Donald Trump; Benjamin Netanyahu. Photos: Getty Images

Three days before the Israeli elections, President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and agreed to work on a U.S.-Israel defense treaty after the election is over.

Why it matters: By making this statement, Trump directly intervened in the Israeli elections and sided with Netanyahu. Netanyahu has long sought a gesture from Trump that would help him win his reelection campaign. Trump's announcement was exactly the kind of support Netanyahu was looking for.

What they're saying:

"I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries. I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month."
— Trump tweeted Saturday

Netanyahu issued a statement, praising Trump in response to the tweet, writing: "Thank you my dear friend President Trump. The Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House. I look forward to our meeting at the UN to advance a historic Defense Treaty between the United State and Israel. We will continue together with full force [against] our common battle against terrorism. Congratulations on your latest success against Bin Laden's son. God bless America. God bless Israel."

Go deeper: Trump won't release peace plan before Israel's election

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U.S. policy shift will allow taxpayer funding for projects in West Bank settlements

Friedman (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel will announce tomorrow that they are expanding three agreements on scientific cooperation to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a substantial policy shift for the U.S., which did not previously allow its taxpayers' money to be spent in the Israeli settlements.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
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  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.