Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff: April 10, 2019

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro on the US-Israel relationship going forward; Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi shares his thoughts on election results

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters as results in the Israeli general elections are announced at a Likud event in Tel Aviv, early on April 10, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters as results in the Israeli general elections are announced at a Likud event in Tel Aviv, early on April 10, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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BIBI 5.0 ― Benjamin Netanyahu is on the path to becoming the longest-serving prime minister in the history of the state of Israel after voters granted him a mandate to serve as Israel’s leader for a record 5th term (4th consecutive). As of this writing, with 97 percent of the votes counted, Netanyahu’s Likud and its main challenger Blue and White (led by Benny Gantz) are tied at 35 seats each. Yet the right-wing bloc holds a commanding 10 seat lead — 65 to 55 — over the center-left bloc.

“This is a night of an incredible, incredible victory,” Netanyahu declared in his victory speech delivered well-after midnight in Israel. “The right-wing bloc led by me will continue to lead Israel for the next 4 years and will bring Israel to greater heights.”

HOW IT PLAYED — Netanyahu’s victory would provide him with a renewed mandate as he battles a looming indictment on charges of bribery and corruption… Benjamin Netanyahu looks to hold on, as Trump makes Israel great again… Netanyahu’s ‘Just win, baby!’ elections… David Horovitz: Netanyahu, the divisive force of nature who refused to be beaten.

TEL AVIV SCENE — Neri Zilber of our sister-newsletter Kafe Knesset was on the ground at the election night parties of Blue & White and Likud: When the ballot boxes closed at 10pm local and Channel 12’s exit poll showed Blue and White with a commanding four seat lead (37 – 34) — and the blocs tied (60 – 60) — Gantz and his running mate Yair Lapid decided to quickly declare victory. Not to be outdone, Netanyahu himself also declared victory and said he would begin forming his next government immediately.

In the interim, the mood at the two election night camps a short walk from each other in Tel Aviv told different tales. At Blue and White’s party in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds a festive atmosphere prevailed: smiles, cheers, and congratulations all around. “We did it!” two activists exclaimed to Kafe Knessetbefore embracing each other. At Likud, in the nearby Shlomo Group Arena, the organizers didn’t even deign to show the exit polls live given their unfavorable perceptions, and only a small number of activists milled about chatting amongst themselves. One activist received a lot of media attention for his “Trump: Make America Great Again” flag.

Gantz marched on stage a little after midnight and again declared victory, yet shortly thereafter the tide began turning. Channel 12 updated its exit poll, wiping out Blue and White’s theoretical lead over Likud. At exactly 2 am Netanyahu finally arrived in Tel Aviv, striding into massive cheers from the half-filled arena. “He’s a magician, he’s a magician, he’s a magician,” his supporters chanted. Flanked by a grinning Sara Netanyahu, Bibi was profuse in his thanks, adding that “against a conscripted media” — eliciting wild boos from the crowd — “and in impossible circumstances we brought about a tremendous achievement, almost fantasy.” He was right. Up against three looming corruption indictments along with Blue and White’s three former IDF chiefs of staff, “Bibi, King of Israel” (as the Likudniks kept chanting) had done it again. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset newsletter by subscribing here [KafeKnesset]

WHAT’S NEXT? — Shalom Lipner, a veteran of 26 years in the prime minister’s office, tells JI“Once President Rivlin does finally tap a candidate to form a governing coalition, Israel faces many long weeks ahead of horse-trading with parties over the spoils. In short, the road to political clarity in Israel remains a long and tortuous one.”

Professor Thane Rosenbaum: “The risk for Trump if Netanyahu forms a right-wing government is that Bibi’s flirtations with the religious right, especially over the last week of the campaign, with talk of annexation of settlement blocs, may stand in the way of Trump’s ‘deal of the century.’ Other Arab countries that pledged their support to bringing the Palestinians to the table may withdraw if Bibi boldly treats settlers as Israeli citizens. Bibi has to be careful that his reliance on the religious right does not hamper his ability to show gratitude to President Trump, whose policies largely led to his re-election.”

MAN OF THE HOUR — President Reuven Rivlin announced on Wednesday that his meetings with the various factions to hear their recommendations for prime ministers will “be broadcast live, on all platforms, in the name of transparency.”

REACTION — Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents tells us: “There’s a lot of concern about who will be in the government and how that will affect policies that impact the vast majority of American Jews. But, frankly for Israelis they’re voting on the issues that most directly impact them, which is their security, their economy, the relationships and where Israel stands in the world. I think Netanyahu is sensitive to these concerns and maybe now if he has a solid majority he can move ahead with positive steps that will help alleviate and ameliorate some of our concerns. There were agreements on some of these of issues, like the Kotel, that I hope will now be able to be reexamined and reevaluated.”

Hoenlein on the future of the US-Israel relationship: “The American people, by every poll and every standard, remain firm, even on the Democratic side, to a strong U.S.- Israel relationship. I think that some of the other criticisms — if you look at it in the full context of what they said, it was not as harsh as the media was picking up. That one was about something he said in a previous election, and in the heat of elections, people will say things that sometimes I’m sure on second thought they might regret.”

“I think that Netanyahu will reach out and do more to solidify the relationship on both sides of the aisle. What we have learned is that we don’t have to sacrifice the relationship with the Republicans or the Democrats, liberals or conservatives. Israel has support across the board. People don’t look at Israel just as who is the prime minister. He can become a flashpoint, people can criticize him, but the fundamental commitment to U.S.- Israel relationship remains very strong on both sides of the aisle.” 

Washington Institute’s Rob Satloff: “Netanyahu’s apparent victory is a remarkable vindication for the legally challenged Likud leader. If the current vote counts hold up, it seems that he figured out a way not only to defeat an impressive collection of respected, centrist military commanders and orchestrate a substantial right-wing majority but also to skewer his mortal enemy on the right, Naftali Bennett, in the process. And he did it by somehow increasing Likud’s Knesset representation about 20 percent above any of its four most recent victories. His tactics may be brutal and, in many ways, offensive, especially vis-a-vis Arab voters, but no one can sneer at the results.”

Satloff on the road ahead: “Strengthened by victory, one hopes the usually risk-averse Netanyahu can now shelve his last-minute political gambit to announce support for annexing territories in the West Bank, a move that would needlessly upset a surprisingly resilient status quo with the Palestinian leadership while threatening to drive a wedge between Israel and many of its good and sincere friends in the United States and around the world. Similarly, after pulling out the stops to embrace Netanyahu and advance his electoral prospects, one also hopes President Trump is adequately satisfied with the result that he now counsels his friend in Jerusalem against annexation, which can only complicate broader U.S. interests in the region.”

Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi shares his thoughts on last night’s results: “The Bibi of 2019 — I fear — will be a Bibi that will give free rein to his worst instincts — to divide the people of Israel, to delegitimize Arab Israelis, to further alienate liberal Diaspora Jews, and further empower undemocratic forces in Israel. Given the rhetoric of this election and the impressive victory, along with the pending indictments, he is likely to show us his most problematic side.”

Klein Halevi’s fears: “There are two big worries right now from my point of view. The first is whether this incoming government will really try to make good on Netanyahu’s promise to annex parts of Judea and Samaria, which will place us firmly in a one state situation. That, in my mind, is a mortal threat to Israel. And the related threat is that Netanyahu will try to circumvent the courts and neutralize the three pending indictments against him by making an agreement with his right wing coalition partners — exchanging immunity for annexation. That would be one of the ugliest deals in Israeli history.”

Klein Halevi’s one positive: “If I tried to comfort myself, in some way, it is that Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are nervous today, and probably the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf states are quietly relieved. That’s significant.”

Oded Revivi, chief foreign envoy of the YESHA Council: “The center-Right won this election before the first ballot was cast, as the candidates — Netanyahu and Gantz — do not differ very much on policies. Yet much of the Jewish American world continues to operate outside of that general consensus.  We see leaders of both parties embracing Judea and Samaria to varying degrees. The gap between them is much closer than it is between the Israeli public and Jewish American public. That is something that needs to be addressed for our communities to become more united.”

TAKEAWAYS — IPF’s Michael Koplow: “Nobody should be surprised that the outcome of this will be another Netanyahu-led right wing government, but there are some interesting dynamics at play given the actual breakdown of the parties.”

