👋 Good Monday morning!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, owned by the Glazer family, triumped 31-9 over the Kansas City Chiefs at last night’s Super Bowl. Hoisting the Lombardi trophy following the team’s win, Joel Glazer said it was his father Malcom Glazer’s saying that guided the team to sign Tom Brady: “‘If you wanted to know the road ahead, ask the person who’s been there.’ We found that person.”
The International Criminal Court in the Hague moved a step closer over the weekend to opening a war crimes probe against Israel, after the court ruled that its prosecutor has jurisdiction in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.
The ruling sparked outrage from Israeli officials, and the Foreign Ministry is reportedly readying a lobbying effort against it in dozens of countries.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. opposes the move, and has “serious concerns” about the ICC’s jurisdiction ruling.
President Joe Biden told CBS News that he would not lift U.S. sanctions on Iran until Tehran stops enriching uranium beyond the limits of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Biden administration is expected to announce today that the U.S. will rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council as an observer, after the Trump administration withdrew from the body in 2018 over its anti-Israel bias.
The corruption trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resumed this morning, with Netanyahu appearing in court to formally enter his not guilty plea.
Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who advocated on behalf of Soviet Jewry and was considered a strong supporter of Israel, died at age 100.
on the hill
All but three senators voted for Jerusalem Embassy amendment last week
Lawmakers voted on dozens of amendments in last week’s budget vote — which went until the early hours of Friday morning — including one addressing the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, which passed 97-3. Only Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted against the amendment, which was introduced by Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and prevents the U.S. government from moving the embassy outside of Jerusalem or downgrading it to a mission, reports Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod.
Objection: “Senator Warren has always said that the United States should let the Israelis and Palestinians determine the capitals themselves through negotiations. The amendment was not consistent with that principle,” a Warren aide said in a statement to JI. “In addition to requiring the embassy to remain in Jerusalem, the amendment language was drafted to prevent President Biden from reopening a diplomatic mission meant to engage with the Palestinian people and their leadership after the Trump administration severely damaged this relationship.”
Settled issue: In a separate statement, a Carper spokeswoman said the Delaware senator views the embassy as a settled issue under the Biden administration. “Less than a month into a new administration, Senator Carper is not interested in constraining the Biden administration’s ability to develop and conduct its own foreign policy in any area,” the Carper spokeswoman told JI. “That being said, the Biden administration has also said that it has no plans to move the embassy or to alter the level of operations there, so this principled vote to protect the president’s prerogatives should be a non-issue.”
New questions: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki raised eyebrows when she was asked at a press briefing on Friday about the embassy’s continued location in Jerusalem. “I have not talked to our national security team about it,” Psaki said. “I will venture to do that and circle back with you directly.” President Joe Biden stated during the campaign that he would keep the embassy in Jerusalem, a position that Secretary of State Tony Blinken reaffirmed during his Senate confirmation hearing last month. Hagerty quickly fired off a letter requesting clarification of the Biden administration’s policy.
What drives Irina Nevzlin?
As a child in Moscow, Irina Nevzlin knew she was Jewish but had little idea of what that meant. When she visited Israel for the first time at 13, with her grandmother, she became emotional when they arrived at the Kotel but didn’t know anything about the sacred site or why it moved her. “I had no previous knowledge or historical understanding, but I cried because I felt a deep connection,” Nevzlin told Jewish Insider’s Debra Nussbaum Cohen. Now 42, an Israeli citizen and one of the most prominent female Russian-Jewish philanthropists, Nevzlin is driven by her Jewish identity, which has led to a reimagining of the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, whose board she chairs.
