👋 Good Wednesday morning!
With most of last night’s primary races in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon called, attention now turns to the general election.
The Pennsylvania governor’s race will see Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general who sailed to victory unopposed last night, face off against Doug Mastriano, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump over the weekend. Mastriano — who is not Jewish — kicked off his gubernatorial campaign with an event in which he wore a tallit and blew a shofar. Shapiro — who is Jewish — ran campaign ads showing his Shabbat dinner table. Read JI’s profile of Shapiro here.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has been hospitalized following a stroke last week and who spent primary day having a pacemaker implanted, was declared the winner of the state’s Democratic Senate primary shortly after polls closed on Tuesday, followed by endorsements from both President Joe Biden and Democratic Majority for Israel’s PAC. He defeated Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) and state Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta. In a statement, DMFI PAC President Mark Mellman described Fetterman, who outlined his Middle East foreign policy views in an exclusive interview with JI last month, as “a proud pro-Israel progressive” who “has proven he will fight fiercely to reduce economic inequality, reform our criminal justice system, advocate for women’s rights, and support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.” Read the full Fetterman interview.
Question marks still remain in two key races in the Keystone State: the GOP primary for Senate, and Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, where Steve Irwin and Summer Lee are separated by just a few hundred votes.
Senate hopefuls Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick pulled in 31.3% and 31.1%, respectively, likely sending the race into a recount. Kathy Barnette, who experienced a late surge in the final days of the campaign, received 25% of the vote.
In North Carolina, state Sen. Valerie Foushee beat out Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam and “American Idol” star Clay Aiken for the nomination in the state’s 4th Congressional District, while next door in the 1st District, state Sen. Don Davis defeated former state Sen. Erica Smith. AIPAC’s United Democracy Project PAC spent heavily in both races — $2.1 million supporting Foushee and $2.4 million supporting Davis and opposing Smith.
In Western North Carolina, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who had backed Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) 2020 bid, narrowly eked out a win against the first-term congressman. Read our profile of Edwards here.
A Republican fundraiser who supported Edwards attributed his success, in part, to an endorsement from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who turned against Cawthorn in late March, as well as “early money from sane conservatives.” Such factors, the fundraiser told Jewish Insider in a text exchange on Tuesday evening, “made the difference.”
In Kentucky, Democrat Charles Booker will advance to the general election against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Despite some past criticism of Israel, Booker blasted Paul last year for opposing quick passage of supplemental Iron Dome funding, telling JI that Paul “pit our allies against one another,” “made a dishonest, empty excuse” and “likes playing political games with people’s lives.”
The House will vote today on a resolution from Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) condemning rising incidents of antisemitism across the U.S.
The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act will come to the House floor today after some of its language was tweaked in response to concerns from House progressives and outside groups. Added language emphasizes “nothing in this Act… may be construed to authorize the infringement or violation of any right protected under the First Amendment.”
Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz arrives in the U.S. today for meetings with White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Iran, which Gantz said in public statements on Tuesday is closer than ever to achieving nuclear military capability, will most likely top the agenda, as well as the recent death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Gantz will travel to Miami and New York over the weekend to hold meetings with American-based families who have lost loved ones serving in the Israel Defense Forces. On Sunday, Gantz will take part in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade in New York.
The first UAE minister to visit Israel got her start on climate change while scuba diving
When Mariam bint Mohammed AlMheiri landed in Tel Aviv last year, she didn’t know what to expect. A serial startup founder and environmentalist, AlMheiri is used to experimenting and exploring. But as the first United Arab Emirates minister to visit Israel after the Abraham Accords normalized ties between the countries in 2020, she was taking a new — and particularly noticeable — leap of faith.
“I remember at the hotel I was staying at, they put a label on the water bottle and the chocolate, saying, ‘Thank you to the first minister of the UAE,’ with my name on it,” recalled AlMheiri, the UAE’s minister of climate change and the environment. “When I was at restaurants or cafes, they wanted me to sign a book, because they said it’s the first time we have someone from the UAE and a minister.” People asked for selfies everywhere she went.
