaigns in Israel since her arrival in New York — though she’ll be once again traveling back to vote and cover election night for Channel 12. “I’m quite happy I’m not in this mess right now,” she admitted. “Because I’m sure if I was there I would feel frustrated… I’m really glad to zoom out this year and see things from a bird’s eye view,” she said. “If I had to pick one year to be away, this was probably a good year.” Wherever she goes in the U.S., however, she finds American Jews constantly asking her about the Israeli elections. “I see people are really disturbed” by the three consecutive votes, she said. “They are confused, they are bothered by the fact that their beloved homeland is going through something that is not healthy.”
MEET THE CANDIDATE
Daniel Driscoll touts national security experience in bid to replace Rep. Mark Meadows
Congressional candidate Daniel Driscoll discussed his candidacy to replace outgoing conservative firebrand Rep. Mark Meadows in North Carolina’s 11th district in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh during a recent visit to New York.
Details: Driscoll is one of 11 candidates running in the March 3rd primary in the solidly Republican district. Meadows announced his retirement in December, just a day before North Carolina’s filing deadline, leading to speculation by Republicans in the state that he had given advance notice to family friend Lynda Bennett, who launched her campaign later that day. Less than 10 days after Driscoll announced his candidacy, he raised more than $100,000. According to the most recent FEC filing, he currently leads the pack in fundraising.
Bio: Driscoll, who grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, served a 10-month tour in Iraq in 2009, where he led a platoon of Cavalry Scouts, before attending Yale Law School. After finishing law school, he went into investment banking in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Stepping up: “I can remember back when I was thinking about going to the army, and my dad told me, ‘Your grandpa did this so you wouldn’t have to. You don’t need to do this. I did it. Somebody else can do it.’ But it just didn’t sit right. You just need people willing to do it,” Driscoll said, explaining why he decided to pursue a political career. “I think a lot of it is just showing up and being willing to lend your back and do the hard work. I aspire to lay one brick at the wall of the future.”
Areas of focus: Driscoll’s campaign is focused mainly on national security issues and reducing the role of government, two issues he believes he can tackle on a federal level.
On the issues: The GOP candidate is in favor of maintaining a U.S. military presence in the Middle East and supports a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. “Sometimes you have to punch a bully in the nose,” he adds. Driscoll backs Trump’s Mideast peace plan as a “helpful” basis for negotiations leading to a two-state solution. “It would be a wonderful outcome if [two states] was an option that both sides were excited about, and particularly if it had bipartisan support,” he said. “I’d be delighted to see that.”
Keeping it bipartisan: “Terrified” was the word Driscoll used to describe the polarization that has taken over D.C. — even when it comes to national security matters. “One of the nice things about having spent time in the military is you appreciate that you have to wait your time, weigh your energy and effort and focus on the things that matter. And I think national security as an example is a place where people should aspire to have bipartisan support,” he explained. “That’s a place where, I think, as a veteran in particular, I am uniquely well-suited to work across the aisle to keep Americans safe.”
🏥 Road to Recovery: Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert opens up to Crain’s Chad Livengood about his long recovery from the stroke he suffered last year. “When you have a stroke, here’s the problem with it: Everything is hard. Everything,” Gilbert said. “You don’t get a break. You’re like trapped in your own body.” [Crains]
🥜 Not Peanuts: BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray details how Michael Bloomberg’s $400 million advertising campaign has helped him rise in the polls and gain visibility at the expense of other candidates. Meanwhile, The Washington Postpublished a photo stream documenting 55 hours on the campaign trail with Bloomberg. In one of the photos, the candidate is seen preparing himself a snack of peanut butter on matzah. [BuzzFeed; WashPost]
⛰️ In the Dark: In The New York Times, reporter Patrick Kingsley offers a rare look into a secret camp in a valley in the Albanian countryside, where members of Mujahedeen Khalq Organization, the exiled Iranian resistance group known as the MEK, are holed up as a cult. [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🕵️ Spies From Within: Alex Stamos, the former chief of security for Facebook, toldDot Dot Dot’s podcast “that every major U.S. tech company has at least several people that have been turned by at least China, maybe Russia, probably Israel and a couple other US allies.”
📺 Media Watch:Univision Communications is in advanced talks with a bidding group led by former Viacom finance chief Wade Davis on a deal that would transfer ownership from Haim Saban after more than a decade.
