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Pompeo and Netanyahu in Israel last year. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

During their meeting in Brasilia on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to make a deal regarding the Trump administration's objections to a proposed $500 million deal for F-16 jets between Israel and Croatia, a senior Israeli official told reporters.

Why it matters: Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said earlier this week that he was waiting for the outcome of the Pompeo-Netanyahu meeting and threatened to cancel the deal if Israel and the U.S. could not resolve their differences. The deal was supposed to be implemented before the end of 2018, but has been held up by the U.S. for almost two months.  

  • The Israeli official said the F-16 deal was the only issue Netanyahu and Pompeo could not make progress on in their meeting, adding the issue "is stuck in deep bureaucracy."
  • As I reported last month, the Trump administration objects to the fact that Israel wants to sell Croatia 12 F-16 fighter jets with upgraded Israeli technology included in the planes. The U.S. wants Israel to return the jets to their original condition before transferring the jets to Croatia, but the Croatian government has demanded the "Israeli version" — or has threatened to cancel the deal.
  • Netanyahu is personally trying to solve the crisis, raising the issue in a phone call with former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who rejected his request to soften the U.S. conditions for the deal. Israeli officials told me that Mattis' position practically killed the deal.  

Go deeper: U.S. lays out terms for $500 million Israel-Croatia arms deal

Go deeper

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.

18 mins ago - World

Scoop: Ukraine tells senators post-invasion sanctions are no help

Zelensky. Photo: Johanna Geron/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. senators visiting Kyiv this week that waiting to impose sanctions on Russia until after an invasion is of no use to Ukraine, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: The Senate is currently working on a major sanctions package to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for Ukraine, but divided over whether it would be more effective to sanction Russia now to signal resolve, or hold up the threat of future sanctions to demonstrate the high costs of an invasion.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

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