👋 Good Wednesday morning!
Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin, a former Carlyle Group executive who was a trustee at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, will head to the governor’s mansion in Richmond after a competitive gubernatorial race that saw the first-time candidate rally support in the final weeks of his campaign to best former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia. The Associated Press called the victory for Youngkin at 12:37 a.m. EDT. Read our interview with Youngkin from June.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a Virginia resident, told Jewish Insider that RJC’s annual conference in Las Vegas this weekend “will be even sweeter with the strong victory for Glenn Youngkin.” Just like Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s 2009 victory in Virginia “presaged our wave of 2010, we’re confident that the GOP will regain the majorities in [the] House and Senate in 2022,” Brooks added.
The results “will be a wake-up callfor Dems in Virginia,” said former Virginia Delegate Debra Rodman. “The Republicans are running a culture war agenda. We need to respond to their racist, dog-whistle politics.” How should Democrats respond? “We get Dems in Congress to work together and not fight on CNN,” she added.
In New Jersey, the governor’s race is too close to call, with Republican Jack Ciattarelli leading Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy by roughly 1,200 votes.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Browndeclared victory on Tuesday night in his write-in campaign against India Walton, the Democratic socialist who beat Brown in the primary. Walton trails the write-in candidate by more than 10,000 votes.
Ben Rhodes, former White House deputy national security advisor under President Barack Obama, appeared to criticize progressives for focusing on reworking American history — which has become a contentious issue in races across the country. “One thing Obama did is talk about progressive change as a validation of American history and not a repudiation of it,” Rhodes wrote on Twitter last night.
In Boston, Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the city’s mayoral election, making her the first woman and person of color elected mayor in Boston’s history.
In Florida’s 20th Congressional District, the slim margin — several dozen votes — between Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Dale Holness, two of the 11 candidates vying to succeed late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), triggered an automatic recount to determine who will face GOP nominee Jason Mariner in January.
Shontel Brown is officially the representative-elect in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, three months after winning the Democratic special election primary against Nina Turner.
The Knesset is set to begin voting on the national budget today, a make-or-break moment for Israel’s unity government. If successful, this would be the first time in three years that a budget has been passed in Israel.
Addressing the cabinet today, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Passing the budget means ensuring the stability of the country, that it will function, and that the economy will grow and prosper. We have over 7% growth. We are pulling the country toward stability and there are those who are pulling it toward chaos, to more elections and to non-functioning. We are at the finish line and before us are exhausting days and long nights in the Knesset, but the budget will pass.”
The Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game Six of the World Series to secure their first championship in 26 years. Starting pitcher Max Fried earned the win with an impressive six shutout innings. In the bottom of the second, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman flied out off of Fried to Braves right fielder Joc Pederson in what was likely the most Jewish play in World Series history.
Republicans block U.S. ambassador to Israel but confirm U.S. ambassador to Canada
Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), blocked eight State Department nominees — including Tom Nides, the Biden administration’s pick to be U.S. ambassador to Israel — from being fast-tracked through the upper chamber on Tuesday evening, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports. Republican legislators did allow one nomination — that of David Cohen, the former chief lobbyist for Comcast, to be U.S. ambassador to Canada — to move through the Senate.
On the floor: A frustrated Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to the Senate floor on Thursday evening to request that the Senate confirm the nominees. “The only reason the Senate has not confirmed them is due to the political obstinacy of a couple of my Republican colleagues,” Menendez said. “How does holding our nominees to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel or the U.S. ambassador to Canada actually advance U.S. interests? It does not. It is seriously detrimental to our national security.”
Standard procedure: Most ambassadorial nominees typically move through the Senate by unanimous consent, a fast-track process that can avoid time-consuming floor debate and votes with the unanimous agreement of all present senators. The procedure was used to confirm Cohen.
Spotlight on Nides: When he objected to the Nides nomination, Hawley said he was objecting “on behalf of my colleagues.” Hawley said some of the other objections were being made “on behalf of my colleagues and myself.” Menendez lambasted Hawley for objecting to Nides’s nomination. “So we will have no ambassador in Israel as we deal with the challenges of Iran and others in the region,” Menendez said. “It is mind-boggling. All of those who get up here and talk about our ally, the State of Israel, the importance of the State of Israel, but we won’t have an ambassador there to help us meet the challenges that Israel has.”
