👋 Good Monday morning!
Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad agreed to an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire that went into effect on Sunday night, 56 hours after hostilities began. Israeli military jets and armed drones pounded PIJ targets in the Gaza Strip, while almost constant rocket fire rained down on Israeli civilian communities and cities, including Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport.
A senior Israeli diplomatic official said that the counter-terrorism operation was being viewed as a success, with Israel’s clear objectives — to destroy PIJ’s infrastructure and capabilities in the Gaza Strip — achieved in a relatively short timeframe. The official thanked Egypt for its role in mediating the cease-fire, as well as other countries in the region and beyond, including the U.S.
President Joe Biden welcomed the announcement of a cease-fire, saying “over these last 72 hours, the United States has worked with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, and others throughout the region to encourage a swift resolution to the conflict.” He also thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and other senior Egyptian officials “who played a central role in this diplomacy, as well as Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar and his team for helping to bring these hostilities to an end.”
The president emphasized his “long-standing” support for Israel’s security, “including its right to defend itself against attacks.” He said: “Over these recent days, Israel has defended its people from indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the United States is proud of our support for Israel’s Iron-Dome, which intercepted hundreds of rockets and saved countless lives.”
The truce appeared to be holding on Monday morning, with Israeli officials denying reports that Israel had agreed to release two high-ranking PIJ prisoners from its jails — Bassam al-Saadi, whose arrest last week sparked the latest round of fighting, and Khalil Awawdeh, who has been on a hunger strike for 150 days. The senior Israeli official denied their releases were among the terms of the cease-fire, saying only that the Iranian-backed terrorist group had agreed to stop firing rockets after suffering “a severe blow” that had “set them back decades.”
The Israeli military also said the operation, dubbed “Breaking Dawn,” had dealt a severe blow to PIJ, killing two of its top commanders in the Palestinian enclave. Khaled Mansour, the Islamic Jihad commander for southern Gaza, was reportedly killed in an airstrike on an apartment building in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza late Saturday; while Tayseer Jabari, the senior commanding officer of the group’s Northern Division, was killed on Friday. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said Monday that a total of 44 people had been killed during the hostilities, including 15 children and four women. More than 311 people were injured.
Approximately 1,100 rockets were fired by militants towards Israel, the army said on Monday, assessing that around 200 of the rockets fell short, landing inside the Gaza Strip – including killing some of the civilians. The Iron Dome missile-defense system, the army said, had seen a success rate of 96%, intercepting some 380 of the rockets that crossed into Israel and were headed toward populated areas. Only mild injuries were reported on the Israeli side, with no reported deaths.
Ahead of the upcoming primaries in New York, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who are locked in a heated race in the state’s 12th Congressional District ahead of the Aug. 23 primary, weighed in on the weekend conflict. In a thread posted on Friday, Nadler noted, “As I’ve always said when we’ve led the fight for funding, peace happens when civilians are safe, and the Iron Dome is a critical tool for protecting the Israeli civilian population — Jews and Arabs alike — from terrorist attacks.” Maloney also noted her support for Iron Dome, adding that “Congress must continue to support Israel which has been and continues to be one of our closest allies.”
Reactions to the weekend flare-up were muted in the neighboring 10th District, with only one of the top-tier candidates in that Democratic primary speaking about the conflict. Attorney Dan Goldman retweeted a video posted by the Israeli government of an Iron Dome interception and added, “The Iron Dome saves innocent lives. Non-negotiable.”
on the menu
The kibbutznik behind D.C.’s hottest new Israeli café
From the minute that Tatte, an all-day Israeli café, opened in Washington, D.C.’s West End neighborhood, the line was out the door and down the block. It was the summer of 2020, and customers wearing masks would wait in the long queue — six feet apart — to order a fresh pastry, like a halva brownie or a pistachio croissant, or to try one of the restaurant’s signature Israeli dishes: shakshuka, maybe, or a roasted cauliflower pita. In the two years since the West End opening, six more locations have opened in Washington, Arlington, Va., and Bethesda, Md., with two more set to open over the next few months. “D.C. knows how to enjoy Tatte,” the cafe’s founder, Tzurit Or, told Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch over shakshuka at the chain’s Newton, Mass., location, near Or’s home. Ten years ago when Tatte began selling the egg-and-tomato dish, “no one ever heard of shakshuka,” she noted.
