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U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook (C) with the foreign ministers of Israel (L) and Bahrain (R).

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had a short and rare public encounter yesterday with Bahrain's foreign minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, at a State Department reception.

Why it matters: There has been a flurry of meetings between Israeli officials and their counterparts from the Gulf states recently, but the meetings are typically not made public by either party. That's why the joint photo of both ministers is even more significant than the meeting itself. Israel and Bahrain don't have diplomatic relations but are in a steady process of warming ties.

Both ministers were in Washington for a gathering on religious freedom organized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They spoke for a few minutes, shook hands and took a joint photo.

  • The ministers were encouraged to meet by the U.S. special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, who joined them for the photo.
  • This is another sign of the Trump administration’s success in moving Israel and the Gulf states closer together against their shared adversary, Iran.
  • It comes several weeks after the conference in Bahrain on the economic part of the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Bahrain agreed to let Israeli businessmen and journalists attend.

Jason Greenblatt, the White House special envoy for Middle East peace, welcomed the short meeting in a tweet and wrote: "Terrific progress in Washington this week for Israel, Bahrain & the region."

Go deeper: Bahrain foreign minister's first interview with an Israeli journalist.

Go deeper

Column / Harder Line

New England power fight foreshadows divisive clean energy future

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It wasn’t his first choice, but Sean Mahoney isn’t fighting a 150-mile proposed power line sending Canadian hydropower to New England as part of the region’s climate-change goals.

Why he matters: Mahoney, a senior expert at the nonprofit Conservation Law Foundation who lives in Maine, is seeking to compromise in a bitter battle over the proposal. Expect more fights like this as President Biden and other political leaders pursue zero-carbon economies over the next 30 years.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

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