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The U.S. will not be endorsing any candidate in the April 9 elections in Israel, a senior White House official tells me.

A giant election billboard in Tel Aviv. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Why it matters: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is stressing his close relationship with President Trump in his election ads and on his campaign. The White House official was reacting to an ad published by Netanyahu's Likud Party that shows Netanyahu and Trump shaking hands. The ad was published on several huge billboards along the main highways in Israel.

"It’s no secret that President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a strong relationship based upon mutual respect and that they reflect the mutual admiration and affection of the American and Israeli people."
— Senior White House official

It is standard practice for presidents to decline to make public endorsements in elections overseas. Shared today from Trump's Instagram account, though, was a post from Netanyahu featuring the handshake ad. The White House official said that was not a political endorsement.

What's next: Netanyahu is planning a visit to Washington two weeks before the elections. He will give a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference and is expected to have a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office — a perfect photo opportunity for Netanyahu on the eve of the elections.

Go deeper

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Lawmakers hide behind AG's investigation as Cuomo lingers

A billboard outside Albany, N.Y. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is politically wounded but not yet dead, several state lawmakers tell Axios.

The state of play: Most are holding their fire and punting to state Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations. They expect the inquiry to be credible and thorough — and buy Cuomo badly needed breathing room.