Kinneret to Copley: Before becoming the hottest spot for lunch meetings and afternoon coffees for Washington’s political set, Tatte (“like latte,” coffee cups and branded T-shirts remind customers), started as a farmers market stand in Boston’s Copley Square in 2007. But its true origin story can be found on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, at Kibbutz Kinneret, where Or grew up.
Baking since birth: “I didn’t learn to bake. It’s the way I was raised,” Or said. Her mother baked all the time, including for the kibbutz dining room, and instilled in Or a deep-seated aversion to ever bringing a store-bought dessert to a party. “I didn’t eat any food out of a box until I got here,” she said of the United States.
Israeli education: Early on, Tatte only served baked goods before beginning to offer a full-service menu. Even now, many Tatte employees, let alone customers, are at first unfamiliar with its Israeli ingredients and some of the Hebrew words, things like “bourekas” or “shakshuka.” Two years ago, Or explained, Tatte added a glossary of those terms. “As a guest, we want it to be more approachable. We don’t want you to be afraid of our food,” she added. For staff, the education is more involved. New employees watch a video explaining “a little bit about the kibbutz,” said Or, “and how humble it is.” Staff also have to learn the intricacies of preparing Israeli food.
Washington welcome: Or fell in love with Washington the first time she visited six years ago, years before she considered opening Tatte there. “For me, I have to get to know the neighborhood, the people, so I spent a lot of time there before I made the decision,” she said. “My first visit, I said, ‘D.C. will understand Tatte.’” She was right: Tatte It doesn’t necessarily have to be translated for them,” she said of Washingtonians. In 2021, the readers of the lifestyle magazine Washingtonian voted Tatte the city’s best bakery.
New poll finds Israelis more confident in Biden’s approach on Iran
President Joe Biden may not have come away with a breakthrough deal with Saudi Arabia during his trip to the Middle East last month, but he was successful in convincing a growing number of Israelis that the White House would consider Israel’s security needs during ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear program, according to a new poll obtained by Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash. The Israeli Voice Index, prepared monthly by the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), found a rise in the proportion of Israelis who trust the current U.S. leadership to take Israel into account when negotiating with Iran – from 15% before last month’s visit to 34% after among Israeli Jews, and from 20.5% to 26% among Israeli Arabs.
Strategic commitment: During his visit to Israel, his first as president, Biden reaffirmed the U.S. strategic commitment to Israel, signing the Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration with Lapid. The agreement featured a U.S. pledge never to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and a commitment to partner with other countries to confront Tehran’s aggression and destabilizing activities in the region. In a press conference in Jerusalem last month, Biden said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to everyone. “Ensuring Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon is of vital security interest to Israel and the United States and for the rest of the world as well,” he said. “I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome, and we’ll continue to work with Israel to counter other threats from Iran throughout the region.”
Disappointing diplomacy: The IDI poll, however, found Jewish Israelis were disappointed by Biden’s inability to reach a breakthrough agreement with Saudi Arabia, which he visited immediately after Israel, becoming the first person to fly directly from Tel Aviv to Jeddah. Asking the respondents to what extent they believed the president had the capability to bring about a breakthrough in relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a majority of Israeli Jews, 54%, said they were not convinced. Only 37% said they believed Biden had the capacity to bring the largest state in the Middle East into the Abraham Accords.
Herzog: ‘Progressive political left’ in America does ‘not know anything about this country’
In the latest installment of “Carnegie Connects,” a podcast series hosted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Senior Fellow Aaron David Miller, Israeli President Isaac Herzog reflects on his first year as Israel’s president, the shift from partisan politics to a more neutral role and U.S.-Israel relations. Jewish Insider got an early listen to today’s episode, which will go live at 2 p.m. ET.
On concerns over the politicizing of the U.S.-Israel relationship: “I’m worried about some streaks of thought in the American progressive political left, where they misjudge Israel… meaning the whole notion of boycotting Israel, undermining its right to exist, voices that do not understand the real sources of the conflict with the Palestinians and the way to resolve it. They do not know anything about this country: the incredible variety of voices, the multitude and weight of the free speech in our nation, the fact that we’re the only nation in the world that had the Muslim Brotherhood in its government, is in the Jewish state. People do not understand what is going on here in terms of the beautiful expressions of art, culture, literature, and multitude of opinions. And rather than respecting it and saying, ‘We have a difference of opinion about the solution to the conflict,’ we unfortunately face a lot of hate in certain quarters in American politics, both from the extreme right from white supremacists who hate Jews, or from the extreme left in progressive America, which disturbs me a lot, because the terms of the relationship and the friendship, it goes so deep, with such mutual values of democracy, and freedom and liberties, that it should only be natural that we are allies.”
