Good Thursday morning!
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is indicating that he may be eying a graceful exit from the presidential race, The Washington Post reports. The campaigns of Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden have been in close contact “at a senior level” since last week to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and future steps.
The third season of “Fauda” will hit Netflix around the world (except France and Israel) on April 16.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef ruled yesterday that Jews in Israel should keep their phones on over Shabbat in case they need to answer calls or messages about coronavirus test results or mandatory quarantine.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot released a video yesterday where she enlisted famous friends including Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon and Sarah Silverman to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” to help boost people’s spirits.
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MEET THE CANDIDATE
From CNBC to Congress: How Michelle Caruso-Cabrera intends to challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
A print and television journalist for the past three decades, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera has covered topics ranging from education and crime to the financial market and global events. She was most recently the co-anchor of CNBC’s “Power Lunch” program. “As a reporter I was always calling people, and you listen,” the first-time congressional candidate explained to Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh during a recent interview in midtown Manhattan. “A lot of politicians like to talk a lot.”
Transition: Caruso-Cabrera told JI she found the transition from journalism to politics to be easier than she had expected. “I’m not afraid to talk to people. It’s very comfortable for me to walk into a room and start talking with people,” she explained. “I’ve done that all my life — because if you’re going to ever get interviews, that’s what you have to do. And then if I want to hear people, I have to be able to reach out to them.”
MCC vs. AOC: Caruso-Cabrera said she decided to go into public service and launch a primary challenge against freshman congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) after hearing her vocal opposition to Amazon’s plan to build a major campus in Queens. A poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute last year found that 38% of New Yorkers labeled the congresswoman “a villain” in Amazon’s forced pullout. “She threw away 25,000 jobs and she’s proud of it, she owns it,” Caruso-Cabrera said. “I just couldn’t stand by and watch that.” She added: “It’s obvious that Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t pay attention to her district or her constituents.”
Against boycotts: Caruso-Cabrera first spoke to JI outside the main ballroom of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. while attending AIPAC’s policy conference in early March. She said that showing up to the annual gathering was meant to send a “clear message” that “I’m going to AIPAC, she isn’t — that I stand with Israel.”
Supporting an ally: Caruso-Cabrera said that being supportive of the U.S.-Israel alliance is “certainly a differentiator” between herself and Ocasio-Cortez. “I stand with Israel, she stands with [Rep.] Ilhan Omar, someone who says terrible things, even about the United States,” Caruso-Cabrera said, adding that refusing to condemn Omar’s comments about AIPAC was “another thing that really bothered me [about Ocasio-Cortez], beyond the Amazon situation.”
Field trip: Caruso-Cabrera first visited Israel in 2011 on an assignment for CNBC. “It looked like it was possible that Israel might go to war with Iran, and so we were doing stories about how you maintain a strong economy, even in the face of wondering if you’re going to go to war,” she recounted. “I loved it. It was fantastic,” she said of the experience, which also included a tour along the country’s northern border with Syria.
driving the convo
Sanders, Khanna push for Iran sanctions relief amid coronavirus
Some U.S. lawmakers are urging Washington to lift sanctions on Iran, citing the Islamic Republic’s struggles as its number of coronavirus cases surpasses 17,000. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted in support of loosening sanctions — including financial ones — while Iran addresses the pandemic that has killed more than 1,200 of its citizens and leadership.
No strings attached: Those sentiments were echoed by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who toldThe National Interest that humanitarian aid should not be conditioned. “The purpose of humanitarian aid is to save lives, and that has to take priority over any immediate political objective,” he said. “We need to be engaged in the world, providing the leadership, and solving the pandemic, and giving help to countries that need it.”
No thanks: The Islamic Republic reportedly rejected a U.S. aid offer earlier this month. Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country would not accept assistance from Washington, alleging that America’s “vicious” sanctions were depriving Iranians of food and medicine.
Foggy Bottom view: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Tehran on Tuesday to release American hostages as a humanitarian gesture amid the coronavirus pandemic. But at the same time, Pompeo insisted that the administration will not ease sanctions on Iran, and announced the blacklisting of nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China — as well as three Iranian individuals — for engaging in “significant transactions” of sanctioned Iranian petrochemicals.
