TOP TALKER: "Former Israeli Spy Chief Meir Dagan Dies" by Rory Jones and Orr Hirschauge: "Meir Dagan, a former director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad credited with delaying Iran’s nuclear weapons development through a series of high-profile missions, died on Thursday aged 71, the Israeli government said." [WSJ; AP]
U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro: "Meir Dagan was an Israeli patriot who devoted his life to his country's security. He was also a great friend and partner of he United States in confronting the threats we faced together. We join the Israeli people in honoring his life and service. May his memory be a blessing to his family." [Facebook]
Letter to the Editor -- Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer writes to the NYTimes: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t “cancel” his meeting with President Obama, as your editorial and a news article suggested, because no meeting was set. Israel had checked into the possibility of meeting with the president as part of a potential visit to Washington to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s policy conference. The White House confirmed that possibility and Israel expressed its appreciation. But I personally told a White House official that there was a good chance that the prime minister would not visit the United States." [NYTimes]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "Merrick Garland is Jewish. Does it matter?" by Lauren Markoe: “On the one hand, we’re incredibly proud. He’s a Reform Jew and he belongs to one of our synagogues,” said Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner... “We’re happy for him and we wish him mazel tov and it’s a wonderful thing for our movement. “At the same time, one’s faith has no bearing on one’s qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice,” said Pesner." [RNS]
"Merrick Garland’s Jewish ancestry: Matzah, prayer shawls and Democratic Party politics" by Jared Sichel: "Garland’s family fled anti-Semitism in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century and he was raised in Chicago in a Conservative Jewish community... Garland lives with his wife, Lynn, in Bethesda, Md., and they are members of Temple Sinai, a Reform synagogue in Washington, D.C. Garland, 63, is also connected by marriage to a well-known Orthodox Jewish family, the Rosenmans, whose claims to fame include Samuel Rosenman, a renowned jurist and Democratic politician in the early 20th century, and an earlier Rosenman who opened some of Jerusalem’s earliest matzah and tallis factories." [JewishJournal]
Greg Rosenbaum, Chairman of the NJDC, told us that he first got to know Garland when the two were classmates at the Northwestern Summer High School Debate Institute in the summer of 1969. Since then, the two were classmates in the Harvard College Class of 1974 and at Harvard Law School. “From high school debate to college and law school course work, I have never met a more hard-working individual,” Rosenbaum told Jewish Insider. “Merrick was elected by the alumni body of Harvard University to serve on the Board of Overseers and was subsequently elected by his fellow Overseers as the Board’s President, both pretty remarkable accomplishments... Interestingly, President Obama cited Merrick’s experience as a consensus builder when introducing him as his nominee and I found myself nodding my head in complete agreement.”
2016 WATCH: "Cruz Assembles an Unlikely Team of Foreign-Policy Rivals" by Eli Lake: "On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz is set to announce his campaign's national security advisory team, and it includes many foreign-policy insurgents and a few more establishment types. The list includes conservatives who disagree on one of the most pressing issues facing the next president: defining and confronting radical Islam." [BloombergView]
"Kasich Compares War Against ISIS to Holocaust" by Jacob Kornbluh: “There’s evil. And when there is evil in the world, it has to be destroyed,” Kasich explained. “When you have got strength, sometimes you have got to shoulder more than anybody else.” The Republican presidential hopeful then pointed to the Holocaust as an example.”There was a time when the Nazis would find out you are a Jew, they’d take you and put you in a concentration camp, and then maybe they’d take you and kill you,” Kasich said as he put his hand on the kid’s shoulder. “We can’t tolerate that, can we? And you know what? We weren’t able to win that until the U.S. stepped in.” [JewishInsider]
