All Israel stories

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.

Sep 1, 2021 - World

Israeli foreign minister criticizes Biden's handling of Afghanistan pullout

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/POOL/AFP via Getty

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Wednesday that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was "probably the right decision that maybe wasn’t performed in the right manner."

The backdrop: U.S. allies in Europe have also questioned the execution of Biden's withdrawal, but Biden has rejected the idea that it could have been handled better. Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Lapid said he doesn't think the U.S. is retreating from the Middle East but is instead updating the way it operates in the region.

Aug 27, 2021 - World

Israeli PM presented Biden with "death by a thousand cuts" Iran strategy

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett presented President Biden in their meeting today with what Israeli officials described as “a death by a thousand cuts” strategy against Iran.

Why it matters: Besides striking up a personal relationship, Bennett's primary goal in his first meeting with Biden was to express his sense of urgency about the significant progress Iran was making in its nuclear program, and Israel's new government conducted an Iran policy review prior to the visit.

Aug 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kabul crisis complicates Israeli prime minister's White House visit

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (left) greets Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday at the Pentagon. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will visit the White House Friday, a day later than originally planned, and he'll find a president in distress.

Why it matters: This is not how the new prime minister imagined his first meeting with President Biden. An hour before he was supposed to walk into the Oval Office, disaster struck in Kabul.

Aug 25, 2021 - World

U.S. has options if Iran talks fail, officials say ahead of Israeli PM's visit

Biden in the Oval Office. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty

If diplomacy fails, the U.S. will consider using other means to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, senior Biden administration officials said in a briefing ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's visit to the White House.

Why it matters: Iran is the main agenda item for Bennett's visit, and he is expected to push for a "Plan B" now that nuclear talks have stalled. The U.S. officials didn't say what exactly the administration would consider but are clearly trying to reassure the Israelis that they are willing to pressure Iran.

Aug 25, 2021 - World

What Israel's Bennett wants from his White House meeting with Biden

Bennett. Photo: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett want to use their meeting on Thursday to project that the U.S.-Israeli relationship is off to a fresh start, Israeli and U.S. officials involved in the visit tell Axios.

Why it matters: The leaders will discuss Iran, military aid to Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian issue, China and more. Both need a successful meeting for their own domestic political reasons and want to build a personal relationship.

Aug 23, 2021 - World

Israeli PM will press Biden to prioritize Iran in White House visit

Naftali Bennett Photo: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will introduce a new Iran policy when he meets with President Biden on Thursday.

Why it matters: With nuclear talks stalled and the White House consumed by the crisis in Afghanistan, Israeli officials worry that Iran will continue to develop its nuclear program without any pressure from the U.S. or its European allies.

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Scoop: CIA director raised China concerns with Israeli prime minister

The U.S. has raised concerns about Chinese investment in the Port of Haifa project. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty

While visiting Israel last week, CIA director Bill Burns told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett the U.S. was concerned about Chinese investments in Israel, particularly in the tech sector, and involvement in major infrastructure projects, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: That's the highest level at which the Biden administration has raised an issue that previously became a rare point of contention between the Trump and Netanyahu governments.

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Dispute with Poland on Holocaust shows Israel's shift on EU relations

Netanyahu (R) in 2019 with Polish President Andrzej Duda (C) and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

The diplomatic crisis over a Polish law limiting the ability to introduce claims to property confiscated during World War II is a manifestation of the shift in Israeli policy toward Europe under the new government.

Why it matters: The bill will mostly impact Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and it's seen by the Israeli government and the Biden administration as another step by Poland's government to rewrite the country's history around the Holocaust.