1) “First, because Likud and Kachol Lavan ended up vacuuming up so many votes for themselves, the other parties are smaller than they have been in decades. That means that Bibi’s coalition partners are going to be right wing, but more starkly hardline on religious issues given that, as of now, 21 seats are going to the Haredim and the largely Hardal Right Wing Union. In some ways, the impact on the relationship with American Jewry will be impacted even more negatively by this coalition because there won’t be much space to even pay lip service to religious pluralism.” 

2) “Second, there is going to have to be a high proportion of ministers from the Right Wing Union and Shas, neither of which contain much ministerial experience. It’s going to make for a very new face of the Israeli government, and one that is going to appear more extreme and uncompromising from the outset.” 

3) “Lastly, if the results hold and Bennett and Shaked do not make the Knesset, that will be the most significant outcome of this election in the long term. They had formed New Right in order to set themselves up as the next leaders of the right wing bloc in the post-Bibi era, and that plan is now gone. It will also send the message that trying to put a modern or fashionable face on extreme right wing policies has no real constituency on the far right, and that’s going to impact the politics of the right as well.” 

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro on the U.S.-Israel relationship going forward: “It’s going to take a lot of discipline — by Americans and Israelis — to keep the partisan divide on Israel from deepening. Americans should respect the will of the Israeli people in their democratic process. Netanyahu should do genuine outreach and listening to Americans of both parties. Trump should stop treating Israel as political football. Democrats should uphold our core commitments in our partnership with Israel, but need not agree on every Israeli policy, and disagreements can be expressed.

“All sides should operate on the knowledge that there could be a very different U.S. administration in less than two years, and we need the U.S.-Israel relationship to remain strong when that happens. An important element of that is ensuring Israel’s security and its Jewish and democratic character for the long term, which means keeping a two state solution alive for the future. A Trump plan that undercuts two-states, Israeli moves to annex parts of the West Bank, Palestinian rejection of Israel as a Jewish state and promotion of violence, or Democrats equating Israeli government policy they oppose with the entire country, all threaten that future.”

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to answer whether the U.S. would condemn or support a move by Israelis to annex parts of the West Bank.

Pompeo, speaking before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, explained the administration is “in the process of laying down our vision” in response to a question from Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) about whether U.S. policy was still opposed to annexing any or all part of the West Bank. Pushed further to answer the question, Pompeo said, “I’m not going to engage in this conversation… Ultimately, the Israelis and Palestinians will decide how to resolve this.” 

Van Hollen: “I would just leave you with the example of Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus, where Turkey would argue that they came in to help the Turkish Cypriots at the time, and Mr. Erdogan is going to love what you are saying.” [Video]

TOP TALKER — President Reuven Rivlin signed the controversial Nation-State Law in Arabic when it came to his desk in July of last year, Noga Tarnopolsky reported for The Daily Beast. Dr. Thabet Abu Rass, an old friend of the president, recalled a conversations he had with Rivlin — who was critical of the attempt to denigrate Israel’s Arab population — after the law passed in the Knesset last July in which he said, “I promise you that when the law comes to my desk and I have to sign it, I’ll sign it in Arabic, and that says everything.” A photo of Rivlin’s signature was first revealed by the Daily Beast on Israel’s Election Day.

STATE VISIT — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with President Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, Trump endorsedSisi’s efforts to alter the country’s constitution so he can stay in power through 2034. “He’s doing a great job,” the president said.

The Egyptian leader also met with White House senior advisor Jared Kushner to discuss efforts to ensure “a just, lasting solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Gaza, according to a statement by the Egyptian president’s office.

AIRBNB BOOKS IT — Airbnb said on Tuesday that it had reversed its decision to remove listings of properties located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The announcement came after the company settled four lawsuits filed against it in the United States and Israel. Airbnb will now allow listings throughout the entire West Bank but will donate all profits from its business in the region.

American Jewish groups were quick to praise Airbnb’s reversal. “This a critical decision given the high visibility of Airbnb and the attention given to its earlier announcement,” the Conference of Presidents said in a statement. “We have had ongoing meetings and communication with leaders of Airbnb as well as with public officials who have notified them of the negative implications of their announced policy for the company.”

