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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Etienne Oliveau/Pool/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told me today that if Israel does not limit its ties with China, the U.S. could reduce intelligence sharing and security cooperation.

Why it matters: The U.S. has raised the topic of Chinese influence with Israel several times in the last months, but this is the most public stance that the Trump administration has taken on the issue. In the last few years, Prime Minister Netanyahu has led a diplomatic initiative to dramatically enhance trade with China. China has won several big infrastructure contracts in Israel, including one for a new sea port in Haifa — where the U.S. Navy currently operates.

Pompeo told me in an interview in Jerusalem Thursday that China presents economic opportunities for Israel, but also threats.

"When China engages in spying through its commercial state-owned enterprises and presents risks through its technology systems, companies like Huawei, which present real risk to the people of Israel — When those things happen, we want make sure that countries know about it, know the risks and then countries will make their own sovereign decisions."

Pompeo said he raised the issue with Netanyahu and added he wanted to make sure Israel is wide-eyed about the threat from China. He stressed to Netanyahu: "If certain systems go in certain places, then America's efforts to work alongside you will be more difficult and in some cases we wont be able to do so."

  • I asked Pompeo what he meant and his message was even stronger: "You can imagine lots of different places — intelligence sharing might have to be reduced, allocation of security facilities might have to be reduced. We want to make sure that countries understand this and know this."

Go deeper

NYT: Khashoggi's killers had paramilitary training in U.S.

A vigil for journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, following his killing in 2018 in Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Several Saudis who took part in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi had paramilitary training in the U.S. under a State Department contract a year before his 2018 death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the department knew that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned Saudi officials to detain, kidnap and torture dissidents in 2017, the approval of such training underscores how "intensely intertwined" the U.S. has become with a nation known for human rights abuses, per the NYT.

U.S. attorney finalist trashes Labor secretary

Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Massachusetts.

Parties pounce on China as midterm issue

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats and Republicans in purple states are already leaning into U.S. competition with China as a key issue in the fight to control the Senate in 2022.

Why it matters: American voters hold increasingly negative feelings toward the Chinese government, particularly around bilateral economic relations and following the nation’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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