“For us, the Abraham Accords is a historic moment for both countries,” AlMheiri told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutchin an interview with The Circuit earlier this month in Los Angeles, where she was speaking about energy and food technology at the Milken Institute Global Conference.
Move fast: AlMheiri is responsible for helping the UAE reach ambitious clean energy and sustainability goals. For a major oil-producing nation in a region that is especially susceptible to the ravages of climate change, this is a task both improbable and of paramount importance. “Things have to move faster. Our government wants to be very agile, very focused on game-changing initiatives,” AlMheiri said.
Regional relationships: During AlMheiri’s visit to Israel last July, she and Israel’s environmental protection minister, Tamar Zandberg, signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on preservation efforts and environmental protection. “Israel and the United Arab Emirates have common environmental challenges, and the right way to deal with them is regional cooperation in finding and implementing solutions,” Zandberg told JI.
Scuba savvy: AlMheiri easily alternates between savvy business language, scientific jargon and casual conversation. She was educated as a mechanical engineer, but it was a passion for scuba diving that led her, almost by accident, to work for the Emirati government. She took up deep-sea diving as a hobby while trying to find work in aeronautical engineering when she returned to the UAE, and it was while diving that she began to think about human-caused environmental problems.
on the hill
Tlaib, Squad push resolution labeling Palestinian Arabs the ‘indigenous inhabitants’ of Israel
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and a handful of progressive Democrats introduced a resolution on Monday referring to Palestinian Arabs as the “indigenous inhabitants” of Israel and endorsing Palestinian right of return, one of the most sensitive issues in Israeli-Palestinian relations, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
In the text: The resolution seeks to set as U.S. policy recognition of the “Nakba” — the term, translating to “catastrophe,” that Palestinians use to refer to the mass Palestinian exodus that accompanied the foundation of Israel — and accept as a settled issue Palestinian refugees’ right of return to inside Israel’s borders. It also refers to Palestinians as the “indigenous population” of the region, but does not acknowledge Jewish history in the region.
Signing on: Tlaib’s resolution has been cosponsored by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Marie Newman (D-IL), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY).
Pushback: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) blasted Tlaib’s resolution as “predicated on a demonstrably false historical narrative… predictably failing to mention the hundreds of attacks on Jewish communities in the British mandate of Palestine by Palestinian militias.” He added, “Thankfully, the vast majority of my colleagues in Congress and in the House Foreign Affairs Committee understand that the historical narrative in Congresswoman Tlaib’s resolution is an outrageous falsehood and thus this bill isn’t likely to be passed or even considered.”
Landmines: Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who advised multiple secretaries of state on Arab-Israeli negotiations, said that the legislation asks Congress to “wade into the intricacies and volatility of some of the most combustible issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and essentially recognize a narrative.” He continued, “This legislation is packed with landmines and traps… The whole issue of right of return is an issue that for years in negotiations we realized was the most combustible, most complicated, and the one which we had the least chance of resolving.”
Read more here.
Elsewhere: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)is set to announce a companion bill to Senate Republicans’ Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act today — follow-on legislation to the original Taylor Force Act, which targets foreign banks involved in “martyr payments.”
Israel enthusiastic about U.S. resuming Palestinian aid, Power tells Congress
U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said on Tuesday that the U.S. has seen “a lot of enthusiasm” from Israel about the Biden administration’s decision last year to reinstate aid to the Palestinians, which was cut completely in 2018 by the Trump administration, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Quotable: “We see a lot of enthusiasm on the part of the government of Israel to resume this assistance out of concern about the destabilizing effects of cutting off assistance, just the fundamental recognition that economic stability plays a critical role,” Power told the House Foreign Relations Committee during a budget hearing.
