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!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

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!

Ambassador David Friedman (L), White House envoy Jason Greenblatt (C) and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Photo: Tsafrir Abayov/AFP/Getty Images

Together with Israeli officials, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, senior White house officials and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) took part Sunday in the opening of a tunnel that runs under the Palestinian village of Silwan in East Jerusalem to the Old City, very close to the Temple Mount.

Why it matters: This is an extraordinary event, as the digging of the tunnel was initiated by a Jewish settler group called Elad. For decades, U.S. government officials refrained from participating in Israeli government events in East Jerusalem — not to mention those led by settler groups.

  • The tunnel is located in a highly sensitive area of Jerusalem called "The Holy Basin," which includes Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites.
  • In 1996, when Netanyahu was in his first term as prime minister, the opening of a tunnel near the Western Wall led to riots across the West Bank and Gaza that ended with 17 Israelis and 100 Palestinians dead.   
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The tunnel is part of a major archaeological project pushed by Elad, which aims to settle Jews in a part of East Jerusalem called "the City of David." The tunnel is called "The pilgrimage road" and is located in the same place where the ancient road that led to the Jewish Temple used to be 2,000 years ago.

  • The ceremony was attended by Netanyahu’s wife and two ministers in the Israeli Cabinet, as well as Friedman, Graham, White House envoy Jason Greenblatt and national security council Middle East director Victoria Coates.
  • Other prominent guests included casino mogul and Trump donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. The U.S. ambassadors to France, Portugal and Denmark, and State Department envoy for fighting antisemitism Elan Carr, also attended the ceremony.

Friedman was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. He said that the founding of the U.S. was based on the bible and that for this reason, the tunnel is a U.S. heritage site as much as it is an Israeli heritage site.

  • Friedman added that the historic site tells the truth about the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem and claimed that speaking the truth will help the region achieve peace.
  • After the speeches, Friedman, Greenblatt, Graham, Sara Netanyahu and several other guests took heavy hammers and broke a wall to open the tunnel. For several minutes, they hit the wall with the hammers until it was completely torn down.

What they're saying: The Palestinians condemned the U.S. participation at the ceremony, alleging the Trump administration is helping Israel "Judaize" East Jerusalem and "legalize colonial practices in Jerusalem by using a religious cover." The Palestinian Authority announced it would ask the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to intervene and that it would consult with Jordan on how to respond.

  • PLO official Saeb Erekat said: "That is not a U.S. ambassador. That is an extremist Israeli settler, with Greenblatt also there digging underneath Silwan, a Palestinian town. We should show this to all who participated in Manama."

Go deeper: Bahrain official says Palestinians made a mistake by skipping peace conference

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.