Good Monday morning!
Thank you to all who joined our inaugural interactive wine tasting yesterday live from Napa Valley’s OneHope Winery with Jake Kloberdanz, Yitz Applbaum and Dan Levin. More on OneHope’s kosher news below.
After three consecutive elections and several delays, Israel’s 35th government was sworn into office yesterday in Jerusalem.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter last night to encourage ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone to “take a look at her poorly performing gang” after whistleblower Richard Bright, who last week slammed the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic while testifying on Capitol Hill, appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday.
The New York Times’s Ben Smith dropped a column yesterday titled, “Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True?” that examines the recent Pulitzer Prize winner’s approach and methods of corroboration, questioning “if Mr. Farrow didn’t, at times, fly a little too close to the sun.” Smith’s piece is currently driving the convo from NY to LA.
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Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat is a 42-year-old Jewish rising star
Even Florida’s Democratic leadership didn’t think Nikki Fried had a shot at being elected the state’s agricultural commissioner in 2018. But after a nail-biting recount, Fried won by a razor-thin margin, becoming the first woman elected to the post, the only current statewide elected Democrat and the first Jewish woman ever elected to statewide office in Florida. Today, Fried finds herself in a cold war with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis amid the state’s coronavirus response, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports in a new feature on Fried.
Significant rift: The 42-year-old agricultural commissioner has found it challenging to collaborate with DeSantis, who excluded the commissioner from a task force assembled to re-open the state. Before the pandemic, Fried had what she described as a “cordial” rapport with the governor. Now the two currently have no working relationship, according to Fried, and “the tension unfortunately seeps down to even the staff levels.” The friction between the two elected officials has spilled into public view as they have sparred on social media. “He has played partisan politics from day one of all of this, and unfortunately it has caused a significant rift in our two departments,” Fried said.
Rising star: Viewed through the lens of future elections, the governor’s effort to box her out makes some sort of sense given that Fried, a rising star in the Democratic Party, is seen as a potential challenger to DeSantis when his first term expires in 2022. “We have a lot of time between now and 2022,” she said of the possibility. “My priority is getting through COVID and getting through November elections.”
Proud roots: “Judaism was always part of my path,” Fried said. “While I don’t religiously observe every day,” she told JI, “the traditions of taking care of others and the morals that are taught through the Jewish religion and through the culture have gotten me to where I am today.” Born and raised in Miami, the former attorney and lobbyist was actively involved in the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization and visited Israel several times as a teenager. “I always had a big open heart for Israel,” said Fried, who says she seriously contemplated making aliyah and joining the IDF while in high school. “They had to be the best when it comes to medicine and space and agriculture, because they can’t rely on their allies around them,” she told JI. “They had to be survivalists and recreate themselves.”
Trade ties: Fried — who was sworn in on the first Hebrew Bible printed in the United States — brought that appreciation to her new position when she embarked on a trade mission to Israel last spring, meeting with dozens of agricultural companies and government officials in an effort to bring some trade insights back to her home state and perhaps facilitate a joint venture or two. Fried, who worked as a medical marijuana lobbyist before ascending to her current role, believes the cannabis plant is the “future of agriculture” for the state of Florida. Israel, Fried said, has been a leader in marijuana research for years, and on the trip she made an effort to glean some wisdom from local experts.
on the hill
Congress warns Trump about withdrawing U.S. troops from Sinai
A bipartisan group of members of Congress — led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID) and ranking member Bob Menendez (D-NJ) — are cautioning the Trump administration against withdrawing U.S. troops from the international peacekeeping force in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, calling the move “a grave mistake.”
Background:The Wall Street Journalreported this month that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is leading a push within the administration to end Washington’s decades-long participation in the Multinational Force and Observers group, which oversees the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in Sinai. The plan has been met with opposition by both the State Department and the Israeli government. Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel will raise the issue in its dialogue with the U.S. “The international force in Sinai is important, and [the] American participation in it is important,” he stressed.
Serving its purpose: In the letter, sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Wednesday, the lawmakers point out that U.S. involvement has helped Israel and Egypt maintain constructive relations, resulting in almost no cross-border friction. A U.S. withdrawal, the senators warn, would encourage other countries to also withdraw their troops and potentially weaken the already fragile security situation in the region and “result in a less stable Middle East.”
Sounding the alarm: Washington Institute for Near East Policy executive director Rob Satloff tells JI, “At a time when U.S. deployments in Syria and Iraq are in question and when the U.S.-supported Jordan-Israel peace faces unprecedented challenges, withdrawal of the U.S. presence in Sinai would signal to allies and adversaries alike that America may very well be packing up and heading home.”