Reimagining history: Beit Hatfutsot opened in 1978, focusing on the history of Diaspora Jewry, and culminating with aliyah, or immigration, to Israel. “The story that was told was outdated,” Nevzlin said. “I’m all for continuity. When the museum was conceived in the 1950s to open in the 1970s, it was [telling] a different story. The idea behind it was to keep the memory of the Diaspora and [then] we come to Israel” with everyone making aliyah, she said. “In 2006 the reality was that half of Jews lived outside of Israel and didn’t plan to change that.” Nevzlin led the $100 million fundraising campaign enabling the total transformation of the museum, which is located on the campus of Tel Aviv University. Almost everything about the museum — from the concept to its exhibits, from its floor space to technology and appearance – has changed.
New name: The museum will soon drop the ‘Beit Hatfutsot’ part of its name. Beit Hatfutsot, or Diaspora House, “is offensive and outdated. We are dropping it now. Do you want to be a Diaspora Jew or part of the Jewish people?” asked Nevzlin. She said that the new name will not honor a museum donor — though auditoriums inside the museum do — “because [the museum] is the story of the Jewish people, not the story of a donor.” The new name will be unveiled on February 21 at an event honoring both Nevzlin and her father, Leonid Nevzlin.
Home life: Nevzlin lives in Herzliya Pituach with her husband, Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, who is a former refusenik, and her two sons from a previous marriage. But it is the Museum of the Jewish People which occupies most of her time and energy. “When people ask me about my babies, first I mention the museum and then my two sons,” who are ages 9 and 12, she told JI with a laugh.
Singing praises: Misha Galperin, philanthropy advisor to the Nevzlin family, said Irina “is the sort of person most of the Jewish world has been pining for. She is young, charismatic, committed to Jewish causes, yet very open-minded. She gets things done; that’s probably the most important thing about her. That’s true of her work in philanthropy and business. She is going to be an extraordinary leader in the Jewish world and maybe beyond.”
Israel’s election campaign kicks into high gear
Following some last-minute dramatic developments, 39 political parties registered to run in Israel’s March 23 election, filing their paperwork by Thursday night’s midnight deadline. Jewish Insider‘s Amy Spiro lays out the political landscape with just six weeks to go until the vote.
Dropouts: Despite entering the race to great fanfare last year, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai pulled out of the election on Thursday and announced that his The Israelis Party would not be running. Ofer Shelach’s Tnufa pulled out earlier Thursday after negotiations between The Israelis, Tnufa and Labor failed to advance. And although Bayit Yehudi held a primary last month to elect a new leader, Hagit Moshe, she also announced on Thursday that the party wouldn’t be running, and instead endorsed Naftali Bennett’s Yamina in return for the promise of a future ministerial position.
No deal: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been pushing behind the scenes for Bayit Yehudi to combine with both The National Religious Party, led by Bezalel Smotrich, and the extremist far-right Otzma Yehudit led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, in order to ensure that right-wing votes don’t go to waste to parties that don’t cross the electoral threshold. Ben-Gvir had earlier signed a deal with the extreme anti-gay party Noam, which opposes allowing women to run on their list, but compromised in order to pave the way for a wider national-religious list. But Moshe ultimately did not back Smotrich as expected, and her endorsement of Bennett — who has declared he is running for prime minister — is considered a blow to Netanyahu.
Polls: Though 39 parties are officially in the running for the national election, the latest polls indicate that only around 12 will make it above the 3.25% threshold required to enter the Knesset. The parties that are currently polling at or near the threshold include Blue and White, The Religious Zionist Party, Meretz and the United Arab List. Netanyahu’s Likud is hovering around 30 seats, with Yair Lapid‘s Yesh Atid predicted to pull in 16-18, Gideon Sa’ar‘s New Hope 13-16 and Yamina 11. No candidate for prime minister appears to have a clear and easy path toward garnering the 61-seat support needed to form a coalition.
Compromise? “If the parties wanted to, they could all form a government behind Netanyahu’s back,” pollster and campaign analyst Dahlia Scheindlin told JI last week, ahead of the registration deadline. Scheindlin noted that Likud is polling around 30 seats, “and 120 minus 30 is 90,” which leaves the remaining parties plenty of leeway to form a government. Even if you don’t include the Joint List, which is unlikely to join a government, she said, “there’s plenty of permutations you can think of that get you to 61 without Likud. But the way we’re seeing things going right now, the party leaders are being so uncompromising about unifying their lists… it doesn’t bode well for the kind of compromises they would need to make to form the kind of coalition they all say they want.”
