Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: September 14, 2017

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An attendee takes a photograph of an Apple Inc. iPhone X during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California on Tuesday September 12, 2017.
An attendee takes a photograph of an Apple Inc. iPhone X during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California on Tuesday September 12, 2017. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
JI Staff

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DRIVING THE CONVO -- President Trump will hold a pre-High Holidays conference call on Friday with Synagogue Rabbis despite a boycott from rabbis who belong to the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements, Maggie Haberman reported. Trump "will send well wishes for the upcoming holidays and discuss his administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community," the email invite reads. Rabbi Marvin Hier, Trump’s inauguration rabbi who criticized the President over his response to the Charlottesville protests, confirmed to Jewish Insider that he was invited to participate on the call. 

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan who oversaw Ivanka Trump's conversion to Judaism, tells us he did not receive an invite, "but if I were, I would dial in, out of respect for the President of the US." 

Graham Roth, Communications Director for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, emails “Our position has not changed. Reform rabbis, along with Reconstructionist and Conservative rabbis, decided to forgo hosting the annual High Holiday call with the President this year. This was not a decision made lightly, but the President’s lack of moral leadership in the wake of Charlottesville made it necessary.”

“Rabbis To Tiptoe Around Trump” by Stewart Ain: “Rabbi Arthur Schneier at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan said he opted not to speak about the political divisions in the country because “we have overriding issues that are life threatening — earthquakes and wildfires and a potential nuclear confrontation with North Korea... Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan — the only one of a dozen rabbis interviewed... who said he would be taking on the president directly.” [JewishWeek

FIRST LOOK: “Ivanka Trump: ‘I will not be distracted by the noise’” by Courtney Weaver in the Financial Times: “At sundown on August 12, about 24 hours after neo-Nazis marched in the streets of Charlottesville Ivanka Trump was at President Donald Trump’s golf club in New Jersey, marking the end of the Jewish Sabbath. Back online after disconnecting their devices for Shabbat, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner finally saw footage of the subsequent violence and the growing uproar over the president’s tepid condemnation... Overnight, the first daughter plotted her move. In the early hours of Sunday morning, she spoke out against the hate groups in a tweet. Separately, she advised her father to take a firmer stance against the neo-Nazi groups – something he did the following day..."

"Ivanka and Kushner departed for Vermont for a short holiday Within 24 hours, the president had reasserted in a press conference that “both sides” had been responsible for the violence Kushner got on the phone and tried to mitigate the situation. Ivanka, meanwhile, attempted to do what she had come on vacation to do: tune out A few days later, she saw a short documentary that Vice News had made For Ivanka, the documentary made Charlottesville hit home in a way that other White House controversies had not. “Seeing those images and hearing [Ivanka’s] name invoked later on obviously made it very personal,” someone familiar with her thinking told me.” [FT]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner’s White House role ‘crushed’ efforts to woo investors for NYC tower” by Michael Kranish and Jonathan O'Connell: “They were crushed by this,” said Thomas Barrack, a friend of Trump and Kushner’s... Kushner’s move to the White House “just about completely chilled the market, and [potential investors] just said, ‘No way — can’t be associated with any appearances of conflict of interest,’ even though there was none.” Laurent Morali, who became president of Kushner Cos. last year, said in an interview that he is marketing a 60-year-old aluminum-clad building “that is not competitive” with more-modern properties...."

"In 2010, Barrack’s company acquired part of the distressed debt on 666 Fifth Avenue. He invested $45 million and eventually made a profit, he said... In 2011, Trump called Barrack to arrange a meeting for Kushner. As Barrack recalled it, “Donald called and said: ‘Look, I have no idea what’s going on. Jared has some deal you have an interest in.’ ” Kushner flew to California and told Barrack about his plan to salvage the project. He came alone, without lawyers, and Barrack was impressed... After 75 minutes, Barrack agreed to help, concluding that “it seems like it is in everyone’s interest to restructure this.” He said he called Trump and told him: “You should get down on your knees that your daughter found this kid. He is out of central casting. He was respectful, he was totally up to date on the facts and the numbers and had a very persuasive demeanor.”

