👋 Good Friday morning!
For less-distracted reading over the weekend, browse this week’s edition of The Weekly Print, a curated print-friendly PDF featuring a selection of recent JI stories, including: Ketanji Brown Jackson is the latest Supreme Court nominee who got her start at Nathan Lewin’s first firm; Orthodox Jewish groups rally against Daylight Saving legislation; Madeleine Albright’s foreign policy was forged ‘in the shadow of WWII’; Biden’s man in Brussels; Israel’s first ambassador to Morocco is building people-to-people ties; Abraham Accords Games to spotlight soccer diplomacy at Dubai Expo; For Holocaust educators in Poland, the war in Ukraine is more than just a teachable moment; and Oz defends dual Turkish citizenship and shift on fracking. Print the latest edition here.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken will travel to Israel and the West Bank this weekend, where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and President Isaac Herzog, as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Lapid will host a summit in Israel on Sunday and Monday for Blinken and the foreign ministers of the Abraham Accords signatory countries: United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Alzayani and Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita.
From Israel, Blinken will travel on to Morocco and Algeria. In Rabat, the secretary will hold a bilateral meeting with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. was “deeply disappointed and troubled” by the presence of Iranian military officials, as well as Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, at a defense conference held earlier this week in Doha, Qatar. Price noted that “transactions related to Iranian weapons are generally sanctionable under multiple U.S. authorities, including sanctions related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.”
IRGC Navy Commander Alireza Tangsiri — who is under U.S. sanctions — was in attendance at the gathering, reportedly despite assurances from Qatar that only Iranian defense ministry officials had been invited.
Speakers at this weekend’s Doha Forum in Qatar include U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry, Bill Gates, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), State Dept.’s Amos Hochstein, Malala Yousafzai, UNICEF’s Cathy Russell, former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) and Peter Beinart. See the full list here.
Beinart is speaking on a Sunday panel in Doha titled “Reshaping Palestinian Narratives: Who is Listening And Can it Make a Difference?” alongside the former legal advisor to the PLO Diana Buttu, AVAAZ’s Fadi Quran, British politician Sayeeda Warsi and USMEP CEO Daniel Levy.
The Nigerian startup hoping to solve Israel’s tech-worker shortage
A few days ago, Yuval Moed, the CEO of an Israel-based tech company, received a WhatsApp message from an employee of his in Ukraine. “Guys, today I have an air raid alert in my city almost all day, so I didn’t have much time to do [work],” the man wrote, Moed told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch. “I hope tomorrow will be a calmer day and I can do more.” Moed’s company EazyShow, a secure customer communications platform, plans to stand by its Ukrainian employees throughout the war. But even before war broke out in Ukraine, the Israeli high-tech industry was short on software engineers. Lately, Israeli companies have begun to understand that they can tap into the tech workforce in other regions. Africa has proven to be an attractive option.
Pushing the limits: Therearesome 15,000 Ukrainians working for Israeli tech companies, a crucial resource for a tech workforce that is brushing up against its limits in Israel. A report released in April 2021 by the Israel Innovation Authority and Start-Up Nation Central found that 60% of Israeli startups were struggling to recruit for their research and development teams. The Israeli government has announced plans to give out more visas to foreigners who seek to work in tech, and programs exist to train Arab Israelis and Haredim to work in the field.
Global ties: Cooperation between Israel and Africa is not new, particularly in fields such as agriculture and energy. But there has been limited collaboration to date when it comes to technology startups. In recent years, the tech sector in Africa has exploded, and many young Africans with a background in software engineering have sought opportunities in other countries and on other continents. According to a 2021 report from Google and Accenture, 38% of African software developers surveyed worked for a company located outside of Africa. One-third of those surveyed said they learned to code in order to pursue international opportunities.
Fill the gap: “The practical reality is that, yes, we now have a gap in the workforce for the digital economy globally, and Africa needs to fill that gap to some extent,” said Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, a general partner at the venture capital firm Future Africa. Aboyeji, who founded two African unicorn companies (each valued at $1 billion or more), understands the African tech sector better than almost anyone. He views the Israeli tech ecosystem as both a model for Africa and a source of collaboration.
African ambassadors: Through Future Africa, Aboyeji, who is based in Lagos, Nigeria, is an investor in TalentCo, an early-stage company that connects African software engineers with tech companies around the world. Israel has been a particular focus lately. “We prepare the engineers to be ready to engage with the Israeli ecosystem as ambassadors,” said Aboyeji, explaining that the benefits go beyond just getting the African coders a job: They get to be ambassadors in Israel for Kenya or Nigeria or South Africa, and they also get an education-by-fire from some of the top startups in the world. “We’re saying, Hey, would you like to work with the world’s best startup ecosystem? Would you like to work with Israel, Israeli entrepreneurs?’ And these are hand-selected for that experience,” he added.
