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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

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 29, 2021 - World

The global line for coronavirus vaccines stretches back to 2023

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

There’s a wild scramble at the front of the line for COVID-19 vaccines, with the EU discussing export bans and legal action to ensure its supply speeds up in the coming months.

The flipside: The back of the line likely stretches to 2023 and beyond. Almost no low-income countries have managed to begin distribution in earnest, and total vaccinations in all of continental sub-Saharan Africa currently number in the dozens.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.