👋 Good Friday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we report on the ground from Auschwitz, where Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and talk to Sen. Mark Kelly about his recent trip to the Middle East with the Abraham Accords Caucus. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Jacob Nagel, Rep. Elissa Slotkin and Rep. Jared Moskowitz.
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 Jewish Insider and The Circuit stories, including: The U.S. diplomat seeking justice for Holocaust survivors; Dani Dayan’s efforts to unite Jewish communities; ‘I’ve never been more optimistic’ about the Middle East, Gillibrand says after Abraham Accords trip; Rosen highlights potential for air- and missile-defense, water projects through Abraham Accords; Matt Dolan’s second shot at the Senate; Carnegie Hall concert showcases music composed by victims of the Holocaust; Biographer Aidan Levy puts the spotlight on jazz great Sonny Rollins; and Lockheed showcases F-35 Israel sales in face-off with Boeing. Print the latest edition here.
On this snowy, gray morning in Oświęcim, Poland, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff walked through the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate to enter Auschwitz. Unlike most of the more than 1 million Jews who were transported here by Nazis during the Holocaust, Emhoff walked out of the gate, whose sign translates to “work makes you free,” an hour later.
Donning a yarmulke, he walked slowly through the red-brick barracks and wiped tears from his eyes as he placed a wreath at a site where thousands of prisoners had been shot. The first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president, Emhoff has relatives who left Poland before the Holocaust.
Before leaving the camp, Emhoff attended a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United Nations-designated memorial day commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz 78 years ago. Two Auschwitz survivors spoke at the event. Piotr Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, used his remarks to focus on the war in Ukraine. “Once again innocent people are being killed en masse in Europe,” he said, according to a Polish translator. Tomorrow, Emhoff will meet with Ukrainian refugees in Krakow.
The visit to Auschwitz was Emhoff’s first stop on a five-day trip to Poland and Germany that is focused on promoting Holocaust education and combating antisemitism. Tonight, Emhoff will have Shabbat dinner at the Krakow Jewish Community Center with local Jewish leaders.
He was joined at the camp by several senior U.S. officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt, State Department Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Ellen Germain and Rashad Hussain, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom.
President Joe Biden released a statement last night ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. “‘Never again’ was a promise my father first instilled in me at our family dinner table, educating me and my siblings about the horrors of the Shoah,” the statement read. “It’s a lesson I’ve passed on to my own children and grandchildren by taking them to Dachau to understand for themselves the depths of this evil — and the complicity of those who knew what was happening, yet said nothing. Seeing neo-Nazis and white nationalists march from the shadows in Charlottesville in 2017, spewing the same antisemitic bile we heard in the 1930s in Europe, drove me to run for president.”
Back in Washington, freshman House Democrats began to receive their committee assignments. JI’s Marc Rod runs down the new faces on the House Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Armed Services committees.
Mark Kelly goes back to Bahrain, but with a different mission
As he touched down in Bahrain earlier this month, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), who returned last weekend from a bipartisan delegation to meet with Abraham Accords member countries, couldn’t help but recall the relatively dire circumstances of his first visit to the Persian Gulf kingdom. “I hadn’t been in Bahrain in about 30 years, since the middle of Operation Desert Storm,” Kelly, a former Navy pilot who flew combat missions during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, said in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel on Thursday. “I had a hydraulic failure and couldn’t get back aboard the aircraft carrier.” Instead, he made an emergency landing at what was then known as Shaikh Isa Air Base on the small island nation of Bahrain, a U.S. coalition partner in the war against Iraq and now a signatory in a series of diplomatic agreements that normalized relations between Israel and a handful of Arab nations.
Coming full circle: “The Bahrainians really appreciated that story,” Kelly, 58, said of his recent visit, during which he and his Senate colleagues met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, among others. “It’s kind of full circle for me in a totally different job and a different reason for being there.” The trip to Bahrain was one of the first stops in a 10-day jaunt through the Middle East, which concluded on Sunday. Led by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and James Lankford (R-OK), co-chairs of the Abraham Accords Caucus, the delegation also visited Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Iran concerns: “From Israel to Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE, we were hearing the same message,” Kelly, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, told JI. “That our involvement is incredibly important and we need to continue to strengthen these partnerships.” Among the top issues raised during the trip were the challenges associated with countering Iran’s influence in the region, Kelly said. “The negative impact that the Iranians are having in every one of these countries that we visited, but basically any other country in the Middle East, is significant, and we’ve got to do something about it,” he told JI. “We’ve got to make sure they do not get a nuclear weapon.”
Growing the Accords: The senator, who first visited Israel shortly before his election to the Senate in 2020, said that Netanyahu was “very optimistic” about Israel’s relationship with Saudi Arabia amid chatter that the Gulf monarchy will eventually join the Abraham Accords. According to Kelly, the potential for expanding the Accords to include Muslim-majority nations outside the Middle East was a subject of conversation in the delegation’s meeting with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE president known as MBZ. “If I recall this correctly, MBZ felt, when Saudi Arabia, if they were to get there, that this gives us opportunities with other countries, including, potentially, Indonesia,” said Kelly, who visited the UAE last year on a separate delegation.
Space status: Beyond geopolitics, Kelly, who is a former astronaut, said he had recently met with two Emirati astronauts in Houston and relayed details of his encounter to the UAE president. “I did find out that they’re doing well, so I passed that onto MBZ,” he said. The senator is also connected to the family of Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in 2003 in the Columbia space shuttle explosion. They had been stationed together in Houston before Ramon’s death.
Netanyahu’s former national security advisor provides a window into Israeli policy
On this week’s episode of Jewish Insider’s podcast, co-hosts Rich Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein are joined by Jacob Nagel, the former Israeli acting national security advisor and head of Israel’s National Security Council in 2016-2017. Nagel is currently a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a visiting professor at the Technion: Israel Institute of Technology in its aerospace engineering faculty. He is a reserve brigadier general in the Israeli Defense Forces and was involved in the development of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system.
On possible solutions to the Iranian issue that don’t require military action: “For the first time since the Shah went down,” Nagel said, “there is maybe, maybe a possibility that the Iranian people will take down the regime. So there is going to be regime change, and the new regime will understand that it’s better for Iran [to be the] Switzerland of the area, [and] they will abandon their wishes or dreams or aspirations about being a nuclear hegemony.” A second potential solution, he suggested, would be “a diplomatic solution. Like what happened in Libya, Iran will be blocked on all paths, on all issues, forever, from being a nuclear threshold country or a nuclear state. Ask me if it will happen by negotiations? No way.” Though Nagel asserted no other “peaceful” solutions exist, he added that there were about “15 or 20 ways to do it without kinetic war,” or active military action.
On Israel’s hesitancy to send weapon systems to Kyiv: The Israeli government — both past and present — has four reasons for not sending weapons to Ukraine, Nagel said. The first is not a question of “if,” but “how much, how many,” because if Israel sends the Iron Dome to Ukraine, he says, Iran will immediately capture the technology. The second reason, Nagel said, is that there aren’t enough Iron Dome systems in general, and Israel cannot afford to give one up. The third hesitancy, he explained, revolves around timing — it takes too long to train Iron Dome operators how to work the system. “The two Iron Domes that we sold to the [U.S.] army, [it’s been] almost a year and [they’re] not operational yet,” Nagel said. The final reason, which Nagel said the international community chooses to focus on while ignoring the other three issues, is Israel’s strategic relationship with Russia with regard to military action on the Jewish state’s northern border. “Yes, we have Russians in our area, they are our neighbors. There are some very good things about it, some bad things, but we still have full freedom. Not full, almost full freedom in the north to do what we need when they are violating one of our three red lines,” Nagel said. “But we don’t want to put the finger in the eyes of the Russians.”
Bonus lightning round: Favorite Yiddish word or phrase? “Bubbameister…I didn’t want to say, you know, bullshit, because bullshit is not nice, but bubbameister is the nice word in Yiddish for bullshit.” Favorite Israeli wine? “I like the Ramat HaGolan ‘HeightsWine.’ If you don’t know what [it is,] it’s, Canadians have it, [it’s] very sweet. You have to drink it very, very, very cold. It’s called HeightsWine.” Favorite Jewish food? “I like fish very much, and every opportunity that I have I eat fish, because at home, fish is not entering. My wife hates fish, and there [is] only one day in a year when fish [is allowed in] our home, it’s Rosh Hashanah.”
Slotkin says she is ‘seriously considering’ campaign for Senate in Michigan
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) said in an interview with Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel on Thursday that she is “seriously considering” launching a campaign for the seat long held by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who announced earlier this month that she would not seek reelection in 2024.
What she’s thinking: “When a big decision like this comes up, I’m pretty thoughtful about it,” Slotkin, a moderate Jewish Democrat who recently won a third term in a competitive district covering the Lansing area, told JI. “I want to make sure I talk to as many people as possible and solicit thoughts and counsel and just kind of have my ducks in a row before I make such a big decision.” The 46-year-old congresswoman said she had not yet committed to a specific timeline for potentially announcing a bid. “I’m seriously considering it,” Slotkin said, adding later in the interview that she is “definitely” exploring a run for the upper chamber.
Race to watch: The rare open-seat race in Michigan, a key battleground state, is poised to be among the most high-profile elections of the coming cycle, where Senate Democrats will be defending their tenuous 51-49 majority. In addition to Slotkin, other Democrats who are reportedly weighing Senate bids include Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) as well as Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Slotkin, a prolific fundraiser who has fared well in tough elections as a congresswoman, is widely viewed as a formidable contender for the seat, which Stabenow, 72, has held since 2001.
Surprise announcement: Slotkin, a former CIA and Defense Department official, said she had not been expecting Stabenow’s announcement in early January. “I was surprised that Sen. Stabenow, who has done so much for the state of Michigan, decided not to run in 2024,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
Moskowitz addresses concerns about new Israeli government after HFAC appointment
As he prepares to take a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee — an assignment announced yesterday — freshman Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod he’s still taking a “wait-and-see” approach to the new Israeli government. “As we fight for democracy here, I think we have to fight for democracy there,” Moskowitz said. “But,” he concluded, “it’s still early. Let’s not judge them by what they say, let’s judge them by what they do. So let’s see what happens.”
Fending off criticism: Moskowitz enters office and the committee as a successor to former Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and has pledged to carry on Deutch’s legacy as a vocal supporter of Israel, with the support of many in his district’s sizable Jewish and pro-Israel community. “I think the Israeli government should think about this — the things that are said about [Israel] at the U.N., which are untrue, and that [they] are singled out because of antisemitism and because of anti-Israel [sentiment],” Moskowitz said warning that Israel should not take actions that might “give those things credibility.” He said that “that’s some of my concern” about some of the changes being proposed by the new Israeli government.
Growing crowd: In recent days, two senior Jewish Democrats, Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) have both cautioned that proposed changes to the Israeli judiciary — which would gut its ability to act as a check on the Knesset and thereby, critics argue, threaten Israeli democracy — could undermine support for Israel in the U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) have expressed concerns privately to Israeli officials about far-right members of the new government, accordingto Axios.
Other priorities: Moskowitz called for Congress to work to “do everything we can” to help expand the Abraham Accords — particularly working to add additional countries, like Saudi Arabia, to the agreement. He lamented that no new agreements had been signed since 2020. “This administration was slow to embrace the Abraham Accords and still doesn’t really do what I’d like to see, which is really trying to build on it — not just hold what we have, but build,” Moskowitz said. “I think Congress should be doing whatever we can to support the administration to build on that.” He said the Accords will help strengthen Israel — “which also alleviates our military obligations” — and “isolate Iran without an Iran deal.”
Read the full interview here.
Marking the day: Moskowitz’s grandmother and her sister were part of the Kindertransport — an effort to rescue children from Nazi-controlled territory — and lost relatives in Auschwitz. He said, reflecting on today’s anniversary of the liberation of the death camp, that he’s concerned about the death of witnesses to the Holocaust. “When there are no live witnesses to that, we’re going to have to make sure that we’re teaching this to the next generation and the next generation, I think it’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “And we’re seeing the rise in antisemitism happening at a time where there are less and less of these survivors.” He added that frequent comparisons to Hilter invoked in American politics have “undermined the evilness of what he achieved.”
Carnegie Hall concert showcases music composed by victims of the Holocaust
They are songs in the key of life — and death. Culled from 14 songbooks written by Jewish composers in concentration camps and ghettos, the songs — a requiem, Yiddish ballads, poems set to music, popular tunes — formed the backbone of last night’s sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, “We Are Here: Songs From the Holocaust,” on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In an auditorium that has hosted the likes of The Beatles, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald, Holocaust survivors in attendance received applause rivaling Broadway stars, and the voices of victims long gone were given a second chance to tell their stories, Jewish Insider’s Tori Bergel reports.