On regional dynamics in the Middle East: “It’s judged by various quarters in American public life and media, wrongly. This region is changing dramatically. In this region, unfortunately, still, sign language counts, meaning you have to be tough, you have to show strength, you have to understand that your allies are your allies, and they want to be your allies. But they have to feel it. And this region is threatened by an empire of hate, of the worst crime, called Iran. And this is the entire equation. And if you believe in your allies, then you have to step up for them all throughout. This is the real question at the heart.”
On the Israeli view of American politics: “Clearly, at times, we are worried about the situation in the United States and we hope, of course, that the American political system will be able to resolve its conflicts and differences. Today’s modern political systems are very divisive, naturally, with the background of social networks and the ability to express opinions unfiltered and mobilize masses. We see it in many places. Of course, we’re dealing with the Israeli political system, which is unstable, so we know what it’s all about. But I truly hope and believe that our common values and our common goals and the way we see democracy, liberties and stability in the world, will of course, overcome these adverse forces.”
The full episode goes live at 2 p.m. ET today.
👮 Security Breach: In the Wall Street Journal, Iranian activist and dissident Masih Alinejad writes about a recently thwarted assassination attempt by Iranian agents outside her Brooklyn home. “Tehran is deathly afraid of my message and its strength inside Iran. For months last year, I had to move between multiple safe houses after the FBI foiled a plot by Iranian agents to kidnap me from my home in New York and forcibly return me to Iran by way of Venezuela. I am routinely harassed online and accounts try to impersonate me to discredit my message. Earlier this month my social-media accounts were fraudulently suspended. The regime has gone after my family in Iran, trying to use my mother to lure me back to the country. Though my family and I are again being uprooted from our home to go into hiding, the Iranian regime’s attempts to silence me will never work. I am not fearful of dying, because I know what I am living for. I have dedicated my life to fighting for those in my country who bravely risk everything to challenge the dictatorship.” [WSJ]
⚾ The Girls of Summer: The New York Times’ Alexis Soloski interviews actress Abbi Jacobson ahead of the release of the Amazon Prime series’ “A League of Their Own,” about women’s baseball during WWII, which Jacobson co-created and in which she stars. “The pilot was shot in Los Angeles, which doubled first for Chicago and then for Rockford, Ill. [Penny Marshall’s 1992 film of the same name focused on the Rockford Peaches, one of the professional women’s teams that played during World War II.] The coronavirus hit soon after, delaying production until last summer. Rising costs pushed the show to relocate to Pittsburgh, which is, as it happens, a rainy city, a problem for a show with so many game-day sequences. But the cast and crew handled it. ‘There was kind of a summer camp quality to it,’ [co-creator Will] Graham said. And Jacobson, as [former co-star Ilana] Glazer reminded me, spent many years as a camp counselor. So a lot of that summer camp quality was owed to her. And to the incessant baseball practice she insisted on. ‘There was so much baseball practice, truly months of baseball practice,’ [co-star D’Arcy] Carden said. ‘We were a team more than we were a cast. That was Abbi. Abbi’s an ensemble person.’” [NYTimes]
🇮🇷 Power Struggle: In Foreign Policy, Alex Vatanka looks at the influence of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the highest levels of government, including President Ebrahim Raisi. “It falls on the Raisi government to implement the vague set of economic edicts that come down from the Office of the Supreme Leader, or simply reading between the lines of Khamenei’s public utterances. While Khamenei has seemingly no problem with China being Iran’s really only major oil customer, Raisi can operate only within the constraints that Khamenei sets for him. The simple truth is that Iran’s economic calamity is a product of the regime’s isolation-inducing foreign policy, which is outside Raisi’s — and the parliament’s — control. The man who shapes Iran’s strategic stance toward the outside world is Khamenei, who as supreme leader since 1989 is the most responsible for disconnecting Iran from the global economy.” [FP]
⛰️ Memory in The Mountains: Tablet’s Armin Rosen travels to upstate New York for a weeklong gathering of Holocaust survivors at a former Borsht Belt hotel. “As long as there are living Jews who experienced the attempted destruction of their people as not just a national but a personal violation — an act of violence that real and identifiable perpetrators inflicted on them and on their societies and on their loved ones — it is still possible to know what the Holocaust really was, and what it destroyed. And it is still possible, within this desperately narrowing span of time, to grasp the full burden of the task we will inherit once the last of the survivors are gone.” [Tablet]
Around the Web
💵 Tax Talk: The Wall Street Journal reports on successful efforts by the private-equity lobby to keep carried-interest income provisions in the tax code as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed the Senate last night 51-50.
