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On a horse cart loaded with belongings, Palestinians return today to their home in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP

The ceasefire has held for 12+ hours, but people in Israel worry that they'll be back to a conflict in several months.

Why it matters: Israel doesn't have a stable government that can make a meaningful change in policy.

  • At a press conference on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would respond with "a new level of force" to further Hamas aggression, warning that if the Palestinian militant group "thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong."
  • Netanyahu said all of his phone calls with President Biden were warm and friendly, and that Biden gave Israel full backing during the operation.

The big picture: The Israeli middle class — in Tel Aviv and surrounding cities — felt the conflict in a much more direct way than in the past.

  • This wasn't the first time Hamas fired on Tel Aviv. But this time, the number of rockets was massive. Millions of Israelis felt it directly, and realized how those who live in southern Israel, close to Gaza, have felt over the last 15 years.

For many Israelis, the most shocking thing was the violence between Jews and Arabs inside Israel.

  • It surfaced hatred among part of the Arab minority against the state that people didn't think existed. And it exposed deep racism among part of the Jewish population toward Arabs.
  • This wound will take a long time to heal.

What to watch: Secretary of State Blinken will travel to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming days, his first trip to the region.

  • The visit will focus on stabilizing the ceasefire and discussing humanitarian relief and reconstruction in Gaza, where over 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands have seen their homes decimated.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Aug 28, 2021 - World

Israeli PM tells Biden he won't publicly campaign against Iran deal

President Biden greets Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House on Aug. 27. Photo: GPO/ Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told President Biden in their meeting on Friday at the White House that although he is against a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, he isn’t going to publicly campaign against it like his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, two U.S. sources briefed on the meeting told Axios.

Why it matters: Biden and his senior advisers are veterans of the intense confrontations between Netanyahu and former President Obama on Iran.

8 mins ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

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