More hurdles: Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are also blocking efforts to schedule a confirmation hearing for Deborah Lipstadt, the nominee to be the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, two sources familiar with the situation told JI.
Elsewhere: Frustration is growing on Capitol Hill over the Senate’s lack of progress on the must-pass 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House in late September.
Senate Republicans held a press conference Tuesday calling for Senate action on the bill. And House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) told reporters he’s “very distressed” and “extraordinarily frustrated” and called the lack of action “inexplicable.”
Smith added, “We’ve passed it, and it’s all sitting right there. And for some reason, [Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer’s (D-NY) just decided not to do it. It makes things more difficult… I have reached out to Schumer’s office, basically been told… ‘Leave us alone. We’ll get to it when we get to it.’ That’s not encouraging.”
The Howard Schultz of the right takes his coffee company public
A veteran-owned coffee company known for its support of law enforcement and the Second Amendment will go public by combining with a special-purpose acquisition company, the two entities announced yesterday, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
AK Espresso: Black Rifle Coffee Company was created in 2014 by Evan Hafer, a Jewish veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Green Beret and a CIA contractor. The beverage company came to be seen as a conservative counterweight to Starbucks, offering firearm-themed roasts like the AK-47 Espresso Blend and the Murdered Out Coffee Roast.
Cappuccino conservatives?: “Starbucks has been so successful at creating a multibillion-dollar market for specialty coffee in the United States that there are now most likely millions of latte drinkers who are not latte liberals,” Jason Zengerle wrote in a July profile of the company in The New York Times.
En vogue: Black Rifle Coffee has partnered with popular conservative media outlets and figures, and the brand became something of a fashion statement for conservatives during the Trump years.
Threading a needle on social media reforms in Israel
The problem is Talmudic in complexity: How to regulate the ill effects of social media platforms — algorithms that push people toward radicalism, the dissemination of false information and the spread of antisemitism and other forms of hate — without trampling on free speech and privacy rights? That knotty question, which no Western government has been able to answer even as the influence of the internet has evolved at breakneck speed, is now on the shoulders, in Israel at least, of Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, Jewish Insider’s Tamara Zieve reports.
Filling a void: Just back from a visit to the U.S., where he shared ideas with members of Congress and Jewish groups about ways to regulate social media platforms and hold them accountable for their actions, Hendel is getting to work. He is establishing two parliamentary committees to focus on the matter: one that he will head; and an umbrella committee to be led by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar. “As I see it, there was a vacuum in the last few years, and no one knew, actually, what the social media networks are doing and how the government should treat them — and I’m talking about democracies,” Hendel told JI in a recent interview.
Catching up: Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, head of the Israel Democracy Institute’s Media Reform and Democracy in the Information Age programs, told JI that legislation has lagged behind technology partly due to the faster pace at which the latter evolves. “Legislators are not necessarily tech savvy enough to understand and foresee implications of new technologies,” she said. “Finally, the big data companies are a force to be reckoned with and have a very powerful lobby in place to minimize overseeing regulations that might impact the bottom line.”
Listen and learn: During his visit to Washington and New York, Hendel discussed the topic with Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Telecom, Media and Broadband. Luján is, in turn, set to appear before Hendel’s committee to share ideas. “I want to learn from them,” Hendel said. “They are in a long process and I think that they can help and donate a lot to our discussion.”
Presented by Sapir
Today’s SAPIR releases bring an Israeli perspective to the continuity conversation, offering models from Israel that bring people together across real divides – religious, political, ethnic, and racial – to build a resilient, diverse Jewish future.
For the Common Good: Eilon Schwartz shares vital lessons for building a diverse Jewish future drawn from his work bringing Israelis of all backgrounds together to work for “the common good.” Identity matters: “Our futures are embedded in our ability to hold on to our own identity while creating bonds through our differences, rather than somehow trying to ignore or transcend them.” As do authentic and trusting relationships: “All good community-organizing work nurtures relationships as its core principle. Unlikely alliances are built on human relationships that create a foundation for working together, breaking out of viewing social change as one group pitted against another.” Read here.
