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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "Netanyahu Likely to Ease U.S. Defense Aid Demands as Talks Enter Final Round" by Barak Ravid: "Acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel is expected to take part in a decisive round of talks in Washington this week on a military aid deal with the United States. Haaretz has learned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaning toward giving in on a good many of his demands and accepting most of the American terms. These include a gradual phasing out of Israel’s spending of one-fourth of the American aid on purchases from Israeli defense contractors." [Haaretz]
KAFE KNESSET -- DRIVING THE WEEK -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: Most top headlines in Israel this week referenced events in Cleveland and Philadelphia leading up to U.S. elections. But a report published yesterday in Al Quds, a leading Palestinian newspaper, managed to create some chatter. According to the paper, Israel has agreed to allow Qatar to send $30 million into Gaza to pay the salaries of Hamas' public sector employees. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who came into office promising to kill Hamas' leadership and take down the Islamist organization's government in Gaza, refused to comment on the report, which seems to suggest that despite his tough talk regarding Hamas, Lieberman prefers quiet at the southern border for now.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, meanwhile, raised some eyebrows today by declaring that he plans to free himself of some of the ministerial portfolios he has retained in the year and a half since founding his coalition, and that this will happen "soon." Netanyahu is currently the Foreign Minister, Minister of Communications, Minister of Economics and Minister of Regional Cooperation. Netanyahu didn't say which of these portfolios would soon be on the market, but it's almost certain that he will keep the Communications Ministry to himself. Netanyahu seems likely to keep pushing what he calls "a move to open up the Israeli media to more competition," and his political rivals see as an attempt to weaken the press and create a more supportive media environment for the Prime Minister.
Who really is Ari Harow? -- by Gil Hoffman: "Harow has found himself at the center of the police probe into allegations that Netanyahu and others close to him were reportedly involved in money laundering. As the prime minister’s former key fund-raiser, police think Harow can provide information on Netanyahu’s financial dealings... Harow was raised in a Los Angeles family with seven children, including three who were adopted but he treated like his own flesh and blood, and one who has Down’s syndrome, who he has always taken special care of. He made aliya with his family when he was 12, and represented Israel as a Little League Baseball star before entering the IDF and serving in the Golani Brigade. “Ari is a decent, honest Zionist,” Naftali Bennett said. “I wish him well. I hope he emerges unscathed and continues to contribute to the nation of Israel.” Kulanu MK Michael Oren said it was a pleasure working closely with Harow when he (Oren) was ambassador to the US." [JPost]
TOP TALKER: "DNC Chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz Stepping Aside in Wake of Scandal" by Alex Seitz-Wald: "Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been ousted as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee on the eve of the party's convention. It's an abrupt end to a chairmanship marked by controversy, which came to a head this weekend following revelations from leaked internal emails."[NBCNews; JewishInsider] Critics shouted "Shame! Shame! Shame!" at outgoing DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz and booed her during a Florida delegates meeting on Monday [CNN]
NJDC Chair Greg Rosenbaum emails... "Before I became involved with NJDC in any capacity, Debbie told me how she had, early on in her career, been a staffer for the organization. She spoke with such enthusiasm about the organization that I decided, then and there, to volunteer my time and support for NJDC... Though this chapter of her public life may be closing, I have no doubt that Debbie will continue to have a very influential role in the American Jewish community.”
"Inside the scramble to oust Debbie Wasserman Schultz" by Glenn Thrush, Gabriel Debenedetti and Edward-Isaac Dovere: "John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman – and a former top adviser to Barack Obama – broached the idea of replacing Wasserman Schultz as early as last fall, only to be rebuffed by the president’s team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversation. “It came down to the fact that the president didn’t want the hassle of getting rid of Debbie,” said a former top Obama adviser... And this weekend, as conversations between Brooklyn and Wasserman Schultz intensified, neither the president nor his staff was involved. Once the decision was made, Wasserman Schultz called White House political director David Simas to tell him, and Simas then told the president. Obama decided to call to thank her for her work." [Politico]
"As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue" by David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth: "Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered. But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign."
