👋 Good Monday morning!
Ed. note: As the holiday season wraps up,the Daily Kickoff will return on Thursday.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will address the United Nations General Assembly this morning. According to reports, Bennett’s maiden U.N. speech will call for action against Iran’s nuclear program. Bennett, who reportedly wrote the speech himself, also took guidance from author and philosopher Micah Goodman, whose theory includes “shrinking” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The prime minister will meet with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres following his address at the GA, and later in the day, he will also meet with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Bennett will also speak this afternoon at a meeting of The Jewish Federations of North America, his first on-the-record meeting with the American Jewish community since taking office earlier this year. The prime minister will return to Israel early Wednesday morning. Accompanying Bennett on his trip is Keren Hajioff, who was just appointed the prime minister’s international spokesperson. Hajioff previously served in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
On Sunday, Bennett met with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and UAE Minister of State Khalifa Shaheen Almarar.
The New York Times’s Adam Rasgonhighlighted the Bennett government’s efforts to engage with Palestinian counterparts, outreach that has included giving residency to thousands of undocumented Palestinians, as well as the approval of Palestinian housing units in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, said his government would reconsider its recognition of Israel next year if territorial issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not resolved.
Germany’s Social Democrats won a narrow victory over the Christian Democratic Union party of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel in the federal election to choose the members of the 20th Bundestag, the worst showing for the CDU in its history. With no outright majority, the leading parties are set to begin negotiations to form a governing coalition and choose the next chancellor.
This week is a moment of truth for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and the group of centrist Democrats he led in support of quick passage of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had promised a vote by today, but said on Sunday the vote would be delayed to Thursday. It’s still unclear if the bill currently has enough support to pass.
Matt Dolan walks an uncharted path in Ohio’s Republican Senate primary
Former President Donald Trump has yet to make an endorsement in Ohio’s crowded Republican Senate primary, but one candidate can be sure he won’t be getting the nod. Hours after Ohio state Sen. Matt Dolan declared his candidacy last Monday, he received a sharply worded rejection letter from the ex-president, pejoratively characterizing him as a “Republican in name only.” Not that Dolan, 56, was expecting it would go any other way, reports Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel. Dolan has made clear that he isn’t actively seeking Trump’s support — in contrast to the other Republican candidates locked in competition for an endorsement.
Against the grain: For one, Dolan wholeheartedly supported the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal negotiated by outgoing Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), in spite of Trump’s vocal opposition to the bill. The other GOP candidates all bashed the spending package. “I can only guess I’m the only person who supported it because President Trump said he wouldn’t endorse anyone who did,” Dolan said in a recent interview with JI. “My opponents all failed the very first test — that they’re going to follow politics before they follow what’s in the best interest of Ohio.”
Toeing the line: Despite his readiness to part ways with the former president on select issues, Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Indians, is quick to suggest that he largely approved of the former president’s agenda — even if the feeling isn’t mutual. The two-term state senator and former state representative lists a number of issues on his campaign site that suggest he is in line with the other Republican candidates in substance if not style, employing such terms as “socialist Democrats,” “election integrity,” “critical race theory” and “securing the border.”
Eye on Israel: On Israel, there is little to no distance between Dolan and his opponents, who have all expressed staunch support for the Jewish state. Dolan said he would have voted in favor of providing $1 billion to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, as the House did last week after a contentious floor debate. “The Iron Dome is essential for Israel to protect itself,” he said. The other GOP Senate candidates told JI after the vote that they supported the spending as well.
‘Republican ideals’: Still, Dolan’s candidacy represents an unorthodox path in Ohio, where Trump’s base appears to remain energized as he mulls running in the 2024 presidential election. But Dolan said it would be misguided to view his Senate bid as a test of Trump’s salience within the Republican Party. “If we want an America that’s better and we want an Ohio that’s better, then you need somebody like me who’s pushing conservative Republican ideals that have produced results,” Dolan told JI. “That’s what I think this race is about.”
Little Sesame offers an education in hummus for the Washington set
After the coronavirus pandemic sent sales at Little Sesame’s two downtown locations into a tailspin, the chefs at the Washington hummus restaurant figured it would be easy to create a packaged version of its popular hummus to sell in local grocery stores. It’s just a few ingredients, they thought. Right? “It’s a whole new business. There’s a lot of learning we had to do,” Little Sesame co-founder Nick Wiseman told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch in a recent interview. After nearly a year of experimenting with acidity levels and pasteurization, Little Sesame’s hummus hit shelves at 13 Whole Foods locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia over the summer.