🚓 On the Case: Law enforcement officials in New Mexico are looking into possible connections between the murders of four Muslim men in the Albuquerque area dating back to November.
🖼️ Edgy Art: The New Yorker’s art critic, Peter Schjeldahl, visits the Jewish Museum’s newest exhibition, “New York: 1962-1964.”
🍗 Food Roots: Southern California restaurateur Tracy Borkum will open a Jewish-style deli with menu items evoking the foods she ate growing up in a Jewish family in London.
🕵️ Trial and Error: The New York Times Magazinespotlights the ongoing intrigue — compounded by a 2016 documentary — around the 2006 murder of an Israeli teenager.
✈️ Unfriendly Skies: A United flight from Newark to Tel Aviv was delayed 24 hours after the pilots reportedly refused to fly, citing a non-existent “curfew” at Ben Gurion Airport.
🗣️ Thanks, But No Thanks: Israel rejected the apology of a U.N. official taking part in the open-ended Commission of Inquiry into Israel’s actions during last May’s Gaza conflict, after the investigator made allegations about the “Jewish lobby” and questioned whether Israel should be accepted as a state by the U.N.
🔬 Under the Microscope: Renewal Bio, an Israel-based biotech startup, is seeking to use stem-cell technology to create embryos of living people in an effort to harvest tissue for later use in transplants.
🖥️ Cyber Attack Fallout: Wiredexplores the potential implications of an Iranian cyberattack carried out against the government of Albania, a NATO ally.
☢️ Nuke Talks: Iran’s foreign minister called for a “realistic” U.S. response to Iranian proposals following the restarting of negotiations in Vienna over the country’s nuclear program. Meanwhile, nuclear negotiations said talks were nearing their conclusion, though it remained unclear if Iran would accept the terms of the new deal.
⚖️ Baha’i Bias: Dozens of members of Iran’s Baha’i community were arrested amid a government crackdown in which some community members were accused of having espionage links to Israel.
🕯️ Remembering: Former Associated Press editor Marcus Eliason, who as a reporter covered the Six-Day War in Israel, died at 75. Comic book writer Sid Jacobson, whose graphic novels covered serious topics including the Sept. 11 attacks and the Holocaust, died at 92. Dr. Leon Rosenberg, a geneticist who spoke about his own struggles with manic depression, died at 89.
Pic of the Day
Crowds gathered at the Western Wall Plaza on Sunday to commemorate Tisha B’Av, which marks the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
Actor and director, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1980 for “Kramer vs. Kramer” and in 1989 for “Rain Man,” Dustin Hoffman turns 85…
Arlington Heights, Ill., resident, Elizabeth Gordon… Dutch diplomat and politician, he served as the speaker of the Dutch House of Representatives, Frans Weisglas turns 76… Greenwood Village, Colo., resident, Robert M. Schwartz… Tampa, Fla., resident, Roy D. Pulliam… Vancouver, Wash., resident, Juliana E. Miles Bagherpour… Former U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Melech Friedman turns 64… Former CEO of BusinessGhost, a ghostwriting firm that has written and published over 700 books, Michael Graubart Levin turns 64… Managing general partner of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays, Stuart L. Sternberg turns 63… White House chief of staff, Ron Klain turns 61… Film director whose works include nine Disney films, Jon Turteltaub turns 59… Founder and former CEO of D.C.-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger… Orthodox Jewish blogger (Torahmusings) who serves as the book editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student… Former MLB pitcher and now assistant general manager for the Chicago Cubs, Craig Breslow turns 42… Director at Fundamental Advisors, Bara Lane… Senior director at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel… Founder and managing partner at Avid Ventures, Addie Lerner… Director of development, operations and programs at JNF’s Illinois office, Zachary Pellish… Senior manager of creative strategy and content development at Omaze, Morgan Furlong… Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jennifer Leigh “Jen” Selter turns 29… Jack Baum… Rob Schwartz…