Bridging Divides: Writer Jonathan Rosenblum, who entered Haredi Judaism as an adult, argues that continuity depends on being exposed to and engaging seriously with Jewish texts and rituals, whether or not one becomes religious. An excellent vehicle for such learning is personal relationships between religious and non-religious Jews. Such relationships also nurture a sense of Jewish connection across difference, and offer a glimpse into elements of Haredi life that can bring meaning to non-Haredim as well: “a sense of transcendence; a feeling of belonging to a community; an ability to tell a story that fashions a coherent narrative of one’s life; and finally, a feeling that one’s life has purpose.” Read here.
⚾ Flashback: The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions. The last time they won the World Series was 1995. Rabbi Emanuel Feldman wrote in Tradition in the spring of ‘96 about his attendance at the game that ended up on national television. “A high pop fly is veering foul this side of third base. Slowly it heads toward my section of the stands, gracefully it completes its parabolic arc, hangs in the air, and begins its descent. The ball comes closer; it is heading toward me. Suddenly I am eighteen years old again, and instinctively I find myself on my feet. I leap from the ground, reach backward for the ball, and feel the satisfying slap into my outstretched palm. I clutch it and tumble down into the row of seats behind me, where a dozen hands and arms break my fall. As soon as I sit down, the flagellation intensifies: What have you wrought here? You don’t belong here in the first place, and now you’ve gone and made a fool of yourself in front of thousands of people. The people around me cheer and applaud: ‘Great, Rabbi… Attaboy… Sign him up.’ They ask to see the ball. It is emblazoned with the words, ‘Official Ball, 1995 World Series.’ The usher comes over and hands me a certificate which reads: ‘Contract: Grandstand Outfielder for the Atlanta Braves.'” [Tradition]
🕍 A Rabbi in Riyadh?: The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Kalin and Rory Jones spotlight the efforts of one Jerusalem-based rabbi, Jacob Herzog, to position himself to one day become the first chief rabbi of Saudi Arabia. “Mr. Herzog, a dual U.S.-Israeli national, figured Saudi Arabia could be next, spurred by Prince Mohammed’s pledges to relax the kingdom’s strict social restrictions and attract more foreign talent. He said the crown prince’s plan to build a high-tech, futuristic city called Neom could eventually attract Jewish people to move there for work… During Mr. Herzog’s childhood in New York City — he moved to Israel for high school — he said he learned not to be intimidated by people who are different. ‘I realized you don’t need to be afraid to be who you are,’ he said. ‘Nobody’s crazy enough to do what I’m doing. You have to be from Greenwich Village and nuts.’” [WSJ]
👨⚖️ Roadblock: In the Washington Post, David Ignatius considers the hurdles faced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his legal battle against former Saudi official Saad Aljabri, who served as chief counterterrorism adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was deposed as crown prince in 2017. “The powerful crown prince, known as MBS, has accused the former spymaster, Saad Aljabri, of billions in fraud; in turn, Aljabri has asserted that MBS orchestrated the kidnapping of his children and tried to capture or assassinate him. Now, MBS is facing a series of legal and diplomatic setbacks that could derail his case against Aljabri while leaving him open to the counterclaim. Last week, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton ruled that Aljabri ‘cannot fairly defend’ himself against the fraud charge without disclosing ‘privileged information’ about U.S.-Saudi intelligence activities in which he was involved.” [WashPost]
Unite. Learn. Act. Now. Join ADL for our virtual Summit on antisemitism & hate. Register for free.
Webinar: Join the Brandeis Center on Wednesday, 11/3 at 2 pm ET for a webinar on “The Legal Case Against BDS”
Apply! Know a talented news junkie? JI is looking for a social media coordinator. Apply here!
Be featured: Email us to inform the JI readership of your upcoming event, job opening, or other communication.
Around the Web
↗️ New Gig: Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is joining the advisory board of the Council for a Secure America.