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement, “We appreciate that Airbnb and Brian Chesky listened to us and the wider community, and course-corrected on how they implement their listing policy. We also welcome their clear rejection of BDS and embrace of the Israeli market.”

DRIVING THE CONVO — President Trump attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on Tuesday, after the freshman congresswoman called senior presidential advisor Stephen Miller a “white nationalist” on Twitter. The President quoted and then shared a clip of conservative commentator and campaign advisor Jeff Ballabon on Fox News lambasting Rep. Omar and calling her “more dangerous” than Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Ballabon further accused Omar of “assaulting Jews.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) criticized Omar on Twitter on Monday, declaring: “During my time in Congress before Ilhan Omar got here, I didn’t once witness another Member target Jewish people like this with the name calling & other personal attacks. In 2019 though, for Ilhan Omar, this is just called Monday.”

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) came to the Minnesota congresswoman’s defensesaying he had already called Mr. Miller a “white nationalist” to little or no notice. “Last year I called Stephen Miller a white nationalist, but Rep. Lee Zeldin and Donald Trump Jr. never accused me of anti-Semitism. Rather than attacking Ilhan Omar, why won’t they stand up to white nationalism & President Trump’s support for ‘very fine people’?”

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), when asked if he believed Mr. Miller and Mr. Trump are white nationalists, said the problem is that terrorists using words said by the President during such deadly attacks and this elevates such rhetoric to a national security threat. “We have to take the ideology that is fueling it seriously,” he said during a press conference introducing his resolution condemning white supremacist terrorism and anti-immigrant rhetoric. “When it comes from the highest office in the land and the shooters are citing it and the President is then echoing it, that’s a problem that has to be dealt with if we want to stay safe.”

Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) tweeted“This is getting ridiculous. Over the weekend, the POTUS told a group of Jewish Americans Bibi is ‘your prime minister  — a dual loyalty statement straight out of the anti-Semitism textbook. Then, yesterday, Rep. Ilhan Omar called Stephen Miller a white nationalist. Miller is, in fact, the aide most closely associated with this president’s horrifying fanning of white nationalist flames. Who gets called an anti-Semite? Ilhan Omar, of course, evidently simply because Miller is Jewish and she criticized him strongly. Enough!”

REP. OMAR GETS ANOTHER COVER — How Ilhan Omar Is Changing the Conversation About Israel—and Upending the 2020 Campaign — by Jonathan Broder: “To be sure, Omar and Tlaib are no friends of Israel. And while defenders acknowledge they could be more sensitive in their language, they reject the accusation that they’re anti-Semites. ‘These two Congresswomen are shaking off the old mindset with regard to the Palestine question,’ Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based Muslim civil liberties organization, tells Newsweek. ‘They’re not trying to fit into the historical Washington mindset, which has been unjustly pro-Israel for decades. And they represent a whole new generation of progressive activists nationwide.’ All of a sudden, Israel has become as partisan an issue as immigration and health care. As Republicans demonstrated in their AIPAC speeches, the Congresswomen have become useful foils in their campaign for the 2020 elections.” [Newsweek]

ON THE HILL — by JI’s Laura Kelly: Efforts to condemn white supremacy collided with an immigration debate in the House on Tuesday, as Democrats steered a House Judiciary Committee hearing on rising attacks by white nationalists toward anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate speech.

Testifying witnesses included Eileen Hershenov, senior vice president of policy for the Anti-Defamation League; Dr. Muhammad Abu-Salah, the father of two of the three Muslim university students murdered outside their home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; representatives from Facebook and Google speaking about blocking hate speech online; and Eva Paterson, the executive director of Equal Justice Society, a legal advocacy group.   

On the other side, Republicans invited Zionist Organization of America chairman Mort Klein and conservative commentator Candace Owens, to present dissenting views. Klein’s argument during the hearing focused on antisemitism in the Muslim community while Owens accused the Left and Democrats of conflating inequalities in America with racism and hate speech. 

Notable moments: Klein was booed when he singled out Students for Justice in Palestine as an antisemitic hate group. “During the decades that ZOA has been combatting campus antisemitism we’ve never received a single complaint about antisemitic, discrimination, harassment or intimidation perpetrated by neo-Nazis or white supremacists,” he said. “By contrast, we receive hundreds of calls from students about antisemitic harassment, discrimination, intimidation perpetrated but the left-wing, significantly Muslim hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine, SJP and its allies.”

