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JUST ANOTHER NIGHT AT SYNAGOGUE -- "Elon Musk Presents His Tunnel Vision to the People of LA" by Jack Stewart and Aarian Marshall: "One day, if Elon Musk gets his way, the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles’ tony Bel Air neighborhood will be just a hop, skip and a quick walk from the nearest Loop station. The “Loop,” for the uninitiated, is what Musk calls his latest idea for moving people and things from one place to another. For a measly $1, you’d be shot at 150 mph through a city-wide network of tunnels, until you reached whichever of the hundreds or thousands of stations fell closest to your destination... Today, though, getting to the temple, where Musk hosted the Boring Company’s first public informational meeting, requires crawling through miles of hideous 405 rush hour traffic." [WiredMag]
SHUL SCENE -- "The crowd is remarkably varied, ranging from gray-haired men in baseball caps and plaid shirts to fashionable young women to yarmulke-wearing members of the congregation to couples in their 70s. But you can’t miss the majority: men in their 20s and 30s whose passion for Musk verges on the spiritual. “I’m a big Elon fan,” one tells me when I ask why he’s here." [TheVerge]
DRIVING THE WEEKEND -- "Your Jewish guide to the royal wedding" by Amy Spiro: "This weekend, neither current Ambassador Mark Regev nor current Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will witness the royal occasion. The reason is simple: the wedding of Prince Harry and Markle is a much smaller, less official affair... Mirvis, of course, would not have attended an event on Shabbat, and on Shavuot eve at that... One person who is almost certain to be in attendance is Jewish American designer Misha Nonoo. Nonoo, a longtime friend of both the royal family and Markle, is reportedly the woman who introduced the happy couple... Another close friend of Markle's, Jessica Mulroney -- of the Jewish Montreal Brownstein family -- is also certain to be in attendance... Mulroney's children will be page boys and a bridesmaid at the nuptials." [JPost]
HOLIDAY WEEKEND -- "Why Joe Lieberman and I think the world of Shavuot" by Ari Kahn: "...then-Senator Lieberman remarked to Rabbi Genack that he is often saddened by the fact that the overwhelming “success” of the Passover seder does not carry through to the holiday that follows it in the Jewish calendar: Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost). Determined to raise awareness of the message of Shavuot and to illuminate the link between the well-known holiday of freedom, Passover, and the often-overlooked or unknown festival of the Giving of the Law, Shavuot, the idea for “From Liberty to Justice” was born. The concept was to produce a volume made up of 50 short chapters that take the reader on a journey through the days that are counted between the two festivals." [ToI; Amazon]
-- Lieberman writes in the WSJ's Houses of Worship column: "A doctor, an engineer, and a lawyer get into a debate about whose profession is the oldest. The doctor argues that it’s medicine: “There must have been a doctor in the Garden of Eden to help God transform Adam’s rib into Eve.” “Oh no,” the engineer shoots back. “Before that there must have been an engineer who assisted God in changing primordial chaos into the order of the universe.” Then the lawyer chimes in: “You’re both wrong. There must have been a lawyer there first to create the chaos.”
"Sure, some lawyers’ behavior merits such jokes. But many play a crucial role in maintaining the rule of law, which creates order. A good legal system makes the difference between a civilized society and a chaotic one, and it all began when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. For Jews, now is the perfect time of year—between Passover and the much less observed holiday of Shavuot—to contemplate the role of law in our lives." [WSJ]
NOW BACK TO POLITICS -- Former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman: I support Trump on US embassy move to Jerusalem and Iran nuclear deal exit: "Democrats and Republicans need to support solid policies regardless of which party takes the lead such as President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, Joe Lieberman told CNBC... "I happen to agree with President Trump on these two decisions," the former Democratic and independent senator from Connecticut said." [CNBC]
HEARD THE OTHER DAY -- Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama administration official, on a conference call hosted by the Israel Policy Forum: "I'm actually not opposed to moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if done correctly. The reality is, Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem will be Israel's capital in any two-state agreement and recognizing that reality could be a positive step. But the key is -- if you're going to give such a huge political win for the Israelis and you're the mediator, and you're the one in the center of this, you need to give something to the Palestinians as well. So I would have liked to see us announce that we were turning our Consulate, which is also in Jerusalem, and really is responsible for engaging with the Palestinians, into an embassy as well. So that we would have two embassies in Jerusalem as part of our policy in support for what will inevitably have to be in any two-state agreement, two capitals in Jerusalem."
ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH -- "Mideast Turmoil Complicates Arab Support for Trump Peace Plan" by Felicia Schwartz, Dov Lieber and Margherita Stancati: "The Trump administration’s still-secret Middle East peace proposal is running into headwinds after deadly clashes at Israel’s border fence with the Gaza Strip and the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem rattled Arab governments who could help bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table... In private, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another U.S. ally, warned the move would hurt the peace process."
"Now U.S. officials said they don’t expect to release the plan before the end of Ramadan, which begins this week and lasts until mid-June... Trump administration officials say they understand the anger among Arab nations but think it will eventually cool." [WSJ]
PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat writes... "Trump Provides the anti-Palestinian Incitement, Israel the Bullets: We consider this embassy... as a natural extension of the Trump administration’s policy of encouraging Israeli violations of international law. We don’t see a difference between this embassy and any Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine..." [Haaretz]
Netanyahu posts on Facebook: "Just take a look at this video. Palestinians break through Israel's security fence—some of them waving meat-cleavers. 'O Jews!' they shout. 'We're coming to slaughter you!' This is what we are defending our families against. And you would do exactly the same." [Video]
-- "Netanyahu’s son deletes Instagram after ‘F–k Turkey’ post" by Yaron Steinbuch: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son crudely weighed in on a diplomatic spat between Jerusalem and Ankara — posting “F–k Turkey” on his Instagram account... A family spokesman said: “Yair Netanyahu is a private individual and his Instagram account is private.” His account appears to have been deleted." [NYPost]
-- "Why Investors Have Become Skittish About Turkey" by Benjamin Harvey: "As Erdogan’s hold over the Turkish economy grows, so will the threat to the country’s recent decade and a half of prosperity as investors and a generation of young talented Turks flee." [Bloomberg]
Former President Jimmy Carter in an interview with CBN News: “I don’t have any support for Hamas. I have support for the Palestinians in generalthe top priority in my international life has been to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. I think the only way to do it is to treat the Palestinians fairly and let them have their own state alongside Israel.” [CBN]
THE ECONOMIST EDITORIAL -- "Israel must answer for the deaths in Gaza: But it is time for Palestinians to take up genuine non-violence... For all their talk of non-violence, Hamas’s leaders have not abandoned the idea of “armed struggle” to destroy Israel. They refuse to give up their guns, or fully embrace a two-state solution; they speak vaguely of a long-term “truce”. With this week’s protests, Hamas’s leaders boasted of freeing a “wild tiger”. They found that Israel can be even more ferocious."
"If Hamas gave up its weapons, it would open the way for a rapprochement with Fatah. If it accepted Israel’s right to exist, it would expose Israel’s current unwillingness to allow a Palestinian state. If Palestinians marched peacefully, without guns and explosives, they would take the moral high ground. In short, if Palestinians want Israel to stop throttling them, they must first convince Israelis it is safe to let go." [TheEconomist]
CAMPUS BEAT -- "UC Program Cancels Israel Event Due to Gaza Violence" by Aaron Bandler: "The violence at the Israel-Gaza border has prompted the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) to cancel a June 2nd event that would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the UC study abroad program in Israel... Rabbi Aaron Lerner, the executive director of UCLA Hillel, told the Journal in an email that they would be proceeding with the event anyway." [JewishJournal]
IRAN DEAL -- Michael Singh writes... "Here’s What Trump Should Do Post-Nuke Deal: Senior U.S. officials should engage in an intensive diplomatic roadshow to explain the path ahead to international partners beyond key European allies and to foreign firms, and begin the hard work of limiting diplomatic rifts that adversaries will be keen to exploit." [ForeignPolicy]
"Merkel, Macron Try to Preserve Iran Deal Without Provoking U.S." by Laurence Norman: "French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out actions that could put the European Union and the U.S. into a trade war over Iran sanctions... Mr. Macron said he wouldn’t support retaliation against U.S. companies even if European firms are hit by U.S. sanctions. “We are not going to launch a strategic or trade war against the United States on the issue of Iran. That would make no sense, including geopolitically,” he said." [WSJ]
"This Is How Donald Trump Has Already Succeeded In Exposing Divisions Among European Governments" by Alberto Nardelli: "On the eve of a summit in Bulgaria this week, many of the EU’s 28 heads of state and government took it in turns to vent their anger and exasperation towards the US president as they discussed over dinner how to respond to recent decisions to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem... Last week, Axios reported that Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic blocked a joint EU statement criticising the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. A senior EU official confirmed the story to BuzzFeed News this week, including that it emerged during the drafting process that Romania was considering moving its own embassy to Jerusalem." [BuzzFeed] Romanian PM faces possible dismissal over Jerusalem embassy move [Ynet]
