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 — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday tapped centrist opposition figure Yair Lapid to try to form a new government, sparking potentially weeks of political negotiations that could break Israel's cycle of inconclusive elections and lead to the end of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's record-breaking uninterrupted 12-year tenure.

But there are "many difficulties" to forming a new government, Rivlin acknowledged, leaving open the possibility of an unprecedented fifth election in the span of two years.

Updated April 30, 2021 at 9:52 AM ET

JERUSALEM — At least 45 people were killed and some 150 more injured in a crush at a religious festival of ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel, where tens of thousands of faithful had convened in one of the country's largest events since the pandemic began.

The chaos at Mount Meron began early Friday at the festival of Lag BaOmer, which features bonfires and dancing around the Galilee tomb of a 2nd century rabbi.

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Will Palestinians finally get a chance to vote? After a decade and a half without elections, a parliamentary vote is scheduled for May 22. But NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Ramallah the vote might be called off.

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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.

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.

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JERUSALEM — Israeli government archaeologists say they have discovered tiny fragments of an ancient biblical scroll near the Dead Sea, the first time in more than 60 years that Dead Sea Scroll parchments were discovered in a professional excavation and not by looters.

The archaeologists also found a 6,000-year-old mummified child and what they think is the world's oldest fully intact basket, dating back about 10,500 years.

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 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.

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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.

Updated at 4:10 a.m. ET

Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy analyst who spent three decades in prison after pleading guilty to spying for the Israelis, has arrived in Israel a month after the U.S. Justice Department declined to extend his parole.

Pollard and his wife, Esther, landed early Wednesday at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv aboard a private jet owned by Sheldon Adelson, a major backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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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.

Saeb Erekat, a tenacious negotiator who helped forge some of the few political gains for Palestinians over more than two decades of on-again, off-again talks with Israel but who was ultimately frustrated by the two sides' failure to achieve a final peace settlement, died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19.

Erekat, 65, was being treated in Hadassah University Hospital Ein Kerem, in Jerusalem. His death was announced by his family on Facebook, his Palestinian political party Fatah, and confirmed to NPR by his spokesman, Xavier Abu Eid.

Updated at 9:20 a.m. ET

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat is being treated for COVID-19 in a Jerusalem hospital, according to the hospital, after Israel gave the OK for his transfer from the West Bank.

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There's a lot at stake for Palestinians, whether President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden wins the election. NPR's Daniel Estrin reports there's no question who most Palestinians want to see win.

Israel, which imposed the world's strictest second nationwide lockdown, will be loosening some restrictions this weekend.

After a four-week lockdown, including a ban on movement beyond one-third of a mile from home, the country has dramatically brought down its number of infections.

On Sept. 30, Israel's health ministry reported there were 9,013 new cases, among the world's highest per capita daily infection rates. On Thursday, there were 1,608 new cases.

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Israel's health system has been buckling under a second wave of coronavirus infections, so it has enlisted the military to help, as NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem.

Never before has Israel had such a high need for those schooled in the rarefied art of shofar blowing.

The wail of the biblical shofar — made from the horn of a ram or a certain antelope species — is a hallmark of prayer gatherings on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins this weekend.

But because of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel is mandating smaller, socially distanced prayer gatherings — so the country needs many more shofar blowers than in years past.

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Miss international travel? Why not recreate the experience in the comfort of your own home with some airplane food?

A leading airline food company in Israel is offering its in-flight meals to the general public as a low-cost delivery option during the pandemic.

Tamam Kitchen, which services Israel's El Al airlines, Turkish Airlines and other international carriers flying out of Tel Aviv, piloted the idea in late July as a way to stay in business.

"The air over Jerusalem is saturated with prayers and dreams like the air over industrial cities," wrote Yehuda Amichai, one of the city's beloved poets, in 1980. "It's hard to breathe."

Now it's hard to pray.

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