👋 Good Monday morning!
Naftali Bennett became the 13th prime minister of Israel on Sunday after the Knesset voted to approve the coalition he formed with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, now the country’s alternate prime minister and minister of foreign affairs. More below.
President Joe Biden spoke to Bennett on Sunday to congratulate him on his victory. According to a White House readout, Biden noted “his decades of steadfast support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and his unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” Arieh Kovler noted that the call came at a busy time for the president — amid the G7 gathering and during Biden’s first trip abroad since taking office — a tweet liked by Biden’s chief of staff.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — far from exiting Israeli politics — has become leader of the opposition in the Knesset. Netanyahu held a transition meeting today with Bennett, in place of a formal inauguration.
House Republicans, including Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), signaled their intent to pressDemocratic leaders over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) comments last week comparing the U.S. and Israel to terrorist organizations by putting out a pair of letters on Friday calling for the Minnesota congresswoman to be removed from some or all of her committee assignments.
According to Punchbowl News, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is expected to offer a privileged resolution removing Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated on Sunday that Democrats will not unilaterally penalize Omar and calling her “a valued member of our caucus.” More below.
Biden is in Brussels today for the first day of the annual NATO meeting, following the conclusion of the G7 summit in Cornwall, U.K. In a joint statement Sunday, G7 leaders affirmed their commitment to continuing negotiations with Iran, but European diplomats were quick to warn soon after that more time was needed before a deal could be reached. The Vienna talks resume a sixth round of negotiations this week after reaching a standstill last month.
NATO member countries will reportedly announce opposition to deploying land-based nuclear missiles, a move aimed at easing tensions with Russia ahead of Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week. Putin denied reports ahead of the meeting that Russia planned to send satellite spyware to Iran. Reports of the spyware, which would be capable of observing U.S. military movements, was seen as a test for Biden in the days before his much-anticipated meeting with the Russian leader.
Biden will meet separately today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks aimed at quelling rising tensions between the U.S. and Turkey — including after Biden’s official recognition in April of the Armenian genocide. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One yesterday that the meeting between the two leaders will include discussion of Iran and Syria.
Israel’s 36th government signals change, on multiple fronts
Following a day of high emotions and unruly behavior in the Knesset, Israel’s 36th government was approved and seated on Sunday. The “change government,” which earned its moniker from the unifying goal among the parties within it, ousted now former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 consecutive years in power. This across-the-board coalition spans the far-left to the far-right, representing change in several additional ways: Israel’s first religious prime minister, the first time an independent Arab party has taken part in forming the government, the far-left’s first time in a government since 2001, a record nine female ministers and the country’s second-ever Muslim minister, one of this government’s two Arab ministers. At 27 ministers, it’s Israel’s third-largest government ever. The ministers, who will take their seats today, include:
Prime Minister, to rotate to Interior in 2023: Naftali Bennett, Yamina
Alternate Prime Minister & Foreign Affairs, to rotate to Prime Minister in 2023: Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid
Deputy Prime Minister & Defense: Benny Gantz, Blue and White
Deputy Prime Minister & Justice: Gideon Sa’ar, New Hope
Finance: Avigdor Liberman, Yisrael Beytenu
Education: Yifat Shasha-Biton, New Hope
Interior: Ayelet Shaked, Yamina
Health: Nitzan Horowitz, Meretz
Transportation: Merav Michaeli, Labor
Environmental Protection: Tamar Zandberg, Meretz
Public Security: Omer Bar-Lev, Labor
Communications: Yoaz Hendel, New Hope
Economy: Orna Barbivay, Yesh Atid
Labor & Social Services and Social Affairs: Meir Cohen, Yesh Atid
Energy: Karin Elharrar, Yesh Atid
Diaspora Affairs: Nachman Shai, Labor
Intelligence Services: Elazar Stern, Yesh Atid
Tourism: Yoel Razvozov, Yesh Atid
Religious Affairs: Matan Kahana, Yamina
Culture and Sports: Chili Tropper, Blue and White
Aliyah and Integration: Pnina Tamano-Shata, Blue and White
Agriculture and Rural Development & Development of the Periphery, Negev, and Galil: Oded Forer, Yisrael Beytenu
Construction & Ministerial Liaison to the Knesset: Ze’ev Elkin, New Hope
Regional Cooperation: Essawi Frej, Meretz
Science and Technology: Orit Farkash Hacohen, Blue and White
Social Equity: Meirav Cohen, Yesh Atid
Minister in the Finance Ministry: Hamed Amar, Yisrael Beytenu
Knesset Speaker: Mickey Levy, Yesh Atid
Finance Committee chairman: Alex Kushnir, Yisrael Beytenu
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman: Ram Ben Barak, Yesh Atid
Law and Constitution Committee chairman: Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Labor
Aliyah and Diaspora Affairs Committee chairman: Yair Golan, Meretz
In the coalition agreement forming this government, broad promises were made, including: investigation of the Mount Meron Lag B’Omer disaster that killed 45 in April, imposing a two-term limit for the premiership, encouraging ultra-Orthodox participation in the workforce, reforming mental health for IDF veterans, increasing digitization of government services, setting a national goal for 15% employment in high-tech, policing illegal construction in Area C and reforming national service for minorities.
