Friday Five: Daniel Blumen, Marco Rubio, Dan Friedman, Emad Burnat, Tzipi Livni


Daniel Blumen’s save-the-date

Daniel Blumen wanted to make sure his friends and family wouldn’t forget the date of his forthcoming bar mitzvah. He never imagined the video he made to remind them would become a minor Internet sensation, gaining more than 100,000 views on YouTube and earning the Atlanta resident attention from CNN, NBC and London’s Daily Mail. The video, which features cameos from several local celebrities, earned Blumen plenty of criticism for mocking his ceremonial passage to adulthood and squandering money on silliness. For the record, Blumen’s bar mitzvah is scheduled for May 13.

Marco Rubio dips into the Mideast

Sen. Marco Rubio, who was deluged with mockery for taking a sip of water during his response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last week, arrived in Israel on Sunday, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, is a rising star in the Republican Party and considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016. The Middle East trip was widely seen as a chance for the Floridian to get his feet wet in foreign policy issues. Rubio also toured the Iron Dome missile defense system and met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.


Dan Friedman’s Hamas secret

Among the many broadsides leveled against defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, it was one of the most damning: Hagel may have given a speech to a group called Friends of Hamas. Only problem is, the story was made up. New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman acknowledged this week that he had unwittingly given birth to the rumor when he asked a Capitol Hill source if he knew of any controversial groups Hagel had addressed — say, Friends of Hamas? The query made its way to a conservative website and from there took on a life of its own.

Emad Burnat’s LAX delay

Palestinian director Emad Burnat probably thought the hardest part of getting to the Academy Awards was behind him when his film, “5 Broken Cameras,” was nominated for best documentary. But when he landed in Los Angeles, where the ceremony is taking place on Sunday, Burnat was detained by security officials who didn’t believe he was an Oscar nominee. Fortunately for Burnat, fellow documentarian Michael Moore was just a text message away. Moore enlisted help from Academy Awards lawyers and, 90 minutes later, Burnat was released. “Welcome to America,” Moore tweeted.

Tzipi Livni finally joins Bibi

For three years, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni kept Benjamin Netanyahu at arm’s length, refusing to hitch her Kadima party, then the Knesset’s largest, to the prime minister’s Likud party. Her intransigence denied Netanyahu a broad national unity government and, some say, eventually cost her Kadima’s leadership in primary elections in 2011. Now Livni is back and, apparently, politically humbled. The party she leads, Hatnua, controls just six Knesset seats (compared to Kadima’s 28 when she led it), and this week Livni became the first Knesset leader to join Netanyahu’s new government. Whether this will help Livni’s political resurrection or discredit her with her supporters remains to be seen.

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