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Netanyahu gives a speech before the newly-unveiled sign for the new settlement of "Ramat Trump", or "Trump Heights." Photo: JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman hosted a special ceremony Sunday to dedicate a new town in the Golan Heights called "Ramat Trump," or "Trump Heights" in English. The only problem is that for now, this is only a "paper town," meaning it does not yet exist and is not even in planning stages.

Why it matters: This is a public relations stunt meant for a domestic audience on the eve of the upcoming elections. It's also significant for foreign policy reasons, intended for a target audience of one — President Trump. Trump's recognition of the Golan Heights in March gave a dramatic boost to Netanyahu's election campaign. Netanyahu will need Trump's help again soon with the new September 17 elections looming.

Details: Netanyahu took the whole Israeli cabinet to the Golan Heights today and stated the cabinet will pass a resolution to establish the new town. But the cabinet resolution that passed actually said the government couldn't make a decision like that during an election period.

  • So what was actually decided is that the Ministry of Housing will start preliminary planning work. For now, there is not even a fund allocated to build the new town.
  • But what Netanyahu and his people did do was place a huge sign with the name of the new town in the spot the town might be located sometime in the future. Netanyahu and Ambassador Friedman unveiled the sign in front of the cameras and praised Trump.

It did the trick. Several hours later, Trump tweeted: "Thank you Prime Minister Netanyahu and the state of Israel for this great honor."

Go deeper: Countries around the world criticize Trump's Golan announcement

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.