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Netanyahu (R) spoke with Pompeo (L) after the airstrikes. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images

U.S. airstrikes yesterday against the bases of pro-Iran forces in Syria and Iraq were welcomed enthusiastically by Israel's government, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the airstrikes in a call yesterday. He had been very concerned by Trump’s Iran policies over the past several months, including his efforts to open dialogue and, even more so, his restraint after Iranian provocations like September's attack on Saudi oil installations.

What they're saying: The Israeli concern was kept behind closed doors until a speech last week by Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Aviv Kochavi:

“It was better if we were not the only ones acting against the Iranians, but unfortunately for now this the reality."
— Aviv Kochavi

But, but, but: Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said yesterday's U.S. airstrikes were “a turning point in the regional response to Iran and its proxies, and if Iran fails to understand the power of the U.S., they will be making a big mistake."

What’s next: Despite Katz's framing, Israeli military and intelligence officials are not sure yet whether the strikes represent a shift or were an isolated incident motivated by the killing of an American contractor by a pro-Iranian militia in Iraq.

  • “Let's see if they continue attacking the Iranians," one senior Israeli intelligence official told me.

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.