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MAZEL TOV: "Dear Evan Hansen's Ben Platt Holds Back Tears as He Wins Best Actor in a Musical at 2017 Tony Awards" by Devan Coggan: "Ben Platt is no longer on the outside, always looking in at the Tony Awards. The Dear Evan Hansen star won the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical at Sunday’s ceremony. In an emotional and rapid-fire acceptance speech, he thanked the Broadway community for his win and spoke about how much theater has changed his life. “It’s where I found everything I ever loved and where I belong,” Platt told the audience. “And I’ve dreamed every day since of being on this stage and being a part of this community of artists."
Platt also offered a few words of wisdom to viewers around the country. “To all young people watching at home, don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody else because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful,” he said. [EWeekly]
"Ben Platt's L.A. high school days: He shone in different ways than Evan Hansen, teachers say" by Daryl Miller: "In “Dear Evan Hansen,” newly minted Tony winner Ben Platt portrays a high schooler who’s so nervous, unsure and desperately lonely that he seems to fold into himself, as though trying to make himself disappear. None of this remotely resembles the lead-musical-actor recipient in his own high school years at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City. Instructors who worked with him until his 2011 graduation say he was confident, always ahead of the game, a natural leader. He grew up among four performance-minded siblings in the musical-obsessed Westwood household of Julie and theater-film producer Marc Platt (“Wicked,” “La La Land”). He’d already acted professionally by the time he reached Harvard-Westlake..." [LATimes]
SPOTLIGHT: "Role of Trump’s Personal Lawyer Blurs Public and Private Lines" by Rebecca R. Ruiz and Sharon LaFraniere: "Marc E. Kasowitz... is a personal lawyer for the president, not a government employee, but he has been talking about establishing an office in the White House complex where he can run his legal defense... In recent days, Mr. Kasowitz has advised White House aides to discuss the inquiry into Russia’s interference in last year’s election as little as possible, two people involved said. He told aides gathered in one meeting who had asked whether it was time to hire private lawyers that it was not yet necessary... Mr. Kasowitz bypassed the White House Counsel’s Office in having these discussions... And concerns about Mr. Kasowitz’s role led at least two prominent Washington lawyers to turn down offers to join the White House staff." [NYTimes]
"When a liberal power lawyer represents the Trump family, things can get ugly" by Marc Fisher: "When [Jamie] Gorelick signed up Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — the president’s close advisers, as well as his son-in-law and daughter — as clients, she knew her friends might raise their collective eyebrows. She didn’t know that some of them would call her a turncoat... “For the first time, Jamie’s getting irrational criticism from her fellow liberals, who think that if you represent anyone associated with the other side, you must be a Republican in hiding,” said Alan Dershowitz, Gorelick’s mentor at Harvard Law School and a friend ever since. “Jamie is obviously a liberal Democrat, but this is not a betrayal... We have to resist zealotry on both sides.”" [WashPost]
IVANKA ON FOX AND FRIENDS THIS AM: "Ivanka Trump felt "blindsided" by DC viciousness" by Alayna Treene: "It is hard, and there's a level of viciousness that I wasn't expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience, but this isn't supposed to be easy. My father and this administration intends to be transformative, and we want to do big, bold things, and we're looking to change the status quo. So I didn't expect it to be easy, I think some of the distractions and some of the voracity was, I was a little blindsided by on a personal level. But for me, I'm trying to keep my head down and not listen to the noise."
--Does Jared Kushner like his job? "He loves it," said Ivanka. "I mean talk about impact."