Changing behavior: Dennis Ross, a former State Department Middle East advisor, told Jewish Insider’s Melissa Weiss that medical supplies should be sent unconditionally, but any sanctions relief should come in exchange for altered behavior. “First, we should do whatever we can to make sure medical supplies (masks, ventilators and drugs) are sent to Iran and nothing should impede their delivery. There should be no sanctions on anyone who would provide or deliver it. Second, broader sanctions relief should not be provided without a change in Iranian behavior,” Ross told JI. “The Iranians are behind the Shia missile attacks on Iraqi bases where our forces are — they are not becoming less aggressive in the region or walking away from the limits in the JCPOA.”
One possible solution? “There is a way for Tehran’s leaders to begin to stem the spread,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JI. “Call for quarantines, end trade/travel with China and other hotspots, and most importantly stop spending on terrorism and missiles and devote what’s left of Iranian coffers for the public good,” he posited. “They can also use the new mechanism established by the Swiss — with help from the U.S. Treasury — for additional humanitarian trade. And they can use the money left in oil escrow accounts abroad to purchase what they need.”
Read the full article here.
THE AGE OF WEWORK
The feminist utopia that appears to be anything but
Audrey Gelman’s “The Wing” was intended to be the ideal networking clubhouse for modern professional women across the United States, with an entry price of $3,000 a year and a waitlist of 9,000 people. But, as Amanda Hess explores in the New York Times Magazine, for many employees of the company, its feminist ideals were “a total facade.”
Dream to nightmare: Hess spoke with 26 current and former Wing employees, most of whom spoke about the “excitement about their new workplace curdling into anxiety and disgust.” Employees recounted abuse from members, casual racism, and capricious employment decisions made by Gelman herself. “I’ve been made to feel small, insignificant, stupid,” one employee said, while another noted that their primary focus seemed to be making things appear perfect on social media: “As long as everything looks Instagram-ready, we’re good.”
High-profile members: The “wing women” who count themselves as members of the elite club include Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour. In 2018, Gelman — who “stumped passionately for Bernie Sanders” this year — threw a fundraiser for then-candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at her private home. Ocasio-Cortez later endorsed the Wing as a “real symbol of what’s opening in our country.” The company’s outposts draped themselves in themes of female empowerment: “After Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, the Wing’s San Francisco outpost emblazoned Christine Blasey Ford’s name onto a conference room; Valerie Jarrett and others stopped for selfies in front of the door.”
Defense: Confronted by these tales, Gelman told Hess only that “it’s hard to hear that people have had this experience.” She promised to address employee concerns, and said that her “fear of failure” had led her to obscure the “real challenges” unfolding at the Wing’s growing number of branches.
Ahead of the game: Jessica Lessin of The Informationtold her newsletter subscribers over the weekend that Gelman’s recent mea culpa essay in Fast Company was almost certainly an “attempt to get ahead of yet another negative ‘takedown piece.’” But Lessin also decried the stream of recent articles about female CEOs that “are holding female founders to a different standard and are uncomfortable with how female leaders handle leadership and the stresses that come with it.”
🤰 The Right Time: In New York Magazine’s The Cut, author Irin Carmon reflects on the experience of being pregnant amid a pandemic. Both her father and her father-in-law were born in 1944 “in the face of literal annihilation and an unknown future,” and today, the Jewish custom weighing on her mind is “that you don’t congratulate someone on their pregnancy. Instead of ‘mazel tov,’ you say, be sha’a tova, which roughly translates into ‘all in the right time.’” [NewYorkMag]
👨💼 Palace Intrigue: The Washington Post reports that Jared Kushner’s coronavirus response team is “adding another layer of confusion and conflicting signals within the White House’s disjointed response to the crisis,” especially since Kushner operates “from a nearly untouchable perch within the White House hierarchy.” [WashPost]
😀 Emotional Wellness: Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb writes in The Atlantic about ways “to protect our emotional health” amid the growing pandemic. “Bingeing on up-to-the-minute news is like stress eating — it’s bloating our minds with unhealthy food that will make us feel sick.” [TheAtlantic]
✡️ Good Shidduch: Joel Rubin, the Jewish outreach director for Bernie Sanders, tells Washington Post reporter Michelle Boorstein that his faith propelled him to join the campaign. Steve Rabinowitz, co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, told the publication that Rubin deserves credit for getting Sanders to talk more about his Judaism on the trail. “Bernie needed Joel more than Joel needed Bernie, but it was a good shidduch.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
🧫 Start-up Nation: Researchers from the Technion and from Rambam hospital in Israel have completed a successful trial of accelerated testing for coronavirus, which could potentially enable labs to test samples from more than 60 patients at one time.
