Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: September 21, 2016

Sheldon Adelson Focuses on Congressional Races, Despite Donald Trump’s Pleas | GOP Super PAC to Take Aim at Battleground States | Obama urges Israel end occupation and Palestinians accept Israel.

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Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies at Clark County Justice Center on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Las Vegas.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson photographed on April 28, 2015, in Las Vegas. Credit: AP

TOP TALKER: "Sheldon Adelson Focuses on Congressional Races, Despite Donald Trump’s Pleas" by Nicholas Confessore and Maggie Haberman: “Everyone reached out to him. He promised $100 million,” said Ed Rollins, an adviser to Great America, one of several outside groups supporting Mr. Trump. “At this point in time, he’s like everyone else. Now he’s going to be a player, just not to the same extent.” Mr. Adelson could easily afford to spend more for Mr. Trump in the weeks ahead. But he is rapidly running out of time to have an effect on the race, and even his contributions to Republican congressional efforts are coming late in the game, when the price of advertising is climbing drastically and there are fewer undecided voters to persuade."

-- "Democratic groups, meanwhile, are enjoying almost unmatched success in persuading rich donors and unions to pour money into super PACs. Through the start of September, according to Federal Election Commission filings, the lead pro-Clinton group, Priorities USA Action, has raised $13 million from S. Donald Sussman, a wealthy financier, and another $9.5 million from the retired hedge fund billionaire George Soros. S. Daniel Abraham, the billionaire founder of SlimFast, has contributed $9 million to the group. The entertainment executive Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, have contributed $10 million to the group, according to federal records." [NYTimes; WashPost]

"GOP Super PAC to 
Take Aim at Battleground States" by Brody Mullins, Monica Langley and Rebecca Ballhaus: "Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, has been in frequent contact with the casino magnate, who has a keen interest in U.S.-Israeli relations... Mr. Adelson wanted to ensure his money was spent on a candidate with a shot at victory, the people familiar with his thinking said. For much of the summer, Mr. Trump trailed significantly behind Mrs. Clinton in polling... In recent weeks, Mrs. Clinton’s lead has shrunk in several polls." [WSJAP]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: "Obama urges Israel end occupation and Palestinians accept Israel" by Jeff Mason: "U.S. officials have held out the possibility Obama could lay out the rough outlines of a deal - "parameters" in diplomatic parlance - after the Nov. 8 presidential election and before he leaves office in January, but many analysts doubt this would have much effect. "Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel ...(and if) Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land," Obama said." [Reuters]

Obama on Iran: “When Iran agrees to accept constraints on its nuclear program that enhances global security and enhances Iran's ability to work with other nations. On the other hand, when North Korea tests a bomb that endangers all of us. And any country that breaks this basic bargain must face consequences.”

DRIVING THE DAY: President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel at 1:00PM. 

"Obama, Netanyahu meeting a capstone to years of testy ties" by Josh Lederman: "We've been concerned about continued settlement activity, the potential viability of a Palestinian state in the face of that settlement activity. We've raised those directly with the Israeli government," Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said Tuesday. "I'm sure President Obama will do so tomorrow as well." [AP]

David Horovitz on Netanyahu’s last meeting with Obama: "While Obama will soon be preparing for life as an ex-president, Netanyahu will walk away from their New York meeting still charged with the responsibility of protecting his country for the foreseeable future. Whoever comes next, will be just fine, I think Netanyahu may say to himself when he bids farewell to the president." [TimesofIsrael

Aaron David Miller tells us: 
“The question is: is this going to be a good meeting or a bad meeting, and that’s driven, usually, by two sets of circumstances. Politics on the Israeli side and how much there is to argue about. And I would argue that that unlike many of their meetings and the harmony between them over the last eight years, it is more likely than not to be a good meeting. And that’s driven by several factors. On the Israeli side, there’s no question that the prime minister has no stake in devaluing Obama or the meeting. In large part, because he also needs to justify and make the most of what he has accomplished with the administration.

And on the president’s end, between now and November, in my judgment, Barack Obama has one overriding imperative and that is doing everything he possibly can to facilitate the election of a Democratic successor. And with 50 days to go - in what promises to be a close election - why would the president want to have a bad meeting with the Israeli prime minister. The consequences of that are going to reflect negatively on his own relationship with Netanyahu; it’s going to pose a difficult choice for Hillary Clinton because she is either going to be forced to back him or speak out against it, neither of which, frankly, is a good option for her. And it’s going to give the Republicans a number of talking points to use against Hillary, who Trump believes is an extension of Obama, to begin with.”

