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Photo: RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approaches what may be the end of his leadership, U.S. lawmakers and interest groups alike are trying to figure out what this change could signal for the United States, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The U.S.-Israel relationship has become more divisive with recent events in Gaza as well as ongoing criticism from some Democrats over Netanyahu's hard-right policies.

  • Netanyahu is expected to be replaced by Naftali Bennett, another hard-right figure, who has signaled that he would take a unifying approach, per the Post.

What they're saying:

  • “The United States and Israel have a strong relationship, but it’s run into previously unheard-of problems in the last five years,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said in a statement to the Post.
  • “From our perspective, it’s not about an individual, it’s about the relationship,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters.
  • “Bibi Netanyahu made a decision to try to create and exploit partisan division about Israel in the United States,” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) told the paper. “That was a horrible mistake, because support for Israel needs to be bipartisan.”
  • “He’s been in power, he’s clung to power, he’s machinated to stay in power for all these years, and he’s an ethno-nationalist,” Levin added.
  • “Netanyahu worked magic in Washington, but there is no question that he identified himself so much with the Republican Party that he has a big hand in turning many Democrats to what some people might call less pro-Israel,” said Shira Efron, an Israeli scholar at Rand Corp. and the Israel Policy Forum.

Go deeper: Israeli "change coalition" announces new government to oust Netanyahu.

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2021 - World

Biden reiterates plan to reopen Jerusalem consulate despite Israeli objections

Bennett with Biden in the Oval Office. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty

President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their White House meeting that he will not abandon his plan to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, setting up a major point of contention between the administrations.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by Donald Trump. Senior officials in Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Sep 8, 2021 - World

Despite Biden statement, Israel is a long way from U.S. visa waiver

Passport control at Dulles Airport. Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty

Bennett left Washington with a notable "deliverable": Biden had promised to work toward bringing Israel into the U.S. visa waiver program.

Why it matters: Admission to the program has been an Israeli aspiration for decades. The issue resonates with many Israelis who may have family, friends or business connections in the U.S. but are intimidated by the visa process or put off by the costs.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.