Levin-Stevens forum highlights candidates’ differences on Middle East
The divides between Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Haley Stevens (D-MI) on Israel and Iran were on display on Thursday in a Jewish Democratic Council of America candidate forum for the two Michigan Democrats who are facing off in the Democratic primary in the state’s 11th Congressional District, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Taking credit: Levin pointed to his Two-State Solution Act, which he said would “resume American leadership,” to tout himself as “perhaps the leading Jewish member of Congress to try to actually take action to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution.” The legislation would, among other provisions, condemn Israeli settlements and evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes, as well as block Israel from using U.S. defense aid to annex new terroritory. “I don’t see a way to have a secure, peaceful future for a democratic homeland for my people unless we realize the political and human rights of the Palestinians,” Levin said. “I know it’s difficult. I know it’s controversial. I didn’t sign up for the easy work.”
Pushback: Stevens appeared to push back at Levin in her own response. “We are not going to get to a two-state solution by negotiating it as the United States of America or through the U.S. House of Representatives,” she said. “We need to foster an environment similar to what was done during other peace talks and negotiations so that both parties can negotiate a two-state solution talk, and we cannot do so under the presumption [of] encouraging Israel to make all the concessions in that process.” On the issue of military aid, Stevens said “the security assistance is exclusively for those purposes.”
Wait and see: Stevens — who signed a recent House letter opposing the Iran deal as outlined in public reports — said she was skeptical that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal would have prevented Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. She also expressed concern about the U.S.’s seesawing Iran policy during the past three presidential administrations. “I would encourage the Biden administration to be strong, to be consistent. And I would like to see what they are putting forward,” she said. “I’m not going to rule anything out. I want to see where it is. But I would prefer strength and consistency in that region.”
Deal or no deal: Levin expressed firm support for the 2015 deal as the “best solution available to deal with the threat of a nuclear Iran.” The congressman, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has received classified briefings on the issue, warned that Iran’s current breakout time is “virtually nothing.” “The horrible mistake that [former President Donald] Trump made in violating [the deal] and walking away [in 2018]… means we can’t get [Iran’s breakout time] back up to a year,” he said. “But we could get at least halfway there and, more importantly, freeze it there for years to come.”
palm beach preview
Jewish Funders Network conference kicks off Sunday
The agenda of the upcoming Jewish Funders Network conference, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday, covers a slew of issues affecting global Jewry — everything from rising antisemitism to Israel-Diaspora relations to climate change. But when asked what they expect to talk about in the hallways, attendees who spoke with eJewishPhilanthropy’s Ben Sales focused on two words: “Ukraine” and “COVID.”
Issue of the moment: “Part of it’s going to be Ukraine,”said Mark Charendoff, president of the Maimonides Fund, when asked about the biggest issues facing the conference and its 500 attendees. He added that for philanthropists, a common thread runs through the war and the pandemic: “For funders who like to be strategic… to what extent do you allow an emergency to change your strategy? It’s been two years of emergency funding, whether it’s social services, whether it’s Jewish institutions because of COVID, Israel and now Ukraine. So it’s not just how much of our energy and resources should go into what seemed like immeasurable needs… [it’s] how do you prioritize?”
Ukraine questions: The burning question about Ukraine, said Idana Goldberg, the new CEO of the Russell Berrie Foundation, is what to do now that Jewish groups have already committed vast sums of aid to the region. “There is so much money right now, it feels like, going toward Ukraine, both on the ground in Ukraine, to border countries to address the refugees and aliyah to Israel. And I think there’s a real thirst to understand what others are doing, and what can we be doing together, to rationalize, perhaps, or to coordinate efforts in a meaningful way,” she said.One attendee,who wished to remain anonymous to discuss a sensitive issue, said to expect chatter about the Genesis Philanthropy Group — and its three Russian Jewish co-founders who were sanctioned and recently resigned from its board. “I think this whole Russian oligarch thing is a crazy story, and I think it’s going to consume people in the quiet conversations,” the attendee said. “GPG is one of the biggest foundations funding Jewish life, and overnight it became kind of uncertain.”
Offline: The first thing attendees mentioned about COVID was how excited they were to be off Zoom: “Are we going to recognize each other from the neck down?” Goldberg quipped. JFN’s president and CEO, Andres Spokoiny, compared meeting in person after two years of virtual meeting to “jumping for the first time into the swimming pool. You’re going to enjoy it eventually, but the first step is going to be hard.”
Pandemic lessons: Funders also said they need to figure out how to internalize the lessons they learned during the virus’ early days and beyond: “I think that those kind of good grantmaking practices that became more prevalent during the pandemic — more listening to the grantees’ needs, more partnership with organizations, more general operating grants, lessening requirements — I really want to advocate for those practices to continue as we emerge, I hope, from this space,” said Lisa Eisen, co-president of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.