“For Israel, Obama's most important speech is the one he has yet to give” by Barak Ravid: “That is why the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC has worked hard over the past few weeks, apparently at the urging of Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, to recruit senators from both parties to sign a letter to Obama on this issue. Of the 100 senators, 88 ultimately signed the letter. To achieve this impressive number of signatories, it was necessary to make the letter’s wording sufficiently vague.” [Haaretz]

"88 Senators Signed AIPAC's New Pro-Israel Letter. Here's Why Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse Didn't" by Yair Rosenberg: 
"Both Rubio and Cruz have close ties with GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who has been funding a right-wing competitor to the bipartisan AIPAC, the Israeli American Council. Whether their absence from AIPAC’s latest initiative reflects a turn towards other more hawkish pro-Israel outlets will be worth watching." [Tablet]

"GOP Senators Propose Legislation to Overturn Parts of New MOU" by Jacob Kornbluh: 
"Congress is not going to sit on the sidelines,” Graham said in a press conference on Capitol Hill. “How do you feel about the idea that a president would knock you out of the business of doing your job, going around the Congress, trying to get a president of a foreign government to collude so you don’t have the power of the purse? To the president, if you don’t like this bill, veto it,” the South Carolina Senator said defiantly. “To a senator, if you think this is too much, vote against it.” [JewishInsider; Reuters]

Jamie Lovegrove: "Graham asks Israel to tell him if they don't need the aid because then he'll withdraw $1.5B bill, but otherwise advises them to take it." [Twitter]

“Barack and Bibi—Goodbye to All That?” By Dana Allin and Steven Simon: 
“Giuliani claimed at the Republican convention that Netanyahu and other government ministers favored Trump. Our sources say the Israeli security cabinet is divided but on the whole views Clinton as the safer course In an increasingly violent Middle East, it behooves both countries to reconsecrate a relationship based on a shared moral and strategic vision. As a matter of moral temperament and strategic vision, Hillary Clinton would appear far more likely to make this happen.” [PoliticoMagazine]

"Trump blasts Clinton Initiative for Palestinian teacher w/ terror tie" by Geoff Earle: "
Hanan al-Hroub's husband, Omar al-Hroub, was convicted in aiding a terror attack in the West Bank city of Hebron that killed Israelis in 1980 as an accomplice who provided chemicals used in making the bomb, the Wall Street Journal reported. '[Yesterday's] report that the Clinton Foundation is feting the wife of a Palestinian man convicted of helping bomb innocent Israeli citizens is deeply disturbing, especially in the wake of this weekend's attacks," said Trump campaign spokesman Jason Alexander in a statement." [DailyMail; WSJ]

YESTERDAY IN NYC: Sisi meets Jewish leaders, praises Israeli cooperation in war on terror in Sinai [JPost Ukranian President met with representatives of Jewish organizations in New York [UAGov]

**A message from the Israeli-American Council: The 3rd annual Israeli-American Council National Conference is this week! Join thousands of activists, policymakers, diplomats, journalists, Jewish communal leaders, and business innovators from the U.S. and Israel to dive deep into the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people today. All will convene in Washington, DC from 9/24-9/26. [IsraeliAmerican] **

"Scott Walker Leaks Reveal Internal Workings Of A Broken Campaign Finance System" by Paul Blumenthal: "He flew to New York City and met with Donald Trump, who gave him $15,000 (and later lied about how much he donated). He solicited money from Adelson, the Koch brothers, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, coal baron Joseph Craft, former Ambassador Mel Sembler, Morgan Stanley’s John Mack, Steve Forbes, hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, Stanley Herzog, Harlan Crow." [HuffPost]

-- "On another trip, Walker was reminded before meeting with Carl Icahn that the New York investor’s “net worth is $14 billion, making him the 21st richest American and 61st richest man in the world.”" [WashPost]

"Lindsey Graham’s Mind-Expanding Pot Journey" by James Higdon: 
"Graham was introduced to the problem of Dr. Reefer by Miriam Adelson, a medical doctor and an addiction researcher who is also the wife of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson... A lawmaker looking for clarity on this issue isn’t likely to get much help from the Adelsons, who have taken seemingly contradictory positions on medical marijuana. The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation studies medical marijuana in its facility in Tel Aviv, but just two years ago, in 2014, Sheldon Adelson, one of the most prolific donors to conservative causes, gave the anti-medical marijuana campaign in Florida $5.5 million." [PoliticoMagazine]

**Good Wednesday 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: Israel’s OurCrowd Raises $72 Million to Boost Crowdfunding Deals [Bloomberg]  Less exciting than Beyonce’s album, but maybe more rewarding, Lemonade launches new insurance plans [TechCrunch]  Millennials point to Mark Zuckerberg as their business role model [Mashable] Galbut wants to trade land with Miami Beach for taller development heights [RealDeal Jared Kushner may testify in Bridgegate trial [RealDeal]  An exclusive social network backed by Wall St. billionaires is opening up to the public [Yahoo]

