👋 Good Tuesday morning!
David McCormick has stepped down from his position as CEO of Bridgewater Associates as he prepares for a Senate bid in Pennsylvania. In a statement Monday, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio announced that Israeli-born Nir Bar Dea and Mark Bertolini would assume the co-CEO position of the world’s largest hedge fund. More below.
Speaking on the second anniversary of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Suleimani, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi threatened retaliation against the United States unless former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo face trial for ordering the targeted killing.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nidesextended his “deepest condolences to the families and friends of the two @IAFSite aircrew members who died in last night’s helicopter crash,” in a tweet. “May their memories be a blessing. I am also praying for a swift and full recovery of the other crew member who was injured,” he wrote.
Are Israel and Iran competing on the same side in Ethiopia?
When reports surfaced a few months ago that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had deployed combat drones in his government’s fight against local militant groups, Israel was paying close attention. Sharing the concerns of other nations, including the United States, that the fighting could destabilize Africa’s second most populous nation, Israelis were also troubled by which countries were among those supplying the East African nation with the latest armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks reports.
Iranian involvement: Diplomats and analysts monitoring the 13-month-long civil war in Ethiopia, a fight between government forces and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a regional force that once controlled the federal government, have determined that these arms came from three main sources: Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and, particularly concerning for Israel, Iran.
Sensitive position: Iran’s influence on the African continent is not new. The Islamic Republic is known for spreading its extremist ideology, whether via terror proxies or financing mosques and cultural centers, in certain African states. But its appearance in a new conflict, in a country with which Israel has particularly warm relations — including providing arms and military assistance in the past — as well as a place where an already vulnerable Jewish community resides, has placed Israel in a sensitive and curious position.
Strange bedfellows: “It does make for strange bedfellows that Israel and Iran would seemingly be on the same side in a conflict,” Cameron Hudson, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, told JI. Just last week, Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Aleligne Admasu, posted photos on Twitter of aid Israel donated to the Ethiopian Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, saying it was for “the war-displaced people in Ethiopia” and “a symbol of Israel’s diplomatic and people-to-people commitment to Ethiopia.”
View from Washington: “Iran’s intervention in Ethiopia should be triggering alarm bells in Jerusalem that it will use these drones as an instrument of political influence and terror,” FDD’s Mark Dubowitz explained. “Israel is in an awkward situation because of its ties to Ethiopia,” Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran told JI, also warning that there has been “an uptick in arms exports and terror, especially in recent months — with Ethiopia as ground zero for both.”
Strategic asset: Observers also say that for Tehran, Ethiopia is a strategic asset – close to the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen – and the ideal location to wield its influence and build political connections, particularly after losing its traditional base in Sudan, which last September seized control of multiple lucrative assets belonging to Hamas, one of Iran’s main proxies. The move came less than a year after Sudan normalized ties with Israel.
One-off event: So far, Israel has downplayed Iran’s appearance in Ethiopia, hoping the drones sale was a one-off event for a leader desperate to stay in power and that a cease-fire soon will leave Ethiopia free of sanctions. In the meantime, the Jewish state is trying to balance its concerns with sensitivities amidst a renewed push to bring to Israel up to 5,000 Ethiopian nationals whose relatives have already made aliyah. There are roughly 160,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent currently living in Israel, including a government minister and a member of Knesset, and many still have relatives in Ethiopia.
Nir Bar Dea tapped as Bridgewater’s new co-CEO
Nir Bar Dea, the new co-CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, didn’t just climb the corporate ladder — he soared up it. A mere seven years ago, he was writing speeches for Israel’s Mission to the United Nations. On Monday, in a quick, if unconventional, career arc, the Israeli-born Bar Dea was promoted to co-lead Bridgewater Associates, Jewish Insider’s Jacob Miller reports. Bar Dea, 40, will be joined by Mark Bertolini, 65, to replace David McCormick, who stepped down to prepare for a Senate run as a Republican in Pennsylvania.
Israeli roots: Bar Dea had a five-month stint working for Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor as a speechwriter, helping the career diplomat in the aftermath of the 2014 conflict with Gaza.
Quick rise: Bar Dea entered finance in 2015, starting at Bridgewater as a management associate, where he made a mark merging the research, portfolio construction, and trading departments into a single investment engine, which he ran beginning in 2019. His meteoric ascent continued in February 2021, when he was promoted to deputy CEO, helping McCormick manage the firm and respond to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial finesse: Bar Dea, who hails from Even Yehuda, outside of Netanya, in Israel, holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and studied finance at IDC Herzliya, now Reichman University. In 2020, he was named in Fortune’s “40 Under 40 in Finance,” owing to his quick response to the coronavirus pandemic when he swiftly relocated the firm’s investment engine office outdoors so that employees could safely work without losing the proximity of an in-person office.
