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Netanyahu (L) and Bolton look out on the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank. Photo: Abir Sultan/AFP/Getty Images

John Bolton’s departure from the White House has been seen in Israel as a sign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's weakened standing with President Trump, and it will exacerbate Netanyahu's anxiety over Trump’s push for direct talks with Iran.

Why it matters: Bolton's ouster is a big blow for Netanyahu both in substance and in timing. Bolton was Netanyahu’s most important ally in the White House on Iran and other foreign policy issues, and he was forced out a week before Israel's elections.

The big picture: The relationship between Netanyahu and Bolton goes back many years, and their world views are remarkably similar:

On Iran: Bolton and Netanyahu both urged Trump to hold the line on his "maximum pressure" campaign, and they resisted the idea of direct talks with the Iranians with no preconditions.

  • Israeli officials fear that Bolton’s removal paves the way for a summit very soon between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
  • Bolton and Netanyahu also saw eye to eye on possible military options against Iran's nuclear program and on the need to explore avenues for regime change.

On Syria: Both Bolton and Netanyahu were against withdrawing U.S. forces. Their efforts were part of the reason Trump changed course.

  • Bolton was also central to the shift in U.S. policy in Syria from only defeating the Islamic State, or ISIS, to also pushing Iranian forces out of the country.

On the Palestinian issue: Bolton was not directly involved in the drafting of the White House peace plan, but Netanyahu saw him as someone who could help lobby for his positions on the plan from inside the White House.

  • Bolton is vehemently against a two-state solution. When Bolton visited Israel in June, Netanyahu took him on a tour of the Jordan Valley — the area of the West Bank that Netanyahu recently promised to annex. Bolton gave a statement that supported Netanyahu’s claims about the area being critical to Israel’s security.

The latest: Netanyahu hasn’t addressed Bolton's departure, nor did Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer in a speech at his residence in Washington.

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.