👋 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: The American diplomat whose latest mission is tackling global antisemitism; Steve Irwin is familiar with unfamiliar territory; Is Mark Brnovich conservative enough for Arizona?; Detroit’s Janice Winfrey hopes to oust Rashida Tlaib; and Mark Walker is keeping the faith in North Carolina. Print the latest edition here.
Two people were killed and 13 injured in a terror attack in central Tel Aviv on Thursday night, bringing to 13 the number of people killed in terror attacks across the country in recent weeks.
Eytam Magini and Tomer Morad, both 27, were identified by Israeli officials this morning as the two individuals who were killed in the attack. Magini was a developer at Wix, which released a statement this morning that said the recently engaged Magini was “smart, full of charisma and had a million dollar smile.”
The assailant, identified as from the West Bank town of Jenin, was killed in a firefight with Israeli forces in nearby Jaffa after an hours-long manhunt that saw police go door-to-door looking for the attacker.
The shooting took place outside of Ilka, a bar on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street. Daniel Rubenstein, a licensed Israeli tour guide, had just walked past Ilka when he heard the gunfire. “I heard about six shots behind me. I turned around and saw panicked people scattering in every direction,” he told Jewish Insider hours after the attack. “As I was getting my bearings from a nearby alley, I saw people on Dizengoff running toward the scene of the attack. Medics came quickly. A couple civilians with guns drawn arrived. I saw men standing in a circle around someone who had fallen. When I realized that a manhunt was in progress, I ran into an apartment building.”
The area was busy on Thursday evening, the end of the workweek for Israelis. “Thursday night in Israel is like Saturday night in America,” Rubenstein explained.
Shortly after the attack, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted, “Horrified to see another cowardly terror attack on innocent civilians,” adding, “This has to stop!”
Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who was in Israel last month, said in a statement, “Americans are, once again, grieving with the Israeli people in the wake of another deadly terrorist attack, which took the lives of two innocent victims and wounded many more in Tel Aviv… We are closely following developments and will continue to be in regular contact with our Israeli partners, with whom we stand resolutely in the face of senseless terrorism and violence.”
Eleven Republican senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to accelerate the delivery of refueling aircraft, fighter jets and military helicopters to Israel in response to the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran.
“Your administration must urgently fulfill America’s obligation to help Israel defend itself by giving it the tools it needs to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran,” the letter reads. It reflects an emerging sentiment among some opponents of the Iran deal that an Israeli strike may be necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The letter was signed by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jim Risch (R-ID), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Scott and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced legislation yesterday seeking to block Amnesty International from receiving any federal funding in response to its report accusing Israel of apartheid.
Scott said in a statement, “Amnesty International has proven itself to be a sham of a ‘human rights’ organization that perpetuates anti-Semitic propaganda and refuses to hold the world’s dangerous and genocidal regimes accountable.” Scott’s statement also condemns Amnesty USA Director Paul O’Brien’s recent comments that Amnesty is “opposed to the idea that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people.”
Amnesty pushed back, describing the bill as “authoritarian tactics” and “an attempt to distract from and discredit” their research. The NGO compared Scott and Braun’s bill to the forced closures of its Indian and Hong Kong offices, Russian efforts to block internet access at its Moscow office and Turkish arrests of top Amnesty officials. “Antisemitism is antithetical to everything Amnesty represents as a human rights organization,” Amnesty added.
Top U.S. Mideast diplomat speaks to Jewish community ahead of Passover
The Biden administration is “working vigorously” on growing the Abraham Accords, which “created the opportunity for nothing short of transformation” in the region, Yael Lempert, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told members of the U.S. Jewish community on Thursday in a pre-Passover Zoom briefing, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports.
Desert vibes: “It’s usually the Sinai Desert that is at the top of mind, but this year, I really hope that what happened two weeks ago in the Negev desert also is discussed around Seder tables, because it was truly history in the making,” Lempert said, referring to the “Negev Summit” that brought together Secretary of State Tony Blinken and foreign ministers from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt last week. “Being there to witness it was a rare privilege, really inspiring and made me very hopeful about what lies in store in the future.”
Wave of attacks: Lempert began her briefing by mentioning the recent spate of terrorist attacks throughout the country. “I want to reiterate the administration’s condolences and outrage over the senseless terrorist attacks in Hadera, Beersheva and Bnei Brak that occurred over the past two weeks, killing 11 innocent people,” Lempert told the nearly 1,000 attendees on the call, which was hosted by the White House’s liaison to the Jewish community, Chanan Weissman.
