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Photo: Lior Mizrahi via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the heads of the other coalition parties decided this morning to dissolve the Knesset and hold early elections on April 9th, 2019. The elections were supposed to be in November 2019.

Why it matters: This high-stakes political drama is connected to the attorney general's upcoming decision whether to indict Netanyahu on three separate cases of bribery. Last week, the state prosecutor said a decision on the Netanyahu cases will be made in the next several months. The decision to go for early elections might influence his timetable.

Just a month ago, after the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu fought hard to keep his coalition together, warning in a press conference that the Israeli security situation was very unstable and early elections would be dangerous. Today, Netanyahu tossed aside this talking point and announced early elections.

The bottom line: The early elections in Israel are very meaningful for the White House and its involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian process, with Netanyahu being one of President Trump's staunchest allies in the international community. A senior White House official told me, "The upcoming election in Israel on April 9 is one of many factors we are considering in evaluating the timing of the release of the peace plan."

Go deeper: Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival

Go deeper

The future of retail: more self-service

Zliide makes a tag that attaches to clothing for self-checkout in retail stores. Photo: Jennifer A. Kingson/Axios.

Self-checkout, self-service, autonomous stores, DIY: The retail world is prepping for a future with fewer human workers and more technology involved in selling us stuff.

Why it matters: While 72% of retail sales are still expected to take place in brick-and-mortar stores in 2024, merchants are busy installing interactive signage, smart price tags, and remote checkout systems that point to a very different customer experience.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate — Neil Young demands Spotify take down music over vaccine misinformation — Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

Scoop: Airbnb policy vet goes crypto

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Mujahid Safodien/AFP via Getty Images

Chris Lehane, a top Airbnb exec and former Clinton administration official, tells Axios Pro Fintech Deals he plans to join the leadership team of a crypto venture-capital fund next month.

Why it matters: The move by Lehane is a sign of the growing allure the crypto world holds for tech pioneers who have already amassed power and wealth but still want to scratch the "disruption" itch.