"It was a remarkable moment: Even at the height of the Cold War, it was hard to find a presidential campaign willing to charge that its rival was essentially secretly doing the bidding of a key American adversary. But the accusation is emerging as a theme of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, as part of an attempt to portray Mr. Trump not only as an isolationist, but also as one who would go soft on confronting Russia as it threatens nations that have shown too much independence from Moscow." [NYTimes; Bloomberg]
"WikiLeaks: Democratic Party officials appear to discuss using Sanders’s faith against him" by Michelle Boorstein & Julie Zauzmer: "Internal Democratic National Committee emails appear to show officials discussing using Sen. Bernie Sanders’s faith against him with voters, with one saying “my Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”" [WashPost; AP] "Top DNC staffer apologizes for email on Sanders’ religion" [Politico] Sanders: “I am not an atheist.”[CNN]
Former Dem rep appears to link Israel to terror attacks -- by Rebecca Savransky: "Former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) in a tweet late Saturday appeared to link Israel and recent terrorist attacks in France and Germany. "Same Israeli photographer captures Nice and Munich tragedies," McKinney, the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2008, tweeted, including a video about the issue."[TheHill]
Kristol to Democrats: Don't underestimate Trump: “I think I'm probably closer to Hillary Clinton than to Donald Trump on foreign policy, and maybe trade,” he said. “If it were a domestic policy election, I probably would swallow hard and vote for Trump. If it were a pure foreign policy election, I'd probably swallow hard and vote for Hillary Clinton.” [Politico]
Noam Neusner: “Some of my best friends are Democrats. When they vote Democratic, donate Democratic and affiliate Democratic, they act with the sincere belief that they are doing the right and noble thing. They are about to be let down by the candidacy — and, if she wins, the presidency — of Hillary Clinton. I recognize that by saying this, I may be accused of supporting the candidacy of Donald Trump. Not at all. I preferred all the other Republican candidates to Trump, and will not vote for Trump. Rather, I am merely arguing here that the candidacy of Clinton will undermine the purpose, spirit and ideology of the Democratic Party. And this raises the question: By damaging the very nature of the Democratic Party, will Clinton damage American Jews’ well-known historical affinity to that party? Will Jewish Democratic voters feel compelled to go elsewhere?” [Forward]
“Tim Kaine's Republican fan club” by Burgess Everett and Darren Samuelsohn: “Kaine’s most high-profile achievement is work in the trenches on a bill that allowed Congress a vote on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Working with more conservative Democrats and deal-cutting Republicans, Kaine helped drive a 98-1 vote in the Senate, effectively forcing Obama to sign it and begin the task of lining up Democrats to support it in a roll-call vote He eventually supported the president’s Iran deal, as did all but four Senate Democrats. But initially the administration and its allies on the Hill were reluctant to even put the Iran deal up for a vote — a vote that the GOP was clamoring for.” [Politico] "Kaine one of few senators not to sign letter to Obama urging increased MoU" [JPost]
JCRC of Greater Washington’s Executive Director Ron Halber on the Kaine pick: “We have always had a very, very approachable relationship with Kaine. He has been to Israel many times and he is well versed in the security challenges Israel is facing. There are people who are pointing to his vote on the Iran deal and the fact that he didn’t show up for Bibi’s speech as meaning that he is not pro-Israel. Well, if you go by that standard, you might as well disqualify half of the Congress as unsympathetic to Israel. That’s a barometer that is simply not fair, and, frankly, it’s wrong."
