The big picture

Scoop: CIA director raised China concerns with Israeli prime minister

It's the highest level at which the Biden administration has raised the issue.

Aug 18, 2021 - World
Biden and Netanyahu are on a collision course over Iran

Netanyahu has personally started campaigning against any return to the Iran deal

Dec 9, 2020 - World
The only Trump foreign policy Biden wants to keep

The push could help Biden build positive relationships with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders in the Persian Gulf.

Dec 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy
Israel's plan to influence Biden on Iran

“We don’t want to be left out again."

Nov 18, 2020 - World
Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came together

The breakthrough came two months ago, amid the dispute over annexation.

Aug 13, 2020 - World

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Sep 13, 2021 - World

Leaders of Egypt and Israel hold rare public meeting

Bennett (L) with Sisi. Photo: Israeli govenrment press office

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister in 11 years to pay an official visit to an Egyptian president on Monday, meeting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the coastal resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Why it matters: This was an effort by Sisi to establish good relations with the new Israeli government, and the Egyptians made every effort to give Bennett an unusually warm and public welcome.

Sep 8, 2021 - World

Israel PM Bennett to make rare public visit to Egypt

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to travel to Egypt next week for the first public visit by an Israeli prime minister in over a decade.

The big picture: Israel officials speculate that by inviting Bennett publicly so early in his term, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government is trying to signal Egypt's importance in the region to the Biden administration.

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.

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

Israel prison break sparks riots as manhunt continues

The hole the prisoners escaped from. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images

With the manhunt for six Palestinian prisoners who tunneled their way out of an Israeli maximum-security prison continuing for the third day, riots have been reported at three additional prisons.

Why it matters: The “Shawshank Redemption” style escape turned the six prisoners into heroes in the West Bank and Gaza, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza threatening an escalation if they are harmed. Thousands of police and Israel Defense Forces soldiers are searching for them.

Sep 6, 2021 - World

Manhunt underway for six prisoners who escaped from high-security Israeli prison

A general view of Gilboa prison where six Palestinian prisoners managed to escape from the prison overnight on September 6, 2021. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Six Palestinian prisoners — four of whom were serving life sentences — escaped from a high-security Israeli prison through an underground tunnel, launching a massive manhunt in the country just ahead of the Jewish new year.

Driving the news: Five of the six escapees were affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement, and one was Zakaria Zubeidi, a prominent figure with the Fatah organization. Israeli officials said the prison break was a big failure of the prison authorities on the highest levels and are fearful of attacks or copycat prison breaks.

Sep 3, 2021 - World

Israeli PM tells U.S. Jewish leaders he'll lower tensions with Palestinians

Naftali Bennett visits the White House. Photo: Nicholas Kamm Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett assured the leaders of U.S Jewish organizations on Friday that he would take steps to reduce the conflict with the Palestinians.

Why it matters: Bennett holds hardline positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and opposes the two-state solution, but he also wants to show that he can make progress on the issue even without any political breakthrough.

Sep 1, 2021 - World

Israeli leader surprised Biden hardly raised China during visit

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Biden talk during Bennett's trip to the U.S. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had prepared for wide-ranging discussions on China with President Biden and other senior U.S. officials, but the issue hardly came up, an Israeli official who attended the Biden-Bennett meeting tells me.

Why it matters: Chinese involvement in Israel became a rare point of contention between the Trump and Netanyahu governments, with the Trump administration warning of damage to the U.S.-Israel security relationship, but former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dragging his feet on the issue.

Sep 1, 2021 - World

Rare meeting with Palestinian leader sparks rift in Israeli government

Benny Gantz. Photo: Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz's trip to Ramallah on Sunday to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — the first such visit by an Israeli Cabinet member in 12 years — ultimately proved how politically sensitive any steps to improve relations with the Palestinians can be in Israel.

Why it matters: Relations with the Palestinian Authority were frozen almost entirely under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz's visit was months in the making and was approved by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, but ended up causing tensions within the government.

Sep 1, 2021 - World

Biden and Israeli PM renewed agreement on covert nuclear program

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

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reaffirmed the strategic understandings between the U.S. and Israel regarding Israel’s alleged undeclared military nuclear program during Bennett's White House visit, a senior Israeli official briefed on the meeting tells me.

The big picture: This has become a ritual for every U.S. president since Richard Nixon in their first meeting with the Israeli prime minister.

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