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John Bolton. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Israeli officials told me they are closely following the escalating tensions in the Gulf and that they are concerned that the Trump administration's response against Iran so far has not been strong enough.

Details: The Israeli officials told me that based on the last few weeks, the Iranians believe President Trump wants to avoid military confrontation — which has led them to escalate their provocative actions. The officials said that without some kind of a military action by the U.S. — even a limited one — they believe the Iranians will continue to escalate.

Driving the news: Amid a new round of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, national security adviser John Bolton will travel to Israel on Saturday for a trilateral summit with his Israeli and Russian counterparts. White House officials said the summit in Jerusalem, which will focus on Iranian actions in the region, will go ahead as planned.

Why it matters: This unprecedented summit was organized to address Syria and Iran's continued presence in the country, but the latest escalation in the Gulf will certainly make the scope of discussions much broader. While in Jerusalem, Bolton will have a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Petroshev. Russia may be the only country that has leverage over Iran and could help de-escalate tensions. 

What they're saying:

  • The Russian national security adviser Petroshev said in a briefing with reporters in Moscow that during the trilateral summit in Israel, Russia will ensure that Iranian interests in the region are also taken into account. 
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Thursday that the downing of a U.S. drone shows Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States. Netanyahu added: "I repeat my call for all peace-loving countries to stand by the United States in its effort to stop Iranian aggression. Israel stands by the United States on this."

Go deeper

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally-funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.

27 mins ago - Health

CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its previous recommendation for booster shots, saying that everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Why it matters: Last month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky accepted a key advisory committee's recommendation that adults "may" get the shot. The slight, but strengthened, change in wording comes amid the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.