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Photo: Aurelien Meunier via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he will take over as defense minister after Avigdor Lieberman, the official who previously held the position, resigned over his opposition to a cease-fire with Palestinian militants in Gaza, reports AP.

The big picture: All members of Lieberman's party quit Netanyahu's government coalition after his resignation, leaving the prime minister with a one-seat majority in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Netanyahu rejected calls from the remaining coalition partners to hold early elections, claiming it would be a distraction during "a sensitive time" for Israel's security, per AP. Any decision on whether an early election takes place or not will likely have an impact on the White House's decision to roll out its peace plan for the region as Axios contributor Barak Ravid reported.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.