👋 Good Friday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we feature Rep. Josh Gottheimer on our podcast, and talk to former Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug about the potential effects on the economy from Israel’s judicial overhaul efforts. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Rep. Michael McCaul, Yoav Gallant, Avi Zeevi and Dina Powell McCormick.
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, eJewishPhilanthropy and The Circuit stories, including: A 33-year-old basketball exec rises in Phoenix; In debut novel, Ruth Marks Eglash pens an ode to Jerusalem; Cardin: ‘One of my missions’ is to help young lawmakers understand the U.S.-Israel relationship. Print the latest edition here.
Jurors in Pittsburgh began deliberations yesterday evening in the federal death penalty trial of accused Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. They’ll resume at 9 a.m. ET today.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) is warning the administration against attempting to evade congressional oversight of any potential agreement or understanding that might emerge from the renewed talks with the Iranian regime that have been confirmed in recent days, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
McCaul, in a letter to President Joe Biden, said that he was “disturbed” by the revelation of renewed talks and the “apparent greenlighting of sizable payments to Iran,” which he said “calls into question your Administration’s intent to follow the law and submit any agreement with Iran to Congress.”
The letter echoes concerns from critics of the administration’s Iran policy that the administration may seek to avoid congressional review of arrangements finalized through the latest rounds of talks.
The top HFAC Republican also alleged that the State Department has ignored a request for Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley to testify before HFAC since early April, accusing the administration of a “lack of transparency” that is “deeply disturbing.” Read the full story here.
The letter comes ahead of a meeting slated for tomorrow between Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan and officials of the Islamic republic in Tehran. Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency cited sources saying that Saudi Arabia is expected to reopen its embassy in Tehran during the visit.
Meanwhile, Iran tested a “suicide drone” against a practice barge in the Gulf on Wednesday as it continues to escalate its naval activities.
Gottheimer: Biden admin ‘needs to act faster’ to address antisemitism on campus
On this week’s episode of Jewish Insider’s podcast, co-hosts Rich Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein are joined by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) for a discussion on Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morningstar and antisemitism on college campuses.
Below are excerpts of the conversation.
On Iran: “Broadly speaking, what’s proven out consistently, for those of us who are opposed to the original JCPOA and have had concerns since, is that the government of Iran has proven to be liars and cheats every step of the way.”
On Saudi Arabia’s recent interactions with China: “Generally, I’m very circumspect to what the Chinese are doing, as I believe our No. 1 adversary, and their aggression and involvement in the region, especially partnering with Russia and Iran, always concerns me, especially look at their behavior the last year in terms of what they’re supplying and who they’re talking to and who they’re sitting down with.”
On the White House’s recent National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism: “I think this is what we should be doing more of in this country, especially given the huge spike in antisemitic attacks in recent years, which are alarming to say the least. What’s going on in college campuses, BDS growing… I just spoke against CUNY [Law School], if you followed that, of those just shockingly outrageously antisemitic comments that were made at a school that has a BDS problem to begin with and an administration that’s weak, at best; I think they should clean house in my opinion over there.”
tightening purse strings
Lawmakers remain supportive of nonprofit security grants despite tightening budgets, advocate says
Following a series of advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, a senior Jewish Federations of North America official told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod that lawmakers are warning advocates to prepare for budget cuts in 2024, but seem inclined to preserve funding for nonprofit security grants.
Looking up: Karen Paikin Barall, JFNA’s associate vice president of public affairs and executive director of its Advocacy Corps said that Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), who met with JFNA activists this week and chairs the Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee responsible for NSGP funding, is “interested in protecting the $10 million [increase], he’s made that clear.” Broadly, Barall said, lawmakers were supportive of the program and understood the necessity of protecting and potentially growing it, even as the House seeks to shrink its budget allocations. “The overall feeling we got was they were so agreeable to that when we brought it up,” Barall said. “There was agreement… which is the best thing when you’re asking for money at a very sensitive time. I don’t want to be overconfident, but we felt good at the end of the day.”
Warning signs: But, Barall continued, the Labor, Health and Human Services bill — which includes Holocaust survivor assistance — is expected to see “significant cuts.” “We’re very concerned about that, and we need to make sure that we at least maintain level funding,” Barall said. “We’ve asked for an increase to $10 million [from $8.5 million]. If we are able to keep level funding, we would be thankful for that as well. We just really can’t afford a cut.”
it’s the israeli economy, stupid
In Israel, economic concerns grow as judicial overhaul plans remain on the table
Israel’s government must take immediate steps to scrap its judicial overhaul plans if it wants to prevent further decline of the country’s already plunging currency and reverse the current economic trend, former Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug told Jewish Insider’s Ruth Marks Eglash in an interview last week.
