Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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 Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

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

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: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel's Blue and White party and the main political opponent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is considering turning down President Trump’s invitation to come to Washington next week to discuss the U.S. Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The big picture: Blue and White officials tell me Gantz and his aides are concerned the invitation to Washington is a political trap orchestrated by Netanyahu a little more than a month before the country's elections on March 2.

  • Gantz met this morning with his party leadership to discuss whether he should reject Trump’s invitation.
  • The officials added that there was great concern in the meeting that going to Washington could do more harm than good and leave Gantz humiliated politically.

The state of play: Gantz was upset by the Vice President Pence's statement Thursday that said the White House was acting according to Netanyahu's recommendations when it invited him to Washington, according to the officials.

  • Gantz and his aides were also unhappy with the White House statement which said Trump invited Netanyahu "to the White House" while merely inviting Gantz "to Washington."
  • That's led to fears among Blue and White officials that Netanyahu would get a meeting with Trump —and a big ceremony around the peace plan — while Gantz would get a lower-level meeting that would make him look "like a second fiddle."

Why it matters: Gantz is stuck between a rock and a hard place with his decision.

  • Accepting the invitation and coming to Washington when the main talks will be between Trump and Netanyahu could portray him as a fifth wheel — or worse, a cheerleader for Netanyahu’s foreign policy.
  • Rejecting the invitation could insult Trump, inciting retaliation from the president, and portray Gantz as a politician who can’t handle the relationship with Israel's most important ally.

What he's saying: Gantz spoke today with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and told him that — although he generally supports the peace plan and will welcome it publicly once it is presented — he thinks the going to Washington on an uneven basis with Netanyahu could harm him in the elections.

  • According to sources briefed on the call, Friedman told Gantz that there was no political motivation behind the White House actions and that he will most likely will get a meeting with Trump.

What's next: Blue and White officials said they want to hear more details from the White House about the plan for the visit before they make a final decision.

  • Gantz is expected to give a statement Saturday to announce both his decision and his position on Trump's peace plan.

Go deeper: Gantz changes course, calls on Trump to release Middle East peace plan

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

The perils of organizing underground

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.