The big picture

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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2 hours ago - World

Iran announces blackout at nuclear facility, possible Israeli cyber attack

Iran announced on Sunday a blackout occurred at its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.

Why it matters: The incident occurred as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

4 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

U.S. prods Israel to provide more water to Jordan

Antony Blinken. Photo: Alex Edelman/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has encouraged Israel to agree to a Jordanian request for additional water, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli-Jordanian relations have recently sunk into a new crisis after a period of slow improvement, and the water supply is another point of tension.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

U.S. and Israel wary of potential Hamas win in Palestinian elections

Checking the electoral roles in Hebron, West Bank. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty

Both the Biden administration and the Israeli government are concerned about a potential Hamas victory in the upcoming Palestinian elections, but neither will say so publicly so as not to be blamed for trying to sabotage the vote, Israeli officials tell me.

Driving the news: In a call last Friday with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stressed that Israel wouldn't put any obstacles in the way of the vote, but raised concerns that divisions within President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party could pave the way for a Hamas win.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

Biden reverses Trump's aid cuts to Palestinians, including to UNRWA

Biden (L) with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Atef Safadi/Pool/Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced on Wednesday that the U.S. was reversing Donald Trump's cuts in aid to the Palestinians.

Why it matters: The step was taken over Israeli opposition and fulfills a campaign promise from President Biden as he attempts to reengage with the Palestinians. The U.S. will provide more than $235 million in total aid, of which $150 million will go to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

Israel risks tensions with Biden by striking Iranian ships

Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP via Getty

Israel could be risking escalation with Iran and tensions with the Biden administration by continuing to strike Iranian ships — a risk that is exacerbated by Israel's political crisis and dysfunctional interim government.

Why it matters: An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ship was attacked in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen on Tuesday, the same day the Vienna talks opened.

Apr 7, 2021 - World

Israel's election: Ideological foes weigh pact to oust Netanyahu

Naftali Bennett (L). Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the first crack at forming Israel's next government, but the job could ultimately fall to a much less well-known figure: Naftali Bennett.

Why it matters: Bennett's right-wing Yamina party won just seven seats in the March 23 elections, but an unprecedented set of political circumstances has created an opening for the former defense minister and tech entrepreneur to replace Netanyahu, with the support of the center-left.

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Scoop: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Israel next week

Lloyd Austin at the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to travel to Israel next week, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This will be the first Cabinet-level visit to the Middle East from the Biden administration, which has been shifting attention away from the region and toward China and Russia.

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Netanyahu tapped to form new Israeli government, despite no majority

Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Two weeks after Israel's fourth consecutive election, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday gave the mandate for forming a new government to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's path for forming a coalition is very, very narrow. Although he received the mandate from the president, Netanyahu does not at the moment have a majority in the Israeli Knesset that will allow him to form a new government. 

Apr 5, 2021 - World

Israel's split screen: Netanyahu on trial as post-election consultations start

Netanyahu arrives in court on Monday. Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon/Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty

As the first witness in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial took the stand on Monday, President Reuven Rivlin was consulting with representatives of Israel's political parties as to who should form the next government.

Why it matters: This split-screen moment between the Jerusalem district court and the president’s residence encapsulated the political and legal crisis that has engulfed Israel over the last two years. The crisis appears likely to continue now that a fourth election has ended with no clear winner.

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