Money moves: In March, Congress approved $219 million in Palestinian aid for 2022, a significant increase from 2021 and exceeding the administration’s budget request. The U.S.’s current Palestinian aid is primarily focused on water and sanitation, Power said, and is “just restarting now” following the administration’s decision to reinstate the support.
Top of the list: Power also said that addressing antisemitic and anti-Israel material in U.N.-funded educational materials distributed to Palestinians “is at the top of the list to raise with any Palestinian officials that we encounter,” the former U.N. ambassador said. The educational materials, funded through the U.N. Agency for Relief and Works for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, fall under the State Department’s jurisdiction, she noted, rather than USAID’s.
In action: The USAID director said the Middle East Partnership for Peace program is now “up and running” and should be announcing new grants in the coming months. Its advisory board held its first meeting in April and is actively soliciting further grantees, and is working on better publicizing their availability, she added. Power is “hopeful that we’ll really be able to scale some of what we’re doing so far” once there is greater familiarity with the MEPPA program and the projects it is funding, she said. Some of the recipients of MEPPA grants have remained anonymous.
Jewish women gather in Washington as Roe reversal looms
Following a weekend of pro-choice rallies that drew hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, several thousand American Jews gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday morning at a rally with a similar message that was organized by the National Council of Jewish Women. “We did want to have a particular Jewish rally for our abortion justice, because we feel that for too long, Jewish voices have been left out of the national conversation on religion and abortion,” NCJW CEO Sheila Katz told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch after the rally.
Additional activism: The Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice, which capped off NCJW’s first in-person conference in three years, had been planned for months — well before Politico published a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this month, and before the weekend’s events that saw a groundswell of abortion activism. But that didn’t stop the more than 2,000 people who showed up Tuesday at the Capitol, many of whom also attended rallies on Saturday, to protest in a Jewish context.
Notable: One of the sponsors for the conference was Ben & Jerry’s, a company known for its longtime support of progressive causes. The ice cream maker was criticized by many leaders in the U.S. Jewish community last year after vowing not to sell its products in what it called “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Katz said Ben & Jerry’s has sponsored NCJW’s conference for the last five years, and that she has not talked to the company about its stance on Israel. “They’ve been ongoing supporters from the corporate side,” said Katz. “We didn’t not do stuff on Israel” because of Ben & Jerry’s, she said. Katz pointed out that “every workshop had sessions about Israel and building a feminist field in Israel, so that’s important work for us. It’s one of our core issues.”
🪖 Inside Jenin: The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Kalin, Adam Rasgon and Fatima AbdulKarim spotlight Jenin, the West Bank town that the Journal describes as “re-emerging as a stronghold of Palestinian militancy” amid an uptick in tensions in the region. “The fighting around Jenin shows how the deadliest battleground between the Israelis and Palestinians has shifted from the Gaza Strip to parts of the West Bank, where militant groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have developed extensive networks of support. ‘Jenin has become a world of invasions, gunfire and martyrs,’ said Hammam Hazem, 22, the younger brother of a Palestinian from Jenin who opened fire in a cafe in Tel Aviv’s popular Dizengoff Street in April, killing three Israelis. ‘Life here has become a city of war.’” [WSJ]
Around the Web
💣 Bombs Away: The House passed on Tuesday the Bombing Prevention Act, supported by the Anti-Defamation League and The Jewish Federations of North America, to establish an Office for Bombing Prevention at the Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 388 to 26.
🤝 Security Meetup: Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman, the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, met yesterday with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington.
✌️ On to November: Craig Greenberg, a candidate for mayor of Louisville, Ky., who survived a shooting attempt at his campaign headquarters in February, won the Democratic primary.
⚖️ Bad Gamble: Steve Wynn is being sued by the Justice Department in an effort to force the casino mogul to register as a foreign agent, over his efforts to get the Trump administration to extend a favor — tied to Wynn’s business interests in Macau — to China in 2017.
👖 Back in the Big Apple: Century 21 will reopen its flagship store in New York City, its co-CEO Raymond Gindi announced, two years after the retailer filed for bankruptcy and closed its storefronts.