⛹️♂️ Rising Star: The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen profiles Jason Glushon, who at age 34 has already negotiated four $100 million basketball contracts for NBA players.
📽️ Revolution Behind Filters: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are putting money into making movies, TV shows and documentaries hoping to influence the hearts and minds of its citizens.
💸 Hot Air:AIPAC distanced itself over the weekend from Democratic Majority for Israel, the group funding anti-Bernie Sanders ads in early primary states. After a big ad buy in Iowa, DMFI is now targeting Nevada.
✌️ Diplomatic achievement: Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, Netanyahu hailed efforts by Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia to stop the International Criminal Court in Hague from opening an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.
👎 Heard at the Munich Security Summit: Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described Trump’s Mideast peace plan as “no more than a memo of understanding between Netanyahu and Trump,” and predicted it would be “buried soon.” Shtayyeh also met with a U.S. congressional delegation led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Saturday.
⛔ Setting Rules: Haaretz reports that Masa, a joint enterprise between the Jewish Agency and the Prime Minister’s Office, now restricts grant recipients enrolled in long-term Israel scholarship programs from entering Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.
🏗️ A Tale of Two Cities: Washington Post reporter Ruth Eglash takes an on-the-ground look at how the Jerusalem municipality is making it a priority to improve the quality of life in East Jerusalem, while Arab citizens see it as an attempt to erode their identity and unite the city under Israeli control.
📱Ugly Act: The Israeli Defense Forces boasted on Sunday that it had thwarted an attempt by Hamas to target IDF soldiers by posing as attractive women on social media and persuading them to download malware to hack their phones.
🏢 Startup Nation:The New York Times spotlights the growing tech tourism industry in Israel, where visitors can check out The Peres Center’s Israeli Innovation Center, dine at start-up inspired restaurants and explore Tel Aviv’s flourishing tech sector.
📈 On the Rise: Israel’s GDP rose 4.8% last quarter, reportedBloomberg, “defying predictions that growth would moderate” amid the country’s neverending election cycle.
😟 Talk of the Town:New York Times reporter Liam Stack talked to Orthodox Jewish community leaders in Brooklyn, who explained why religious Jews are at higher risk to be targeted by street violence and how the community is grappling with this phenomenon.
🚶Safe and Sound:Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich details in an interview to The Week how young people in Poland are rediscovering their Judaism and feel safer today than in many other countries.
🍪 Bite of Babka:The San Francisco Chronicle has highlighted the recent rise of Jewish bakeries in the Bay Area.
🕯️ Remembering: William Steerman, a Philadelphia attorney and one of the chief architects of Maccabi USA, died at age 86.
Pic of the day
In a conversation last night with Elliott Gotkine, former Middle East editor for Bloomberg TV, Blue and White co-leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid discussed the upcoming March 2 election and took questions from an audience of over 1,000 English-speaking voters at Hangar 11, Tel Aviv Port. The event was hosted by the Tel Aviv International Salon.
Democratic U.S. Representative from New York since 1989, currently the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel turns 73…
Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Hershel Reichman turns 76… Los Angeles resident, he was a national correspondent for The New York Times,Michael Janofsky turns 73… Scott Liebman turns 62… Portfolio manager at Capital Group and board member of Hillel International, Hilda Lea Applbaum… Executive vice president of donor experience at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Lori Tessel turns 57… Israel’s ambassador to Romania, David Saranga turns 56… Author and school safety activist whose daughter, Meadow, who was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Andrew Scot Pollack turns 54… CEO of an eponymous Baltimore-based marketing firm, David F. Warschawski turns 49…
Actor Isaac “Ike” Barinholtz turns 43… Co-founder of StockX, the stock market for high-end product resale, Joshua Eliot “Josh” Luber turns 42… Singer-songwriter and pianist, Regina Spektor turns 40… National director of development for J Street, Adee Telem turns 39… Instagram celebrity known commonly as The Fat Jewish, Josh Ostrovsky turns 38… President of baseball operations and general manager of MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers, David Stearns turns 35… National political correspondent for The Washington Post and author of The Daily 202, James P. Hohmann turns 33… City planner at the NYC Department of City Planning, Dylan Sandler turns 32… Capitol Hill producer at CBS News, Rebecca Kaplan turns 32… Partner at Globatec Digital Integration, Larry C. Leider…