Broad consensus: “There is a very broad consensus among economists, which is very unusual, expressing grave concerns about the potential effects on the economy of this judicial overhaul,” said Flug, who served as Bank of Israel governor from 2013 to 2018. “The reason is that we believe every economy is vulnerable to any change in its institutions that interferes with the checks and balances between the branches of the government.”
Dropping value: Earlier this month, the New Israeli Shekel fell to a new low of 3.753 against the dollar, and in order to offset the imbalance, the Bank of Israel has been forced to drive up interest rates multiple times. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a former finance minister who prides himself on his economic expertise, appears to be paying attention to the impact of his government’s policies on the economy. Last week he convened for the first time a newly created committee aimed at tackling the high cost of living in Israel, although in his press statement he blamed the economic challenges on “hidden monopolies and all kinds of impediments to competition.”
UAE teams up with Israel to address worldwide tech employee shortage
A government-owned technology company in the United Arab Emirates and Israel’s largest private investor in tech firms launched a joint venture on Thursday aimed at providing computer engineers and other skilled employees to businesses around the world, The Circuit’s Jonathan H. Ferziger reports.
Team effort: The new company, Global Valley, will be based in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, and address an international shortage of programming talent. It’s the product of collaboration between Abu Dhabi’s G42, which has interests ranging from biotechnology to artificial intelligence, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Israel’s Viola Ventures, which has $5 billion in assets under management, they said in a statement.
Strengthening the hub: The new company will strengthen Abu Dhabi as a “dynamic hub for technological advancement and business prowess,” G42 Group Chief Executive Peng Xiao said in a statement on Thursday. Avi Zeevi, a co-founder and general partner of Viola, said Global Valley “will provide tech companies, in Israel and globally, with the best-of-class tech talent to fuel their future growth and support their activities in the region.”
☪️ Rebuilding Relations:The New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg looks at the Republican Party’s recent efforts to reach out to Muslim voters. “This nascent alliance between conservative Christians and Muslims marks the resurrection of a right-wing project that was derailed, for a time, by the Sept. 11 attacks. Back in the 1990s, American conservatives founded a group called the World Congress of Families in an effort to unite pious traditionalists from across the globe against the forces of secular modernity. Before the attacks on the World Trade Center, they’d been planning simultaneous conferences in Mexico City and Dubai. After the attacks, those plans fell apart and cooperation between right-leaning Christians and Muslims became more fraught, though it continued in international bodies like the United Nations.” [NYTimes]
🏫 Case for Charters: In The Wall Street Journal, University of Notre Dame professor Nicole Stelle Garnett makes a legal argument in support of the creation of the first religious charter school. “Every state, including Oklahoma, prohibits religious charter schools. In voting to approve St. Isidore, the school-board members exercised their principled and independent judgment that such restrictions amount to unconstitutional religious discrimination… It’s true that the court has interpreted the Establishment Clause to require that schools operated and controlled by the government be secular. Charter schools, however, aren’t government schools. They are privately operated and freed from most regulations that govern district public schools, allowing them the space to innovate. These conditions foster educational pluralism and in so doing promote opportunity, especially for students who aren’t well served by traditional public schools. Given that charter schools are private actors, they enjoy the protections of the Free Exercise Clause, which includes freedom from government-sponsored religious discrimination.” [WSJ]
☢️ Call to Action: In The Hill, Eric Mandel argues that Congress should act before the Biden administration reaches a new agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. “It would be a self-inflicted American national security tragedy to strike an agreement that accepts Iranian ballistic missile development, ignores Iranian people’s suffering under a brutal dictatorship, leaves Iran to use the funds to support its American-designated terrorist proxies, and fails to reverse its nuclear weapons development. There is bipartisan opposition to ending sanctions against Iran and to releasing billions of dollars in frozen funds, especially when Iran is directly helping the Russian war machine kill Ukrainian civilians and aligning with China, America’s number one adversary in the 21st century. Even more troubling is that, according to Business Insider, the Iranians want the administration to ‘take steps to provide proactive assurances to investors and financial institutions that sanctions have been verifiably lifted.’ This could open the floodgates to tens of billions of dollars more to strengthen the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.” [TheHill]
Around the Web
🤝 Austin-Gallant Meeting: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met in Brussels yesterday, where they discussed “important developments in the U.S.-Israeli bilateral defense partnership, U.S. security assistance for Israel, and efforts to increase partnership and interoperability,” as well as concerns over growing relations between Russia and Iran, according to a Defense Department readout.