Avoid escalation: The Biden administration is “working to prevent actions that raise tensions” and get in the way of a two-state solution, calling for both Israelis and Palestinians to take steps to avoid escalation. “Such actions include incitement to violence and payments to individuals convicted of terrorism, as well as settlement expansion, settler violence and home demolitions,” said Lempert. She praised the Israeli government for “recent positive steps taken to improve Palestinian lives” and referred to President Joe Biden’s recent signing of a bill that will provide Israel with an additional $1 billion for the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
No alternative: On the Iran nuclear talks, Lempert said the administration is “pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy” to return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but acknowledged the concerns of some in the Jewish community about those negotiations. “I understand that perhaps some on this call may have serious doubts about returning to the deal, and I respect that,” said Lempert. “I know the criticism. But our critics haven’t come up with an alternative.”
on the hill
Joint Chiefs Chair Milley wants to keep IRGC terror designation
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that he would oppose efforts to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ terrorism designation, which is reportedly a key sticking point in nuclear talks with Iran, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Speaking up: “In my personal opinion, I believe the IRGC Quds Force to be a terrorist organization and I do not support them being de-listed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization [list],” Gen. Milley said.
No comment: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was testifying at a budget hearing alongside Milley, declined to weigh in. “I won’t comment on negotiations that are ongoing and speculate on what my advice to the president is going to be,” Austin, a political appointee, said.
Guam goals: Milley also faced questions about the military’s test deployment of one of its two Iron Dome batteries to Guam. The deployment of the short-range air-defense system, which is not optimized for the long-range threats that are more likely in Guam, baffled some observers in the national security community, who called for it to be deployed to a more active combat zone like the United Arab Emirates. “To me, after visiting Guam a few months ago, that would be kind of like swatting flies,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) said.
Cheerleader: Milley described Iron Dome as part of the military’s “layered” missile-defense system in the Pacific. “It’s a great system and it’s a very accurate system and it’s got a very good track record and there’s all kinds of utility for it in a wide variety of environments, so I’m a big fan of the Iron Dome,” Milley continued.
Man arrested for impersonating federal agent had Iran visas
One of two men arrested by federal agents on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for allegedly impersonating federal law enforcement officers had an Iranian entry visa dated just before the alleged scheme began, prosecutors claimed in a hearing on Thursday, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Background: Haider Ali and Arian Taherzadeh were arrested by the FBI, which also raided their apartments at a luxury apartment building in Washington, on Wednesday. Federal authorities say they impersonated federal officers and offered gifts to various legitimate federal officers, including a member of First Lady Jill Biden’s Secret Service detail.
Frequent flier: Prosecutors said on Wednesday in an initial court hearing that Ali told witnesses he had ties to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. Investigators also found passports with two entry visas to Iran, one of which was dated January 2020. The alleged scheme began the next month. At least one visa showed that Ali had entered Iran. Prosecutors said both men are U.S. citizens. They said Ali traveled elsewhere throughout the region in 2019, including to Istanbul and Doha.
On hand: Ali and Taherzadeh were also found to be in possession of an array of law enforcement-style equipment — firearms, long-gun parts, body armor, law enforcement patches, surveillance equipment, handcuffs, door-breaching equipment and a drone; documents marked “law enforcement sensitive”; and a list of every resident in the Washington apartment complex, including numerous law enforcement and defense officials and congressional staffers.
Conspiracy charges? A federal judge ordered that both men remain in custody pending a detention hearing on Friday afternoon. Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Rothstein said the case is being brought before a federal grand jury, and he expects they will face conspiracy charges.
🛥️ Yacht Drama: The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan looks at the anticlimactic process for detaining the yachts of sanctioned Russian billionaires. “The process of detaining a yacht is rather boring. Most of the 16 yacht ‘seizures’ that have occurred so far have been more like freezes, according to Alex Finley, a writer and former CIA officer who has been tracking the seizures. First, a country will notice that a large, majestic vessel is parked in one of its shipyards and attempt to ascertain its true owner… If the yacht is indeed connected to an oligarch, the country’s port authority simply forbids the yacht to move. The yacht remains at the dock, and the oligarch can’t use it for a while. The owners aren’t usually on their yachts when the boats are seized, Finley told me, so there are unfortunately no images of carabinieri dragging away tuxedoed men as they curse in Russian. Nor are the boats chained to the docks with comically large padlocks, as I had hoped. ‘They just are not given permission to leave,’ Finley said.” [TheAtlantic]
