All Israel stories

Jan 3, 2021 - World

Israel leads world in coronavirus vaccinations: Over 1M receive doses

A COVID-19 vaccination at the Kupat Holim Meuhedet clinic in Jerusalem. Photo: Menahem Kahanna/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has administered more COVID-19 vaccinations than any other nation, with over 1 million people receiving jabs — a rate of 12.59 doses per 100 people, new data from an Oxford University-run tracking site shows.

Why it matters: As countries like the U.S. fall behind on immunization goals, Israel has given coronavirus doses to over 10% of its population of 9.2 million since it began administering Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine on Dec. 19.

Dec 31, 2020 - World

Israel to assess Erdoğan's seriousness on normalizing relations

Erdoğan holds up a map of Israel during his speech at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2019. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly stated last week that he wants to improve relations with Israel, the Israeli government decided to start a low-profile outreach to Turkey in order to determine whether his intentions are sincere, two Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: Relations between Israel and Turkey, once close allies, started deteriorating in 2008 and have entered a state of ongoing crisis. In 2018, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel after unrest surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Dec 23, 2020 - World

Scoop: Azerbaijan seeks to mediate between Turkey and Israel

Aliyev (L) with Erdoğan in 2018. Photo: Adem Altan/AFP via Getty

Turkey and Israel both played key roles in Azerbaijan's recent victory over Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. Now, several weeks after the ceasefire, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev is trying to mend relations between his two allies, senior Israeli officials tell me.

The big picture: Drones and other weapons systems from both Turkey and Israel helped Azerbaijan gain military superiority over Armenia. But relations between Turkey and Israel have been frozen for most of the past decade.

Dec 23, 2020 - World

Exclusive: Moroccan foreign minister urges Biden to keep Trump's deal

Bourita (C) with Kushner (L) on Tuesday in Rabat. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita is urging the incoming Biden administration to preserve the deal sealed by President Trump earlier this month, under which the U.S. agreed to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara and Morocco agreed to resume diplomatic relations with Israel.

What he's saying: "We realistically think the administration will find a good rationale to preserve this," Bourita told me in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of a trilateral U.S.-Israel-Morocco summit on Tuesday in Rabat.

Dec 22, 2020 - World

Israel's government collapses, with yet another election due in March

Netanyahu at an election rally in 2019. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel’s power-sharing government collapsed on Tuesday, only seven months after it was formed, putting Israel on course for its fourth elections in two years.

Why it matters: The government was formed by two rivals — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz — to end a political stalemate, but it was totally dysfunctional. Its collapse means Gantz will not rotate in as prime minister next November, as the two had agreed in their coalition deal.

Dec 22, 2020 - World

Trump grants immunity over 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Sudan deal

President Trump speaks on the White House phone to the leaders of Sudan and Israel, Oct. 23. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill Monday that will give Sudan immunity from future lawsuits by the victims of the 1998 American Embassy bombings in East Africa and provide Sudan with close to $1 billion in U.S. financial aid and loans. But the bill will not give Sudan immunity from lawsuits by families of 9/11 victims. 

Why it matters: The legal aspect was a critical part of the deal between the Trump administration and Sudan, which included removing the country from the state sponsors of terrorism list and the normalization of Sudanese relations with Israel.

Dec 21, 2020 - World

U.S. warns Chinese investments in Israeli tech industry could pose security threat

Netanyahu meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017. Photo: Xinhua/Rao Ainmin via Getty Images

The Trump administration is concerned Chinese investments in the Israeli tech industry could harm Israeli and U.S. national security, assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs David Schenker said Monday at a conference organized by the SIGNAL think tank, which focuses on Israeli-Chinese academic cooperation.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has previously raised concerns in private about Chinese involvement in Israel’s booming tech sector. This is likely the first time the administration has done so in public.

Dec 15, 2020 - World

U.S.-Israeli delegation to travel to Morocco to discuss resuming diplomatic ties

Kushner (R) with Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat (L) in Abu Dhabi in August. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

A senior U.S.-Israeli delegation will travel to Morocco next Tuesday to begin talks on resuming diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco, traveling on the first-ever direct flight of an Israeli airline from Tel Aviv to Rabat, U.S. officials told me.

Why it matters: The trip will take place 10 days after President Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Western Sahara as part of Morocco, a historic and controversial decision that paved the way for Morocco to begin the process of normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel.

Dec 11, 2020 - World

Scoop: Fallout between Trump and top GOP senator made Morocco-Israel deal possible

Sen. Jim Inhofe (L) with President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A fallout between President Trump and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led to the breakthrough that resulted in the Morocco-Israel normalization deal, sources briefed on the matter told me.

Why it matters: Inhofe is Washington's most avid supporter of the Polisario Front — a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara. He has travelled many times to Algeria for meetings with Polisario leaders.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Dec 11, 2020 - World

Trump hands Morocco a long-awaited breakthrough over Western Sahara

A Moroccan soldier at a checkpoint in Western Sahara. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced a deal with Morocco on Thursday that included two major provisions: Morocco will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, and the U.S. will recognize Morocco's sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now the only Western country to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, reversing decades of U.S. policy. With six weeks left in his term, Trump provided Morocco a diplomatic breakthrough for which it has lobbied for decades.