Netanyahu has personally started campaigning against any return to the Iran dealDec 9, 2020 - World
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
The breakthrough came two months ago, amid the dispute over annexation.Aug 13, 2020 - World
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After holding a rare call last week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke to his Greek counterpart and reassured her that any improvement in Israel’s relations with Turkey won't come at the expense of Greece, Israeli officials tell me.
Why it matters: Prior to Erdoğan's call to congratulate Herzog for assuming office, no Israeli official had spoken with the Turkish president since 2017.