In a separate exchange, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) asked Ms. Hershenov about whether white supremacists prioritize their hatred of Jews over African-Americans or vice versa. “I’m not competing in any way whatsoever,” Rep. Cohen said, “but isn’t it a pretty close race between African Americans and Jews for the hatred of white nationalists?”

Ms. Hershenov answered, “These things are absolutely linked. It might start with some white supremacist on antisemitism and you will get to anti-immigrant, refugee, Muslims and African-Americans and vice versa… After the civil rights era, they became more and more scared of the extinction of the white race. They would call people LGBTQ degenerates or sodomites… they would look at genetic inferiority of people who are not white, demonize refugees and immigrants, look at Muslims, and they say again and again, who are the ones that orchestrate this? They are the Jews.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) used Owens’ own words in an effort to discredit her testimony, playing a video clip from December where the conservative activist said “if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and run well, ok fine. The problem is he had dreams outside of Germany.” The congressman then asked the ADL representative if legitimizing Hitler feeds into white nationalist ideology. “It does Mr. Lieu,” Ms. Hershenov said. “I know that Ms. Owens distanced herself from those comments later but we expressed great concern over the original comments.”

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has backed out of an event originally scheduled to be held at New York City’s Metropolitan Republican Club on Thursday over the club’s association with the far-right German party, People’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD). “I’ve removed ZOA from having our name associated with the event,” Mort Klein told the Observer. “My people thought it was the Metropolitan Club not the Metropolitan Republican Club, and we had no knowledge of the speakers. We don’t do events with political parties ever.”

AT THE UN — Majid Takht Ravanchi, an Iranian diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement, will be Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations. The appointment was considered a sign that Iran will try to preserve the deal. The ambassador position at the United Nations is considered Iran’s most significant foreign diplomatic post.

2020 WATCH — Bernie Sanders, now a millionaire, pledges to release tax returns by Monday… AIPAC targets Sanders in Facebook ads focused on key Democratic primary states… Pete Buttigieg is bringing religion into the 2020 Democratic race.

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip? 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: Google’s Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin Haven’t Shown Up At Its Weekly Town Halls In 2019 [BuzzFeed] • How Bob Iger Broke Disney’s Netflix Addiction [TheInformation] • Wynn withdraws $7.1bn takeover bid for Crown Resorts [FinancialTimesWSJ] • Gary Barnett’s Extell gets $268M to refinance two dev sites [RealDeal• Sinclair Promotes Barry Faber And David Gibber [TVNewsCheck 

TRANSITION — Eli Miller, most recently chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is joining Steve Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP. Miller will work on public policy at the world’s largest alternative asset manager, according to a spokeswoman for Blackstone.

STATE-SIDE  — Florida Gov. DeSantis wants to partner with Israeli researchers  — by Lisa Huriash and David Lyons: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to partner with researchers and universities in Israel to tackle the Sunshine State’s problems, including water quality. And to accomplish that, he’s heading there next month for his first foreign trip as governor.” [SunSentinel]

Democratic leader takes heat as anti-Semitism vote roils Florida — by Gary Fineout: “A state Democratic leader in Florida has come under withering criticism after she opposed a bill targeting anti-Semitism… State Sen. Audrey Gibson’s vote, and her ill-received defense of it on Tuesday, have Florida Republicans drawing comparisons to Reps. Ihlan Omar and Rashida Tlaib… ‘It is sad that in the world propagated by Washington Democrats like Congresswomen Ihlan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and Tallahassee Democrats like Audrey Gibson, fighting anti-Semitism is ‘divisive‘,’ state Rep. Randy Fine, a Jewish Republican and the bill’s sponsor, wrote Tuesday.” [Politico]

TALK OF THE TOWN — The Moroccan Exception in the Arab World — by Yaëlle Azagury and Anouar Majid: “King Mohammed VI embarked on a wide-ranging rehabilitation project that reflects his ‘special interest’ in the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Moroccan Jewish community. More than 160 Jewish cemeteries with thousands of gravestones have been uncovered, cleaned up and inventoried with funding from the kingdom. In addition to synagogues, former Jewish schools have been renovated with the king’s support. The original names of the Jewish neighborhoods where many of these synagogues have stood for centuries have also been reinstated.”