--On Jared "clashing" with others in the White House: "There's a 24 hour news cycle that gets sped by and is encouraged by lots of salacious emails, and at the end of the day we're very focused on the work... [Jared] is someone who likes to get things done and doesn't get involved in that." [Axios]
"Maher Goes After Jared Kushner: If He’s Going to Run So Many Things, ‘He Must Speak’" by Joseph Wulfsohn: "At the end of Friday night’s episode of Real Time, Bill Maher came up with a “new rule” for President Trump‘s top White House advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner. “If Jared Kushner is going to be in charge of peace in the Middle East, trade with China, solving the opioid epidemic, reforming the criminal justice system, and reinventing government, he must speak,” Maher began. "We are six months into the Trump presidency and we have yet to hear Boy Wonder talk.”" [Mediaite]
FIRST LOOK -- "Jared & Ivanka’s Guide to Mindful Marriage" -- by Paul Rudnick in the latest issue of The New Yorker: "Now that Ivanka’s “Women Who Work” is a best-seller and Jared has begun brokering arms deals in the Middle East, we’ve decided to expand our horizons even further... If, during the courtship phase, your potential spouse asks you to convert to Judaism, your first response should be an adorable pout... If your potential in-laws become insistent, try reasoning: “Jewish or Presbyterian, don’t we all place dusty aluminum Christmas trees and plastic menorahs in the lobbies of the apartment buildings we own, except for the more neglected properties in Jersey and the outer boroughs?” If religion threatens to become a deal breaker, tell yourself, “You know, being Jewish might be fun, and could inspire a new signature fragrance called Oyvanka.” [NewYorker]
--Ivanka shares her five-year-old daughter Arabella's answers to her kindergarten classmates' questions: "Arabella, whose parents are Jewish, also said that if she could be any star in the world, she would be 'A Star of David'" [DailyMail]
TOP TALKER: “Caught between a right-wing base and a new peace initiative, Netanyahu ducks and weaves” by Haviv Rettig Gur: “It took Trump’s Israel advisers, chiefly envoys Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, both longtime and rather doctrinaire critics of Obama’s Israel policy, some weeks to realize that a US administration that is too openly supportive of the Israeli right might actually destabilize the Israeli right It is now the accepted wisdom in Knesset hallway chatter that Netanyahu’s staffers explained this danger to their counterparts in the Trump administration and averted this politically disastrous bear-hug — that is, that they asked for American pressure to be brought to bear on the Israeli government There’s just one problem. In recent weeks, it has become clear that neither Netanyahu nor his rightist flank seem to be playing along.” [ToI]
“US official: Israeli, Palestinian spoilers want to derail peace talks” by Boaz Bismuth: “A senior U.S. official told Israel Hayom on Sunday that the reports suggesting that Hatnuah leader Tzipi Livni was advising U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt... are entirely false He stressed that reports in Israel in May claiming that Livni and Greenblatt had met frequently to discuss ways to advance the peace process were misleading and baseless He stressed that the reports on Livni's alleged relationship with Greenblatt were tendentious. The official said that "there are spoilers both on the Israeli and Palestinian sides who want to derail the possibility of peace," and cautioned that "these spoilers create false narratives in the media and [in] social media to distort the efforts of the administration."” [IsraelHayom]
"Netanyahu Asked Trump to Accept Isolated Settlements as Israeli Enclaves in Palestinian Territory in Future Peace Deal" by Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon: "Netanyahu raised the issue of the isolated settlements' fate in conversations with a number of officials in the Trump administration in recent months. The last one to hear from him on this issue was U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who visited Israel last week. Netanyahu told Haley that he wants to reach an agreement without evacuating any settlers, and that he seeks to leave the isolated settlements as Israeli enclaves within the Palestinian state's territory. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who attended the meeting with Haley, told Haaretz that Netanyahu spoke about adopting a model like the one that exists along the border area of Netherlands and Belgium, in which each country has small enclaves in the other country's territory." [Haaretz] Netanyahu, Herzog secretly met with Egypt's Sissi in Cairo last year amid regional peace effort [Haaretz]
"Nikki Haley embroiled in IDF, UNIFIL dispute about Hezbollah threat" by Joy Bernard: "[Ambassador] Nikki Haley was exposed to an unusual dispute between the IDF and the UN regarding the security state at Israel's northern border while she visited the area during her stay in the Jewish state last week... Maj-Gen. Michael Berry, Force Commander and Head of Mission of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, explained that the region was relatively calm. According to Channel 2, Maj.- Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Deputy IDF Chief of Staff and the former head of the Northern Command, could not hide his disagreement and refuted Maj.- Gen. Berry on the spot, adamantly insisting that the situation was quite to the contrary... According to Channel 2's report, Haley was not particularly disturbed by the heated exchange she witnessed, but later told an Israeli official: "It's good that I was exposed to the argument and to the truth that you presented, it will influence moves at the UN."" [JPost; ToI]
Haley tweets pictures with Israeli and Palestinian girls and a selfie with yeshiva students: "These are the faces we saw during our trip. The Israeli & Palestinian people we met had hopes & dreams of a promising future #peace." [Pic]
KAFE KNESSET -- The latest on Israel's version of the Taylor Force Act -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu was probably not enthusiastic about Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid scoring some political points, as the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the Israeli version of the Taylor Force Act yesterday. The bill – which seeks to cut off PA salaries to terrorists from the tax revenues Israel transfers each year – is sponsored by Yesh Atid’s Elazar Stern and it was approved unanimously. It is quite unusual for the government to support a bill drafted by the opposition. But Yesh Atid drafted the political move wisely, ensuring it was co-signed by senior coalition partners, including Likud’s coalition chair David Bitan.
