Israel's new prime minister, COVID-19 deaths, Biden heads to Brussels: 5 things to know Monday

·5 min read

A new era in Israel as Naftali Bennett becomes prime minister

Naftali Bennett is the new prime minister of Israel after a razor-thin 60-59 vote on Sunday ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run at the helm. Bennett, a far-right politician, made his mark by taking relatively extreme positions on the Palestinian conflict. He has vowed to do "everything" in his power to block Palestinian statehood and supports annexing 60% of the West Bank. Bennett, who once worked on his predecessor's staff, is "very much in the Netanyahu mold," said Osamah Khalil, a historian of U.S. foreign relations and the modern Middle East at Syracuse University. Bennett's appointment as prime minister is part of a government coalition that seeks to break the country's political gridlock. Bennett will serve as prime minister for the next two years and then centrist Yair Lapid will take the position for the following two. Bennett and Lapid have agreed not to pursue contentious policies that divide them and to instead focus on domestic matters.

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US on the verge of 600k deaths from COVID-19

The United States on Monday is hovering on the brink of another grim milestone: 600,000 deaths due to COVID-19. The U.S. has more than 33.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 599,750 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 143 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 43.1% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and President Joe Biden has set a goal of 70% of all adults receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. On the downside, a recent briefing from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that COVID-19 variants could lead to a fall surge in U.S. cases after months of decline if more people don't get vaccinated.

Authorities in 3 states search for suspects after weekend shootings

Manhunts were underway Monday for suspects in separate shootings that happened in Georgia, Illinois and Texas during the weekend. Authorities in Savannah, Georgia, are searching for a gunman who opened fire outside a residence, killing one person and wounding seven. Police Chief Roy Minter, Jr. said a driver opened fire Friday in a "disturbing and senseless" attack possibly linked to an ongoing dispute between two groups. In Chicago, Illinois, police were searching for two men who started shooting on the city's South Side early Saturday. The shooting killed one woman and injured nine people who were standing on the sidewalk in the Chatham neighborhood, police said. A third shooting took place early Saturday in Austin, Texas, killing one person and injuring 13. One suspect was arrested in connection with the shooting, while another remains at large.

Harris heads to South Carolina on national vaccination tour

Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Greenville on Monday to kick off a national vaccination tour by top administration officials. The goal? Getting shots in the arms of 70% of U.S. adults by July 4. First lady Jill Biden, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and members of the cabinet are also hitting the road, making stops in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana throughout the week. The tour is part of the Biden administration's "month of action" to accelerate the country's vaccination efforts. Officials will be dropping in on pop-up clinics, visiting churches and college campuses and engaging with historically underserved communities. If shots continue at their current rate – 64% among adults – the U.S. will fall short of Biden's goal.

Biden travels to NATO headquarters: What to know about the summit

President Joe Biden is headed to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, the second stop on his three-part trip to Europe. While in Belgium, Biden will participate in meetings with NATO leaders where they will publicly recommit to collectively face defense and security threats.Topics include brazen cyberattacks; resource scarcity and migration flows exacerbated by a changing climate; Russian disinformation; Moscow's support – including recent military drills – for separatists in eastern Ukraine; China's rise and a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. Biden has spent the last few days at a Group of Seven summit in the United Kingdom with the White House framing the trip as an opportunity for the president to reaffirm ties with close allies while reasserting the U.S.'s multilateral values.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israel election, COVID-19 deaths, NATO summit: 5 things to know Monday

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