Contrasting tempos: The second piece performed, “Filing,” composed by Shmerke Kaczerginski, was a heartbreaking duet about Kaczerginski’s first spring without his wife, who was killed in April 1943. Cantors Dan Mutlu and Rachel Brook performed the piece in eerie harmony, standing next to each other at center stage amid a six-piece ensemble. “Springtime,” they sang, to the bated breath of the audience, “I’m drowning in my sorrow. There’s no tomorrow, since you’ve gone away.” In contrast, “Zog Nit Keyn Mol,” which came directly after intermission, played like a pop anthem. A “battelsong for peace” written by Hirsh Glik as a protest song after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the performance showcased 12 singers displaying the very best of their talent, with trills and vocal runs at every turn.
Inspired by Elie: Last night’s concert was years in the making, with its origins in 2016, following the death of Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel in his Manhattan home. Nearly 800 miles away in Chicago, the news hit music producer and composer Ira Antelis, who was struck by the magnitude of Wiesel’s impact. “He was really the voice for all of us growing up that kept the Holocaust alive and relevant, and the whole idea about never forgetting,” Antelis recounted to JI. “I just started reading about him…he loved music, it said, and he wrote the foreword for this songbook [compiled by Eleanor Moltek and Malke Gottlieb] called ‘We Are Here’ — which is music from the ghettos and the camps.”
Honoring their memory: “To me, being able to bring [the original composers’] music back at a place like Carnegie Hall and honor their memory, aside from my family, my kids, I think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been involved with,” Antelis said — a feat which could not have been achieved without show’s host, Rabbi Charles Savenor. “When the people wrote this music, whether or not they knew that they were going to die, what they wrote about…much of it is uplifting. It’s about family, it’s about relationships, it’s about love, it’s about hope. And again, I think that’s a message that the world needs today,” Savenor said.
Personal connection: “I had family that was murdered during the Holocaust, and only a couple of years ago did we discover testimony online… about what happened to our family in Lithuania,” Savenor said. “So in some small way, this is a memorial to my family as well, and to anybody else who lost anyone in the Holocaust. This concert gave the opportunity to say, not just what they were thinking as they marched to their deaths, but what were they singing? What was in their hearts?”
👨 All About Abramovich: The Wall Street Journal looks at Russian-Israeli businessman Roman Abramovich’s weakening attempts to act as a middleman in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as pressure on his assets increases after he was sanctioned last year by the U.K. and EU for allegedly benefiting from close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Mr. Abramovich has met with Mr. Putin in person, and has had several phone calls with the Russian leader since the start of the war, according to people close to Mr. Abramovich and the Kremlin. He also has a direct line to Mr. Putin’s chief of staff, Anton Vaino. Mr. Abramovich takes the Ukrainian point of view directly to Mr. Putin, according to the people, and then conveys the Kremlin’s views directly to Kyiv. He helps with smaller prisoner exchanges every few weeks. Mr. Abramovich’s motivation is often in question among Western officials who see it as a naked attempt to get sanctions lifted. The people close to him said he is obsessed with saving lives and making conditions better in Ukraine. He has applied a similar zeal to other humanitarian projects, and reaped political dividends. He has given around half a billion dollars to Jewish charities and Holocaust memorials. He pumped millions into regenerating Chukotka, a desolate region in the Russian Arctic where he was governor for eight years, an act that sparked a baby boom in the area. As a result of his efforts, he enjoyed strong political support in Israel, where he holds citizenship. His work in Chukotka kept him in good standing with Mr. Putin.” [WSJ]
🖼️ Nuance and Nazis:The New York Times’ Nina Siegal delves into issues surrounding a new exhibit at the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, which seeks to provide a more nuanced look at Dutch experiences of World War II, but has been accused of downplaying both heroism and sin. “Some visitors, including survivors of the Holocaust and descendants of resisters, were upset that the experiences of Dutch Nazis were explored alongside those of Dutch Jews who had been deported and murdered in death camps. One juxtaposition presents a short profile of Hannie Schaft, a resister, next to one of Emil Rühl, a Nazi agent. Schaft, a law student with red hair, joined an armed resistance unit that sabotaged German military operations and shot Nazis. Rühl, an agent with the intelligence and surveillance arm of the Reich, spent months hunting down the ‘girl with the red hair’ and finally caught Schaft, who was sentenced to death and shot.’ Jalda Rebling, whose aunt was the Jewish resister Janny Brilleslijper and whose mother, Rebekka, was also a resistance member — the two women were among the last people to see Anne Frank alive — described the exhibition as a scandal.’” [NYTimes]