😎 Making Friends: The New York Times explores Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) successful efforts to ward off a primary challenge from the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. “‘He’s been really relational,’ said [New York City Council Member Tiffany] Cabán, who is a favorite of the New York City Democratic Socialists. ‘He shows up.’ Indeed, he is a highly visible presence from Brooklyn to Buffalo, building relationships with elected officials at every level of the ballot and across the Democratic ideological spectrum. But Schumer’s efforts to engage the farthest-left faction of his party have been particularly consequential in New York, a state where several top Democratic officials have lost primaries in recent years.” [NYTimes]
💰 Silicon Valley Standout: The Information’s Berber Jin spotlights the unorthodox operating habits of venture capitalist Oren Zeev, the cryptocurrency-averse Israeli-American who keeps a low public — and digital — profile. “Zeev’s focus on accumulating bigger stakes in his investments sets him apart from other solo venture capitalists, independent fund managers who rose to prominence during the pandemic by using their speed and investing flexibility to beat out blue-chip firms on competitive deals. Such investors — who typically back companies early and limit the number of board seats they take — usually see their stakes in startups wane over time as much larger funds, like those overseen by Tiger Global Management and Insight Partners, pile cash into later rounds. ‘He likes to back up the truck on his favorite ideas,” said Jay Ripley, a partner at Global Endowment Management, which manages the investments of large university endowments and also invests in Zeev’s funds.” [TheInformation]
🎧 Worthy Listen: The Wall Street Journal’s Luke Vargas and Dov Lieber discuss the reaction in Israel to a spate of terror attacks in recent weeks, in the paper’s “What’s News” podcast. “Basically what Israel is telling the Palestinians now is if the violence continues, then we won’t be able to do all of these things that could benefit your economy and that could benefit you. Currently though I’d say Israel is doubling down on its policy,” Lieber said. “It [has] not reversed course yet. In fact, it made a decision yesterday to allow most Palestinians to come to Jerusalem for Ramadan and to visit family over the holiday, with the warning that if the security situation destabilizes more, well then all of these things will have to go away and all of these measures that Israel is taking to improve their lives will potentially be rolled back or won’t be advanced.” [WSJ]
Around the Web
😊 Mideast Meetup: U.S. officials have reportedly suggested to Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian officials that the White House host a meeting for senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.
📝 Jumping In: Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) called on his primary opponent Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) to release the details of a settlement agreement connected to an ongoing ethics investigation against Newman.
👈 Blame Game: Former President Donald Trump deflected blame for the Jan. 6 riot, adding that he regrets not marching to the Capitol.
🔊 Secret Speaker: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) denied that he is a featured guest at an upcoming event hosted by the far-right American Populist Union, which listed the Arizona congressman in its promotional materials for the April 20 event.
🤭 Speaker Insurance: Geico canceled a scheduled speech by anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, who had been tapped to address the insurance giant’s staff this week as part of Middle East and North Africa Heritage Month.
👨👨👨 Mississippi Goodman: In The Atlantic, Ko Bragg explores the legacy of three civil-rights workers, including Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, killed in Mississippi by the KKK in 1964.
🧆 Beteavon, Beantown: Israeli street food restaurant Miznon opened its first Boston outpost this week.
🥯 Bagel Bias: The staff of Washingtonian conducted a taste test ranking the best everything bagels in the nation’s capital.
🧯 Lightly Toasted: The outdoor dining shed of Upper West Side delicatessen Barney Greengrass was set on fire early Thursday in a string of arson attacks.
🗳️ Stepping Aside: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ceded power and dismissed his vice president in an effort to restart talks to end the country’s yearslong civil war.
🤝 Better Than Nothing? Some Israeli security analysts are reportedly privately arguing that a new Iran deal would be better than no deal.
📮 Mail Moves: In a bid to save the financially struggling Israeli national postal service, Israel will slash 1,600 jobs from the post carrier and will sell 40% of the national company in a Tel Aviv IPO.
➡️💼 Transition: Rabbi David Wolpe will transition to rabbi emeritus at L.A.’s Sinai Temple next year, after which he will begin a yearlong fellowship at Harvard Divinity School.
Pic of the Day
Yaakov Shwekey debuts a new music video to his song “A Toast to Life.”
