Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 26, 2016

Florida's Jewish Vote | Kristof: Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl | Meet Tel Aviv's Pub Hub | Burning Man in the Holy Land.

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U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage for a campaign event in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016.
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage for a campaign event in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016. Credit: Molly Riley, AFP
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2016 EYES ON FLORIDA -- RJC board member Marc Goldman tells us: “I believe that what I've seen in the last week or so shows that Trump is moving in the right direction... I believe that the Jewish vote could tip the scales for Trump in Florida." 

Goldman on the Trump campaign's recent staff shake-up: "Trump, whatever else you want to say about him, has had to live in reality like any other business person. When you're in business you have to be providing a product or a service that people are going to want, continue to want, and that you end up making a profit on producing. Otherwise, if you don't, you go out of business. Just by the nature of it, of being in business, you are forced to live in reality." 

"If you just take a look, and that doesn't mean and I certainly would never say that every single thing he did was a wonderful business or that he succeeded in it, but he sees the difference between success and failure, and that's why I'm actually so impressed by his willingness to make the changes in his whole campaign thing that he just made. He took a look at reality, he took a look at the polls, he took a look at whatever he looked at and said, ‘I have to make these changes to make this work.’ That's what living in reality teaches you.”

Andrew Weinstein, an attorney and prominent Democratic donor from Coral Springs: “You can always expect Florida to be close. Despite the uniqueness of this particular election, I am sure that it’s going to be close. But I do believe from what I have seen, and from the conversations that I have had, that Secretary Clinton will receive a very significant share of the vote from the Jewish community, for a bunch of reasons."

"First, because I think she most closely identifies with the values of the majority of Florida Jewish voters. She’s a known entity. People are familiar with where she stands on issues that are important to them. Also, I think people are justifiably concerned about the prospects of a Trump presidency, where you take any issue and his position is likely to be different a week from now than what it is today. And I think that concerns people, especially for those whom our relationship with Israel and the important obligation to make sure that that relationship is rock solid and the bond is unbreakable. People who are concerned about that, have reason to believe that they can’t take Donald Trump at his word."

"And finally, the operation that the Clinton campaign has put together to reach out to all communities - and having had multiple conversations, they have got a very strong game plan to make sure that the outreach to the Jewish community is at the forefront of their efforts. I think that in a situation where the race is almost certain to be as close as it will be, that, obviously, every community’s vote is going to be crucial and the Jewish community’s vote is something which could be expected to play a factor in this race, for sure.” 

Weinstein on Clinton’s ‘alt-right’ speech: “I would say that what Sec. Clinton said in her speech, and the theme of her campaign is: ‘You know who I am, you know what I have done, and you know that if I say that I am going to be a friend of Israel, I will be.’ For Trump, it’s what he says, it’s who he associates himself with. And I think certain people in the Jewish community have good cause to be frightened by someone who is not a student of history, and is not someone who understands the way the world works now." 

HAPPENING TODAY: A new poll of Jewish voters in Florida, conducted by Jim Gerstein from GBA Strategies, will be released today at noon. Check later today for the poll results. 

HEARD YESTERDAY: “Clinton: Trump Has Helped Mainstream Racism and Anti-Semitism” by Jacob Kornbluh: “This is someone who retweets white supremacists online,” Clinton charged in a campaign speech in Nevada. “His campaign famously posted an anti-Semitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on a white supremacist website From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia,” Clinton said. “He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties Of course, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.” [JewishInsider; TimeMag]  Clinton ad ties Trump to KKK, white supremacists [Politico]

Trump Rejects Clinton’s Charges of Racism, Ties to KKK: “It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook. When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. It’s a tired and disgusting argument, It’s the last refuge of the discredited politician “We will steadfastly reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its forms.” [JewishInsider]

TOP-OP: "Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl" by Nicholas Kristof: "Some readers are objecting: But Jews weren’t a threat the way Syrian refugees are! In the 1930s and ’40s, though, a world war was underway and Jews were widely seen as potential Communists or even Nazis. There were widespread fears that Germany would infiltrate the U.S. with spies and saboteurs under the cover that they were Jewish refugees." [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET -- Bibi Brings Peace on Shabbat -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Prime Minister Netanyahu spent last night solving an urgent crisis in his coalition. It all started when the Orthodox parties in his government discovered that the Ministry of Transportation was allowing road construction to take place on Shabbat. The party leaders sent a letter to Netanyahu demanding to put an end to it and threatening to leave the coalition otherwise. The Transportation Ministry explained that some of the construction takes place on very busy roads, like the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, and has to be conducted during the weekend. After a long night of negotiations, this morning Netanyahu's office announced that a compromise was reached, enabling the weekend construction on the Ayalon highway, while postponing work elsewhere.

The entire ordeal resurfaced Netanyahu's tensions with Transporation Minister Israel Katz, one of the strongest leaders in the Likud Party today, who Netanyahu suspects of being a possible challenger. Katz and Netanyahu have been engaged in a political tit for tat for weeks, and Netanyahu didn’t miss the opportunity to snap at Katz, as the statement from his office blamed the crisis on contrasting messages from Katz's office. 

