Israel

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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5 hours ago - World

Israel's cabinet passes first state budget in three years

Israel's Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L), Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) attend a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Israel's new government approved the 2021-2022 state budget on Monday, after a meeting that lasted almost 24 hours.

Why it matters: Previous governments couldn't pass a budget amid the political crisis that engulfed Israel over the past three years — preventing many government reforms from moving forward.

Jul 29, 2021 - Health

Israel to offer third COVID vaccine dose to people over 60

A woman receives her third dose of COVID19 vaccine at Sheba Medical Center on July 14, 2021 in Israel. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel will begin offering a third shot of the coronavirus vaccine to people over the age of 60 starting Sunday, Haaretz reports.

Why it matters: Israel will become the first country to begin giving booster shots, per Haaretz. The country will offer doses to those over 60 who received their second dose at least five months ago.

Jul 28, 2021 - World

Scoop: Israel weighs a return to UNESCO

Jerusalem’s Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

The Israeli government is weighing rejoining the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which Israel left in 2019 together with the U.S., Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: An Israeli return to UNESCO, which promotes the preservation of cultural sites around the world and holds educational programs, could help pave the way for the Biden administration to rejoin the organization — and help fend off criticism from Republicans.

Jul 28, 2021 - World

White House raised NSO spyware concerns with Israel

Photo: Joel Saget/AFP via Getty

The White House raised concerns with Israeli officials about reports that spyware from Israeli firm NSO was used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and opposition figures in several countries around the world, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government gave NSO export licenses to sell its Pegasus spyware to several countries. Media reports about abuse of the technology have already created uproar in Congress and in several European countries, and Israel fears a possible diplomatic crisis.

Palestinian President Abbas to reshuffle government amid growing backlash

Abbas (R) with Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Majdi Mohammed/AFP via Getty

Ramallah — Amid growing domestic criticism, Abbas is planning to reshuffle the Palestinian government and replace a number of ambassadors and governors.

The intrigue: A senior Palestinian official told me the changes would include appointing a new minister of the interior and a new minister of endowments, the officials responsible for the security forces and for religious affairs and Muslim holy sites, respectively.

Jul 28, 2021 - World

Israeli and Palestinian officials are speaking again

Isaac Herzog (L), then the leader of the opposition, meets with Mahmoud Abbas in 2015. Photo: Abbas MomaniI/AFP via Getty

Relations between the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have shifted substantially in recent weeks, with Israeli officials going so far as to call it “a renaissance."

Why it matters: During Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister, relations deteriorated to the point where there was almost no contact other than security coordination.

Jul 27, 2021 - World

Scoop: Israel launches maximum pressure campaign against Ben & Jerry's

A Ben & Jerry's store in Yavne, Israel. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

The Israeli government has formed a special task force to pressure Ben & Jerry's ice cream and its parent company Unilever to reverse their decision to boycott Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government is concerned the move by Ben & Jerry's will encourage other international companies to take similar steps to differentiate between Israel and the West Bank settlements. A classified Foreign Ministry cable, seen by Axios, makes clear the government wants to send a message.

Jul 26, 2021 - World

Scoop: Israeli officials to visit White House to prepare for Biden-Bennett meeting

Naftali Bennett. Photo: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s foreign policy advisers will travel to Washington next week to begin preparations for a planned meeting between the new Israeli leader and President Biden. The meeting is expected to take place later in August, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: These will be the first face-to-face meetings between advisers to the two leaders since Bennett took office in June. All previous discussions were held over the phone or by video conference.

Jul 23, 2021 - World

Israel to require vaccine certificates to attend social events

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting. Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli officials announced that citizens will be legally required to present vaccination certificates to attend many social events across the country.

Why it matters: Israel has fully vaccinated 58% of its population, but Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the country needs to safeguard public health and maintain the Israeli economy by implementing the vaccination certification.

Jul 21, 2021 - World

Scoop: U.S. won't reopen consulate in Jerusalem until Bennett passes budget

Tony Blinken (L) meets with Yair Lapid (R) in Rome, June 27. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration has decided to hold off on reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem until after Israel's new government passes a budget, likely in early November, Israeli, U.S. and Palestinian sources say.

Why it matters: The decision shows how invested the Biden administration is in helping to stabilize the new Israeli government. The Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry had requested the delay.

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