Television journalist, political director for NBC News and moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Charles David “Chuck” Todd turns 50…
FRIDAY: Comedian Shecky Greene (born Fred Sheldon Greenfield) turns 96… Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and political writer, Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh turns 85… French actor, Jean Benguigui turns 78… Socialite and political fundraiser, Joy Silverman turns 75… Bassist for the rock band Grand Funk Railroad, Melvin George “Mel” Schacher turns 71… Long-time college and NBA basketball coach, Larry Shyatt turns 71… Russian-born businessman, president of the Congress of Jewish Religious Communities of Russia, Arcadi Gaydamak turns 70… U.S. Senator (R-Wisconsin) Ron Johnson turns 67… Member of the National Assembly of Quebec, David Birnbaum turns 66… Leading U.K. pensions expert and a member of the House of Lords, Baroness Rosalind Miriam Altmann turns 66… President of Wesleyan University, Michael S. Roth turns 65… Member of Knesset for the Likud party, David Bitan turns 62… Beverly Hills resident, Shahnaz Mossazadeh turns 62… Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, Judge Jonathan Biran turns 56… Financial advisor in the Cedarhurst, N.Y., office of Citigroup Global Markets, Jeffrey Kramer turns 54… Author of the national bestselling book 24/6: Giving up Screens One Day a Week, Tiffany Shlain turns 52… Partner at consulting firm Democracy Partners, Joel M. Rubin turns 51… Professional baseball pitcher who played briefly for the Milwaukee Brewers and currently works as a coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Matt Ford turns 41… Israeli actor, entertainer, model and TV host, Ofer Shechter turns 41… NYC-based head of investor relations for the Israeli Ministry of Finance, Jason Reinin turns 40… Television personality and entertainer, Richard Rubin turns 39… Deputy business editor of The Washington Post, Zachary A. Goldfarb turns 39… Lead vocalist and guitarist of the indie rock band Vampire Weekend, Ezra Michael Koenig turns 38… Associate at Talpion LP, Daniel E. Smith turns 30… Film, television and voice actress, Shelby Young turns 30… Associate professor of pediatric anesthesia and intensive care at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Albert Gyllencreutz Castellheim… Janet Goldstein…
SATURDAY: Retired singer-songwriter, satirist and mathematician, Tom Lehrer turns 94… Board-certified internist and a consultant at the Disney Family Cancer Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank, California, Lester S. Garfinkel, MD turns 87… President emeritus of the Duberstein Group, Michael S. Berman turns 83… Retired fighter pilot and brigadier general in the Israeli Air Force, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest-ever and longest-serving combat pilot, Uri Gil turns 79… EVP at nationwide homebuilder KB Home, chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Albert Zane Praw turns 74… CEO of the Yale Brokerage Corporation, Jeffrey Rosenberg turns 70… Gail Kritz turns 70… Rabbi, author and co-founder of the Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights, Nina Beth Cardin turns 69… Fashion designer, Marc Jacobs turns 59… Longtime president of CNN Worldwide until earlier this year, Jeff Zucker turns 57… Artist and co-founder of Processional Arts Workshop, Alex Kahn turns 55… Attorney, author and commentator, Debbie Schlussel turns 53… Clinical psychologist in Boca Raton, Dr. Lori Gutmann Fineman turns 47… Senior program manager in marketing operations at Freddie Mac, Jill Gershenson-Cohen turns 45… Founder and CEO at NYC-based Wall to Wall Communications, Ross M. Wallenstein turns 44… Actress and writer, Rachel Sarah Specter turns 42… Israeli actress Moran Atias turns 41… Former associate at White & Case, now the owner of D.C.’s Baked by Yael, Yael Krigman turns 41… Actress Lili Mirojnick turns 38… VP at Susquehanna Private Capital, Soraya Hoberman turns 31… Figure skater, she competed for Israel at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in pairs skating and a team event, Paige Conners turns 22… Zurich resident, Jonathan Bollag… Herbert Levine…
SUNDAY: Born in Czechoslovakia, imprisoned in a Hungarian slave labor camp during WWII, he became a successful tailor in NYC for U.S. presidents and titans of business, Steven Salen turns 103… Past president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Alan Rothenberg turns 83… Author and former senior editor at The New Yorker and the Washington Post, Jeffrey Frank turns 78… Author of 265 books including 56 books in the Cam Jansen series, 68 biographies and books for youth on the Holocaust, David Abraham Adler turns 75… Former member of the Knesset and chairman of the soccer club Hapoel Tel Aviv, Haim Ramon turns 72… Founder of Gantman Communications, Howard Gantman turns 71… Scarsdale, N.Y., resident, Robin Samot turns 66… Soviet-born Israeli-American pianist, Yefim “Fima” Bronfman turns 64… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, Yuval Steinitz turns 64… Author and chief national correspondent at Yahoo News, Lisa Belkin turns 62… Dana B. Fishman turns 61… Tom Kohn turns 61… Author of five best-selling memoirs and five novels, she has also written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue and Elle, Dani Shapiro turns 60… Co-host of the NPR show “Invisibilia,” Hanna Rosin turns 53… Former governor of Missouri, now running for the U.S. Senate, Eric Greitens turns 48… President of NJI Media and co-founder of FamousDC blog, Josh Shultz turns 44… Movie producer best known for the 2016 musical romantic-drama film “La La Land,” Jordan Horowitz turns 42… Director of communications at RespectAbilityUSA, Lauren Appelbaum turns 39… Litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Yishai Schwartz turns 32… Senior partnerships manager in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department, Shelley Greenspan turns 32… Associate at Eversheds Sutherland, Daniel E. Wolman turns 32… Basketball player for the Beijing Royal Fighters of the Chinese Basketball Association, he played in Israel from 2010 to 2017, Sylven Landesberg turns 32… Naomi Atlani… Phil Hayes… Susie Diamond…