🏦 Goldman Inquiries: The Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both looking into Goldman Sachs’ efforts to purchase Silicon Valley Bank’s securities portfolio as it worked on the bank’s capital raise ahead of its collapse.
🏌️ Golf Deal Probe: The Justice Department plans to review the recent deal between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf for possible antitrust violations.
👩⚕️ Health on the Hill: Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), along with 54 colleagues, introduced legislation reauthorizing a U.S.-Israel health technologies cooperation program.
🪑 Rosenthal’s Seat: City & State NYtakes a look at potential successors to Queens Assemblymember Dan Rosenthal, following his resignation this week to take a job with UJA-Federation of New York.
🎭 Theater Review: The Washington Postreviews “One Jewish Boy,” which opened at Washington’s Theater J and runs through early July.
🖼️ Arty Agreement: The Boston Museum of Fine Arts reached a resolution over a 17th-century Dutch painting that ended up in Adolf Hitler’s collection; the museum will continue to house the work, while the current owners will pay an unspecified sum to the Jewish heirs of the painting’s previous owners.
🇦🇷 AMIA Bombing: A judge in Argentina granted a request from prosecutors to seek an Interpol warrant for four Lebanese men believed to be involved in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
🇷🇺🇮🇱 Embassy Achievement: Russia will open a new branch of its embassy in Jerusalem, the embassy and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this morning.
🪖 Tank Talks: Israel is in discussions to sell its used Merkava tanks to two countries, one of which is European.
🚕 Get a Gett: Ride-sharing app Uber is ending its operations in Israel next week.
🛣️ Kicked Down the Road: The next convening of the Negev forum, which is set to take place in Morocco, was postponed for the fourth time, and will likely occur in July.
🇭🇺 International Affairs: A top aide to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who is visiting Israel said on Wednesday that Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine violates international law, adding that Budapest supports “a sovereign Ukraine with its internationally acknowledged territory.”
🛩️ Jetting Off: The U.S. deployed F-22 fighter jets to the Middle East, attributing the move to the Russian Air Force’s “unsafe and unprofessional behavior.”
🕊️ Palestinian Prospects: Palestinian Authority Social Welfare Minister Ahmad Majdalani suggested that China was better positioned than the U.S. to serve as a mediator between Israelis and Palestinians, comments that come as PA President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing this week.
☢️ Rubin’s Reflections: In the Washington Times, Joel Rubin calls for a new nuclear deal with Iran.
🚀 Weapon Worries: An IDF official toldNewsweek that Israel is concerned that U.S.-supplied weapons in Ukraine will fall into the hands of Iran.
🕯️ Remembering: Polish-born British Holocaust survivor Sir Ben Helfgott, who represented Britain at the Olympics and was dedicated to Holocaust education, died at 93.
Pic of the Day
Auschwitz survivors lay candles and wreaths honoring victims of the Nazi regime at a wall used for executions during an event on Wednesday marking the 83rd anniversary of the first transport of Poles to the camp.