“With a mere 2,500 Jews left in the kingdom, this endeavor may indeed appear purely symbolic, or even designed to bolster Morocco’s image in the world. It will not bring Moroccan Jews back in any great numbers. But the kingdom’s embrace of Jewish heritage is a strong reminder of the Jews’ rightful place in Morocco’s history, despite some strained chapters.” [NYTimes]

Decades after the Jews went into exile, some Arabs want them back: “It is simply called ‘the villa.’ Its white walls have no markings and an official permit is pending. For its founders, though, the low-key opening of the Arab world’s first new synagogue in generations signals the dawn of a Jewish revival. Standing near the beach-front in Dubai, the synagogue offers Hebrew classes and kosher catering and has just acquired a rabbi… That may sound unduly hopeful in the Arab world, which uprooted its 800,000 Jews in the decades after the creation of Israel. But, surprisingly, Arab leaders from Morocco to Iraq are repeating the message.” [Economist]

‘The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-44’ Review: Living Under Occupation — by Ronald Rosbottom: “‘In some countries, the French have the reputation of being anti-Semitic,’ Jacques Semelin writes in ‘The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-44.’ It is the goal of his careful study to show that France as a nation deserves more credit for helping save the majority of its Jewish population from death during the German occupation… Originally published in France in 2013, Mr. Semelin’s book caused quite a stir, for it appeared to many that he was mitigating grave injustices perpetrated by the Vichy government and its supporters. Perhaps that is why the present English-language edition—which is about 500 pages shorter than the original—has a new preface, by the eminent Holocaust historian Serge Klarsfeld.” [WSJ]

BIRTHDAYS: Past president of the U.S. Soccer Federation (1990-1998), he was previously an executive of both the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers, Alan Rothenberg turns 80… Author of three novels and a political history book, he is a former senior editor at The New Yorker and a deputy editor of the Outlook Section in the Washington Post, Jeffrey Frank turns 75… Author of 265 books including 56 books in the Cam Jansen series, 68 biographies and books for youth on the Holocaust, David Abraham Adler turns 72… Former member of the Knesset (1983-2009) who once served as Vice Prime Minister, he was the chairman of the soccer club Hapoel Tel Aviv (2012-2016), Haim Ramon turns 69… Founder of Gantman Communications, he is the former VP of global strategic communications at the Motion Picture Association of America,Howard Gantman turns 68… Scarsdale, NY resident, Robin Samot turns 63… Soviet-born Israeli-American pianist, Yefim Bronfman turns 61…

Member of Knesset (Likud) since 1999, Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, in charge of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, Yuval Steinitz turns 61… Author of three books (including one made into an award-winning miniseries), she is the chief national correspondent at Yahoo News, following thirty years at the New York Times, Lisa Belkin turns 59… Dana B. Fishman turns 58… Tom Kohnturns 58… Author of five best-selling memoirs and five novels, she has also written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue and Elle, Dani Shapiro turns 57… Author of two books and co-host of both NPR’s Invisibilia and Slate’s DoubleX Gabfest, she was born in Israel and moved to Queens when she was 5 years old, Hanna Rosin turns 50…

Governor of Missouri from January 2017 to June 2018 when he retired instead of facing impeachment, he is a former Navy SEAL, Eric Greitens turns 45… President of NJI Media and co-founder of FamousDC blog, Josh Shultz turns 41… Movie producer best known for the 2016 musical romantic-drama film La La Land, Jordan Horowitz turns 39… Director of communications at RespectAbilityUSA, Lauren Appelbaum turns 36… Third year student at Yale Law School, writer on law, the Middle East, religion and philosophy, Yishai Schwartz turns 29… Law student at George Washington University Law School, he was previously a digital strategy manager at the Podesta Group, Daniel Wolman turns 29… Basketball player for Ankara’s Türk Telekom, he was the 2009 ACC Freshman of the Year for the Virginia Cavaliers, he then played in Israel (2010-2017), Sylven Landesberg turns 29… Naomi Atlani… Phil Hayes… Susie Diamond

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