Ten books to read in January
In the fifth installment of a series exploring new and upcoming books, the team at Jewish Insider previews top titles coming out in January:
The Son He Left Behind: A Historical Novel Based on a True Story, by Yitzhak Bar-Yossef (Jan. 9): Former Yediot Ahronoth journalist Bar-Yossef looks at his own complicated relationship with his father, who reenters the young Bar-Yossef’s life years after abandoning the family. When Bar-Yossef’s mother dies when he is 11, the adolescent, raised in a religious home in Jerusalem, must learn to exist in his secular father’s world.
The Cigar Factory of Isay Rottenberg: The Hidden History of a Jewish Entrepreneur in Nazi Germany, by Hella and Sandra Rottenberg (Jan. 11): If not for the research done by his granddaughters, the story of Isay Rottenberg’s fight to reclaim his cigar factory would be lost to history. The two cousins, who until 2017 knew little of their grandfather’s wartime business endeavors, spotlight his creative, and often dangerous, efforts to keep his factory open in Nazi Germany.
Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom, by Carl Bernstein (Jan. 11): The author of six books — half of them, including All the President’s Men, written with collaborator and fellow journalist Bob Woodward — Bernstein, one-half of the duo that brought down the Nixon presidency, reflects on his early life and the beginnings of his career arc. That journey took him from his youth in New Jersey to dropping out of college to becoming a breakout Washington Post reporter, whose writing would change the course of American history.
🗳️ Blue Boss: The Washington Post’s Marianna Sotomayor looks at the debate within the Democratic Party over who will succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the party’s leader in the House next year, when she is widely expected to step down from her role, amid a power struggle among different ideological factions within the caucus. “Whoever replaces Pelosi will face the daunting task of presiding over the increasingly tense debate about whether Democrats will be the party of the activist left or of a center-left coalition that can appeal to a broader segment of America in the struggle with an ever more populist and nationalistic Republican Party. It’s a debate that is already raging as Democrats scramble to rescue the main pillar of Biden’s agenda that would expand education, health-care and climate change programs and has led to deep acrimony between liberal and centrist members about what the party has promised voters and what it will actually deliver.” [WashPost]
🕊️🪖 State of the World: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) suggests in the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration approach upcoming talks with Iran and Russia with hard-handed diplomacy backed by credible military threats. “Russia has massed its troops on Ukraine’s border, ready to invade it and subjugate its people. Iran has continued to increase its enrichment of uranium and move closer to building nuclear weapons. It has improved its long-range ballistic missile capacity so it can attack its enemies in the Arab world and Israel as well as American military personnel and bases in the region. The governments of Vladimir Putin and Ali Khamenei have increased the oppression of their citizens, violating the values at the heart of America’s foreign policy… A great Roman general said a long time ago, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’ That is wise counsel worth following with Russia and Iran in 2022.” [WSJ]
🔊 Call to Action: In the New York Daily News, former Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen call on the Biden administration to designate domestic white supremacist groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). “The FTO designation would empower the State and Treasury Departments to hinder the travel of terrorists to the U.S.; criminalize support to designated groups; block the movement of assets to those groups; and allow for the Justice Department to prosecute individuals for providing material support to these groups. To supplement this domestic initiative, the Biden administration could also make this a priority by creating an informal working group of countries to combat this global issue, led by the United States. The fight against white supremacist extremism must be at the center of our national efforts to save our democracy. Confronting it directly by acting against the global nature of this threat is essential to rolling back the insurrectionist threat against our people and institutions. Until then, the danger to our democracy will continue to grow.” [NYDailyNews]
“It Could Happen Here” – A Powerful New Book on Striking Back Against Antisemitism
As CEO of ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt has made it his personal mission to demonstrate how antisemitism, racism, and other insidious forms of intolerance can destroy a society. In his newly released book, It Could Happen Here, Jonathan offers a bracing primer on how we—as individuals, as organizations, and as a society—can strike back against antisemitism and hate. Just because it could happen here does not mean that the unthinkable is inevitable.
“In this refreshingly candid read, Jonathan is not afraid to call out leaders of tech companies like Facebook and Twitter to be more accountable for their company’s role in spreading hatred. Get off Instagram and read this book” – Sacha Baron Cohen
Around the Web
📴 Unfriended: Facebook temporarily suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) personal account for posting misinformation about COVID-19, one day after Twitter permanently barred the freshman lawmaker’s personal account on that site.