Off the shelves: Little Sesame opened its first brick-and-mortar location in 2018. Its two storefronts are in Chinatown and Farragut Square, two business districts that have yet to see a mass return of office workers. But “we couldn’t be happier” with sales at Whole Foods, said Wiseman.
Honoring tradition: Wiseman created Little Sesame with his cousin, Dave Wiseman — a lawyer, not a chef — and Ronen Tenne, an Israeli chef with whom Wiseman worked as a line cook at a restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Michael White in New York. “We always dreamed of opening our own place one day,” said Wiseman. Little Sesame wasn’t the trio’s first project. Washington foodies will recall their previous restaurant, DGS Delicatessen, a Jewish-style deli that paid homage to the region’s Jewish food heritage. It was named for District Grocery Stores, a 20th-century grocery cooperative that at its peak comprised 300 stores, most of which were owned by Jewish immigrants from Europe.
Trendlines: The partners’ journey from a deli to an Israeli hummus restaurant could be seen as a broader trend in American Jewish food culture playing out in miniature: a move beyond Ashkenazi foods like smoked salmon and bagels to include Sephardic and Mizrahi cuisines. But Wiseman is quick to note that Little Sesame’s influences go beyond Israel. “It is inspired by Israel, but it’s reflective of the food of the entire region,” he said.
on the hill
The House advanced Iron Dome funding. Here’s what’s next.
The House of Representatives voted 420-9, with two present, last Thursday to provide $1 billion to Israel to replenish its Iron Dome missile defense system. Eight Democrats — Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Andre Carson (D-IN), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Marie Newman (D-IL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jesús Garcia (D-IL) and Cori Bush (D-MO) — voted against the Iron Dome supplemental funding. Republican Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), a libertarian generally opposed to foreign aid, also voted no. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Hank Johnson (D-GA) voted present.
Strong Message: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who was part of the pro-Israel group that pushed for this vote, told JI, “It was a really gratifying vote to be able to demonstrate [Democratic support for Israel] and also to push back on some of the really ridiculous hypocrisy that came from the Republican side,” Wasserman Schultz said, noting that “any lingering doubt in the pro-Israel community about the overwhelming support [in] the Democratic Party for the U.S.-Israel relationship… should have been erased by the evidence of 96% of our caucus voting in support.”
Lingering Issues: Despite the vote’s outcome, some pro-Israel members remained frustrated with the events that led up to Thursday’s vote. “I’m not happy with everything that we went through to get here. I think that was unnecessary because there truly is broad bipartisan support, almost unanimous,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said. “The biggest takeaway… is that neither party should use issues related to Israel as a political football.” She added, “Combining the support for Iron Dome with other pieces of legislation… really muddled this.”
Spotlight on AOC: Ocasio-Cortez, who changed her vote from “no” to “present” at the last minute and was seen crying on the House floor, released a statement on Friday apologizing for her vote and making clear she opposed the funding. While some commentators suggested that Ocasio-Cortez changed her vote to appease pro-Israel voters in future elections in New York, New York-based Democratic strategist Stu Loeser called that idea “nonsense.” In an interview with JI on Friday, he said, “She’s been very clear in her views. Nobody who’s a one-issue voter is going to vote for her.”
Outlier: Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) was the only member of the “Squad” of far-left Democratic lawmakers who voted in favor of the Iron Dome funding, after opposing including it in a government funding bill earlier in the week, citing process concerns. According to Loeser, who lives in Bowman’s district — which includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester County — Bowman has discussed the issue with pro-Israel voters in the district. “I know he heard from a lot of his constituents… that this issue mattered,” Loeser said. “[Iron Dome] saves Israeli lives, it saves the lives of his constituents when they’re in Israel.”
Read more here.
What’s next: Punchbowl News reported this morning that the Senate may attach the funding to an upcoming continuing resolution. A Senate source tells JI that Schumer ran a “hotline” to pass the bill by unanimous consent, which was met with an objection. Schumer can either ask consent to pass the funding bill without a vote, file cloture to deal with an objection or try to attach it to the continuing resolution that will go back to the House.
empire state of mind
With an eye on Albany, Zeldin targets antisemitism in education
As a legislator in Washington since 2015, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) has largely focused on federal issues. But the Long Island congressman, who spent four years in the New York state Senate before seeking higher office, is looking to return to Albany. In April, Zeldin announced a challenge to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the state’s 2022 gubernatorial race. In an interview with Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod, the New York Republican, in a pivot to state-centric issues, spoke about his focus on rooting out antisemitism in education.