Vice chairman and president of global client services at BDT & MSD Partners, Dina Powell McCormick turns 50 on Sunday…
FRIDAY: Brigadier-General (retired) in the IDF and former member of Knesset, Avigdor Kahalani turns 79… Former dean of Yeshiva College, U.S. ambassador to Egypt for President Bill Clinton, and U.S. ambassador to Israel under President George W Bush, Daniel C. Kurtzer turns 74… Professor at Nanjing University and China’s leading professor of Jewish studies, Xu Xin turns 74… Rickey Wolosky Palkovitz… Chief investigative correspondent at Yahoo! News, Michael Isikoff turns 71… UC Berkeley professor and WSJ columnist, Alison Gopnik turns 68… Professor of Jewish studies at the University of Freiburg (Germany), Gabrielle Oberhänsli-Widmer turns 66… Distinguished fellow in Jewish studies at Dartmouth College, Shaul Magid… Southern California resident, Roberta Trachten-Zeve… President of GEM Commercial Flooring Company in Overland Park, Kansas, Matthew Elyachar… Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter and bestselling author, David A. Vise turns 63… Former chair of the Broward County, Fla., JCRC, he is the co-founder of The Alliance of Blacks & Jews, Keith Wasserstrom… Actor, screenwriter, producer and director, Daniel Zelman turns 56… Senior correspondent for military and intelligence affairs for Yedioth Ahronoth, Ronen Bergman, P.D. turns 51… CEO and founder of NYC-based Marathon Strategies, Phil Singer… Geographer and writer, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro turns 44… Singer and songwriter, Benjamin Lev Kweller turns 42… Portfolio manager at One8 Foundation, Alyssa Bogdanow Arens… Pitcher for Team Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, he is now on the roster of the Salt Lake Bees in the Los Angeles Angels organization, Zachary D. “Zack” Weiss turns 31… Sales development representative at 2U, Perry Chencin… Catcher on Israel’s National Baseball Team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Tal Erel turns 27… Israeli artistic gymnast who won a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Artem Dolgopyat turns 26…
SATURDAY: Diplomat and attorney, undersecretary of state for international security affairs in the Carter administration, long-time U.N. special representative, Matthew Nimetz turns 84… Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, professor at Georgetown and UC Berkeley, he is married to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin, George Akerlof turns 83… One of the world’s best-selling singer-songwriters over the course of seven decades, Barry Manilow, born Barry Alan Pincus, turns 80… Former member of the Knesset for the Zionist Union party, Eitan Broshi turns 73… Former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz turns 65… Deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, Stephanie Pollack turns 63… President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Aaron Dan Peskin turns 59… Fashion designer, daughter of Reva Schapira, Tory Burch turns 57… Active in interfaith peace initiatives between Judaism and Islam and in encounters for Jews with Eastern religions, Rabbi Yakov Meir Nagen (born Genack) turns 56… Founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, Michael Freund turns 55… British historian, columnist and musician, Dominic Green, Ph.D. turns 53… Advocacy, philanthropic and political counsel at Chicago-based Beyond Advisers, David Elliot Horwich… SVP for the economic program at Third Way, Gabe Horwitz…
Chief philanthropy officer of the Jewish Community Foundation and Jewish Federation of Broward County, Keith Mark Goldmann… Director of government affairs for the Conservation Lands Foundation, David Eric Feinman… Former rabbi of the Elmora Hills Minyan in Union County, N.J., now an LCSW therapist in private practice, Rabbi Michael Bleicher… NYC-based media and business writer for The Hollywood Reporter, Alexander Weprin… Professional surfer and musician, his family owns Banzai Bagels on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Makua Rothman turns 39… Founder and executive director of the Zioness Movement, Amanda Berman… Associate director at the New Israel Fund, Alexander Willick… Award-winning college football senior writer for The Athletic, Nicole Auerbach… Member of the U.S. Ski Team’s alpine program, Jared Goldberg turns 32… Senior art director at Insider, Rebecca Zisser… Shortstop for Team Israel at the 2020 Olympics, Scott Burcham turns 30… Actress best known for her roles in the CBS series “Fam” and the Netflix series “Grand Army,” Odessa Zion Segall Adlon turns 23… D.C.-based freelance foreign media consultant, Mounira Al Hmoud…
SUNDAY: Chicago-based attorney and former alderman on the Chicago City Council, Solomon Gutstein turns 89… Former Washington Post editor and reporter, Fred Barbash turns 78… IT management advisor at Next Stage, Steven Shlomo Nezer… Croatian entrepreneur, he was previously the minister of economy, labour and entrepreneurship in the Croatian government, Davor Stern turns 76… Rabbi at Or Hamidbar in Palm Springs, Calif, Rabbi David James Lazar turns 66… Rebecca Diamond… Best-selling author and journalist, Joanne Lipman turns 62… Retired professor of English at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, Helene Meyers… Executive of the William Pears Group, Sir Trevor Steven Pears turns 59… Former assistant to President Donald Trump, he is a principal of the Baltimore-based Cordish Companies real estate and gaming empire, Reed Saunders Cordish turns 49… Film director and screenwriter, Jonathan A. Levine turns 47… Television producer and writer, Jeremy Bronson turns 43… Talent manager and music business mogul, Scott Samuel “Scooter” Braun turns 42… Baseball pitcher for Team Israel at the 2020 Summer Olympics, he is also an analytics staffer and scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jeremy Bleich turns 36… Associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Esther Lifshitz… Investor at Silver Point Capital, Jacob E. Best… Rachel Hazan…