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Bennett (L) is welcomed to the palace by MBZ. Photo: Israeli government handout via Getty

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit to Abu Dhabi this week was a signal from both sides that the relationship is continuing to develop one year after the Abraham Accords, regardless of the change in government in Israel.

Why it matters: It was the first public visit by an Israeli prime minister to the United Arab Emirates. Both sides wanted to stress the personal connection between Bennett and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), who met for five hours, mostly one-on-one, at MBZ's palace.

  • A day earlier, Bennett was received with full honors at the airport by Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed.
  • Bennett invited MBZ to visit Israel and he accepted the invitation, Israeli officials say

Between the lines: The visit also came amid a sensitive dialogue between the UAE and Iran in an attempt to de-escalate regional tensions.

  • Emirati national security adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the meeting with Bennett after returning last week from a rare visit to Tehran.
  • While Iran was discussed, both sides tried to keep the focus on the deepening bilateral relationship.
  • The Iranian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, slammed the UAE for allowing the leader of a “regime that undermines regional security” to visit and warned against allowing Israel to strengthen its presence in the Gulf.

Worth noting: The visit took place at a time when the UAE is threatening to cancel its F-35 deal with the U.S. over the long delays. According to the WSJ, the U.S. is concerned about safeguarding the advanced technology from Chinese spying.

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2022 - World

China hosts string of Gulf officials in sign of growing influence

Wang Yi (right) greets Faisal bin Farhan on Jan. 10. Photo: Ji Chunpeng/Xinhua via Getty

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain and the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council are all visiting China this week for talks on boosting trade and security cooperation.

Why it matters: The flurry of visits by Gulf officials is part of China’s push for deeper involvement in the Middle East. For Beijing, the Gulf in particular is key to its energy supply and increasingly to its geopolitical influence.

Updated 5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

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