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!

Kerry and Netanyahu in 2015. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images

One of the indictments against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had an interesting twist involving former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry.

Why it matters: This episode was part of "Case 1000," which saw Netanyahu indicted for breach of trust and fraud after allegedly receiving shipments of expensive champagne and Cuban cigars for more than a decade from Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchen. According to the indictment, the "gifts" were worth more than $130,000. In return, Netanyahu allegedly used his executive powers to help Milchen in his personal and business affairs.

According to the indictment, in the years 2013-2014 Milchen asked Netanyahu numerous times to contact the U.S. government in order to help him solve a problem regarding the extension of his visa.

  • Milchen called Netanyahu for the first time right after leaving the U.S. embassy in Tel-Aviv, when he was told that his visa was flagged and could not be extended.
  • The reason was an interview in which Milchen confessed that in the 70's and 80's he was an Israeli agent and helped purchase parts in the U.S. for Israel's clandestine nuclear program.
  • After Milchen's request, Netanyahu spoke with the U.S. ambassador at the time, Dan Shapiro, and asked him to help Milchen. Milchen soon had his visa extended, but only for a year and not ten years, as had been the case before.
  • Milchen then spoke to Netanyahu again and asked him to help get a longer-term visa. Netanyahu continued contacting U.S. government officials in an attempt to do so.

The indictment included this remarkable story:

  • Milchen once arrived at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem carrying a box of cigars and a box of champagne bottles.
  • Netanyahu wasn't home, and Milchen waited for him. When Netanyahu arrived Milchen told him that he brought cigars for him and champagne for his wife, before asking if he could call then-secretary of state Kerry about the visa.

According to the indictment, Netanyahu then called Kerry, and raised the issue again in a face-to-face meeting with the secretary of state. Milchen's visa was later extended for 10 years.

  • Some of the details of this story were reported previously in the Israeli press, but the indictment included more details and, more importantly, it had the stamp of the attorney general on it.
  • Kerry was never interviewed by the Israeli police about this episode. I asked his representatives about the issue several times over the last three years, and they all said Kerry received similar requests from other world leaders over the years and didn't think it was out of the ordinary. They also stressed that Kerry wasn't aware of the cigars and champagne relationship between Netanyahu and Milchen.

Go deeper

20 mins ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!