Nikos Konstandaras writes... "Trump’s Iran Move May Swamp Greece: For Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras... closer relations with the United States and Israel at this time could also create domestic complications... Greece’s economic recovery depends on negotiating with its European partners a reduction of its public debt (318.3 billion euros last year), so Athens cannot afford to isolate itself in Europe by taking the United States’ side in any major dispute." [NYTimes]
"Is Trump the Second Coming of Reagan?" by Susan Glasser: "When I called Bill Kristol, who came to Washington as a young Reaganite, in 1985... he was thinking of a very different Presidential comparison. Kristol has been an unrelenting Never Trumper since Trump announced his Presidential campaign, and he certainly wasn’t about to concede the analogy, no matter how stretched, between Trump and the President that he still idolizes. With this week’s one-year anniversary of the special counsel investigation into Trump and his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia in mind, Kristol told me the Republican whom President Trump most resembles is not Ronald Reagan, but Richard Nixon. “I would say Trump is more like Nixon, though it’s unfair to Nixon in that Nixon was a more serious person,” Kristol said." [NewYorker]
-- "Richard Pipes, Historian of Russia and Reagan Aide, Dies at 94" by William Grimes: "Richard Pipes, the author of a monumental, sharply polemical series of historical works on Russia, the Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik regime, and a top adviser to the Reagan administration on Soviet and Eastern European policy, died on Thursday at a nursing home near his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 94. His son Daniel confirmed the death... Professor Pipes [was] a moralist shaped by his experiences as a Jew who had fled the Nazi occupation of Poland..." [NYT]
Anshel Pfeffer writes... "It’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s World Now: In his 36 years as a diplomat and politician, Mr. Netanyahu has been reprimanded by the Reagan administration, nearly barred from entering the White House, and banned from the State Department during George H. W. Bush’s administration because of his criticism of its policies. He has been at loggerheads with President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, both of whom could barely conceal their disdain for him. Now he has an administration that shares his positions almost instinctively." [NYTimes]
ON THE HILL -- "Congress to Consider Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights" by Adam Kredo: "Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced on Thursday a resolution that could lead to an historic recognition by the United States that the contested area fully belongs to Israel... "Given the civil war in Syria and the expansion of Iranian influence in Syria, the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights," the amendment [says]. The House Rules Committee is in possession of the measure, but have yet to take a stance." [FreeBeacon]
House panel approves bills on anti-Semitism envoy, combating genocide: "The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved two bills that have wide Jewish organizational backing, one to enhance the role of the anti-Semitism monitor and the other named for Elie Wiesel, to make combating genocide a U.S. policy." [JTA]
"Hungarian PM Accused George Soros of Fueling Anti-Semitism, MTI Reports" by Zoltan Simon: "Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused George Soros, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist who survived Nazi persecution, of fomenting anti-Semitism by helping immigrants come to Europe... Soros and his Open Society Foundations... “bear responsibility for the increase in anti-Semitism in Europe,” Orban said in a letter to Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress." [Bloomberg]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Kushners Near Deal With Qatar-Linked Company, Brookfield Properties, for Troubled Tower [NYTimes] Carl Icahn Fights Attempt to Take AmTrust Financial Services Private [WSJ; CNBC] In Cannes, Saudi Arabia Pitches Itself as a Cinema Player [VanityFair]
MEDIA WATCH -- "Shari Redstone won a round in her fight with Les Moonves and CBS. What’s her next move?" by Edmund Lee: "It was a battle of the media titans, and Les Moonves lost the first round. The chief executive of CBS, who just yesterday received a standing ovation from advertisers at the broadcaster’s upfronts presentation at Carnegie Hall, failed to convince a judge it was in CBS’s best interests to dissolve Shari Redstone’s control over the company. The ball is now in Redstone’s court, and we lay out her options..." [Recode]
"Shari Redstone and Leslie Moonves Have Starring Roles in a Corporate War" by Michael J. de la Merced and John Koblin: "They were once allies, if not friends. The entertainment mogul Shari E. Redstone and the CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, whose careers have been entwined for nearly 20 years, appeared to be getting along famously as recently as February, when they sat in the CBS box at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, both rooting for the New England Patriots... The recent split seems to have come as a surprise to Ms. Redstone. “It’s so hurtful, because Shari thought she had a good relationship with Les,” said an associate of Ms. Redstone." [NYTimes]
