Daniel Estrin

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.

Since joining NPR in 2017, he has reported from Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. He has chronicled the Trump Administration's policies that have shaped the region, and told stories of everyday life for Israelis and Palestinians. He has also uncovered tales of ancient manuscripts, secret agents and forbidden travel.

He and his team were awarded an Edward R. Murrow award for a 2019 report challenging the U.S. military's account about its raid against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Estrin has reported from the Middle East for over a decade, including seven years with the Associated Press. His reporting has taken him to Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Jordan, Russia and Ukraine. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, PRI's The World and other media.

JERUSALEM — Israel and Bahrain on Thursday reached what Israel calls the world's first bilateral agreement for mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine passports for quarantine-free travel between two countries, an Israeli diplomat who helped forge the deal tells NPR.

"This is the most effective way to enable movement of people between countries," says Ilan Fluss, head of the Israeli foreign ministry's economic division. "A lot of countries are looking at testing, but it is not enough."

Editor's note: The fight against disinformation has become a facet of nearly every story NPR international correspondents cover, from vaccine hesitancy to authoritarian governments spreading lies. This and other stories by NPR correspondents around the globe try to tease out how effective certain tactics have been at combating disinformation, and what lessons can be learned from other countries' experiences.

JERUSALEM — The historic walled Old City of Jerusalem came alive this week with Christian and Jewish religious festivals now that more than a third of the city is inoculated against COVID-19.

No clear victor has emerged in Israel's elections, with nearly 90% of ballots counted in Tuesday's vote.

Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his opponents appear to have a secure path to forming a majority coalition needed to win. The scales could tip as more votes are counted in the coming days.

"It's a very close call," said Yohanan Plesner, president of the nonpartisan Israel Democracy Institute. "It looks like the most likely scenario is still continuing deadlock, continued paralysis."

Updated March 23, 2021 at 5:31 PM ET

JERUSALEM — For the fourth time in less than two years, Israelis voted Tuesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to maintain his grip on power after a record-breaking 12 consecutive years in office.

JERUSALEM - Israel's Supreme Court on Monday ordered an end to a controversial surveillance program to track COVID-19 infections through cellular phone location data, citing concerns about the country spying on its own citizens.

JERUSALEM - Israeli health officials have urged their country's leaders to help vaccinate the entire Palestinian population against COVID-19, citing a public health imperative, an outgoing senior health official told NPR Monday.

America's top infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci received a prestigious $1 million Israeli prize Monday, along with six other researchers who shared two additional $1 million prizes for their contributions to health and medicine.

The Dan David Prize, affiliated with Tel Aviv University, said it honored Fauci for his career in public health and "speaking truth to power" during the politicized COVID-19 crisis.

How does the pandemic affect one of the world's most crowded and battle-scarred territories? From merchants to doctors, the 2.2 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are forced to make tough choices to survive.

On a single street, a vegetable seller, supermarket worker and secondhand clothes merchant recently showed up at their day jobs — though the clothes merchant said he was convinced all three of them had COVID-19.

How has tiny Israel beat out bigger countries on COVID-19 vaccinations, securing a steady stream of vials and inoculating a larger share of its citizenry than any other nation?

Israel paid a premium, locked in an early supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and struck a unique deal: vaccines for data.

Israelis are visiting Dubai in the tens of thousands. Where in the past, they could only arrive as undercover spies, competitive athletes or foreign passport holders, now they are loud and proud, running into the arms of their new Middle Eastern friend, the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

Israel's health minister announced Thursday the country would vaccinate Palestinian prisoners against COVID-19, after Israel's president said withholding vaccines was against Israel's Jewish and democratic values.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said the prisoners would be vaccinated early next week, on Monday or Tuesday. The minister informed NPR of the decision before making a public announcement.

Israel has vaccinated a larger share of its population against COVID-19 than any other country, and is aiming to achieve "herd immunity" from the virus by the end of spring or midsummer, the Israeli Health Ministry told NPR.

More than 800,000 of Israel's population of about 9 million have received COVID-19 vaccination shots. The country aims to vaccinate 25% of Israelis by the end of January.

In the six years that Brooklyn native Rabbi Levi Duchman has lived in the United Arab Emirates, he's never been this overwhelmed.

On Hanukkah, the 27-year-old rabbi hurried from one party to another, dashing into a Dubai Hilton hotel ballroom to briefly light candles with a group of Orthodox Jewish tourists from Israel, many of them visiting an Arab country for the first time.

One of them approached the rabbi with a query: Did the local Starbucks use camel milk, which is not kosher, in its coffee machines?

The leader of the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip has tested positive for the coronavirus as infections reach record levels in the Palestinian territories.

Hamas leader Yehiya Sinwar is in stable condition, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. He is one of several senior Hamas officials who have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent months.

"The situation in Gaza is really concerning. The recent spike of cases has put the health system in a critical situation," said Ignacio Casares of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza.

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