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Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Stephanie Lecoq/Pool/AFP, Amir Levy/Getty Images.

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is signaling he intends to move cautiously at first on issues like Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an approach that will suit the Biden administration just fine.

Why it matters: Bennett is aiming to avoid an early confrontation with the U.S., and his fragile and ideologically diverse government will have a hard time taking any groundbreaking steps on foreign policy in the first place.

  • The Biden administration is also planning to take it slow, avoiding any big initiatives that could destabilize the new government, a U.S. official tells me.

The backstory: Bennett has presented hawkish views on Iran and the Palestinian issue throughout his political career, supporting an increase in Israeli military strikes against Iranian forces and proxies, backing settlement expansions, and even calling for the annexation of most of the West Bank.

  • But he will have a hard time implementing those policies as the leader of a broad power-sharing government.

Bennett presented an Iran policy similar to Benjamin Netanyahu's in his swearing-in speech, but he said he'd pursue it in a less confrontational style than his predecessor.

  • He stressed the need to deepen relations with both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. and to manage the differences on issues like Iran “out of basic trust and mutual respect."

Driving the news: President Biden spoke to Bennett two hours after he was sworn in on Sunday.

  • Bennett felt good about the call, his aides said. Biden's team also feels confident that it will be able to work cooperatively with the new Israeli government, a person familiar with the White House thinking told me.
  • "The White House wants to have close and regular consultation and engagement with Bennett and his team based on candid exchange of views, respect for differences, a desire to work toward stability and security," the source said.
  • Biden has not yet invited Bennett to the White House, but Israeli officials think that could happen sometime in July.

Behind the scenes: Bennett has met multiple times over the last several months, and once in recent weeks, with Israeli philosopher Micah Goodman, author of the book "Catch-67."

  • In his book, Goodman calls for an incremental approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focusing on “decreasing the conflict” until a final deal might be possible in the future.
  • Bennett read Goodman’s book and became interested in some of his ideas, a source familiar with his thinking tells me. In his speech on Sunday, Bennett echoed the book's main message.
  • "A stable security situation [in the West Bank and Gaza] and a focus on civilian matters could lead to economic measures, lowering of friction and decreasing of the conflict," Bennett said.

The big picture: The Biden administration sees the situation similarly, contending that conditions aren't right for a peace deal and that the focus should thus be on practical steps to improve the situation on the ground.

Go deeper

Jun 16, 2021 - World

Israeli military says it launched airstrikes in Gaza over incendiary balloons

Flames are seen after an Israeli air strike hit Hamas targets in Gaza City, Gaza. Photo: Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israel's military said it carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday after incendiary balloons were launched from the Palestinian territory.

Why it matters: It's the first major flare-up since last month's fragile ceasefire ended 11 days of flighting between Israel and Hamas. It also comes just days after Israel's new coalition government led by Naftali Bennett took power.

Jake Ellzey defeats congressman's widow in Texas Senate seat race

Photo: Justin Hamel/AFP via Getty Images

Jake Ellzey won a special a runoff election for the U.S. House Seat in Texas on Tuesday night.

Why it matters: It's a blow for his opponent Susan Wright, widow of the late Rep. Ron Wright, who was endorsed by former President Trump.

Dem donor Ed Buck convicted of providing fatal meth doses to 2 men

Survivor Dane Brown (second from left), and LaTisha Nixon, Gemmel Moores mother (center) with friends and family orejoice in the guilty verdict for Ed Buck in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Photo: Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Ed Buck, a wealthy political activist and Democratic donor, was convicted Tuesday of charges that he supplied fatal methamphetamine doses to two men during "party-and-play" encounters at his West Hollywood apartment, per the New York Times.

Of note: A federal jury found Buck guilty of all nine felony counts exactly four years on from when Gemmel Moore, one of his victims, was found dead from an overdose at his home. Buck could face life in prison over his convictions.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.