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 and Lebanon. 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.

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.

In the global race for medical supplies and a coronavirus cure, the Israeli government is mobilizing its spies, soldiers and secretive scientists.

Israel does not usually divulge what its covert agencies are up to. Some of the shadowy efforts have come under criticism, particularly over privacy concerns about surveillance. But recent announcements about these agencies' coronavirus war efforts could also serve to reassure a worried public as Israel struggles to contain COVID-19, with more than 6,000 positive cases and more than 30 dead.

Here are some examples:

Some devout Orthodox Jewish communities have been slow to follow lockdown orders in Israel, helping drive a surge in coronavirus cases that officials are struggling to contain.

Known in Israel as Haredim, or those who tremble in awe before God, ultra-Orthodox Jews make up about 12% of Israel's population — but they account for as much as 60% of Israel's COVID-19 cases in major hospitals, according to estimates. More than 6,000 Israelis have been infected and at least 31 have died.

A political twist in Israel may help the embattled prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stay in power.

After three inconclusive elections, the right wing Netanyahu and his centrist rival Benny Gantz are reportedly close to a deal to rotate as prime minister, with Netanyahu taking the first turn.

As COVID-19 spreads through Israeli and Palestinian communities, Israelis and Palestinians now have a common enemy to battle — and reason to lean on each other.

The coronavirus has infected more than 2,000 Israelis and killed at least eight, including a man who survived the Holocaust. In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, it has infected more than 70 Palestinians and killed a Palestinian woman. At least nine Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are infected with the virus, too. Everyone is under increasingly stringent lockdowns.

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Global Reactions To Soleimani Killing

Jan 4, 2020

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Now let's get reaction from around the globe. I'm joined now by NPR correspondent Deborah Amos in Beirut, Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem and Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.

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This is what Lebanon sounds like tonight.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in foreign language).

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Now for a view of the Gaza Strip that few people get. It's what a tourist might see if tourists were allowed; they haven't been since Hamas militants took over Gaza 12 years ago.

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In Israel, the new education minister has caused an uproar by saying gay conversion therapy works. The practice has been widely discredited. NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem.

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A heap of plastic leg sockets rests on a shelf. Palestinian technicians in white lab coats scurry past.

They slip into side rooms to sand down leg molds, mix chemicals, cut and polish plastics with big machines, and screw together rods. Tables and floors are speckled with white plaster. Saws and hammers hang from the walls.

"This is the workshop," says Mohammed Dwema, director of the Artificial Limbs and Polio Center in Gaza City.

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Thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv this evening over what they see as changes in the nature of the country's democracy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Hebrew).

He served behind bars in Israel for two decades. He was a shadowy figure in the military wing of the Islamist group Hamas.

Now Yehiyeh Sinwar is head of the group's Gaza branch. He spoke with members of the international press corps for the first time on Thursday.

"I usually don't talk to the media," he said.

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