👨 Man to Watch: The New York Times’ Blake Hounshell and Leah Askarinam look at the influence wielded by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as the Biden administration nears a new nuclear agreement with Iran. “He is plugged in with Washington-savvy pro-Israel groups and with the politically active Cuban- and Venezuelan-American communities in South Florida. Sometimes in sync with the administration and often at odds with it, he is always to be handled with a healthy amount of respect and fear. ‘He’s somebody that you need on your side no matter what, so they’re very careful,’ said Juan Cruz, who served as a senior director for the Western Hemisphere during the Trump administration. [NYTimes]
💸 Community Conundrum: Tablet’s Armin Rosen explores the challenge facing Jewish communities around the world, which have benefitted from the philanthropy of wealthy individuals with ties to the Kremlin, as many of those individuals now face sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Russian oligarchs have become a part of the architecture of Jewish communal life, in the same way that they were accepted elements of the broader global economy until last month. Israel’s pragmatically warm relationship with Russia — whose army is deployed throughout neighboring Syria and effectively controls Israel’s ability to strike at Iranian targets there — was similarly treated as noncontroversial, or at least as no worse than the German establishment’s widely tolerated closeness with Putin’s regime. Fairly or not, the rules have now changed. As the war escalates, the choices facing Jewish organizations that receive money from wealthy Russian Jews, and who hope to reach Jews inside Russia itself, will only get more complicated.” [Tablet]
👴 Succession Scramble: In Foreign Policy, Dalia Hatuqa raises concerns about the future of Palestinian leadership as PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is nearing 90 years old, attempts to consolidate power amid declining levels of support among Palestinians. “Abbas’s brazen political jockeying and power centralization is meant to erode fledgling Palestinian democratic institutions to cement the president’s office as an all-encompassing autocratic base of operations — making it even more difficult for Palestinian civil society to craft a representative political model in the future… ‘It feels like the death of the PLO, honestly,’ said a Western diplomat in Ramallah, the West Bank, who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to comment on the situation. ‘Putting in place those who don’t enjoy popular support, in the absence of any electoral process, seems like a pretty clear way of making the organization irrelevant over the long run. It’s really unfortunate. The leadership is not doing a service to its people.’” [ForeignPolicy]
Around the Web
🇺🇦 Big Ask: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff told Axios’ Barak Ravid that while Ukraine appreciates Israel’s offer to mediate with Russia, the war-torn country wants more support, including weapons support and the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which Israel reportedly previously blocked Ukraine from purchasing.
💰 False Flag: A Ukrainian businessman with ties to the Kremlin reportedly paid Kharkiv residents to paint swastikas around the city as part of a false flag operation in the months prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
🏥 Get Well: The Israeli-run “Shining Star” hospital opened this week in western Ukraine, making Israel the first nation to operate a field hospital in the war-torn country.
🏀 Courting Controversy: The New York Times looks at how basketball star Enes Kanter Freedom’s political activism has affected his career.
📺 Streaming Shidduch: Netflix announced the upcoming series “Jewish Matchmaking,” which will air later this year, coming on the heels of its successful reality dating show “Indian Matchmaking.”
🎥 Curbed: A two-part Larry David documentary was pulled hours before it was set to air on HBO Max, with Puck reporting that David was unhappy with the final product, and the film has been shelved indefinitely.
🖼️ Art Attack: The grandchildren of a German Jewish art collector are suing the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston over a painting looted by the Nazis that they say the museum obtained through improper channels.
📈 Rising Rates: The deputy governor of Israel’s central bank suggested interest rates may rise “somewhat faster” than planned.
🕯️ Remembering: Composer and percussionist William Kraft, who spent 18 years as the principal timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, died at 98.