Mira Resnick joins the State Department
The State Department announced the hiring of longtime Capitol Hill staffer Mira Resnick as deputy assistant secretary for regional security on Friday. The move is a return to Foggy Bottom for Resnick, who worked as a congressional liaison in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2011-2013.
Background: Resnick most recently served as the senior professional staffer for Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), and previously worked in the offices of Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Steve Israel (D-NY), Ron Klein (D-FL) and William Keating (D-MA). In the mid-2000s, she worked at AIPAC.
New role: Resnick will oversee the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers and the Office of Security Assistance, dealing with the transfer of defense equipment between countries as well as security sector assistance programs.
Praise rolls in: The former House staffer’s appointment was met with praise from across the political and ideological spectrums. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Toby Dershowitz said Resnick will bring “so much skill, wisdom and thoughtfulness” to the job, while Foundation for Middle East Peace President Lara Friedman called her a “a foreign policy superstar.” The hire was also praised by Democratic Majority for Israel and Americans for Peace Now. Track record: Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, who has known Resnick for more than a decade, told JI’s Melissa Weiss that Resnick “was a really excellent partner to the executive branch during both the Obama and the Trump administrations, and advancing important U.S. security relationships in the region, obviously with Israel, but also with all states and with Egypt and Jordan.”
Managing relationships: In Resnick’s new role, Shapiro explained, “she’ll be managing those security partnerships, as well as others globally… which requires kind of a very in-depth understanding of what the U.S. interest is, and what U.S. benefit is derived from security cooperation with those nations — how U.S. security assistance and arms sales to those countries can advance those U.S. interests, where sometimes lines have to be drawn and various conditions have to be met to enable certain kinds of security cooperation to go on. And, you know, I think she’s duly equipped to handle all those sometimes very tense, very technical negotiations.”
🤔 COVID Questions: The New York Times’s Isabel Kershner examines a rise among some ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel leaving their communities, spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted their daily routines. “When I had a lot of time to think, the questions flooded up again,” said one woman. [NYTimes]
✍️ Literary Assault: In The New Yorker, comic book artist Alex Ross spotlights “The Great Gay-Jewish Poetry Brawl of 1829,” in which Jewish poet Heinrich Heine and gay writer August von Platen exchanged escalating homophobic and antisemitic writings in a now-infamous “sorrowful spectacle.” [NewYorker]
🕊️ Expanding Peace: In The Wall Street Journal, Robert Nicholson laments that while the Abraham Accords help further peace between Muslims and Jews, Middle East Christians are being left behind. “No population needs peace more than Christians. Yet the largest Abrahamic faith still has no seat at the Abrahamic table.” [WSJ]
🗳️ Gearing Up: New York Times reporter Alexander Burns explores how Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is “cozying up” to the progressive wing of his party to fend off a potential 2022 primary challenge. Freshman Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said Schumer was the first to call to congratulate him and vowed that “without a doubt, he deserves to be reelected.” [NYTimes]
Around the Web
🧑⚖️ Free to Pray: In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a California COVID-related regulation prohibiting indoor religious services, but allowed restrictions on capacity.
💊 Corona Cure: Scientists at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv say they have developed a “breakthrough” coronavirus drug that they say has already cured 30 patients.
🦠 Ways to Go: Israel’s top public health official said Sunday that the country will not be able to achieve herd immunity until a vaccine for children is approved.
🔥 Backpedal: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) walked back claims that Israel had burned down Palestinian villages, claiming he had been referring to settlers lighting trees on fire.
💸 Cutbacks: The United Arab Emirates cut more than $50 million in funding to UNRWA in 2020 ahead of its normalization agreement with Israel.