💰 Settling Matters: Israel’s Bank Hapoalim has agreed to pay out $870 million in order to settle an investigation that it helped American clients evade taxes.
📉 Uncharted Waters: Writing in Forbes, Eyal Bino explores what the coronavirus pandemic means for Israel’s start-up scene in “this new, uncharted business environment.”
🚫 Closed Doors: Effective last night, Israel officially shut its borders to all foreign citizens — even those who could prove they had somewhere to quarantine for 14 days — with an exception only for those who live in the country.
⚖️ Checks and Balances: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tried to intervene yesterday after Likud and Blue and White clashed in the first session of the 23rd Knesset, where Likud Speaker Yuli Edelstein shut down the parliament rather than advance a vote to replace him.
🕵️ To Good Use: Embattled Israeli spy company NSO Group says it has developed a new product to analyze location data to track people’s movements and help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Bloomberg reports that “about a dozen countries are testing the NSO technology.”
🧪 Covert Mission: The Mossad reportedly obtained 100,000 coronavirus test kits from a country with no diplomatic relations with Israel, but the Health Ministry said it was still checking if they were the right kind of tests.
🤒 Talk of the Town: New York City health officials are investigating a “huge spike” in confirmed coronavirus cases in Borough Park, but said they don’t “believe there is any cluster.”
😢 Limiting Grief: CNN’s David Gelles writes about losing his mother to an aneurysm amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a limited funeral and no shiva visits as the “principle in Jewish law of pikuach nefesh” overrides any religious rules.
🥫 On the Shelf: The New York Times spotlights the concerns of Brooklyn’s Masbia Soup Kitchen network to feed people amid the pandemic — especially with Passover fast approaching.👬 Unlikely Friends: Two Belgian men in their 80s have struck up an unlikely relationship: One is a Jewish Holocaust survivor and the other is the son of a Nazi.
Gif of the day
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reads a book to children via Facebook who are stuck at home with no school.
Philanthropist, art collector and chairman emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies, Leonard A. Lauder turns 87…
Rabbi of Temple Hatikvah in Flanders, New Jersey, Dr. Daniel M. Zucker turns 71… Israeli politician, the daughter of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, she served as a member of the Knesset for three different parties, Dalia Rabin turns 70… Senior lecturer on journalism at the Harvard English Department and author, she was the first woman to be executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson turns 66… NYC-based real estate investor and chairman of Turtle Pond Publications, a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, Craig Hatkoff turns 66… Musician, he was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and now lives in Jerusalem, Yehuda Julio Glantz turns 62… EVP of merchandising at American Signature Furniture, Steve Rabe turns 60…
Commentator, he writes often about klezmer, Jewish music and Bob Dylan, Seth Rogovoy turns 60… Neurologist in Naples, Florida, Brian D. Wolff, MD turns 58… Dean of students at IDC Herzliya, she was previously a member of the Knesset for the Yesh Atid party (2013-2015), Dr. Adi Koll turns 44… Writer and director, who together with his brother Rafi, are best known for their React video series which have billions of YouTube views, Benny Fine turns 39… Brazilian-born entrepreneur and angel investor, he is one of the co-founders of Facebook, Eduardo Luiz Saverin turns 38… Director of North American staff at Taglit-Birthright Israel, Aaron Bock turns 36… Founder of two lines of jewelry, the Brave Collection in 2012, and Zahava (Golden, in Hebrew) in 2018, Jessica Hendricks Yee turns 32… Producer at CBS Interactive in NYC, Emma Gottlieb turns 26… Associate vice president at Hillel International, Geoffrey Melada…