Trump talks to Israel Hayom... again: "Following Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's press conference at his Mar-a-Lago Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, I was confused about where to exit the building. Fortunately, my parents always taught me to use the main door. As I went up the stairs, I heard a familiar voice. A tall, broad man was standing there with his back to me, talking, laughing, and being photographed. I recognized Trump's back and approached him... "It's tremendous news for Israel," Trump said. "Your friend is leading in the primaries. I've always been your friend, even at the toughest moments. And that's not going to change. I love you."" [IsraelHayom]
Thank you to all the outlets that linked to our story on Adelson and Trump yesterday. [Politico;Guardian; Forward; TPM]
Dan Senor tweets: "AIPAC offered him multiple slots for Sun/Mon. @realDonaldTrump can be at debate & at AIPAC. He wants to skip debates." [Twitter]
Gary Rosenblatt: "Face To Face With Trump At AIPAC" [JewishWeek]
Rabbi Eric Yoffie: "American Jews' Fight-back Against Trump Starts at AIPAC" [Haaretz]
J.J. Goldberg: "Why Anguish Over AIPAC’s Invitation to Donald Trump Is Misplaced" [Forward]
Jonathan Tobin: "Don’t Blow Up AIPAC Over Trump" [Commentary]
MEDIA WATCH: "Jeff Zucker on Trump Rise: ‘The Front-Runner Is Always Going to Get a Disproportionate Amount of Attention’" by Chris Ariens: "Zucker also says Trump “has been much more available than many of the others who have been or are still in the race. Just because he says ‘yes’ and has subjected himself to those interviews, and [other candidates] don’t, I’m not going to penalize him for saying ‘yes.'” [AdWeek]
"The Daily Show Dives Into How Trump Campaign’s Now ‘Making Jews Uncomfortable’" by Josh Feldman: "The Daily Show tonight got around to examining the recent ways the Donald Trump campaign has been, um, “making Jews uncomfortable.” [Mediaite]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Israel Parliament Backs Cap for CEO Salaries at $649,000 a Year" [Bloomberg] "Israel launches first social impact bond to prevent diabetes" [Reuters] "Veteran lawyer Avi Pelossof joins Gornitzky & Co" [Globes] "How Apollo and TPG's plan for saving Caesars backfired"[BizJournals] "Sumner Redstone Hires New Lawyer In Battle Over His Healthcare"[HollywoodReporter] "Inside the Warhol-Filled Sales Gallery of Aby Rosen's Midtown Tower"[Curbed] "David Tepper's Most Profitable 2015 Trade May Be Moving to Miami" [Bloomberg]
PROFILE: "Josh Milstein, a grandson of Seymour Milstein, is expanding Mommy Nearest, the parenting app he launched three years ago" by Matthew Flamm: "There are many businesses that the heir of one of New York's premier real estate families might be expected to go into at the age of 24. Launching an app called Mommy Nearest that provides family-friendly dining and entertainment choices probably isn't one of them. Now three years into his new venture, Josh Milstein—a grandson of Milstein Properties founder Seymour Milstein—rebranded his firm Mommy Nearest Media on Wednesday and is prepping an expansion into three more markets." [Crains]
SXSW SPOTLIGHT — CNN’s Laurie Segall interviewed Josh Kushner, founder of Thrive Capital and health insurance startup Oscar (named for Josh’s great-grandfather) that was recently valued at $2.7 billion. Some highlights...
Segall: "You come from a real estate family, what was it about the startup community that really appealed to you?"
Kushner: "My co-founder Mario and I started something while in college and it grew to be really large with a few bumps along the way... The honest answer is luck. Once you have this feeling where you reach tens of millions of people and the decisions you make from a product perspective are impacting their lives and making their days different it’s just so intoxicating you never want anything else again and when you lose it you want to do everything you can to get it back. Luck in the beginning but I just can’t imagine doing anything else."
Segall: "Your whole career has kinda been defined by the David vs. Goliath mentality. You came from a family where there’s always the public eye, doing a lot, you could have gone a certain way, and it would have been pretty easy, but you’ve always had that for some reason. Why do you think that is?"
