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Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu mocked President Biden's physical appearance during a Facebook live session with supporters on Sunday and imitated him falling asleep.

Why it matters: This is an unprecedented move by Netanyahu who just a few months ago was still the prime minister and is trying to make a political comeback.

Driving the news: Several weeks ago, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party shared on social media an edited video of Biden’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Twitter and insinuated Biden fell asleep during the meeting.

  • The tweet went viral in Israel, especially among Netanyahu supporters, and had more than 5 million views. Fact checks by Reuters and other news outlets concluded the video, which was shared on social media in the U.S., was misleading. As a result, Twitter designated the tweet by Netanyahu’s crony as “manipulated content.”
  • During a Facebook live session on Sunday, Netanyahu echoed that tweet when he spoke about Bennett’s meeting with Biden. “I heard Biden was very attentive to what Bennett had to say… He dropped his head in agreement,” Netanyahu said while imitating Biden and dropping his head.

What they are saying: After the Israeli press reported about the Facebook Live session, Netanyahu issued a statement blaming the media for showing “a manipulative picture” and denied he criticized Biden.

  • “Former Prime Minister Netanyahu knows and cherishes president Biden as a friend of Israel for 40 years. His criticism was directed only at Naftali Bennett who spoke at length about nothing during his visit to the White House,'' Netanyahu's Likud Party said in a statement.

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Biden administration leans into Abraham Accords

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) meets with Vice President Kamala Harris (L). Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty

The trilateral meeting on Wednesday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Israel and the United Arab Emirates epitomized the Biden administration's belated embrace of the Abraham Accords.

Why it matters: The normalization deals struck between Israel and four Arab countries were Donald Trump's landmark foreign policy achievement, and while the Biden administration has long said it wants to push them forward, it has only recently started taking steps in that direction.

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.

12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.