"Miriam Adelson takes reins at Israel Hayom" by Yonatan Kitain: "The "Israel Hayom" daily today announced that publisher Asher Baharav and CEO Zippi Koren, both of whom have been in their positions since the free newspaper was founded over a decade ago, will be leaving the paper. Baharav's replacement will be none other than Dr. Miriam Adelson, who owns the paper together with her husband, Sheldon Adelson... "Israel Hayom" also announced that its veteran political correspondent, Shlomo Cesana, would be leaving his position and would become a media advisor for Yesh Atid Party chairperson MK Yair Lapid." [Globes]
HAPPENING TODAY -- Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens bracing for impeachment proceedings: "The scandal-plagued saga that has surrounded Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ tenure is about to enter a new chapter. At 6:30 p.m. Friday, legislators at the state capitol in Jefferson City will call to order a special 30-day session to begin impeachment proceedings against the embattled head of the Show-Me State... After Friday night’s official beginning, state house members will meet next week for a series of hearings expected to last several days." [ABCNews]
"The Lesson of Eric Greitens, and the Navy SEALs Who Tried to Warn Us" by Phil Klay: "A former Navy seal who was once a rising star in the Republican Party, Greitens is now fighting allegations of sexual coercion, blackmail, invasion of privacy, and misuse of charity resources to fund his campaign. The charges stunned many in Missouri, but in the tight-knit seal community, Greitens has been a divisive figure for years. In 2016, before Greitens was elected, a group of mostly anonymous current and former seals tried to sound the alarm about why they thought he was unfit for office." [NewYorker]
A Mushroom Revolution Takes Root in the Middle East and Africa" by Tafline Laylin: "Palestinian friends Sameer Khraishi, Wadia Nassar, Tayeb Akel and Mahmoud Kuhail were unwilling to purchase Israeli produce, so they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to establish their own mushroom farm, Amoro, in Jericho in 2013... Amoro is joining a growing number of organizations across the Middle East and Africa that are cultivating mushrooms as a form of economic empowerment and resistance..." [Ozy]
BOLLYWOOD: "The Jewish superstars who once ruled Bollywood" by Maria Thomas: "In 2006, the Melbourne-based documentary filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe was given a newspaper clipping by his Indian research assistant. Spotted by the girl’s father, who knew Ben-Moshe was Jewish, it was an obituary for a veteran Indian actress who had made her name playing the vamp in Bollywood movies of the 1950s and 1960s... His documentary, Shalom Bollywood, came out in 2017, and it traces the rise of Jewish girls in the cinema industry at a time when most Indian women, notably Hindu and Muslim ones, couldn’t even dream of being seen on the silver screen." [Quartz]
TALK OF THE TOWN -- Man volunteers at kosher soup kitchen to make up for mocking Jewish boy: "Quaishawn Stewart has apologized for offending the Jewish community and is volunteering at the well-known Masbia soup kitchen. The video shows a little boy and Stewart mocking his haircut. "It was my fault," Stewart says. "I messed up." ... After the incident, Councilman Brad Lander invited him to volunteer at Masbia. Stewart agreed. Now he says he's using it as a learning experience and giving back in a humble way." [BronxNews12]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS -- FRIDAY: Founder in 1972 of Kroll, Inc., Jules B. Kroll turns 77... Best-selling author of spy thriller novels including a prequel to the TV series "Homeland" and the "Scorpion" series, Andrew Gary Kaplan turns 77... Former New York Times columnist and reporter, Clyde Haberman turns 73... Los Angeles-based attorney, board member of American Friends of Nishmat, Linda Goldenberg Mayman... Washington correspondent for Newsweek, he was previously a writer and senior editor at Congressional Quarterly, Jonathan Broder turns 70... Member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1983, Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg turns 68... Senior Advisor at Moelis & Company, previously a Major General in the IDF, then CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (2007-2012), Shlomo Yanai turns 66... Politico's national security editor, Bryan Bender turns 46... Co-founder, editor and columnist for the news website Vox, Matthew Yglesias turns 37... Middle East and North Africa staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2017, Eric Trager turns 35... DC-based reporter for The Associated Press covering foreign affairs, national security and diplomacy, Joshua Lederman turns 33... National security adviser to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a former senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council, Ezra Asa Cohen-Watnick turns 32... Analyst for financial services clients at Invariant (formerly known as Heather Podesta + Partners), Lauren DePinto turns 25... Netanel Levitt turns 25... Co-Founder of Rebel, Joe Teplow... Alan Kitey...