📰 Beyond the News: The New Yorker’s Clare Malone profilesWashington Post CEO and publisher Fred Ryan, in a look at the changes the paper is undergoing as it begins laying off staff. “But Ryan has framed the layoffs not as a cost-cutting measure but as a move to transform the paper into a more competitive entity. Part of the strategy, he told me, is to reach readers on topics beyond hard news. A ‘learning’ Ryan said he’d had during the covid era is that readers ’want some diversions.’ He pointed to the Post’s new Well+Being section as proof that the paper is trying to give the people what they want…Most Post staffers who I spoke with tended to agree that the paper was in need of better strategic planning. Even unpopular moves like shuttering the Sunday print magazine—which won a National Magazine Award in 2020—were seen as defensible business decisions by some… Ryan said that hiring will focus on areas like tech, climate, and health, among others. By the end of the year, he went on, the Post will be as large as or larger than it is now. In addition to the new wellness section, he has touted the Post’s expanded climate coverage and new editorial hubs in London and Seoul. To some, these changes feel like building out newsroom infrastructure, not implementing innovative new business models.’” [NewYorker]
🪖 On the Border: In Tablet magazine, Dave Schenker, Taube senior fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, weighs the efficacy of the massive U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). “With nearly 10,000 troops from 48 nations, UNIFIL’s presence in south Lebanon represents the densest concentration of peacekeepers per square kilometer in the world. Forty-five years after this “interim” force was deployed, the Israel-Lebanon border region remains precarious, and UNIFIL peacekeepers are increasingly threatened… Given its deficiencies, a compelling argument could be made to scrap UNIFIL entirely. Washington could do so simply by vetoing the organization’s mandate renewal this summer — as the Pompeo State Department nearly did. Notwithstanding its shortcomings, however, Israel continues to support the persistence of UNIFIL, believing that the so-called tripartite mechanism, the maritime task force, and the continued presence of some peacekeepers along the frontier may be useful in deescalating tensions. While the administration may not be able to dispense with UNIFIL, it’s time to downsize the deployment so its size is commensurate with the limited access the organization has in south Lebanon. It will take some heavy diplomatic lifting for Washington to right-size this self-perpetuating interim U.N. bureaucracy, but the effort will be worth it.” [Tablet]
🪖 Be Prepared: Washington Post columnist David Ignatius takes a look at this week’s massive U.S.-Israeli military exercise, involving all the weapons systems needed for an assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities. “U.S. and Israeli military officials would not confirm officially that Juniper Oak was planned with Iran as a potential target. But that has been an open secret ever since the two countries began organizing the exercise in November…In the nuclear realm, deterrence is the essence of good strategy. And that’s the baseline for assessing this week’s rehearsal for a military attack on Iran. President Biden has said the United States will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and that he would use force as a ‘last resort’ to stop Tehran from going nuclear. This week’s exercises makes that U.S. threat a little more credible — and, if the logic of deterrence holds, reduces the likelihood of an actual conflict. That’s the theory, at least. What Juniper Oak suggested was that a military action, if it ever came, would likely be massive.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
👋 Albanese Adieu: A bipartisan group of House members urged the removal of the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, in response to “outrageous antisemitic statements” by the Italian lawyer.
✈️ Timely Trip: CIA director Bill Burns arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, amid an escalation of tensions on the ground.
🔥 Flareup of Violence: Following clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jenin yesterday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. is “deeply concerned by the escalating violence and loss of innocent life in the West Bank following a counterterrorism operation.” The Palestinian Authority said it would cease security coordination with Israel following the IDF raid. Meanwhile, overnight, at least three rockets were fired from Gaza toward southern Israel, leading to Israeli air strikes on Hamas targets.
🪧 Reintroduced: Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jim Risch (R-ID) and James Lankford (R-OK) reintroduced a resolution expressing support for Iranian protesters, which passed the House on Wednesday. They’re joined by 28 cosponsors.