Opposition MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) who is active in promoting public transportation on Shabbat, told Kafe Knesset that the crisis actually originated in the Tkuma faction of the Jewish Home party, and that the Orthodox parties were dragged into the mess by members of Naftali Bennett's party. She said the arrangement reached by the different parties is "a bluff" and that the entire crisis was "ridiculous" since the coalition parties essentially "share a vision of a Halacha state with no pluralism." 

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Apollo Global is buying Rackspace for $4.3 billion [BusinessInsider]  Teddy Sagi's Playtech to return €150m to investors [Telegraph; FinancialTimes]  CellSavers raises $15 million to expand mobile repair service in the U.S. [GeekTime]  Priced Out of Williamsburg, Orthodox Jewish Community Eyes Staten Island Neighborhoods [NY1]  Miami exec pays $5.4M for Kendall synagogue, plans possible redevelopment [RealDeal]

STARTUP NATION: "Tel Aviv startup seeks to turn pubs into daytime work hubs" by Tzvi Lev: "Pub Hub, which began operations Monday, rents out popular Tel Aviv pubs to those seeking a working space. Pub Hub co-founder and CEO Daniel Rubin says, “People are looking for a sense of community or a network. People haven’t been getting that at coffee shops. We are trying to transform bars that are otherwise closed during the day into places where people can come and work. Instead of going to a coffee shop, where you sit, pay, don’t meet anyone, and are in a generally unproductive environment, you can come to us and we will provide that for you." [YNetNews]

SPOTLIGHT: "An Israeli company has been selling software to state governments that allows them to easily infiltrate an iPhone" by Sheera Frenkel: "Apple rushed out a new security update for iPhones Thursday after it was revealed that an Israeli company had been selling and exploiting security vulnerabilities to Apple products. The Israeli NSO Group, a company so secretive it has repeatedly changed its name to avoid notice, was selling software to state governments that was then used to infiltrate iPhones, gaining access to text messages, emails, contacts, and call, according to a new report released Thursday by researchers at Citizen Lab." [BuzzFeed; Gizmodo]

LongRead: "Burning Man in the Holy Land: A Surreal Weekend at Israel’s Midburn Festival" by Jeff Weiss:
"The Midburn fest boasts the blessing of the original Burning Man, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this Labor Day weekend in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Over the past decade, the most chic temporary utopia in the U.S. has spread to a global network of “Burns,” the most popular being South Africa’s AfrikaBurn, followed by Midburn in Israel, with cozier love-ins in Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe. This year, Midburn’s third, organizers sold more than 8,000 tickets at about $170 a pop—a tremendous increase from the 3,000 pioneers of 2014." [Playboy]

HOLLYWOOD: "Meet Gad Elmaleh, France’s Answer to Jerry Seinfeld" by Laura Bradley: "Gad Elmaleh is a big deal in France—which, the more we think about it, would make for a great Twitter bio. Often referred to as France’s version of Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian is a big ticket both at the box office and onstage. Most Americans, though, aren’t familiar with his work." [VanityFair]

Wine of the Week by Yitz Applbaum: I often get in trouble for calling something the best or the greatest. For this wine experience, I will take my chances. One of the greatest places to sample wine in Israel is also one of my favorite wine shops in the world: Avi-Ben in Jerusalem. Their variety of wines, their drive to please and constant readiness to pair wines with cheese on a moments notice is monumental. I was there recently with a dear friend. We chose a Matar 2015 Rose.

The Matar is made from 100 percent Grenache grapes. The grapes sit in their skins for a long enough period to get some floral color and a tad of the acidity on the front of your palate. A bit pear, a bit peach. It is the finish on this wine which is memorable -- soft elegant grapefruit and citrus tones which linger. I would call it a lingering finish as opposed to a long finish. This wine is elegant. Drink it with cheese, crackers, fruits. One of the best wines I have tasted. [Pelter]

DESSERT: "Chamin: a recipe for a homely Sabbath stew" by Tomer Amedi: "Chamin, or cholent, as the Ashkenazi call it, is a really slow-cooked stew. It’s a Shabbat meal; in Judaism, you’re not allowed to cook from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday – so in this instance the pot is brought to the boil, before sunset, then left to sit on a electric hotplate at a very low temperature for 12-18 hours. It sits all night long, thick and heavy, and by Saturday morning you are losing your mind because it smells so good, but you can’t have any until it’s time. I could eat it every second of my life: it’s the one thing I can eat until I explode. Each area, even each home, has its own recipe: it’s a bit like a Sunday roast in that way, every household and every kind of Jewish culture – from Russia to Yemen – has a version." [TheGuardian]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Iraqi born novelist, now living in Canada, author of more than 30 novels on Jewish themes, Nam Kattan turns 88... Journalist and co-author of the Freakonomics series, Stephen J. Dubner turns 53... Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Finance Shai Babad... Carrie Shapiro... Yuval Sapir... Michael Weiss... Jane Denkensohn... Bernard Kupferschmid... Professor Emeritus of quantum physics at Tel Aviv University, Yakir Aharonov turns 84... The Atlantic's Steve Clemons... Israeli soldier held captive for over 5 years (2006-2011) by Hamas, Gilad Shalit turns 30... 

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