STARTUP NATION: "Israeli tech company opens U.S. headquarters in Hunt Valley, plans to expand" by Jonathan Munshaw: "The Tel Aviv-based company currently has more than 15 employees now at its U.S. headquarters, located in Hunt Valley's Executive Plaza. As part of the move, Nayax plans to add additional employees, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce... Nayax works with vending companies and outfits their machines with the necessary hardware, software, SIM cards and monitoring solutions to allow the machines to accept credit card payments." [BizJournals]

"Israel defense sector faces big hit after new U.S. aid agreement" by Steven Scheer: "
Israel has about 700 defense-related firms, most of them with only 50 to 150 employees. They mainly act as subcontractors to Israel's four largest defense companies -- Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel Military Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. None of the companies asked by Reuters to discuss the aid package were willing to speak on the record, mentioning concerns about future business. But several executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that as a result of the deal they were already considering contingency plans. One option would be for larger firms to open subsidiaries in the United States, like Elbit has done, to compensate for the loss of business. They might also acquire smaller U.S. firms. As one executive put it: "This should be translated into an opportunity for the Israeli industry, which should penetrate new markets and improve their competitive ability." Adding the company where he works would "accelerate the process" of searching for a U.S. company to buy." [Reuters]

TALK OF THE TOWN: "Region Is Wary but Remains Resolute” by Sophia Hollander:
“Elisheva Adler, 20, said she made sure she was in a train car with a conductor when she came in on the Long Island Rail Road to Touro College in Manhattan. “I didn’t want to be in an empty car by myself,” said Ms. Adler, who said she wasn’t listening to music so she could stay aware of what is happening around her. “I think it’s important to be more alert.” [WSJ]

TALK OF OUR NATION: "Brexit prompts some Jewish Britons to reconcile with German roots" by Tina Bellon:
"Neuberger is among a significant number of Jewish Britons whose dismay over Brexit has led them to invoke a German law allowing people stripped of German citizenship by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, and their descendants, to have it restored. "It was Brexit that tipped me off, but now in my mid-60s I feel like I've made my peace with Germany and this step will only take me closer," said Neuberger, whose mother left Germany for Britain in 1937 to escape Nazi persecution of the Jews." [Reuters]

"Ex-roommate of Facebook founder becomes rabbi in Israel" by Daniella Cheslow: "Arie Hasit finally achieved his dream this month when, after years studying Jewish texts and passing a final exam, he was ordained at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem. For the last decade, the 33-year-old native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has faced constant questions from peers and strangers about his life path and whether he missed an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a company that has grown into a $360 billion behemoth. Hasit admitted to occasionally wondering what might have been had he joined the tiny startup that Zuckerberg and three other suitemates were working on." [AP]

SPORTS BLINK: "Missing From Israel’s Baseball Team: Israelis" by Yaron Weitzman:
"This Thursday, 28 ballplayers will step onto Brooklyn’s MCU Park baseball diamond wearing blue-and-white uniforms with “Israel” written across the chest, as they compete against Great Britain in the first round of the qualifying tournament of the World Baseball Classic, the sport’s equivalent to the World Cup. But of those 28 Team Israel players only two are Israeli citizens and both are pitchers: 37-year-old Shlomo Lipetz, and Dean Kremer, a 20-year-old Israel-American, minor leaguer for the Dodgers who was first Israeli ever drafted." [TabletMag]

DESSERT: "Classic Rosh Hashana Desserts Get a Professional Upgrade" by Joan Nathan: "After graduating from Yale, Mr. Levin went into finance but soon switched from peddling stocks to paddling pastry crust at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Then, after joining Michael White’s Altamarea Group  — he is the executive pastry chef at Osteria Morini in Washington — he started reinventing the pastries of his childhood. In an article in 1958, Mr. Claiborne praised Mrs. Nadich, who died in 2008, for her honey cake and her teiglach, boiled knots of dough soaked in honey. “My grandmother’s honey cake was a staple at every Rosh Hashana meal,” Mr. Levin said." [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Montreal native, singer, songwriter, poet and novelist, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Leonard Cohen turns 82... One of the highest grssing Hollywood box office producers of all time, plus the producer of many commercially succesful TV shows, Jerry Bruckheimer turns 73... Legal scholar whose White House position followed his 27 years at University of Chicago Law School and preceded his current post as professor at Harvard Law School, Cass Sunstein turns 62... One-half the reknowned film-making team of the Coen Brothers, Ethan Jesse Coen turns 59... Attorney, author, conservative talk show host and president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, Mark R. Levin turns 59... Emmy Award-winning talk show host, actress and producer, Ricki Lake turns 48... Assistant Director at TAMID Group, Nathan Gilson... Scott Frankel of iCenter (h/t Dan Smith)... Mia Appelbaum... SVP at polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Anna Greenberg Ph.D....

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