“Barrack said that when Kushner went to the White House, his father, Charles — who had helped devise the redevelopment proposal — must have known that his efforts would be undermined... “This was [Charles’s] dream and his baby,” Barrack said. “When Jared decided to go to Washington, he probably had a heart attack.” As a result of the Kushner focus, Barrack said, investors have to ask themselves, “Are they willing to take the scrutiny of what comes along with” investing with Kushner Cos.?” [WashPost

TOP TALKER: “Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials” by Manu Raju: “Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year Multiple sources have confirmed to CNN that [Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan] met at the time with [Mike] Flynn, [Jared] Kushner and [Steve] Bannon. The three-hour discussion focused on a range of issues, including Iran, Yemen and the Mideast peace process.” [CNN

BIBI'S US VISIT -- Netanyahu sees window of opportunity on Iran deal -- by Loveday Morris and Ruth Eglash: “Israel’s opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal is nothing new, but analysts say Netanyahu likely sees a new window of opportunity to change it. Global concern over North Korea’s nuclear program is mounting, while Trump has repeatedly signaled a desire to kill the Iran deal According to [a] Army Radio report, Netanyahu will also ask Trump to prevent Iran from conducting research in the nuclear field and developing advanced-stage centrifuges, with much higher power. In addition, the report said, Israel will demand that Iran cease developing long-range missiles and add a clause limiting Iran’s support of organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that Israel and the United States consider terrorist groups.” [WashPost Netanyahu maintains battle against Iran deal ahead of UN meeting [Al-Monitor

"Ahead of sanctions deadline, Obama officials urge Trump to uphold Iran deal" by Eric Cortellessa: “Either directly or indirectly, ripping up this deal by the United States is the worst thing we could do for American national security,” said Wendy Sherman, a former undersecretary of state who was the chief negotiator of the deal... “I think it will be very interesting to see what happens next week at the UN General Assembly, when everyone will be in the same place at the same time — and whether there’s further discussion in this regard about where the agreement is." [ToI] Michael Singh: Trump Can Make the Most of a Bad Iran Deal [NYTimes

“Trump’s case against the Iran nuclear deal has very little to do with nuclear weapons” by Zack Beauchamp: “Trump has vocally attacked the Iran deal, like he has many pieces of President Obama’s legacy, and hates being forced to publicly certify that it’s working. Adhering to the deal is humiliating and feels like a betrayal of his campaign promises. It’s very likely that he hates being put in a position where he is forced either to accept Obama’s deal or face the reality that destroying it would do more harm than good.” [Vox

"Qatar diplomatic crisis engulfs a major US military base" by Jon Gambrell: "Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base, a crucial staging ground for U.S. operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of several American military outposts across the Gulf that are intended to serve as a bulwark against Iran..." [AP] 'The severity of the dispute is unprecedented': Qatar has spent $40 billion countering the Saudi-led blockade [BI]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT... "Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requested government jet for European honeymoon" by Justin Fishel, Brian Ross and Jordyn Phelps: "Secretary Steven Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife on their honeymoon in Scotland, France and Italy earlier this summer... The highly unusual ask for a U.S. Air Force jet, which according to an Air Force spokesman could cost roughly $25,000 per hour to operate, was put in writing by the secretary's office but eventually deemed unnecessary after further consideration of by Treasury Department officials... A spokesman for the Treasury Department told ABC News that the secretary requested government travel for his honeymoon out of a concern for maintaining a secure method of communication." [ABCNews]

ON THE HILL -- Joe Lieberman on Bernie Sanders’ Single Payer Bill: ‘Wonder Drug Stuff’ Sold at ‘County Fairs’" by Gideon Resnick: “Whether you call it a public option or you call it Medicare for All, what the advocates are really talking about is a governmentally controlled health care system,” former senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said in a phone interview... “Why is it happening now? I guess it’s a response to the failure of the Republicans to repeal Obamacare... For Democrats to respond to the Republican failure on health care by sort of offering a kind of a panacea for all your ills, this is like the wonder drug stuff that people used to sell at county fairs in America. It won’t work and it will really hurt the country financially.” [DailyBeast]