Common cause: The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement on Sunday: “The absence of American leadership in the MFO [Multinational Force and Observers]… would be detrimental to its ability to carry out its mission, particularly given the rising activity of ISIS in the Sinai.”
Personal plea: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month — publicized on Saturday — urging him to drop plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, since it will “result in long-term costs to Israel’s national security and diplomatic relationships.”
View from Foggy Bottom: State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told a group of Israeli reporters on Friday that discussions about annexation “should take place as part of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians on the Trump peace plan.” Ortagus added that Jordanian King Abdullah’s objection to the move shows why it is critical for all parties to the negotiating table.
OneHope in Napa Valley plans a new line of kosher wine
Jake Kloberdanz founded OneHope — a vineyard and direct-to-consumer retailer of wines with a charitable bent — in 2007. Each bottle purchased through OneHope’s website directly contributes to a specific cause. “Our purpose is to nourish the future. And we serve that purpose every day through our mission to share wine and give hope,” Kloberdanz told Jewish Insider’s Sam Zieve Cohen.
New addition: “We have a community of people who are able to share wine, raise money for local causes, raise money for global causes and be a drop in purpose and fulfillment.” With a growing following, innovative model, and numerous 90-point wines, OneHope will soon become the biggest global direct-to-consumer wine distributor. Now, as announced at Sunday’s Jewish Insider interactive wine tasting, it will add a new distinction to its award-winning line: kosher wine.
Competitive offering: At the fervent encouragement of friends and kosher wine connoisseur Jewish Insider wine columnist Yitz Applbaum and Napa vintner Dan Levin, Kloberdanz agreed to expand his vineyard to include facilities capable of producing high-quality kosher wine under the OneHope label. But more than produce a high-quality kosher wine at a middle price point, the Kloberdanz-Applbaum-Levin trio plans on producing vintages that, as Kloberdanz explained, are “competitive with any wine regardless of whether it’s kosher or not, that happens to be kosher.”
High demand: Applbaum — who estimates that with a cellar of more than 5,000 bottles he is among the top 5% of kosher wine consumers — believes OneHope will become a superb addition to the market. “People want wonderful kosher wines. There are many wonderful kosher wines out there, but the demand is for more.” Asked how he plans on broadcasting the new wine, Applbaum quickly responded, “I have a very big mouth, I’m going to tell everyone.” But he facetiously warned, “I may buy the whole run myself.”
👨⚕️ Grueling Day: ICU nurse Yaakov Shereshevsky shares a day in his life with The New York Times, which now includes washing his hands and changing gloves 50-60 times a shift, and providing last rites to dying Jewish patients whose rabbis cannot visit. [NYTimes]
👨💼 Fast Learner: Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Dore Gold, who remains a key advisor in Israeli diplomacy, toldTablet’s Armin Rosen that Jared Kushner is “very, very smart,” but that it requires persistence to get through to him, despite the fact that his views have been “formed with a much shorter exposure.” [Tablet]
💡 Healing Light:In dot.LA, Rachel Uranga spotlights the father-and-son team of Elliot and Dr. Arthur Kreitenberg, co-founders of Dimer UVC, who built a machine called GermFalcon to kill viruses on planes that is now gaining newfound attention. Elliot said his grandfather was a Holocaust survivor and plumber who impressed on them the importance of sanitation. [dot.LA]
📱 Friend Zone:New York Times reporters Mike Isaac, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang explore how Facebook continues to be dominated by “obsessive CEO” Mark Zuckerberg, who is “extraordinarily involved in some aspects of the business, and virtually hands-off in areas that he finds less interesting.” [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🇨🇳 Natural Causes: China’s new ambassador to Israel, Du Wei, was found dead in his residence on Sunday of a suspected heart attack.
🤝 Recalculating: Douglas Feith, a former under secretary of defense for President George W. Bush, writes that Israel needs to reevaluate its relationship with China and how it will affect its alliance with the United States.
🎤 First Day: At his swearing-in ceremony in Jerusalem, new Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashekanzi said the Trump peace plan provides “a historic opportunity to shape Israel’s future and its borders for the coming decades.”
⚖️ Justice Served: Jewish terrorist Amiram Ben-Uliel has been convicted of the murder of three members of the Palestinian Dawabshe family in a 2015 arson attack on their home in Duma, in the West Bank.
👷 Open Door: Israel will allow nearly 82,000 Palestinians from the West Bank to return to work at construction sites as of May 31.