Stern told Kafe Knesset that he is confident the bill will move forward, despite objections from some security brass that the move could undermine the Palestinian economy. “I am an Israeli patriot. I wore a uniform for most of my lifetime. I will not do anything that would harm the State. I consulted with plenty of security officials before drafting this bill.” Stern met Senator Lindsey Graham last week in Washington and he added that Graham believes that the progress in the Israeli bill will help efforts to advance the Taylor Force Act in the US Congress. “When I raised the issue on Capitol Hill, senators always ask why don’t the Israelis legislate? And they are right.” Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
IVANKA TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT -- "Donald and Ivanka Trump head to Wisconsin for jobs push" by Jordyn Phelps: "President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump are set to travel to Wisconsin Tuesday to join Gov. Scott Walker to tour a technical college, as the administration puts a renewed focus on its goal of job creation... Dubbing it “workforce development week,” first daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump is taking a leading role in the administration’s initiative. “We're very excited about where we are,” she said." [ABCNews]
-- "On Wednesday, [Ivanka] will lead a CEO roundtable focused on workforce development and apprenticeship programs at the White House with about 15 CEOs... Later Wednesday, Ivanka Trump will join Mr. Trump at the Department of Labor for his major policy speech. In addition to laying out the week's administrative actions, the president is expected to discuss working with Congress to address college affordability. Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives, called the planned administrative actions "highly substantive."" [CBSNews]
AMERICA-ISRAEL FIRST: "Israel Holds Off 'America First' With Joint Venture Tech Lure" by Gwen Ackerman: "Israel sees expanding joint research and development with the U.S. as a way to boost trade in the era of Donald Trump’s “America First.” “The minute we work together on technology, we both maintain our security and civilian advantage,” said Economy Minister Eli Cohen, who met with Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council. The intention is to “deepen development ties” through the existing Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development fund, known as BIRD, which promotes projects of mutual benefit to both countries, he said in an interview... Cohen said Israel also wants to encourage U.S. companies to open manufacturing operations in Israel, following in the footsteps of Intel Corp., Applied Materials Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprises Co. and Perrigo Co." [Bloomberg]
“U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS” by David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt: “Even one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers It was also part of the classified intelligence that President Trump is accused of revealing when he met in the Oval Office last month with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and the ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. His disclosure infuriated Israeli officials.” [NYTimes]
ON THE HILL -- "Senate looks to jab Russia" by Elana Schor: "A successful vote to punish Moscow would give a key win to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a longtime Russia hawk who telegraphed his interest in a deal when he agreed to combine the issue with an Iran sanctions bill teed up for passage this week... Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker... acknowledged to reporters that Trump’s administration, and any other, “obviously would not” want to see Congress force a legislative review of changes to Russia sanctions. Yet lawmakers set a precedent of sorts in 2015 when they forced then-President Barack Obama to submit his Iran nuclear deal for their eventual disapproval, the Tennessee Republican added." [Politico]
"Trump faces backlash over $3M Holocaust Museum cuts" by Niv Elis: "A bipartisan group of 64 members of Congress is demanding a reversal on $3 million in funding cuts to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum proposed in President Trump’s budget... The reduction, which would return the museum’s budget to its 2016 level of $54 million, is roughly a 5 percent decrease." [TheHill]
SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH: "Democrats in Split-Screen: The Base Wants It All. The Party Wants to Win" by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin: "In a special election that has become the most expensive House race in history, Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional aide, presented himself as essentially anti-ideological... Bucking the left, Mr. Ossoff said in an interview that he would not support raising income taxes, even for the wealthy, and opposed “any move” toward a single-payer health care system... Mr. Ossoff said he had not yet given “an ounce of thought” to whether he would vote for Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, in a future ballot for speaker... The tension between Mr. Ossoff’s message and the appetites of the national Democratic base has not appeared to hinder his bid for Congress. He has raised more than $23 million, an astonishing sum, largely in small online donations from Democrats seeking to put a dent in the Republicans’ House majority." [NYTimes]
2018 WATCH: "Republican fundraisers can stomach Trump -- if only he'd call" by Theodore Schleifer: "One person filling some of the fundraising leadership void left by Trump: Sheldon Adelson, the party's largest contributor, who is preparing for possible headwinds ahead of 2018... Adelson has begun sounding out other contributors, such as the Ricketts family, on forming a new super PAC that would focus on governors' races and state legislative races ahead of the next redistricting cycle in 2020. Adelson would be willing to commit substantial resources to the group, which is still in early talks but is envisioned as a heavyweight GOP group similar to the Senate Leadership Fund or Congressional Leadership Fund. Adelson has also been staying in close touch with Trump administration hands in Washington -- last week, Adelson visited Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, one of the architects behind the White House's plan to replace Obamacare." [CNN]
** Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Boeing’s Sale of Up to 60 Commercial Jets to Iran Takes Next Step: Transaction still requires U.S. government approval [WSJ] Altice, Netflix Ink Multi-Year Partnership For France, Israel And More [Deadline; Variety] David Rubenstein’s Carlyle Group is ceding control of its big nursing home chain, HCR ManorCare [NYPost] Michael Adler sells Tampa-area rentals for $49.7M [RealDeal] 10 months ago, Univision bought Gawker in a fire sale, and it's been messy ever since [BusinessInsider]
PROFILE: "The Bounty Hunter of Wall Street" by Jesse Barron: "During the 45-minute drive to his house, [Andrew] Left, never hanging up, floated and discarded a variety of plans. They were... withdrawing a million-dollar cashier’s check from his bank, made out to a pharmaceutical company, to be offered as a donation to the charity of its choice if it could prove to him the efficacy of a drug for multiple sclerosis, still in trials, which Left had on authority from the “rabbi of M.S.” didn’t work... Left was born in Detroit and raised in Coral Springs, Fla., the second son of parents who divorced when he was 5... His mother, Rhoda Left Black, scraped together an income. During the day, she was an office manager at the public school. In the evening, she gave Hebrew lessons... Recognizing his ability to dazzle an audience at a young age, Black wanted her son to become a lawyer or a rabbi. Instead, he was accepted at Northeastern and chose political science." [NYTimes]
"A Best-Selling Israeli Philosopher Examines His Country’s Inner Conflict" by Isabel Kershner: "Born in Jerusalem in 1974 to parents who had emigrated a year before from the United States, [Micah] Goodman was embarrassed as a teenager by his family’s diversity, but has come to embrace it. His mother, who converted to Judaism, came from a pious Roman Catholic family... Still, Mr. Goodman grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household — but being a kind of an accidental Jew, as he put it, he began his own odyssey in search of meaning. Now he is a researcher at the Hartman Institute, a center for Jewish scholars in Jerusalem, and the director of Ein Prat, a pluralistic beit midrash... in the desert near Jericho in the West Bank... Mr. Goodman’s book (“Catch 67”) gives equal weight to arguments on all sides. But while he allows that there is a dispute over the legal status of the West Bank land and whether it is truly occupied, he takes a clear stand when it comes to robbing the Palestinians of their freedom... Leftist critics say the book seems more concerned with finding internal peace for an Israel at war with itself than peace with the Palestinians." [NYTimes]
"How some of the Arab countries at war with Israel treated their Jewish populations during Six Day Way -- by Lucette Lagnado: "By the mid to late 1960s, the vast majority of Arab Jews, who once numbered 800,000, were gone from their ancestral lands. It had taken only two decades for the Arab world—a fairly congenial home for Jews for hundreds of years or more—to rid themselves of most of their Jewish populations. Some countries, such as Algeria, had seen Jews leave en masse after the country became independent from France in 1962 and there were few who remained... Perhaps that is why, whenever a supporter of the BDS movement targeting Israel insists they are “only” anti-Israel not anti-Jewish, I cast a cold eye, recalling how bogus that distinction turned out to be for Jews of Arab countries." [Tablet]