Republicans call on Democratic leadership to strip Ilhan Omar of Foreign Affairs seat
House Republicans waded into the controversy surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and comments made by the Minnesota lawmaker last week that appeared to equate the U.S. and Israel with the terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban. Omar walked back the comments on Thursday after pushback from a group of a dozen Jewish Democratic lawmakers. Two groups of Republicans — 15 legislators in total — sent letters on Friday to Democratic leaders urging them to reprimand Omar by removing her from some or all of her committee seats, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
On notice: One letter, led by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), calls on Democratic leadership to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Malloitakis’ letter was signed by GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), August Pfluger (R-TX), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Bill Johnson (R-OH).
Full sweep: The other letter, led by Gimenez, is addressed to Pelosi and calls for Omar to be stripped of all of her committee posts. It also accuses Omar of “fueling antisemitic violence against Jewish communities” and argues that her Foreign Affairs slot “sends a dangerous signal to our allies and our adversaries alike that the United States tolerates anti-Semitism.” Gimenez’s letter was signed by Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI), Chris Jacobs (R-NY) and Young Kim (R-CA), as well as Malliotakis and Salazar.
Standing firm: Pelosi indicated in a Sunday CNN interview that Democrats have no plans to punish Omar for her remarks, and partially defended Omar’s comments. “We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification,” Pelosi said. “Congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus. She asked her questions of the Secretary of State. Nobody criticized those, about how people will be held accountable if we’re not going to the International Court of Justice. That was a very legitimate question. That was not of concern.”
Pressing the issue: Republicans are reportedly considering forcing a floor vote on Omar this week, potentially to strip her of her Foreign Affairs seat or censure her. “I certainly don’t think that option [is] off the table,” Gimenez spokesperson Danny Javita told Jewish Insider, when asked if Gimenez would introduce or support a resolution to remove Omar from her committee seat. “Right now, we are focused on ensuring Speaker Pelosi holds herself to her own standards and holds Rep. Omar accountable.” Jacobs told JI he would “support any effort to hold her accountable for her harmful words.”
Andrew Yang, Eric Adams and the battle for Orthodox Jewish support
Before Andrew Yang announced his bid for New York City mayor in January, upending what until then had seemed like a fairly stable Democratic primary field, the favorite candidate for Orthodox Jewish support throughout the five boroughs was, by most accounts, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain who is building his campaign around a public safety message amid an uptick in violent crime across the city. Adams has maintained long-standing ties with Orthodox leaders, which he has leaned on to propel him ahead of the crowded field ahead of the June 22 primary. Now Yang, the 46-year-old mayoral hopeful who rose to national prominence as a presidential candidate, is aggressively courting the Orthodox vote with a similarly straightforward message, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Brooklyn beat: Until recently, it seemed as if Yang had all but locked up Hasidic support in Brooklyn. In April, after placing first in a number of public polls, Yang earned the support of a coalition of Hasidic sects in Borough Park, followed by endorsements from two influential Orthodox elected officials — Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and City Councilman Kalman Yeger — who represent the neighborhood. “The relationship that Andrew has built with Orthodox communities around the city in a relatively short time, the concern in very real ways that he has demonstrated to us about the challenges that we face in the city, surpasses any other candidate in this race,” Yeger told JI in a blunt assessment.
