David Friedman at his confirmation hearing last year. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman went on an unusual and probably unprecedented attack today against the Haaretz newspaper a day after one of its senior columnists published an op-ed criticizing his support for the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Why it matters: It is very rare for foreign diplomats to attack the media in any democracy – especially in Israel – which is a close U.S. ally and a country with strong free press. In my 12 years as a reporter covering the diplomatic corps in Israel, I can't remember a similar case.  

While attacking the left-leaning newspaper in general, Friedman didn't mention in his tweet that he was actually responding to an op-ed that was published Thursday by Gideon Levy and criticized him personally for another tweet of his from February 6th. Levy wrote in his op-ed that Friedman was "an occupation friendly ambassador" and claimed that his tweet was a "deception" and immoral positions.

A few minutes after Friedman's tweet he got a response from Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken, who tweeted back:

Chemi Shalev, one of Haaretz's senior columnists, also tweeted back at Friedman:

Background: Haaretz has been very critical of Friedman and his positions since he went through the U.S. Senate confirmation process to become ambassador. One of the editorials which Haaretz published designated Friedman as a "Persona non Grata".

Go deeper

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
49 mins ago - Technology

Over 3 million U.S. voters have already registered on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An estimated 2.5 million+ Americans have registered to vote on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook announced Monday. More than 733,000 Americans have registered to vote so far via Snapchat.

Why it matters: The broad reach of social media platforms makes them uniquely effective at engaging voters — especially younger voters who may not know how to register to vote or be civically engaged.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street: Recession is over

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. economic activity fell more sharply in the second quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history. It's also going to grow more sharply in the third quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history.

  • The recession is over, according to Wall Street, with current forecasts showing sustained economic growth through 2021 and beyond.