Pic of the Day
Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) is interviewed by AIPAC Northeast Political Director Jason Koppel during the AIPAC Real Estate Luncheon on Wednesday in New York. The luncheon attracted 600 attendees, with additional speakers including New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Prime minister of Israel, Naftali Bennett turns 50 today…
FRIDAY: Film and book critic, Gene Shalit turns 96… Rabbi, author and historian, Rabbi Berel Wein turns 88… Journalist and social activist, Gloria Steinem turns 88… Actor and director, Paul Michael Glaser turns 79… Mayor of Las Vegas, Nevada, elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015 and 2019, Carolyn Goodman turns 83… Senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and global fellow at the Wilson Center, Aaron David Miller turns 73… Former member of the Knesset and later Israel’s ambassador to Belarus, Yosef Shagal turns 73… Chair of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and chair of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Beth H. Goldsmith… Property manager and CPA, Glynis Gerber turns 69… Founding director of the initiative on communication and sustainability at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Andrew C. Revkin turns 66… Columbus, Ohio-based consultant in the dental sleep medicine field, Cynthia S. Levy turns 65… Executive director at Plum Community Center in Pittsburgh, Karen Hochberg turns 65… Film producer and former co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amy Pascal turns 64… Editor at Kaiser Health News, Arthur Allen turns 63… Retired IDF major general, Yoav “Poli” Mordechai turns 58…
Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and designer, Sarah Jessica Parker turns 57… Founding director of ATID and its WebYeshiva program and the editor of the Rabbinical Council’s journal “Tradition,” Rabbi Jeffrey Saks turns 53… Regional director for New Jersey and Rockland County in the Orthodox Union’s Department of Community Engagement, Rabbi Avi Heller turns 49… President of Mizel Financial Holdings, Cheston David Mizel turns 47… Partner at D.C.-based Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, Lauren Aronson turns 43… Boston-based director of media and public relations at Oxfam America, Alissa C. Rooney turns 42… YouTube personality and filmmaker, Casey Neistat turns 41… Actress, comedian and author, Jenny Slate turns 40… Political editor at the Associated Press, Steven Sloan turns 39… Author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism and publisher of Common Sense, Bari Weiss turns 38… Communications strategist based in Chicago, Meredith Shiner turns 35… Political director of Democratic Majority for Israel, Joel Wanger turns 34… Legislative director for U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Grant Cameron Dubler turns 33… Manager of pricing strategy at Walmart, Jordan Rossman turns 32…
SATURDAY: President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas turns 87… Argentine-born, Israeli clarinetist who specializes in klezmer music, Giora Feidman turns 86… Actor who has appeared in more than 60 films since 1964, including as Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather,” James Caan turns 82… Award-winning novelist and poet, Erica Jong turns 80… Southern California resident, Martin J. Rosmarin turns 71… Retired ENT surgeon, author of five books and former medical correspondent at ABC News and NBC News, Nancy Lynn Snyderman, MD turns 70… Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary, Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz turns 69… President and CEO of the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum, Edward Greenspon turns 65… Actress, in 2010 she was the winner of Season 11 of “Dancing with the Stars,” Jennifer Grey turns 62… Lori Tarnopol Moore turns 61… Patent attorney from Detroit, she currently serves on the Michigan State Board of Education, Ellen Cogen Lipton turns 55… Englewood, N.J., resident, Deena Remi Thurm turns 54… Co-founder of Google, Larry Page turns 49… Founder, president and CEO of Waxman Strategies, Michael Waxman turns 48… Talk show host who founded Israel Sports Radio, Ari Louis turns 39… Actress Carly Chaikin turns 32… Israeli judoka in the under 52 kg weight category, Gefen Primo turns 22…
SUNDAY: Music executive and chairman emeritus of Warner Brothers Records, he is a 2003 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mo Ostin (born Morris Meyer Ostrofsky) turns 95… Founder in 1961 of Business Wire, a news release service which he has since sold to Berkshire Hathaway, he has donated almost $800 million to charities, Lorry I. Lokey turns 95… Composer and violinist, he has been active in the presentation of new music and dance since the early 1960s, Malcolm Goldstein turns 86… Founder of one of the oldest and largest private equity firms globally, Thomas H. Lee Partners, Thomas H. Lee (family name was Leibowitz) turns 78… Former technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal and editor-at-large of Recode, Walter S. Mossberg turns 75… Executive director at Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue Club, Rachel Forman turns 75… Chairman and CEO of First International Resources in Fort Lee, N.J., Zev Furst turns 74… Sports agent who has represented the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft eight times, Leigh Steinberg turns 73…
Host of the “Matty in the Morning Show” in Massachusetts on KISS 108, Matt Siegel turns 72… Deputy director of leadership giving at Baruch College, Linda Altshuler turns 72… Former member of the Knesset, Yisrael Eichler turns 67… Director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany, Susan Neiman turns 67… Economist and banker in Latvia, Valerijs Kargins turns 61… Smooth jazz saxophonist, he has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dave Koz turns 59… COO of the Maimonides Fund, Daniel Gamulka turns 55… CEO of BBYO, Matthew Grossman turns 51… President of NYC’s Tenement Museum, Dr. Annie Polland turns 49… Founder and CEO of the Movement Vision Lab, Sally Kohn turns 45… Associate professor at Columbia University School of the Arts, Dorothea Lasky turns 44… Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, Jacob Hirsch Soboroff turns 39… Hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he starred for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Blake Shane Gailen turns 37… Adam B. Engel turns 33… Television and digital media producer, Daniella Greenbaum Davis turns 28…