Eyes on Education: Last month, he called for an investigation into New York City public school teachers who accused Israel of “ethnically cleansing Palestinians.” In June, he criticized City University of New York’s faculty union for passing an anti-Israel resolution. Weeks later, he called for the firing of a CUNY School of Professional Studies adjunct professor for a sermon he delivered at a New Jersey Islamic center calling for Muslims to “erase this filth called Israel.”
Quotable: “No one, from a teacher in grade school to someone in higher education to faculty administration, should be in charge of a kid’s education if they’re going to be bringing these views in or near the classroom,” he told JI. “We need to root out antisemitism to its core and ensure that we don’t have a next generation of educators and students being brainwashed to hate the way that we see some currently in education aspiring towards.” The congressman said he has chosen to speak out on antisemitism in education in particular because he sees a “push inside of higher ed[ucation] promoting the BDS movement more than ever before.”
Crackdown: Zeldin argued that public funding to schools, from elementary level to institutions of higher education, should be “leveraged to ensure that there’s more accountability” and “zero tolerance for this hate.” The New York congressman, who represents the eastern end of Long Island, also said that New York needs to be more strongly enforcing its current policies regarding antisemitism, particularly its 2016 executive order cutting off business with companies engaging in Israel boycotts, by applying that executive order to Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever. The ice cream maker recently announced that it was ending sales in the West Bank, calling it “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” “The state should be cutting off business and making an example of Unilever,” Zeldin said.
Upcoming: He also said that Congress can take several steps to help advance the fight against antisemitism. “That’s an issue too — those who are in positions to legislate, not only can pass bills, but many can speak out more, and that helps in increasing pressure,” Zeldin said. According to a spokesperson, the congressman is currently collecting sponsors for a reintroduction of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a bill he introduced in 2020 with 63 Republican cosponsors and one Democrat, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), who represents Nassau County on Long Island. The bill would bar entities from participating in boycotts or requests for boycotts by international organizations such as the United Nations and European Union, with fines as penalties.
🤝 Looking Ahead: In the Wall Street Journal, Wisam al-Hardan, one of several hundred Iraqi activists who recently met in Erbil and called for the Iraqi government to join the Abraham Accords with Israel, writes that the move would help to heal wounds caused by the expulsion of Jews from the country in the mid-20th century. “We have a choice: tyranny and chaos, or legality, decency, peace and progress. The answer is clear. Just as we demand that Iraq achieve federalism domestically, we demand that Iraq join the Abraham Accords internationally. We call for full diplomatic relations with Israel and a new policy of mutual development and prosperity.” [WSJ]
🖼️ On Display: In The Atlantic, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt spotlights a small but growing community of artists within the Orthodox community who challenge the norms of creativity. “In the Judaica shops of Monsey and Brooklyn, for instance, you’ll find that classic Orthodox art is uniform — rabbis, Hasidim dancing, Jerusalem landscapes, Western Walls, Torah scrolls, violins. Women are rarely portrayed… In recent years, though, there’s been an uptick in artists who, like [Shoshana] Golin-Cahn, are trying to make nonconformist artwork while remaining observant and staying within the folds of their community. A new generation of American Orthodox Jews that has been exposed to the wider world through the internet is finding ways to create, ask questions, and tell its truths while firmly rooting itself in religious practice.” [TheAtlantic]
🕵️ Herr Hezbollah: In Haaretz, Yossi Melman profiles Gerhard Conrad, a former officer in Germany’s federal intelligence service known in Germany as “Herr Hezbollah,” who helped negotiate numerous prisoner exchanges between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah. “The deals are always considered as bad on both sides, and will be contested by those who feel that too much has been conceded to the ‘enemy’ for too little in return,” Conrad said. “Many will be disappointed for not being ‘on the list,’ others will be deeply frustrated to see the killers of their beloved ones free and triumphant. Responsibility weighs heavily on the respective decision-makers’ shoulders; political accountability can be demanding or even be dangerous.” [Haaretz]
Around the Web
🗣️ Making the Case: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told JI he “made a plea” to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to overrule U.K. health officials who moved a Jewish toddler to palliative care against the wishes of her family.
🎭 Winner: Actor Danny Burstein, who played Tevye in the 2015 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” won a Tony Award on Sunday night for best featured performance in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”
⛔ Anti-normalization: An Iraqi court issued arrest warrants for several attendees of a conference in the city of Erbil on Friday, in which more than 300 people called for normalization with Israel.
🍦 Making the List: Texas added Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever to its list of companies that boycott Israel. State-run pension and investment funds are prohibited from investing in companies that appear on the list.
💰 In Talks: Barry Diller’s IAC is in discussions to purchase magazine giant Meredith Corp., a deal valued at more than $2.5 billion.