Kushner: "Perception is not always reality. I’m second generation but I kinda grew up in an immigrant-like home. Since I’ve been growing up I’ve been taught that this is the greatest country in the world and based on where my grandparents came from, they didn’t have the opportunities that we have, so like do everything you can to make the most of it. But again been very lucky."
Segall: "You have a company worth $2B, invested in all these winning startups, make us all feel better and talk about failing. Have you ever just failed? You really seem to be crushing it and I truly don’t believe that you have the highs without the lows. Let’s have a little therapy session (laughter) so take me to one of those lows, when was it? How did it go down?"
Kushner: "I was joking with someone at the office the other day. I feel like entrepreneurship is like the volatile experience of feeling completely overwhelmed by the fact that you don’t know how you’re going to deal with the problems you’re facing vs when things are ok feeling completely insecure that you don’t have enough going on, which is totally irrational. Mario and I started a company that was very large and isn’t anymore. That was a painful experience to have but, I think in reality, every day there’s failure, everyday something is broken and you have to fix it and be ok with not being right all the time and just adapting."[JewishInsider] Full audio [SoundCloud]
SPORTS BLINK: "Nate Robinson agrees to deal with Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel: Robinson agreed to a contract Monday with Hapoel Tel Aviv of Israel, according to international basketball reporter David Pick. Robinson appeared in two games with the Pelicans in October, but was released after the team decided to pursue other options at point guard on the waiver market." [CBSSports; SI]
TALK OF OUR NATION: "Meet Kosha Dillz, The Jewish Rapper ISIS Loves To Hate" by Aimee Kuvadia: "Do you have a microphone? A boom box? Musical talent? Add the drive of that overachiever you hated in high school to the above trifecta, and you could make a career for yourself street performing, as Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz has so cleverly managed to do. Born Rami Even-Esh, the Los Angeles-based indie artist became an overnight sensation after ISIS hacked his website in 2014. He suspects he was targeted because of his Jewish-oriented stage name." [EliteDaily]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Orthodox Jewish radio show used in FBI sting" by Lee Higgins: "The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office used an Orthodox Jewish radio program in an elaborate sting operation that helped the government convict Malcolm Smith and other New York politicians in a corruption scandal, a four-month investigation by The Journal News/lohud revealed." [Lohud]
LongRead: "‘Prime’ Battle Over Kosher Practices" by Hannah Dreyfus: "A significant trial is set to begin this week in a religious court here pitting a leading kosher restaurant entrepreneur, Joey Allaham of Prime Grill fame, against a venerable Modern Orthodox synagogue, Lincoln Square Synagogue, from Manhattan’s West Side. The stakes are high, not only in dollars but in reputation. And rather than a three-man bet din, as is the custom, the case will be heard by only one rabbi — Hershel Schachter, a prominent Orthodox authority." [TheJewishWeek]
DESSERT: "The East Village May Change, but the Strudel at Moishe’s Stays the Same" by Bruce Weber: "The neighborhood around Second Avenue and East Seventh Street has changed a good deal in the last four decades or so, since Moishe Perl opened his kosher bakery on a block that could be described as dicey, when he would often need to scatter a few drunks sleeping it off on the sidewalk when he opened up in the morning. Certainly the local streets never teemed with restaurantgoers, shoppers and multilingual tourists the way they do now on an ordinary Sunday afternoon." [NYTimes]
"Coming Soon to Gowanus, Brooklyn: Bison & Bourbon" by Dani Klein: "It appears that the restaurant is taking the approach of restaurants such as Pardes & Chagall Bistro, both opening in traditionally non-Orthodox neighborhoods. If they offer a great experience, people will drive in for it."[YeahThatsKosher]
** The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University presents: "On March 28th, an evening discussion on Where Do We Go From Here? The U.S.-Israel Relationship After Obama, featuring a conversation between Tamara Wittes, Director, Center for Middle East Policy and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution; and Michael Doran, Senior Fellow, The Hudson Institute; and moderated by Jordan Hirsch, Visiting Fellow, The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies." [IIJS]
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