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Netanyahu with Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Israel is expected to withdraw from the UN Global Compact on Migration after requests from the U.S. and Hungary, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Trump administration is leading international opposition to the compact, claiming it harms sovereignty and legitimizes illegal migration. Israeli diplomats were actively involved in the drafting of the international document over the past two years, but once Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu realized the U.S. was against it, he decided to withdraw.

How it happened:

  • After the final draft of the compact was tabled last July, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the leading anti-immigration voice in Europe, visited Israel. Israeli officials say Orban requested that Israel withdraw. They say Netanyahu had not even been aware of the issue, which was dealt with by Israel's Foreign Ministry. Hungary is one of Israel's staunchest allies in the EU.
  • After Orban's request, diplomats from the EU, Germany and the U.K. who support the compact came to the Israelis with the opposite message.
  • In September, during the meeting of the UN General Assembly, Trump criticized the international compact and said the U.S. wouldn't join. Israeli officials said Israeli diplomats spoke to Trump administration officials after the speech and asked if they wanted Israel to withdraw too.
  • The message from the Trump administration was that the U.S. would be pleased if Israel were to pull out. A few days after Trump's speech, Netanyahu met in New York with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who also asked Netanyahu to withdraw.

In the last few weeks, several countries — including allies of Israel in the EU like the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria — announced their withdrawal from the compact. Israeli officials said that strengthened those in the Israeli government who thought Israel should not be part of the deal.

Netanyahu was asked today about the issue and said Israel is coordinated with the Trump administration and will act accordingly.

"We are not in favor of the Global Compact on Migration in principal and probably we will not be part of it."
— Netanyahu

What's next: Israel will not be sending any representatives to a conference to ratify the agreement, due to take place in Marrakech on Dec. 10, the Israeli officials say.

Go deeper

Storms pummel Pacific Northwest as floodwaters rise

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders in flood-ravaged British Columbia and at least one mudslide late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed south across the border and into Canada. Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun told reporters there was "nothing to stop it," as the rising waters neared the B.C. border city.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."