🇦🇪🇮🇱 Cooperation: The UAE foreign minister told U.S. Special Envoy on Iran Rob Malley that the Gulf state is committed to working with the Biden administration to restart dialogue with Iran.
🚨 Alarm Bell: U.N. inspectors found indications of undeclared nuclear activities at two facilities in Iran that are now shut to foreign inspectors.
⚖️ Delayed Justice: German prosecutors indicted a 95-year-old woman, who worked at the Stutthof concentration camp, on 10,000 counts of accessory to murder.
💉 Front of the Line: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will reserve the first 750 COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated to homebound seniors for Holocaust survivors and their spouses.
⛔ Outbreak: Three Orthodox Jewish day schools in Baltimore have had COVID-19 outbreaks during the past two months.
🕍 Tribe Ties: Members of a small community in Uganda are facing hurdles in their battle to seek recognition by the State of Israel as practicing Jews.
🕯️ Remembering: Fashion designer and activist Ruth Dayan, the former wife of Moshe Dayan, died at 103.
Song of the Day
Israeli band Jane Bordeaux has released a new single, “Difficult Woman,” featuring rapper Echo.
Broadcast journalist and five-time Emmy Award winner, Ted Koppel turns 81…
Boston attorney and author, his book on Jews and baseball was turned into a play called “Swing, Schmendrick, Swing,” Larry Ruttman turns 90… Stand-up comedian, singer and actor, Robert Klein turns 79… CFO of the Morris A. Hazan Family Foundation, Lovee Arum turns 77… Therapist and life coach based in Wake County, N.C., Sheila Kay turns 76… Founder and owner of the Israel-based Merhav Group, Yossi Maiman turns 75… Columbus, Ohio-born attorney and president of Schottenstein Legal Services, James M. Schottenstein turns 74… Former CEO of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York (Albany), now an executive coach and nonprofit consultant, Rodney Margolis turns 74… Town and village justice in Red Hook, N.Y., he is also president of the New York State Magistrates Association, Judge Jonah Triebwasser turns 71… CEO of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation, Charles S. Cohen turns 69… Private equity investor and operator, Marc Lauren Abramowitz turns 68… Founder and president of BlackRock, a recent chair of the board of UJA-Federation of New York, Robert S. Kapito turns 64… Chief rabbi of the IDF, Brigadier General Eyal Moshe Karim turns 64… Senior director of synagogue affiliations and operations for United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Barry S. Mael turns 63… Chairman of the board of trustees of the Hudson Institute, Sarah May Stern turns 62…
British businessman and chairman of the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur, Daniel Levy turns 59… Former member of the Knesset for the Jewish Home party, Shulamit “Shuli” Mualem-Rafaeli turns 56… Chairman of Andell Inc. and former owner of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, Andrew Hauptman turns 52…Attorney, rabbi and New Jersey political consultant, Benjamin G. Kelsen turns 49… Israeli musician, Eviatar Banai turns 48… Member of the Knesset for the Labor party until his retirement from politics a few days ago, Itzik Shmuli turns 41… Founder of DC-based JTR Strategies, Jenny Thalheimer Rosenberg turns 41… Former senior counsel to the Inspector General at USAID, Adam Kaplan turns 39… Former chief of staff to then Attorney General Bill Barr, William Ranney Levi turns 37… Retired professional ice hockey center, Trevor Smith turns 36… Former clerk on the Ninth Circuit and now a staff attorney at Public Justice, Alexandra Brodsky turns 31… Legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Celia Glassman turns 28… Canadian jazz-pop singer-songwriter, Nicole “Nikki” Rachel Yanofsky turns 27… Pitcher in the Miami Marlins organization, he is also on Team Israel slated to play at the 2021 Olympics, Jake Layton Fishman turns 26… J.D. candidate in the class of 2023 at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Samantha Grosinger turns 24… Strategic consultant for nonprofits and founder of Invisible Kids TLV, Michal Nordmann…