🏡 Real Estate Purchase: A U.S. company owned by the Dubai-based DAMAC Properties is expected to bid $120 million for the two-acre oceanfront property that was formerly the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers.
📸 Candid Camera: A former employee of the Israeli security company Black Box said the firm monitored pop star Britney Spears’s digital communications and audio from her bedroom at the direction of Spears’s father.
🏕️ Tis the Season: Bloomberg CityLab spotlights innovative sukkahs that make use of small spaces and communal areas.
🎤 Scene Last Week: Israeli MK Nir Barkat spoke at a Hudson Institute roundtable in Washington about the future of the Likud party, Israel and U.S.-Israel relations. Attendees included Mike Doran, Scooter Libby, Doug Feith, Rich Outzen, Cliff May, Shoshana Bryen, William Wechsler and Ken Weinstein.
📚 Book Shelf: In the Wall Street Journal, Diane Cole reviews James Traub’s Judah Benjamin: Counselor to the Confederacy, a new book that chronicles the life of the often-elusive Louisiana senator, Confederate cabinet member and, after fleeing the U.S., English barrister.
👋 Exit Strategy: New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker submitted his resignation to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
✍️ Sign-off: The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten pens his final humor column after more than two decades of syndication.
☢️ Compliance Complications: Iran is reneging on its commitments with the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency to replace memory cards in its nuclear equipment so the international watchdog can monitor Iranian nuclear activity.
⏱️ Clock is Ticking: Iran’s foreign minister said the country’s nuclear negotiators plan to return to discussions “very soon.”
💸 Property Battle: Sudan seized several companies linked to Hamas that are believed to have transferred funds to the Gaza terror group.
🏗️ Building Back: Reconstruction of Gazan homes destroyed during the 11-day conflict with Israel in May will commence at the beginning of October, using Qatari aid to finance the humanitarian rebuilding project.
🪖 West Bank Clashes: Two Israeli soldiers were injured and five Palestinians killed on Saturday night during clashes in a series of anti-Hamas operations across the West Bank.
📈 Booming Business: Israel’s tech boom is changing Tel Aviv, but exposing rifts in Israel’s multicultural society.
💼 Transitions: The Biden administration announced the nomination of real estate developer Michael Adler as ambassador to Belgium. Israeli scientist Eliezer Rabinovici was named president of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, for a one-year term. Edward-Isaac Dovere is joining CNN as a senior reporter next month. Former USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick was named the inaugural director of the Center for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue University.
🕯️ Remembering: Former Irish Labour minister Mervyn Taylor, the country’s first Jewish cabinet minister, died at 89. Sitcom director Jay Sandrich, who won Emmy Awards for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Cosby Show,” died at 89. Hollywood press agent Bobby Zarem died at 84. Historian and journalist who focused on China issues, Jonathan Mirsky died at 88.
Pic of the Day
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and girlfriend Rosario Dawson joined the Chabad East DC in its sukkah while out on Sunday afternoon.
Investor and pioneer in the commercial real estate industry, Sam Zell (born Shmuel Zielonka) turns 80…
Co-founder of The Home Depot and owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Arthur M. Blank turns 79… Of counsel, antitrust and business litigator at the Locke Lord law firm, Stephen J. Landes turns 76… Board member of the Milken Family Foundation, Ellen Sandler turns 72… Chairman of the Victoria Beckham fashion brand, Ralph Toledano turns 70… Longtime Washington correspondent and author, Dan Raviv turns 67… Former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Jeffrey M. Lacker turns 66… President of public relations at Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, Jeffrey H. Birnbaum turns 65… Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and married to a Minneapolis rabbi, Frank Hornstein turns 62… Comedian and author, Marc Maron turns 58… Chief rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia turns 58… Member of the House of Representatives since 2005, Debbie Wasserman Schultz turns 55… Associate producer at Elm Court Productions, Judy Tashbook-Safern turns 55… President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Michael Balaban turns 55… Deputy managing editor of The New York Times and a principal aide to the publisher, Rebecca Blumenstein turns 55… Hockey reporter for Sportsnet and the NHL Network, Elliotte Friedman turns 51… Deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum turns 48… President of The Center for Peace Communications, Joseph Braude turns 47… Musician, actress, writer, director and comedian, Carrie Rachel Brownstein turns 47… Former state treasurer of Ohio, now running for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, Josh Mandel turns 44… Architect, entrepreneur and author, Marc Kushner turns 44… Executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, Rori Picker Neiss turns 36… Advisory manager for cyber and strategic risk at Deloitte, Alexa Wertman Brown turns 31…