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Netanyahu and Putin meet in Moscow. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Israel has approached Russia several times in the last few weeks to demand that they meet their obligations under a cease fire deal signed with the U.S. last November by preventing pro-Iranian militias from entering a buffer zone on the Syrian-Israeli border.

Why it matters: The protests show Israel's growing nervousness over the Iranian buildup in Syria. Recent flashpoints between Israel and Russia in Syria are also making it harder for the countries to maintain close coordination.

Israeli officials told me the message has been passed to the Russians by the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, by Israeli defense officials and at a senior political level.

The backdrop
  • Last November, Russia the U.S. and Jordan signed a cease fire deal in southern Syria which established de-escalation zones on the Syrian-Israeli border and on the Syrian-Jordanian border. As part of the deal, a buffer zone was to be established which Pro-Iranian forces would be excluded from.
  • According to the deal, the Russians were the responsible for enforcing the zone. But Israeli officials told me that's not happening at all. They claim pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hezbollah elements are inside the buffer zone in violation of the deal.  

The Israeli message: The presence of pro-Iranian elements near the Israeli border would lead to an escalation that undermines the ceasefire deal. The Israeli officials said that despite the protests, the Russian haven’t taken any action

Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.