Haim Saban speaks onstage at Friends of The Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 1, 2018. Photo: Shahar Azran/Getty Images

Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban advised UAE ambassador Yousef Al-Otaiba regarding his op-ed against Israeli annexation in the West Bank and assisted in publishing it in the Israeli press, Israeli sources told me.

Why it matters: Saban was one of Hillary Clinton’s main political backers and donors. He also has communication channels with President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner. Saban and Al-Otaiba have known each other for many years and became friends.

Israeli sources told me Al-Otaiba spoke to Saban 10 days ago and asked for his advice on the best way to reach Israeli public opinion and deliver a message against the Israeli government’s West Bank annexation plans. Saban told Al-Otaiba that any such message must be conveyed in Hebrew and through a big mainstream media outlet.

  • Saban brought in his communications adviser Moshe Debi who heads one of Israel’s biggest PR firms. Debi worked with the Emiratis in the choreography and timing of this move. He recommended that the op-ed would be published in Yediot Ahronot due to its wide circulation and the fact it is read by a center right audience.
  • The whole move was kept secret and other than the editor in chief very few people inside the Israeli newspaper knew of the upcoming op-ed.
  • Al-Otaiba gave the White House a heads up the day before the op-ed ran. Most of the arguments in the op-ed were already conveyed to the White House in the weeks before as part of the private conversation between the UAE and the Trump administration on the annexation issue.

What’s next: The UAE public push against Israeli annexation is expected to continue next week.

  • UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash will speak at the American Jewish Committee virtual conference next Tuesday.
  • He will be the most senior Arab official to speak at a public conference of a U.S Jewish organization.
  • He is expected to continue UAE's call for Israel not to annex the West Bank.

Go deeper

Jul 1, 2020 - World

Jimmy Carter condemns Israel's planned annexation of parts of West Bank

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the White House in 1979. Photo: Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement on Wednesday calling Israel's planned annexation of up to 30% of the West Bank a "massive, illegal expropriation of Palestinian territory" that would jeopardize peace treaties and mark the end of any possible two-state solution.

Why it matters: Carter famously brought the leaders of Egypt and Israel together for secret negotiations that resulted in the 1978 Camp David Accords. His statement echoes sentiments expressed by the United Nations, the European Union and Arab nations who believe that annexation will deal a devastating blow to peace efforts.

15 hours ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.