Community outreach: Adams appears to have upped his Orthodox outreach in recent months, running an ad in Yiddish casting him as a Jewish community stalwart with a long history of helping yeshivas and other institutions. He has managed to rake in a number of endorsements from Orthodox groups in Queens, Staten Island and now Brooklyn, where he earned the backing of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition as well as the Chabad community in Crown Heights.
Pivot: Tensions seem to have culminated during a meeting with Satmar leaders in which Adams spoke threateningly after it became clear that he would not be earning their support, according to sources familiar with the discussion. Adams’s campaign denies this account, which was first reported by Politico and confirmed by JI. Last week, however, the minority Satmar faction suddenly reversed course and went with Adams — a decision coinciding with new polling indicating his emergence as the apparent frontrunner with just over a week remaining until the primary. “If you have a friend that helped your community, who was here for you,” Rabbi Moishe Indig, a leader of the Aroni Satmar sect who denied backpedaling on the endorsement, reasoned, “it’s not fair to just dump him and throw him under the bus and just take a new guy.”
Playing politics: Whether such endorsements from the Orthodox community will help carry Yang to victory remains to be seen. “This is an attempt to show their power, and that will be tested,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran Democratic consultant in New York. “They’d better hope that Yang wins. That’s the other side of it. Because if not, nobody owes them anything.”
🕵 Leading Lady: In Air Mail, Stuart Heritage writes about the little-known Pippa Latour, a South African-born British spy who was one of 500 women sent into Nazi-occupied France by the U.K.’s Special Operations Executive army. “A cat burglar by the name of ‘Killer’ Green taught her how to pick locks with improvised keys. Policemen from Asia, well versed in the violence of the Shanghai underworld, taught her the art of silent killing. She was sent to the wilds of Scotland for extreme physical training, drilled to send Morse code at a rate of 24 words a minute, and underwent vigorous lessons in sabotage, espionage, and assassination.” [AirMail]
👑 Complicated Coup: The Washington Post’s David Ignatius presents an account of the alleged Jordanian royal coup attempt, tying it to long-standing pressure on the Kingdom from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to make concessions on Jerusalem and Palestinian interests, in order to pave the way for Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords. “The Jordanian turmoil surprised observers, some of whom suspected that Abdullah was overreacting to family politics. But a careful reconstruction of the story, gathered from U.S., British, Saudi, Israeli and Jordanian sources, shows that the pressure on the king was real and had been building since Trump began pushing for his mega-peace plan, with Netanyahu and MBS as key allies.” [WaPo]
🕍 Retrospective: GQ’s Peter Keating and Shaun Assael look at the life of Frazier Glenn Miller, a neo-Nazi leader who in 2014 killed three people at a Jewish Community Center and retirement home in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. “Miller was a hate-crime trendsetter who anticipated the evolution of white power in modern America. As a propagandist, he pushed white identity politics through a self-published newsletter and, long before the dawn of social media, set up telephone hotlines where listeners could hear slurs and jokes. As an organizer, he helped unite Nazis and Klan members, and recruited and trained military and paramilitary personnel. As a soldier, he amassed a frightening cache of weapons, and eventually took up arms himself.” [GQ]
Around the Web
💉 Scientific Study: An Israeli study found that the COVID-19 vaccine is beneficial not just for those who are inoculated, but also those around them, who are less likely to contract the virus in the event they come into contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.
⚛️ Frank Talk: The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said it was “essential” for there to be a nuclear deal in place with Iran.
🤝 Atomic Alternative: The New York Times editorial board proposed an alternative to a full return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: a nuclear-free zone in the Persian Gulf.
📿 Magical Discovery: Archeologists discovered a fifth to sixth-century Jewish mystical amulet bearing God’s name, designed as a protection against the Evil Eye and demons.
🤵♀️ Community Ties: Following a virtual meeting between the White House and a range of Jewish organizations, administration officials are saying they will soon announce a special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism as well as a Jewish liaison; Emory University historian Deborah Lipstadt is reportedly the top candidate for the special envoy position, and a number of candidates are still being considered for the liaison role. In April, the administration tapped Erika Moritsugu to be senior liaison to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
✈️ Transit Trouble: Jewish leaders in Germany condemned an incident at the Frankfurt Airport in which a Torah ark inside an airport prayer room was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti.