TRUMP-SCHUMER: "Pelosi and Schumer Say They Have Deal With Trump to Replace DACA" by Maggie Haberman and Yamiche Alcindor: "A total of 11 people were seated at the table in the Blue Room of the White House on Wednesday night, with the first 30 minutes of the meeting focused on China trade issues, according to one person briefed on the dinner. The meal served was Chinese food, an intentional nod to China trade, on which Mr. Trump and Mr. Schumer hold their closest views." [NYTimes

"Trump's Flirtation With Democrats Leaves Both Parties Uncomfortable" by Adrian Carrasquillo: "Sam Nunberg... said Trump's deals with Democrats are only going to lead to "a bunch of crap that betrays the people that elected him. The president sooner or later is going to have to realize that Pelosi and Schumer will only work with him on one action item — impeaching his ass. When he starts to realize that, then maybe he’ll get smart on these deals," Nunberg said." [BuzzFeed

** Good Thursday 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: EBay partners with Alan Tisch's fashion marketplace Spring in growing rivalry with Amazon, Wal-Mart [CNBC] Adam Braun's MissionU raises $8.5 million to give students a debt-free education [VB]  'It feels like the ocean is full of money,' but it could evaporate, says global investor Barry Sternlicht [CNBC] Israeli startup StoreDot raises $60 million from Daimler, others for electric car batteries that charge in 5 minutes [VentureBeat; TC

ISRAEL'S TOP 100 -- according to TheMarker: “The ranking, complied from 35,000 online votes, comprises civil servants elected officials, financial services, businesspeople (including Shahar Waiser the founder of Gett and Adam Neumann the founder of WeWork)... Mobileye's Amnon Shashua is 13th. Prime Minister Netanyahu is ranked 1st. The editors also named four technology industry luminaries as Israel’s “Tech Ambassadors”, placing them jointly at number 21. The four are Start-Up Nation Central CEO Eugene Kandel, entrepreneur and DLD chairman Yossi Vardi, SOSA NYC general manager Guy Franklin, and collaboration network ICON founder Yasmin Lukatz.” [ToI; TheMarker]

STARTUP NATION: "Is Israeli tech behind iPhone X’s new facial recognition feature?" by Shoshanna Solomon: "Israel’s Channel 2 reported Wednesday that Israeli technology is partially behind the facial recognition technology of Apple Inc.’s new flagship device, the iPhone X. An Apple spokesman in Israel declined to comment on the Channel 2 report. But in February, the Calcalist financial website said the US giant had acquired Israel’s Realface, a cybertechnology startup whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users, for several millions of dollars." [ToI]

"How I ended up in an Apple Watch video that was played at the Apple Keynote" by Avi Lichtenstein: "In late July of this year I was contacted out of the blue by a casting agency. The casting agency told me told me that they really liked the blogpost I had written about the Apple Watch and wanted to potentially include me in a documentary they were shooting... After signing the NDA, they filled me in on the details about the project. All they could say at the time about my role in the video was that they would shoot me at a Shabbat dinner or a Bar Mitzvah... Initially they had me shooting on a Saturday, but when I explained that I was a Sabbath observer they were very accommodating and rearranged the schedule so I’d be able to shoot on Sunday instead." [Medium]

TALK OF THE TOWN: "Billionaire Diller’s Plan for Elaborate Pier in the Hudson is Dead" by Charles Bagli: "Barry Diller said Wednesday that he was pulling the plug on his family’s commitment to build and operate a $250 million performance center on an undulating pier 186 feet off the Hudson River shoreline... Some critics called the plan a monument to a billionaire’s ego, and it was quickly nicknamed “Diller Island.” Mr. Diller’s decision about the project, called Pier 55, came amid settlement discussions between the Hudson River Park Trust, which was overseeing the project, and the plan’s opponents, a small civic group backed by Douglas Durst of the New York real estate family." [NYTimes

Cuomo Compares Michael Bloomberg With FDR -- by Jillian Jorgensen: "Governor Cuomo heaped praise on a New York City mayor Wednesday — going so far as comparing him to both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cuomo’s own late father. But Hell hasn’t frozen over — he was talking about former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was the star of the show Wednesday as officials gathered for a highly choreographed ribbon-cutting to dedicate the campus of Cornell Tech..." [NYDailyNews; WSJ