"In my opinion, he would adhere much closer to what Democrats before Obama have done, which is less daylight between the administrations. I think he would go back; he would see that the Obama administration - by having more daylight between Israel and the U.S. - may have made it more difficult and harmed the relationship in some ways. The only way you are going to win Israelis is by hugging them. You’re not going to win by pushing them because they are -- the Jewish people are stiff necks; we are stubborn, and we have every right to be so given the security challenges Israel faces." [JewishInsider]
"Dismayed by Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg Will Endorse Hillary Clinton" by Alexander Burns: "Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said. The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg... But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated." [NYTimes; NYMag]
"Wall Street takes a road trip to Philadelphia" by Ben White: "Wall Street is taking the Acela down to Philadelphia this week. Blackstone, one of the nation’s largest private equity firms, will hold an official reception in Philadelphia on Thursday featuring its president, Tony James, sometimes mentioned as a possible Treasury Secretary in a Clinton administration. Hedge fund managers and top Democratic donors including Avenue Capital’s Marc Lasry and Boston Provident’s Orin Kramer will also be on the scene as will Morgan Stanley executive and former top Clinton aide Tom Nides." [Politico]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Salesforce CEO told LinkedIn he would have paid much more than Microsoft[ReCode] Leave London After ‘Brexit’? Steve Cohen Doubles Down [DealBook] Paul Singer's Elliott Management and PulteGroup strike a deal, and the stock jumps [CNBC] The Boymelgreen family from Brooklyn plans to redevelop an entire block in Surfside into a townhouse project [BizJournals]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Tinkering with a mission: weekend inventors create affordable technology" by Mary Hui: "John Gluck’s eyes glistened with joy and amazement when a set of wooden shelves in front of him lit up in bright blue. This is no ordinary shelf: It moves up and down and in and out so that the eight-year-old, who is in a wheelchair, can easily access its contents. The special system was conceived, designed and built at the TOM:DC Makeathon, a three-day marathon design event hosted in Reston by the Tel Aviv-based non-profit startup TOM." [WashPost]
TALK OF OUR NATION -- Enter YidLife Crisis with two unlikely Jewish friends: "Today Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion, the actors behind Chaimie and Laizer, join guest host Stephen Quinn to discuss their web series YidLife Crisis, and how Yiddish in a secular, comedic form might help Jewish tradition survive in the modern world." [CBCRadio]
"It just got easier for religious women to work out" by Doree Lewak: "Like Muslim women, most modern Orthodox Jewish women who work out in the company of men have to conceal most exposed skin. That’s what led Candice Safdieh, 28, an Orthodox mom of three from Flatbush, Brooklyn, to create Snoga Athletics 14 months ago. (“Snoga” is a portmanteau, combining “siniut,” which means “modest” in Hebrew, and “yoga.”)." [NYPost]
INBOX -- Arie Lipnick of Macadamia Strategies and Christian Science Monitor’s Sara Sorcher on Saturday raised more than $2,300 for Sanctuary Rescue, a local foster-based rescue that specializes in saving pregnant mama dogs and puppies who are most vulnerable in high-kill shelters. Spotted: Phil Elliott, Zeke Miller, Chris McCannell, Lindsey Boerma, Aaron Keyak, Abby Majlak, Seth Samuels, Mor Yahalom, Patrick Tucker. [Pic]
DESSERT: "After Years Under the Radar, Jewish Food Is Becoming All the Rage in Italy" by Anna Momigliano: "And though there are no specific figures for Italy, anecdotal evidence though suggests that Jewish cuisine is gaining popularity: In Rome, for instance, there’s now always a big line in front of Boccione, the city’s most famous Jewish bakery, best known for it’s pizza ebraica — “Jewish Pizza,” a sweat bread with candied fruits — and getting a seat at Jewish restaurants, such as Gigetto and Ba’Ghetto, can be problematic." [Haaretz]
Hungary's Tokaj Wine Region Revives Jewish Heritage: "Two plaques put up in the village of Mád last month commemorate the important role Jewish families played in making Hungary’s golden Tokaj wine, most of whom perished in the Holocaust. After two centuries of prosperity generated from the sweet wine that became popular in the courts of Europe, Jews in Tokaj were deported with the help of the Hungarian Gendarmerie to a ghetto and from there to Auschwitz concentration camp. The plaques were mounted on the former home of the Zimmermann family, one of the biggest and most successful winemakers and wine traders of Mád in the northeast of Hungary, after a lengthy campaign by family members." [Fortune]
BIRTHDAYS: Journalist, writer and author, early supporter of the neo-con movement, Midge Decter (born Midge Rosenthal) turns 89... Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist, formerly of the Washington Post editorial board, Anne Applebaum turns 52... Cinematographer, whose work includes "The Empire Strikes Back," Peter Suschitzky turns 75... Adam Finkel, partner at Orfin Ventures and a featured Crain's Twenty in their 20s...
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