Barak Ravid
Barak Ravid
Barak Ravid is a Contributing Correspondent at Axios based in Tel-Aviv. He covers everything that matters from Cairo to Tehran. Barak also writes for Walla News in Israel.Source
Tel Aviv, Israel
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Israeli intel agencies believe Vienna talks will lead to U.S. return to Iran nuclear deal

Israeli intel agencies believe Vienna talks will lead to U.S. return to Iran nuclear deal

Photo: DEBBIE HILL/AFP via Getty ImagesIsraeli military intelligence and senior officials in the Mossad briefed a meeting of the nation's security cabinet that talks in Vienna between Iran and other world powers will lead to the U.S. returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, two officials who attended the meeting told me.Why it matters: The Israeli government is very concerned about a U.S. return to the nuclear deal and is trying to convince the Biden administration not to take the pressure off the Iranian regime.Driving the news: The Mossad mainly briefed the cabinet meeting on the status of the...

Apr 18
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U.S. raises death threats against Fadi Elsalameen with Palestinian Authority

U.S. raises death threats against Fadi Elsalameen with Palestinian Authority

Fadi Elsalameen. Photo via FacebookThe U.S. has raised concerns with the Palestinian Authority over death threats made against a prominent Palestinian American critic of President Mahmoud Abbas, two sources familiar with the issue tell me.Why it matters: Fadi Elsalameen, an activist who writes to an audience of more than a million followers on Facebook and other social media platforms, has become a major irritant to Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials due to his criticism of corruption in the Palestinian Authority."My life is in danger and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to...

Apr 14
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Biden revokes Trump's sanctions on International Criminal Court

Biden revokes Trump's sanctions on International Criminal Court

Biden and Trump during a 2020 presidentila debate. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via GettyPresident Biden on Friday revoked the sanctions imposed by his predecessor on officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement.Why it matters: Biden had promised to lift the sanctions during the campaign, but he delayed doing so at the request of Israel, which was attempting to block an ICC investigation into the situation in the West Bank and Gaza.Behind the scenes: Blinken notified his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi of the decision during a call...

Apr 2
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Biden finally calls Netanyahu

Biden finally calls Netanyahu

Biden sits with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a dinner at the prime minister's residence in 2010, in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo: Pool/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden spoke on the phone today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one month after taking office.Why it matters: In recent weeks, the White House faced questions over Biden’s decision to call the leaders of a dozen allies and world powers before calling Netanyahu. The White House denied that Biden was snubbing Netanyahu and said Biden hadn’t called as many leaders as he would have liked because of other...

Feb 17
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Saudi Arabia moves to ease tensions with Biden on Yemen, human rights

Saudi Arabia moves to ease tensions with Biden on Yemen, human rights

The Saudi government is sending signals that it's ready to cooperate on Yemen and make improvements on human rights in an effort to avoid a crisis with President Biden. Driving the news: Two events on Wednesday underscored those efforts: prominent women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who led the fight to allow Saudi women to drive, was released from prison; and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan met in Riyadh with the new U.S. envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking. Flashback: On the campaign trail, Biden accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the murder of...

Feb 10
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Israel to push Biden to take it easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt

Israel to push Biden to take it easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/AxiosIsrael plans to lobby the incoming Biden administration to avoid confrontations over human rights and other contentious issues with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, senior Israeli defense officials tell me.Why it matters: President-elect Biden has promised to put human rights and democracy at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy, and he skipped over all three when placing phone calls to the leaders of 17 countries after his election victory. He was particularly critical of Saudi Arabia during the campaign over the war in Yemen and human rights issues.Driving the...

Jan 13
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Blinken wants Iran team with range of views on nuclear deal

Blinken wants Iran team with range of views on nuclear deal

Malley (L) in negotiations with the Iranians in Vienna in 2015. Photo: Siamek Ebrahimi/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesSecretary of State Tony Blinken has asked newly appointed Iran envoy Rob Malley to form a negotiating team made up of diplomats and experts with a range of views on the path forward with Iran, U.S. officials tell me.Why it matters: Those instructions indicate the Biden administration is attempting to avoid groupthink when drafting its policies on Iran, while also signaling to critics that a diversity of views will be taken into consideration.Blinken even asked Malley to bring in...

Feb 3
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Scoop: Sisi conditions Netanyahu visit to Egypt on support for two-state solution

Scoop: Sisi conditions Netanyahu visit to Egypt on support for two-state solution

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/AxiosIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to visit Cairo, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has a condition: Netanyahu must make a positive statement on the Palestinian issue, such as re-committing to the two-state solution, Israeli sources tell me.Why it matters: The Egyptians are concerned that they're on track for a rocky start with the Biden administration. They want to reinvigorate their role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to send a positive sign to the White House and to increase their relevance as a partner for Biden.Between...

Feb 3
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U.S. and Palestinians re-engage after 3-year freeze

U.S. and Palestinians re-engage after 3-year freeze

Biden with Abbas in 2010. Photo: Thaer Ganaim/PPO via Getty ImagesThe Biden administration has now had more official contacts with Palestinian officials in its first two weeks than the Trump administration did in its final three years.Why it matters: The State Department's deputy assistant secretary for Israel-Palestine, Hady Amr, spoke by phone with multiple Palestinian officials on Monday. Those were the first publicly announced interactions between the sides as the Biden administration moves to renew ties that had been effectively severed since Donald Trump announced in December 2017...

Feb 1
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Israel calls on Biden administration to stay out of Jerusalem crisis

Israel calls on Biden administration to stay out of Jerusalem crisis

The Biden administration and Israel clashed over the recent escalation in violence between security forces and Palestinians at a holy site in Jerusalem, with the Israelis asking the White House not to intervene, according to Israeli officials.Why it matters: This is the first major crisis between Israel and the Palestinians that the Biden administration has had to deal with.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. The big picture: President Biden has thus far viewed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a very low priority in comparison to other foreign policy issues.Driving...

May 10
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