MEDIA WATCH: "She bet on the future of print news and bought Alaska's largest daily paper. Now she's lost it in a bankruptcy fire sale" by Rick Anderson: “I don’t see an end to print,” said [Alice] Rogoff, a former publishing executive in Washington, D.C... “If I could see it, I’d be preparing for it. We’re not.” That was evident this week. The paper, founded in 1946, was on the verge of shutting down when a federal bankruptcy judge approved a deal in which a pioneering Alaska family purchased it for $1 million... Rogoff personally lost millions. She had taken out a $13 million personal bank loan to help purchase the paper from McClatchy Newspapers and still owes the bank $10 million, the records show. " [LATimes]

“Larry King reveals lung cancer diagnosis” by Christine Burroni: “Larry King revealed on Wednesday that he was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and had successful surgery this summer “On July 17, I had the surgery here at Cedars,” King said. “They took it out. It was malignant. They were going to take it out if it was malignant or benign. They tested it. They said, ‘You are fine.’ It was stage 1.”” [PageSix

TRAVEL: $180 from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv? WOW: “Starting this week, the Iceland-based economy airline will begin flying to Tel Aviv from the Los Angeles via Keflavik International Airport for as little at $179.99 one-way. The price, which is far lower than the standard coach fare, will be available for a limited time, and for a limited number of seats (50) per flight.  The airline flies out of LAX to Tel Aviv one or two times each week.” [JewishJournal]  Israel’s EL AL Airlines Partners With ViaSat For In-flight Wi-Fi For New Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft [SpaceWatchME]

SPORTS BLINK: "Giro d'Italia becomes first grand tour to go outside Europe with Israel set to host first three stages of 2017 race" by Tom Bassam: "The first stage is expected to depart from Jerusalem, with race organisers, RCS, to unveil the exact route of the three-day leg in Israel next week. Italian and Israeli ministers will make the announcement, along with retiring former winner Alberto Contador... More than 175 of the world's best cyclists will arrive in Israel for the race, one cycling's top three stage races along with the Tour and La Vuelta." [DailyMail]

Israel says international marathon body playing politics: "The Israel Marathon Association said Thursday that the Association of International Marathons and Distances Races has displayed a "discriminatory nature" against the Bible Marathon that "will certainly result in great anger" among runners around the world. Next month's Bible Marathon stretches from central Israel to the settlement of Shiloh." [AP

SCENE IN JAFFA: Dr. Henry Kissinger attended a memorial event yesterday to mark a year since the passing of Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv-Yafo. "To me, it was an honor to be his friend. It was a privilege to be his contemporary," said Kissinger. "My affection and admiration for Shimon existed side by side with occasional doubts about the feasibility of his vision on a foreseeable timescale." [Pic; Twitter]  

SPOTTED: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, John Chambers, Orit Gadish, Joe Schoendorf, Meredith Rose Burak, Leora Strauss, David Lobl, and Amos Oz. 

BIRTHDAYS: CEO of of MDC Holdings (parent company of Richmond American Homes), Chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and AIPAC board member, Larry A. Mizel turns 75... Actor, writer and director with a fifty year career in film and TV, first known for his role in the original Star Trek television series, Walter Koenig turns 81... Founder of Vemont-based Kidrobot, a retailer of art toys, apparel and accessories, and Ello, an ad-free social network, Paul Budnitz turns 50... Managing director and co-head of the alternative investments group at NYC-based corporate communications firm Kekst and Company, he is also the president of the Young Israel of New Rochelle, Mark A. Semer turns 47... Comedian, television actor, writer and producer, Elon Gold turns 47... Public relations professional, formerly of ABC News, Courtney Cohen Flantzer turns 39... Founder at Mindchat Research Amy Kauffman (h/t Ken)... Senior Associate Editor at The Atlantic, he was previously a congressional reporter for The Hill and a Washington correspondent for The New York Sun, Russell Berman turns 34... New York Times metro reporter, Matt Flegenheimer turns 29... Founder and owner of ARA Capital, a British firm with holdings in e-commerce and energy, he is the son of billionaire Roman Abramovich, Arkadiy Abramovich turns 24... Los Angeles based attorney, Roxana Pourshalimi... 

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