🧍 Offensive Charm: Krakow’s alderman for cultural affairs, Robert Piaskowski, condemned figurines of Orthodox Jews sold in Poland as a charm for financial success and called for their removal.
💵 Betting Big: Insight Partners, a New York-based venture capital firm, is raking in billions of dollars from investments as Israeli startups Monday.com and WalkMe go public.
🚓 Symbols of Hate: Capitol Police spent more than $90,000 between 2018 and 2019 in emergency response team trainings facilitated by a company whose social media and logo use symbols associated with the white supremacist movement.
💲 Count Me Out: Gordon Sondland, a longtime Republican donor and former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the EU, has ceased political campaign contributions after being implicated in Trump’s Ukraine scandal.
🎓 Campus Beat: Patrisse Cullors, a Black Lives Matter co-founder who in 2015 called “to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel,” delivered the commencement address at a virtual graduation for UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.
✔️ Union Talk: The union representing all CUNY professors passed a one-sided condemnation of Israel for its actions during the recent conflict in Gaza.
📕 Book Bind: Elin Hilderbrand removed a passage from her new book, The Golden Girl, in which characters joked about Anne Frank, after readers complained the conversation was insensitive and antisemitic.
🎶 Tik Tok: JewishTik Tok creators reported that the platform has recently censored posts that condemn antisemitism or feature Jewish topics.
🏪 Problematic Poster: An antisemitic sign claiming “Jews are new Nazis” was erected outside a hookah shop in Paterson, N.J.
🏠 Higher Appeal: Friends of Lubavitch announced it is appealing a decision in a zoning case about an addition to a Chabad house in Baltimore.
👶 Mazel Tov: Corey Jacobson, legislative director in the office of Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), and his wife, Annie Maco, welcomed a baby girl on Friday.
🕯️ Remembering: Filmmaker Milton Moses Ginsberg died at age 85. Herb Sturz, a former deputy mayor of New York City for criminal justice and member of The New York Times editorial board, died at age 90.
Pic of the Day
Boxes in the Knesset opposition leaders office lay prepped for Israeli Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s move out, in a picture taken by Yesh Atid pollster Mark Mellman.
Member of Knesset (1988-2003) and twice Israel’s minister of finance, he is the son-in-law of former Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol, Avraham “Beiga” Shochat, pictured speaking with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, turns 85…
Civil rights activist, June Shagaloff Alexander turns 93… Retired Soviet nuclear scientist, now writing from Skokie on Jewish intellectual spirituality, Vladimir Minkov, Ph.D. turns 88… Retired U.S. District judge for the District of Maryland, Marvin Joseph Garbis turns 85… Dr. Beryl Geber turns 84… Senior fellow at Project HOPE, she directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the Bush 41 administration, Gail R. Wilensky turns 78… 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump turns 75… Former French U.N. ambassador and ambassador to the U.S., Jean-David Levitte turns 75… Russian-born businessman and philanthropist, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017, Sir Leonard “Len” Blavatnik turns 64… CEO at M+R Strategic Services, William Benjamin “Bill” Wasserman turns 62… President of Blue Diamond HR LLC, Michelle “Shel” Grossman turns 60… President of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., Maud S. Mandel turns 54… Head of news partnerships at Facebook, Campbell Brown turns 53… SVP at Weber Shandwick until last month, Daniel M. Gaynor turns 40… Australian fashion model, author, and philanthropist, Kathryn Eisman turns 40… NYC-based businessman, Pavel Khodorkovsky turns 36… Former deputy assistant secretary at HUD and then senior advisor at OMB, Paige Esterkin Bronitsky turns 31… Campaign coordinator at Safer SF Without Boudin, Lilly Rapson turns 30… Copywriter at Campaign Inbox, Julia Cohen turns 26… J.D. candidate in the class of 2022 at Chapman University School of Law, Jacob Ellenhorn turns 26… Freelance writer based in Vienna and the Europe editor for Moment, Liam Hoare… Joanna Lerner…