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Tillerson makes farewell remarks to State Department employees in 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that while serving in President Trump's Cabinet, the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would sometimes share "misinformation" to persuade Trump on particular issues, the Harvard Gazette reports.

What he's saying: "They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys,’ Tillerson said at a panel with Harvard professors. "We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.' It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us."

  • Tillerson called Netanyahu "an extraordinarily skilled" diplomat and politician, but also described him as "a bit Machiavellian."

The big picture: Netanyahu and Trump have enjoyed a close relationship throughout the U.S. president's tenure, which the prime minister has leveraged in 2 election campaigns. Trump has recognized both Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, while Netanyahu has named a Golan settlement "Trump Heights" and erected campaign billboards showing the 2 leaders shaking hands.

  • Yes, but: Trump appeared to distance himself from Netanyahu on Wednesday after the prime minister failed to earn a parliamentary majority in the latest election. Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival and needs to remain in power in order to avoid a possible indictment for fraud and bribery.

Go deeper: Tillerson says Jared Kushner repeatedly circumvented State Department

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Technology

AI could end foreign-language subtitles

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

AI companies are developing methods to translate and synthesize voices in ads, movies and TV.

Why it matters: The advances in voice synthesis could help fix bad movie dubbing — and they come as international content is becoming increasingly important to studios and streaming platforms as part of the globalization of entertainment.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.