💻 Tech Ties: Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) announced plans to reintroduce the U.S.-Israel Artificial Intelligence Act, which provides funding for joint AI research between the two countries, with an eye toward countering China.
🏃♂️ He’s Running: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced his bid for U.S. Senate, joining Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) in the race for the seat currently held by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who said reportedly said this week that she will not announce her reelection plans until 2024.
😕 Santos’ Hitler Jokes: A decade ago, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) commented on a Facebook post with what appears to be a joke about Hitler, the Jews and the Blacks, according to screenshots obtained by Patch.
💲 Heavily Invested: Elliott Management Corp. is set to nominate a slate of directors at Salesforce after its recent multibillion-dollar investment in the tech company.
🛬 Hasidic Hero: A Hasidic EMT provided critical first aid treatment to a woman who fainted aboard a JetBlue flight from New York City to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., stabilizing her and averting an emergency landing.
👮 Antisemitic Attack: A man from Washington, D.C., has been arrested and charged over an attack on a Jewish man at a Giant store in Montgomery County, Maryland.
🏢 Tech Talk: In Foreign Policy, Neri Zilber explores the impact the planned judicial reform in Israel could have on the country’s tech sector, after several companies pulled investments in light of the proposal.
🕵️Cyber Chat: In his first media interview since taking over as CEO of Israeli cyber firm the NSO Group, Yaron Shohat acknowledged to the Wall Street Journal that some clients had misused the company’s hacking tools while defending the need for such technology.
📦 Setting Sail: Freightos, a Jerusalem-based online platform for shipping goods around the world, raised $80 million in a Nasdaq IPO after merging with a special purpose acquisition company.
🛩️ Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Elbit Systems announced this week that it had signed a five-year contract with NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency to establish a service center for the Direct Infrared Counter Measures supplied to the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport fleet.
🇦🇿 Attack in Tehran: A gunman stormed the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran today, killing the chief of security and wounding two guards.
➡️ Transitions: Alexander Rosemberg will become the deputy chief of staff of policy at the Anti-Defamation League after serving as deputy regional director of New York and New Jersey.
Wine of the Week
JI’s wine columnist Yitz Applbaum reviews the Flam 2019 Noble:
“Checking luggage in today’s challenging aviation environment, regardless of the length of my trip, is almost always a non-starter for me. However, last week I had an important dinner in Hong Kong with my old friend Ronnie, and so I broke my own rule and brought him a bottle that I knew would add greatness to our meal. The 2019 Flam Noble did not disappoint. This wine is robust and elegant. A great blend of Cabernet, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. Every minute of the 20 months it spent in its barrel was used to perfection. The passion fruit forward readies your tongue for a mid-palate explosion of cherry tart, and the wine finishes with a lingering plum jam and truffle oil. Enjoy this wine with a large Tomahawk steak, and let it breathe for at least two hours before drinking. This wine will last for the better part of 20 years.”
Pic of the Day
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff wipes away a tear during a visit today to Auschwitz-Birkenau on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Auschwitz survivor, retired professor of child psychiatry at Harvard and the University of Cincinnati, Anna Ornstein turns 96…
FRIDAY: Senior counsel focused on mergers and acquisitions in the NYC office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Arthur Fleischer turns 90… Businessman and real estate investor, Paul Sislin turns 88… Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, he is a professor emeritus at California Institute of Technology, Barry Clark Barish turns 87… NYC resident Priscilla Alexander… Builder and operator of luxury casinos and hotels, Steve Wynn (born Stephen Alan Weinberg) turns 81… Corporate venture capitalist and scientist, he served as VP at Intel Corporation where he co-founded Intel Capital, Avram Miller turns 78… Topanga, Calif., resident, Joseph Helfer… Columbia, S.C., resident, Charles Geffen… VP at Elnat Equity Liquidity Providers, Eliezer Edelman… Professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR, Reuven Firestone turns 71… Cookbook author and attorney, she is a co-founder of Foundation for Jewish Camp, Elisa Spungen Bildner… Chief justice