Trump signs an order recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli territory in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

Israel still hasn't gotten a formal invitation to participate in the U.S.-led Bahrain conference, which will take place on June 25 and launch the economic part of the White House's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The U.S. told Israel that it must first get more confirmations from Arab and Muslim countries, according to Israeli officials.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say the fact that Israel still hasn't gotten a formal invitation is a sign of difficulties the Bahrain conference faces as a result of Palestinian pressure on Arab and Muslim countries not to attend. The officials told me the U.S. is concerned by the fact that Egypt, Jordan and other Arab and Muslim countries haven't published statements on their intention to attend the conference.

Details: A senior Israeli official told me President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, who heads the White House "Peace Team," told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu during their May 30 meeting in Jerusalem that the U.S. is waiting for more countries — mainly Arab and Muslim ones — to RSVP for the Bahrain conference. Only then will Israel be formally invited and will the U.S. make it public.

  • Israeli officials told me Netanyahu has decided to send Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon to the conference and that he informed Kahlon of this in a meeting last week. Kahlon is waiting to see if Israel gets an invitation in the next few days in order to decide whether to go to Washington before the conference to coordinate with Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 
  • The White House refrained from commenting on this story.

Go deeper: Kushner uncertain Palestinians are capable of governing themselves

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Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Monday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.