SATURDAY: Senior Counsel in the DC office of Blank Rome LLP, Harvey Sherzer turns 74... A New York State judge since 1995, later serving as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (2009-2015), now of counsel in the NYC office of Latham & Watkins, Jonathan Lippman turns 73... Clinical psychologist, author, teacher, public speaker and ordained rabbi, Dennis G. Shulman turns 68... A nurse by profession who served as member of the Wisconsin State Assembly (2009-2015), Sandy Pasch turns 64... Harvey D. Harman turns 62... Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces since 2015, Gadi Eizenkot turns 58... Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic rabbi, born in Milan, now Chief Rabbi of Russia, friend of Vladimir Putin, Shlomo Dovber Pinchas Lazar (better known as Rabbi Berel Lazar) turns 54... Journalist, teacher and playwright, now deputy managing editor for news and a columnist at the New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman turns 53... Author of 23 novels that have sold over 14 million copies in 34 languages, Jodi Picoult turns 52... Chief Executive Officer of Bend the Arc, a Jewish partnership for justice, Stosh Cotler... Professional baseball player who pitched for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Zachary "Zack" James Thornton turns 30... Professional ice hockey forward for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Leipsic turns 24...
SUNDAY: Canadian businesswoman and elected official, she served in the Ontario Assembly (1985-1997) and in the Canadian House of Commons (1997-2004), she is a director of Covalon Technologies Ltd., Elinor Caplan turns 74... Democratic member of the New York State Assembly since 2007, representing the 97th Assembly District in Rockland County, Ellen Jaffee turns 74... Former member of the US House of Representatives from Connecticut's 2nd district (1981-2001), he was born in a DP camp in Germany after WW2, Sam Gejdenson turns 70... Chagrin Falls, Ohio attorney, Robert Charles Rosenfeld turns 69... Producer and writer who has worked on Saturday Night Live, PBS' Great Performances, and It's Garry Shandling's Show, Alan Zweibel turns 68... Director of international affairs, policy and planning at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Michael Alan Salberg turns 66... Professor at Tulane U, he retired as president of the Aspen Institute in 2017, he is the former CEO of CNN and former Managing Editor of Time, Walter Isaacson turns 66... Born in upstate NY as Michael Scott Bornstein, former Israeli ambassador to the US (2009-2013), now a Deputy Minister and a member of Knesset for the centrist Kulanu party, Michael Oren turns 63... Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News (and son of First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams), Dan Abrams turns 52... Former executive director of Business Forward and Deputy National Finance Director for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, Ami Copeland turns 46... Emmy Award-winning singer and songwriter, Rachel Platten turns 37... Program Associate at the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Vadim Avshalumov turns 33... Founder and CEO of Berkeley, California-based Caribou Biosciences, a genome engineering company, Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D. turns 33... Legislative Director for Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA 30), Lauren Wolman turns 32... VP of Austin-based digital agency Harris Media, Josh Canter turns 26... Aide on the Mikie Sherrill for Congress campaign (NJ-11), he will be at American University in DC this fall, previously national chair of the High School Democrats of America, Aylon Berger turns 18... Ilene Leiter... Abraham Eckstein...
MONDAY: Hedge fund manager and philanthtropist, CEO of the Boston-based Baupost Group, Seth Klarman turns 61... Former MLB pitcher, played (1957-1967) for the White Sox, Indians, Angels and Astros, an All Star in 1961 and 1962, Barry Latman turns 82... Former US Senator from Minnesota (2009-2018), Al Franken turns 67... Guitarist and composer, Marc Ribot turns 64... Bestselling author, staff writer at The New Yorker and legal analyst at CNN, Jeffrey Toobin turns 58... Actress and playwright Lisa Edelstein turns 52... Head of Dewey Square's sports business practice, author and former AP journalist, Frederic J. Frommer turns 51... President and CEO of the Michigan-based William Davidson Foundation, Darin McKeever turns 44... CEO of Relativity Global, co-founder at 1776, a global incubator and seed fund, Brandon Pollak turns 38... Executive producer of CBS Evening News, Mosheh Oinounou turns 36... Los Angeles-born, raised in Israel, international fashion model for Versace and others, Sharon Ganish turns 35... Ron Solomon...