of the United States, John Roberts turns 68… Member of the Missouri State Senate, representing the western suburbs of St. Louis, Jill Schupp turns 68… Television writer and producer best known as the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” he stars in the Netflix series “Somebody Feed Phil,” Philip Rosenthal turns 63… Founder and chairman of Willoughby Capital, Daniel Och turns 62… Communications director at C-SPAN and author of When Rabbis Bless Congress, a history of rabbinical invocations in Congress, Howard Mortman… Founder and managing member of Liberty Peak Capital and co-founder and lead investor of Multiplier Capital, Ezra M. Friedberg… CEO of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester, Josh Weinstein… Editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, Lisa Daftari… Jerusalem-born rapper and YouTuber with 231 million views, Rucka Rucka Ali turns 36… English fashion model, Daisy Rebecca Lowe turns 34… Former college and professional basketball point guard including playing on the Israeli women’s national basketball team, she is now a coordinator at Herzl Camp in Wisconsin, Jacqui Kalin turns 34… Raleigh, N.C., resident, Grace Kaplan… Co-founder and advisor of Quai[dot]MD and an MBA candidate at Stanford, Lia Michal Weiner Tsur… Financial markets advisory associate at BlackRock, Joshua Henderson… Founder and CEO of anti-disinformation company Alethea, Lisa Kaplan…
SATURDAY: Longtime Baltimore area dentist now living in Jupiter, Florida, Joel I. Goldberg, DDS… Former chair of the political science department of the Hebrew University (now emeritus), he is a lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Avraham Diskin turns 76… 26th national president of Hadassah, Ellen Hershkin… U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) turns 76… Attorney and lobbyist, Kenneth Levine… Rabbi emeritus of Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Steven Carr Reuben… Chairman and founder of London-based ICM Stellar Sports, Jonathan Ian Barnett turns 73… Model, actress and singer, Barbi Benton turns 73… Elayne Z. Wolf… Senior U.S. district judge for the Central District of California, Judge Dean Douglas Pregerson turns 72… Freelance writer, Reba Carmel… NYC-based advisor and investor, Donna Redel turns 70… Director at UCLA Center for Community Engagement, Shalom David Staub… Angel investor, Mark N. Schwartz… Retired member of the New Jersey General Assembly, Amy H. Handlin turns 67… Executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert B. Satloff turns 61… International businessman, he is the chairman of Genesis Philanthropy Group, Gennady Gazin turns 58… Founder and CEO of Boca Raton-based Lyons Capital LLC, Jason Lyons… Associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Amy Coney Barrett turns 51… SVP at Weber Shandwick, Ariel Bashi… Israeli theatre and movie actress, Adi Bielski turns 41… Principal at Aermont Capital, Max Heller… Associate at Goldman Sachs, Perry Bloch… Actress and singer, known for her role as Ashlyn Caswell in the Disney+ series “High School Musical,” Julia Lester turns 23… Co-chair of the Jewish Federation of the Desert in Palm Springs, Calif., Jacqueline Abelman Cohen…
SUNDAY: Rabbi, mohel and public speaker, Rabbi Paysach Krohn turns 78… President of Libitzky Property Companies, Moses S. Libitzky turns 76… Singer and songwriter, he is a two-time gold medal winner in the Maccabiah Games in fast-pitch softball, Steve March-Tormé turns 70… Regional director in the Houston office of the American Jewish Committee, Randall Czarlinsky… Louisiana resident, Jerry Keller… CEO of the Westchester Jewish Council, Elliot Forchheimer… Senior writer for JCCs of North America, a.k.a. Jane the Writer, Jane E. Herman… Actress known for her role as Amy MacDougall-Barone on the TV sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Monica Horan turns 60… Physician and an author of three New York Times best-selling books, he is a professor of medicine and engineering at USC, as well as a CBS News contributor, Dr. David Agus turns 58… Former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan turns 53… Founder of multiple tech firms, Sam Lawrence turns 53… Robyn Cooke Bash… Writer and occasional Bollywood film actor, he is known for his writing of the popular Jewish children’s comic book series Mendy and the Golem, Matt Brandstein turns 51… Senior director and global head of the NYC-based Tembo Group, Denielle Sachs… D.C.-based philanthropic consultant, Kari Dunn Saratovsky… Israeli actress, model and television host, Yael Bar Zohar turns 43… Senior director for China and Taiwan on the National Security Council, Laura Rosenberger turns 43… Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, Yasha Moz… U.S. Representative (D-MA), Jacob Daniel (Jake) Auchincloss turns 35… Swimmer for Israel at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, Andrea (Andi) Murez turns 31… Software engineering analyst at Blackrock, Martha Baumgarten…