⚖️ Seeking Justice: Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt is set to testify today in the federal trial against organizers of the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
✝️ False Faith: A father and son in Arizona are accused of pretending to be Orthodox Jews and hiding their evangelical Christian identity — even performing rituals such as weddings and Torah-writing.
🗣️ Going Once: An auctioneer in Jerusalem has come under fire for the planned auction of a set of Auschwitz tattoo stamps, one of only three sets known to exist.
💻 Twitter Trouble: Reality television celebrity Ramona Singer liked a video in which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. equates vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany, and responded to the tweet “so true.”
👎 No Thanks: Palestinian families facing eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem rejected an Israeli court proposal that would give them tenancy rights for 15 years.
🙇🏻 Apology Tour: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered a personal apology to Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who has muscular dystrophy and was unable to participate in the first day of COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, due to the venue’s lack of handicapped access.
🤝 Bilateral Business: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with his Bahraini counterpart, Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, on the sidelines of COP26, a first for the leaders of the two countries with recently minted formal ties.
🇸🇩 Up in the Air: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll said that the fate of the Jewish state’s ties with Sudan are uncertain following a coup in the African nation.
✈️ Crisis Management: U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman, who has been working to help resolve the crisis in Sudan, is expected to arrive in Israel next week.
🔥 Unfriendly Neighbors: The Syrian army said Israel conducted an airstrike on military targets near Damascus early Wednesday, the second such strike in four days.
✍️ Team Up: The Defense Department formally established a U.S.-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group for collaboration on defense development and procurement issues. The initiative was championed in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act and some members had sought to force the Pentagon’s hand through the 2022 defense bill.
📲 Ring Ring: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke on Tuesday about “Iranian regional entrenchment & its nuclear aspirations.”
Song of the Day
Israeli rock singer Berry Sakharof performs his song “Halaliot” (Spaceships) together with singer-songwriter Hanan Ben Ari at the Tamar Festival.
Actress and model, Diana Silvers turns 24…
Chancellor emeritus of The Jewish Theological Seminary where he also served as a professor of Jewish history, Ismar Schorsch, Ph.D. turns 86… Major League Baseball pitcher with more career victories (174) than any other Jewish pitcher, Ken Holtzman turns 76… U.S. Senator (D-Hawaii), Mazie K. Hirono turns 74… Resident of Great Barrington, Mass., and a part-time researcher at UC Berkeley, Barbara Zheutlin turns 72… Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Medicine and a professor at Yale University, James Rothman turns 71… Rabbi emeritus at Temple Anshe Sholom in Olympia Fields, Ill., Paul Caplan turns 69… Actress, comedian, writer, and television producer, Roseanne Barr turns 69… Comedian and commentator, Dennis Miller turns 68… Manuscript editor, lecturer and author, Elliot Jager, Ph.D. turns 67… Award-winning Israeli photographer, Naomi Leshem turns 58… Regional director of development for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Jeanne Epstein turns 57… Entrepreneur in residence at Loeb Enterprises II, Edward Stelzer turns 53…
VP for federal affairs at CVS Health, she was the White House director of legislative affairs in the Obama administration, Amy Rosenbaum turns 50… Founder of AKM Consulting, Amie Kershner turns 43… Partner at political consulting firm GDA Wins, Gabby Adler turns 41… Agent at Creative Artists Agency, Rachel Elizabeth Adler turns 38… Actress who won three Daytime Emmy Awards for her role on ABC’s “General Hospital,” Julie Berman turns 38… Director of external communications at Southern Company Gas, Robin Levy Gray turns 36… Managing director at Guggenheim Partners, Rowan Morris turns 36… Executive director of the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association, Yael Averbuch West turns 35… Former Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, he is a co-founder of D.C.-based Compass Coffee, Michael Haft turns 35… New York State Senator from the 46th district, Michelle Hinchey turns 34… Director for China on the National Security Council, Julian Baird Gewirtz turns 32… Applied data scientist lead at Civis Analytics, Ben Kirshner turns 29… Account director at Group SJR, Caroline Michelman turns 29… Director of media outreach at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, Noy Assraf turns 26… Stu Rosenberg…