MEDIA WATCH: "In Iran, Radio Liberty Doesn’t Live Up to Its Name" by Sohrab Ahmari: "President Trump is hiring a chief executive for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency that oversees Voice of America and other media outlets charged with beaming light and liberty into closed societies world-wide... To get a feel for the dysfunction, consider Radio Farda, the Persian-language component of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty... But Farda too often fails to deliver. Nowhere is this more apparent than in its treatment of Israel... Then there is Farda’s coverage of President Obama’s nuclear diplomacy. At least five stories, published between 2012 and 2017, described critics of Mr. Obama’s engagement with Tehran as “extremists” and their views of Iranian realities as “amateurish.” The extremists in question included Sen. John McCain, congressional opponents of the deal generally, GOP aides on Capitol Hill, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies." [WSJ]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Charter school boss wins pre-K war with Mayor de Blasio" by Ben Chapman: "[Eva] Moskowitz, who operates the city’s largest charter school network, brawled with [mayor Bill] de Blasio over pre-K oversight for more than 18 months. She even refused to sign a City Hall contract for reimbursement for her pre-K classes, prompting the city to withhold payments. The State Supreme Court ruled Friday that her pre-K programs fall under jurisdiction of outside charter school authorizers, not the city." [NYDailyNews]
DESSERT: "New Meshuggah Bagel’s location keeps its kosher chewiness, adds ‘bagel boards’" by Jill Wendholt Silva: "Hardcore bagel fans are spurring the growth of the only New York-style, kosher-certified bagels sold in Kansas City, with a second Meshuggah’s retail location opening last week and a third slated for fall. “We have the highest level of kosher certification,” says Janna Linde, who co-owns the business with her husband, Pete... If you’d told the Lindes in March 2016 that they were on their way to cornering the kosher bagel market, they would have told you “meshuggah” — a word that means “crazy” in Yiddish." [KansasCity]
BIRTHDAYS: Founder and managing partner of the investment firm Thrive Capital, co-founder of Oscar Health, and the brother of Jared Kushner, Joshua Kushner turns 32... EVP of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), Rabbi Levi Shemtov turns 57 (his Hebrew and English birthdays coincide this year)... Sportscaster for NBA games on TNT, has also been the play-by-play announcer of multiple Super Bowls, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and the World Series, Marv Albert (born Marvin Philip Aufrichtig) turns 76... Israeli statesman and scholar who has served in multiple ministerial and leadership positions in the Israeli government, Yossi Beilin turns 69... Rabbi in Santa Cruz County, CA (1976-2016) Richard Litvak, a/k/a Rabbi Rick, turns 67... British Conservative Party member of Parliament since 1992, re-elected last Thursday, Michael Fabricant turns 67... Director of Education at Beacon Bay Dental, Kenneth Nussen turns 62... Board member of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru, previously Peru's Agriculure Minister, José Chlimper Ackerman turns 62... Rosslyn, VA-based editor of Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown turns 41 (h/t Playbook)... Communications director for US Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) since 2014, Eliezer O ("Eli") Zupnick turns 34... Deputy Director of the Truman National Security Project's Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to passing immigration reform, Hanna Siegel turns 32... Software engineer and co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox internet browser, was director of product at Facebook (2007-2013), Blake Aaron Ross turns 32... Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality and venture capitalist, Michele Romanow turns 32... Attorney since 2012, in 2017 he joined the DC office of the prestigious law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner as an associate, Zachary Louis Baron turns 31... DC-based reporter with BuzzFeed News, Alexis Rose Levinson turns 29... Transportation planner in the Silver Spring office of Toole Design Group focused on bicycle and pedestrian master plans, Eli Glazier turns 27 (h/ts Playbook)... University of Southern California student, campus representative of PETA, active in USC's Hillel Foundation, Tessa Nesis...
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