Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Pool, Gali Tibbon/Getty Images

While Joe Biden and Donald Trump were giving their initial election night reactions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ordering ministers from his Likud party to refrain from any public statements on the vote, two ministers tell me.

Why it matters: Netanyahu has closer relations with Trump than any other world leader, but he doesn't want to give even the slightest impression that he's taking sides before the results are final, Israeli officials told me.

What they're saying:

  • Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein dodged a question about the U.S. election at a press conference today, saying he wanted to wait until all the votes were counted.
  • Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, also from Likud, wouldn’t discuss the election in a radio interview except to say that he didn’t think a Biden administration would roll back Trump’s policies on “legalizing” West Bank settlements. Biden has publicly opposed settlements.

Flashback: Trump was disappointed that Netanyahu declined to publicly endorse him during a phone call held before TV cameras on Oct. 23, one Netanyahu aide told me.

  • During the call to announce an Israel-Sudan normalization agreement, Trump asked Netanyahu if “Sleepy Joe” could have sealed such a deal. Netanyahu gave a diplomatic answer and said he'd be happy to work for peace with any American partner.
  • One of Trump’s advisers told his Israeli counterpart about Trump’s disappointment in an informal conversation, Netanyahu’s aide said.
  • The Israeli side then checked in formally with the White House to see if there was an issue, but was reassured that things were fine.
  • Between the lines: Netanyahu has been hoping his ideological ally will win, but he doesn't want to get off on the wrong foot with a potential President Biden.

Behind the scenes: Netanyahu was following the coverage overnight on multiple American TV networks. He also spoke on the phone with Israel's U.S. ambassador, Ron Dermer, for updates and analysis.

  • One aide to Netanyahu said the prime minister came into Election Day concerned about a Biden landslide.
  • But by Wednesday morning in Israel, Netanyahu was cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a Trump victory.

Go deeper: U.S. election result will shake up Israeli politics

Go deeper

Nov 22, 2020 - World

Netanyahu says Biden must not go back to Iran deal

Photo: Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that President-elect Biden's administration “must not go back to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran."

Why it matters: The comments — at the annual memorial ceremony for David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister — signal that Netanyahu is planning to repeat the public campaign against an Iran deal that he engaged in during the Obama administration.

Nov 23, 2020 - World

NZ's Jacinda Ardern becomes the latest world leader to congratulate Biden

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has become the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden in a phone call, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is still refusing to acknowledge the U.S. election win.

Driving the news: Biden's transition team said in a statement late Sunday he "expressed his intent to strengthen the U.S.-New Zealand partnership" and looked forward to working closely on challenges including containing COVID-19, tackling climate change and "reinforcing multilateralism."

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.