🕌 Halted Holiday: Coronavirus restrictions have led to this year’s Ramadan being “radically transformed” in Israel and the West Bank.
🇸🇦 Talk of the Region: Amid falling oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia is facing “whiplash” as its wealth plummets and its vast welfare state is curtailed.
✍️ Reaching Out: World Jewish Congress president Ron Lauder writes in Arab News that there has been “amazing progress and change” in how much of the Arab world views Jews, and that, after decades of violence, “peace is within reach.”
🚘 Drive Through:Iranians will mark the annual “Quds Day” rally against Israel this week by chanting slogans and waving flags from vehicles due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
💊 Drug Gamble: Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva recently pulled out of settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department over a price inflation case, in hopes that the administration will go easy on the generic drug supplier in the midst of a pandemic.
📧 False Analogies: Republican Alaska State Representative Ben Carpenter compared coronavirus safety measures to Nazi rule in an email, later claiming that Hitler was not a white supremacist but “was fearful of the Jewish nation,” sparking outrage from many of his colleagues.
🙅♂️ It Ain’t So: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) denied on Friday that he’d agreed to restore Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) committee assignments after the Iowa congressman was kicked off last year for defending white supremacists.
😂 Laughing Amid Loss: Writer and comedian Eitan Levine reflects on the death of his grandmother during the coronavirus outbreak, including his haphazard “shiva logic” and the “Rent-a-Rabbi” funeral his family was forced to hold.
📣 Foot Soldiers:Thousands turned out for a protest in Sarajevo on Saturday against a memorial being held in the city for Croatian Nazi collaborators.
👨 Transition: David Peyman has been tapped as a deputy to Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism Elan Carr for the campaign against BDS, Eurasia, and special projects. Peyman was previously deputy assistant secretary of state for counter threat finance and sanctions.
📚 Book Shelf: The Economistreviews the new novel Pomeranski by Gerald Jacobs, which follows the Jewish residents of the south London Brixton neighborhood in the mid-20th century, with “an exuberant shot of yiddishkeit.”
Pic of the Day
Gilad Erdan, the next ambassador to the U.N. and U.S., takes a selfie with newly sworn-in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset yesterday. Erdan was sworn in as Regional Cooperation Minister until his formal confirmation.
Retired New York Times columnist and editorial writer, he was the Times’ Jerusalem correspondent for four years in the early 1990s, Clyde Haberman turns 75…
Founder in 1972 of Kroll, Inc. which he sold in 2004 to Marsh & McLennan for $1.9 billion, he is now chairman and co-founder of K2 Intelligence, Jules B. Kroll turns 79… Best-selling author of spy thriller novels including a prequel to the TV series “Homeland” and the “Scorpion” series, he has served in both the U.S. and the Israeli armies, Andrew Gary Kaplan turns 79… Ruth Madoff turns 79… Trustee of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Gary Kopff turns 75… Los Angeles-based attorney, board member of American Friends of Nishmat, Linda Goldenberg Mayman turns 72… Washington correspondent for Newsweek focused on national security, Jonathan Broder turns 72… Member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1983, Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg turns 70… Senior advisor at Moelis & Company, he was previously a Major General in the IDF and then CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries until 2012, Shlomo Yanai turns 68… Director of nutrition and hospitality at Philadelphia’s Temple University Hospital, Nancy Baumann turns 64…
Attorney in Atlanta Alan Kitey turns 57… Former president of MGM Motion Picture Group, Jonathan Glickman turns 51… Senior national correspondent for Politico, Bryan Bender turns 48… Chief development officer at The Boys’ Club of New York, Sarah Danzig Simon turns 42… Senior correspondent at Vox, which he co-founded in 2014 with Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias turns 39… News desk editor at Gartner in London, Eliza Krigman turns 38… Staffer for the Senate Armed Services Committee, Eric Trager turns 37… National political reporter for NBCNews, Joshua Lederman turns 35… Deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats since last week, Ezra Asa Cohen-Watnick turns 34… Co-Founder of Rebel which was acquired by Salesforce in 2018 and co-founder of daily charity giving service Good Today, Joe Teplow turns 29… J.D. candidate at American University Washington College of Law, where she is serving as executive editor of the Business Law Review, Lauren DePinto Bomberger turns 27… Podcast producer at 247Sports, he is also the founder of SpeshFX Podcast, a long form podcast about the international beatboxing community, Netanel (Tani) Levitt turns 27… Public policy manager at Snap, named to the 2019 class of Forbes 30 Under 30, Sofia Rose Gross turns 27… Forward on Israel women’s national soccer team, Danielle Leige Paz turns 26… Aimee Ellis…