Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

The delegation lands at Israel's Ben Gurion airport. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty

The first official visit of UAE officials to Israel took place on Tuesday, a month after the signing of a U.S.-brokered normalization treaty.

What's happening: The two sides signed agreements on direct flights, mutual visa exemptions and investments. The agreements are designed to get relations moving and allow business travelers and tourists to travel freely between the countries as soon as possible, Israeli officials told me.

On board the Etihad Airlines flight from Abu Dhabi were the Emirati finance and economy ministers, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House envoy Avi Berkowitz.

  • Two senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been in the UAE to prepare for the visit and were also on the plane.

Why it matters: Israel had never before struck a deal on mutual visa exemptions with any Arab country, mainly for security reasons.

  • While Israel also has diplomatic relations with Egypt and Jordan, their citizens need to go through a long vetting process before receiving a visa to travel to Israel.
  • The Emiratis made the issue a priority, telling their Israeli counterparts it would signal to both peoples that this was a "warm peace," unlike those with Egypt or Jordan. Netanyahu personally gave his approval.
  • It will now be easier for Israelis to travel to the UAE than to visit the United States.

A second major agreement sets an ambitious goal of 28 direct flights between Israel and the UAE each week.

  • Two Israeli airlines and two Emirati airlines have already announced their desire to operate flights between the countries, and Israeli officials say they expect the first direct flights to begin within weeks.

What’s next: During today's visit, the Trump administration announced the establishment of the "Abraham Fund," a joint U.S., Israel, UAE initiative that aims to generate $3 billion in private sector-led investment to promote regional economic cooperation and support the political normalization process.

  • Adam Boehler, CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, said at the welcome ceremony for the Emirati delegation in Tel Aviv that other countries would be welcome to participate in the fund, which will now open an office in Jerusalem.

During the visit, Emirati diplomat Omar Ghobash handed a letter to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

  • Enclosed was a formal request from Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed that the UAE be permitted to open an embassy in Israel. The letter also included a request that Israel open its own embassy in Abu Dhabi as soon as possible.

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.

Updated Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Jan 26, 2021 - World

Biden administration lays out its policies on Israel-Palestine at the UN

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

The Biden administration today laid out its policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stressed its intention to renew ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: The Trump administration dramatically changed U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Biden's policies, laid out for the first time today, will shift the U.S. back to the more traditional positions held by previous Democratic and Republican administrations.