Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Israeli Prime Minister Bennett set to meet Biden for first time in midst of Afghanistan crisis

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's first visit to the White House will likely come with President Biden attempting to manage the worst foreign policy crisis of his presidency.

Why it matters: Bennett is expected to visit before the end of August, which could make him the first world leader to meet Biden during his "Saigon moment."


  • Israeli and U.S. officials initially tried to schedule the visit for July, but it was shifted to August due to Biden's schedule, Bennett's domestic political difficulties and rising COVID-19 cases.

Behind the scenes: Israeli officials are very concerned by the message the Afghanistan crisis sends about U.S. engagement in the broader region.

  • While the Israeli government has been careful not to criticize the Biden administration in public, privately, several senior Israeli officials have told me they were stunned by what they saw as a major U.S. intelligence failure.

What they're saying: Israeli officials hope the Afghanistan crisis will make the Biden administration rethink potentially pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq and Syria.

  • Two Israeli officials who requested anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivities expressed the same sentiment: “The U.S. wants to disengage from the Middle East but finds out the Middle East is running after it."
  • Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz raised concerns about further U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East during an Aug. 6 phone call with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in which the Afghanistan pullout was briefly discussed, an Israeli official says.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has openly criticized Biden's Afghanistan policy, writing on Facebook that in 2013, then-Secretary of State John Kerry invited him for a secret trip to Afghanistan to see how the U.S. has built the Afghan army to fight terrorism.

  • “The message was clear — the U.S. wanted to implement the Afghanistan model in the Palestinian file too," Netanyahu said, claiming he knew then that Afghanistan would collapse if the U.S. pulled out.

What’s next: Israeli officials hope the Afghanistan crisis won't totally overshadow the Bennett-Biden meeting, which they see as very important to establish a fresh state in U.S.-Israel relations after 12 years under Netanyahu.

  • The Israeli government thinks the Biden administration realizes it will need to rebuild its credibility in the region. Israeli officials hope to discuss potential steps to do so with the Biden administration.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories