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Avi Gabay, leader of the Zionist Camp party. Photo: Gili Yaari/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Avi Gabay, the leader of the Israeli Labor Party, went on a secret visit to Abu Dhabi in early December and met with senior UAE officials, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a rare visit by a senior Israeli politician to the UAE, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Gabbay, who is struggling in the polls ahead of April's elections, has been criticized for his lack of experience in foreign policy. A visit to the UAE — an influential Gulf state — is a way to boost his foreign policy credentials.

Details: Gabbay arrived in Abu Dhabi on December 2nd on a commercial flight from Amman. His visit was organized by a Moroccan national who has close ties to officials in the UAE and managed to get Gabbay an official invitation.  

  • He met in Abu Dhabi with three senior officials. Israeli officials tell me they the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran's activities in the region and the domestic political situation in Israel.
  • When Gabbay came back to Israel on December 4th, he briefed the director of the Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, about his meetings in the UAE.

Gabbay refused to comment on his meetings but told me he will soon present a diplomatic initiative for launching talks with the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”