🏃 Bill’s Back?: Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is reportedly considering a run in the state’s newly created 10th Congressional District, which includes the Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park.
🤔 Dems in Disarray: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who heads the DCCC, is raising concerns among some Democrats after announcing he will run in a district that has been largely represented by fellow Democrat Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), following the redistricting in New York state.
🎭 Broadway Bound: “Parade,” the musical based on the 1913 trial and lynching of Leo Frank, will have a limited run at New York City Center, with Ben Platt starring as Frank.
🖼️ Going Once, Going Twice: An art collection owned by Harry Macklowe and his ex-wife, Linda, brought in more than $922 million at auction, with the proceeds to be split by the couple, who divorced in 2016.
💰 Digital Deal: Candle Media will acquire Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno’s digital media company ATTN: in a $150 million deal.
👩 From Charlottesville to Buffalo: The Washington Post interviewed Integrity First for America’s Amy Spitalnick about the weekend attack in Buffalo, N.Y., and how white supremacist ideology has spread in the last five years.
👨 Confirmation Push: Following the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., this weekend, the White House is ramping up pressure on the Senate to confirm Steve Dettelbach as the top regulator at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
☢️ Practice Run: The Israeli military is planning drills to train for a hypothetical attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the first time in five years that it has done so. U.S. air force refueling planes, thought vital to any Israeli strike on Iran, will reportedly take part in the exercises.
💸 Hire Ground: A.Team, an Israeli startup that addresses hiring challenges, raised $55 million in a Series A round of funding.
💼 Transition: Sean Savett was promoted to deputy spokesperson of the National Security Council (h/t NatSec Daily)
🕯️ Remembering: Yael Feldboy, the longtime senior media advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, has died, the embassy announced on Tuesday.
Pic of the Day
A Jewish pilgrim at the Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia’s southern resort island of Djerba at the start of an annual pilgrimage to the oldest surviving synagogue in Africa.
Best-selling author of spy thriller novels, he has served in both the U.S. and the Israeli armies, Andrew Gary Kaplan turns 81…
Chairman and co-founder of K2 Intelligence and Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Jules B. Kroll turns 81… Retired New York Times columnist and editorial writer, he was the NYT’s Jerusalem correspondent for four years in the early 1990s, Clyde Haberman turns 77… Trustee of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Gary Kopff turns 77… Los Angeles-based attorney, board member of American Friends of Nishmat, Linda Goldenberg Mayman… Washington correspondent for Newsweek focused on national security, defense and foreign policy, Jonathan Broder turns 74… Member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1983, Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg turns 72… Senior advisor at Moelis & Company, he was previously a Major General in the IDF, later CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Shlomo Yanai turns 70… Director of nutrition and hospitality at Philadelphia’s Temple University Hospital, Nancy Baumann… Attorney in Atlanta, Alan Kitey… Former president of MGM Motion Picture Group, Jonathan Glickman turns 53… Venture capitalist and author of a book on business principles derived from the Book of Genesis, Michael A. Eisenberg turns 51… Former CEO at Waze, Noam Bardin… Senior national correspondent for Politico, Bryan Bender… Head of development at NYC charter school system Uncommon Schools, Sarah Danzig Simon… Author of the newsletter and blog “Slow Boring,” Matthew Yglesias turns 41… Director of a team of writers at Gartner in London, Eliza Krigman… Staffer for the Senate Armed Services Committee, Eric Trager… Correspondent for NBC News, Joshua Lederman… Former acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, Ezra Asa Cohen-Watnick turns 36… President and co-founder of Stealth Web3, Dan Garon… Co-Founder of Rebel, later acquired by Salesforce, Joe Teplow… Associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Buckley, LLP, Lauren DePinto Bomberger… Executive producer of the “Net Zero Life” podcast, Netanel “Tani” Levitt… Head of policy partnerships and social impact at Snapchat, Sofia Rose Gross…