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 the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

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!

Bennett with Biden in the Oval Office. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty

President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their White House meeting that he will not abandon his plan to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, setting up a major point of contention between the administrations.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by Donald Trump. Senior officials in Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Behind the scenes: Biden raised the consulate issue several times in his bilateral meeting with Bennett and in the expanded meeting with their aides, Israeli and U.S. officials briefed on the meetings tell me.

  • Biden stressed that he made a campaign promise to reopen it and that Secretary of State Tony Blinken had already gone on the record with a pledge to follow through.
  • Bennett made clear that he opposed that policy, but proposed that officials from both sides meet to work toward a solution.

Between the lines: Several right-wing ministers, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar, say the reopening of the consulate would be an infringement on Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. It's also a prime point of attack for Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now opposition leader.

  • The Israeli government would have to give its approval for the consulate to be reopened. And if even one member were to defect over the issue, the government could collapse.
  • “If the Biden administration wants to see Netanyahu abandoning his Pilates classes and going back to the Prime Minister’s Office, this is the best way to do it," one senior official quipped to me.
  • The official said the Israelis had expressed their concerns about the destabilizing potential of the consulate issue several times to the Biden administration.
  • The Biden administration previously agreed to delay the reopening of the consulate until after the Nov. 4 deadline for Bennett to pass a budget.

Flashback: Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017 and later merged the consulate into the new U.S. Embassy there.

  • The Palestinians also consider Jerusalem to be their capital. East Jerusalem, the location of the former consulate, is typically viewed as the future capital of any Palestinian state.

What they're saying: "Jerusalem is the capital of one country only: Israel. I don’t want to go into details, but this is my clear position," Bennett said last Friday in a Zoom call with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

  • But Bennett added that he wants a “no drama” relationship with the Biden administration and to solve things in the quietest way possible after the budget passes in November.
  • The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry said the government's opposition over the consulate was a barrier to the peace process and part of Israel's efforts "to change the historical and legal status of the city."
  • Last week, State Department spokesperson Ned Price stressed that Blinken’s commitment, made in May during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, still stands. The White House declined to comment for this story.

What’s next: No steps are expected on this issue before November, meaning the sides have some time to work toward a mutually acceptable solution.

Go deeper

23 hours ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never been a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic Party over Israel.

24 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE next week

Sullivan. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is planning to travel to the Middle East next week, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. He would be the most senior Biden administration official to visit the kingdom.

Why it matters: Sullivan's first trip to the region since taking office is expected to include stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, sources briefed on the plans tell Axios. All three countries are longtime U.S. partners who have faced some early tensions with Biden.