👬 Fast Friends: Former President Donald Trump endorsed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for reelection on Monday, touting the controversial leader’s economic achievements.
👱♀️ Prairie State Politics: Trump also endorsed Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), who was criticized for quoting Adolf Hitler in a speech in Washington before the Jan. 6 riot and is mounting a primary challenge against Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) in the state’s 15th Congressional District.
🏠 WeRent: WeWork founder Adam Neumann has acquired a majority stake in over 4,000 apartments across the U.S., with plans to create a rental company.
🖼️ Painting Passage: A French writer’s effort to recover her family’s property, which had been looted during WWII, uncovered fresh evidence of efforts by Nazis to hide their efforts to acquire Jewish-owned art.
🇮🇷 Alarming Attacks: On the two-year anniversary of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, drones targeted Baghdad’s airport and Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen seized an Emirati ship, while the state-run Tasnim News Agency launched a Hebrew-language site.
🛫 Opening Up: Israel announced it will partially reverse its COVID-19-driven border closures, allowing in visitors from “orange” countries with medium risk who have immunity to the coronavirus. Visitors from the U.S. and U.K., which remain “red countries,” are still barred from entering Israel.
🤰 Equal Rights: Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced today that members of the LGBTQ community will be permitted to arrange surrogate pregnancies in the country, starting next week.
✡️ Contested Candidates: Israeli officials remain in a stalemate over who will succeed former Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog, who left the post to serve as Israel’s president.
🛑 Instagram Freeze: Bloomberg’s Bobby Ghosh warns that Iran’s internet crackdown, which is likely to restrict access to Instagram, will cut off a major source of income for many Iranians who rely on the app to support their businesses.
📰 Transition: The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold will join The New York Times’s Washington bureau as an investigative reporter.
⚾ Cut Loose: MLB Network severed ties with reporter Ken Rosenthal following his criticism of Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred.
🕯️ Remembering: Holocaust survivor Freda Wineman, who survived multiple concentration camps and dedicated decades of her life to sharing her testimony with students and members of the public, died at 98. Former Israeli Knesset member Mordechai Ben-Porat, a key player in rescuing 130,000 Iraqi Jews and bringing them to Israel, died at 98.
Pic of the Day
After dramatically leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, wide receiver Antonio Brown has reportedly returned to his home in Florida, an 18,000-square-foot house that includes a synagogue (pictured). “I got a lot of Jewish friends, and a synagogue is where you bless up,” Brown told Complex magazine in 2018.
English celebrity chef, restaurateur and television star, Rick Stein turns 75…
Founder and president emeritus of the Alliance for Justice, Nan Aron turns 74… Retired major general in the IDF, former member of the Knesset for Likud and a nephew of Moshe Dayan, Uzi Dayan turns 74… Television producer for CBS and co-author of three novels, Karen Mack Goldsmith turns 72… CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, Charles N. “Chip” Kahn III turns 70… Former member of Knesset for the Meretz party, Zehava Gal-On turns 66… Author of the New Yorker‘s satirical Borowitz Report, Andy Borowitz turns 64… Author of 31 best-selling mystery novels and thrillers, Harlan Coben turns 60… Health care editor at Politico, Adriel Bettelheim turns 59… Professor of Jewish history at both the University of Munich and the American University, Michael Brenner turns 58… Founder of AnyDate personalized gifts, ShareSomeFriends and Upstart Ideas, Michael Eglash turns 54… Television and film actor, Josh Stamberg turns 52… Professor of economics and strategic management at UCSD, Yuval Rottenstreich turns 51… SVP in the Austin-based public strategy firm Mercury, he was the first Jewish liaison in the Bush 43 administration, Adam Blair Goldman turns 50…
American living in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where he serves as head of international relations at Adjacent Possibilities Corp, Daniel Zaretsky turns 50… Historian and NYT best-selling author, Joshua Michael Zeitz turns 48… Founder of Darshan Yeshiva and spiritual leader of Kehillah Jewish community in Richmond, Va., Patrick Beaulier turns 39… Senior broadcast producer at “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” Ben Mayer turns 38… Pedagogical coordinator at Bender JCC of Greater Washington, Alex Band turns 36… SVP at DC-based public affairs firm The Herald Group, Marc Brumer turns 35… Strategic advisor for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Samantha Slosberg turns 34… Center fielder for MLB’s New York Mets, Kevin Pillar turns 33… Director of development at Industrial Media, Emily Tess Katz turns 32… Investigative editor at The Washington Monthly, Eric James Cortellessa turns 31… Associate editor at The Washington Monthly, Gabby Birenbaum… Litigation associate in the NYC office of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, Alexander Abraham Langer… Chicagoland’s Judah Gavant…