Daniel Estrin | WAMC

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.

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Israel has ramped up its attacks on the Gaza Strip to a new level, including using 160 aircraft along with artillery and tank fire to pummel what it says is a tunnel network that Hamas militants rely on to move people and equipment. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel isn't done.

"This is not yet over. We will do everything to restore security to our cities and our people," Netanyahu said in a statement issued from Tel Aviv.

Updated May 12, 2021 at 8:47 PM ET

LOD, Israel — Intense exchanges of rocket fire and airstrikes have turned life upside down for people in Gaza and Israel, and the conflict has no end in sight. In many instances, the violence has killed indiscriminately.

Updated May 11, 2021 at 4:07 AM ET

JERUSALEM — A new round of Israeli-Palestinian violence continued to escalate Monday as Palestinian militants fired rockets from Gaza toward Jerusalem and Israel responded with airstrikes.

Palestinian health officials said 24 people, including nine children, were killed in the strikes. The Israel Defense Forces would not confirm those figures but said three Palestinian militants were killed in a targeted attack.

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Jerusalem has not been this tense in years. All throughout the month of Ramadan, there's been street violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Police have thrown stun grenades at Palestinian crowds as they were breaking their Ramadan fast.

Updated May 8, 2021 at 9:12 AM ET

Weeks of sporadic violence between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem intensified on Friday evening at a sacred religious site for Muslims and Jews, as the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan nears.

Israeli police in riot gear confronted crowds of Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites. Worshippers threw rocks and chairs at police, who fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades.

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.

Updated April 29, 2021 at 6:39 PM ET

RAMALLAH, West Bank – It was meant to be a historic and long-overdue vote aimed at ending 15 years of paralyzed and divided leadership. Instead, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday called off next month's parliamentary elections after challengers from his own party threatened to weaken his hold on power.

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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.

JERUSALEM — In what it calls its most comprehensive report to date on Israel's treatment of Palestinians, Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused Israel of committing "crimes against humanity" and said the U.S. and the international community have "turned a blind eye." It advocated an international commission of inquiry and sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against "officials and entities credibly implicated."

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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?

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And now for Christmas. In Bethlehem, the ancient community has seen so much over the years, spiked with war and conflict, but none quite like this year's holiday during a pandemic. NPR's Daniel Estrin went to the Palestinian town and has this report.

Israeli politics is once again in turmoil: parliament has dissolved and Israel will hold yet another election expected on March 23. It will be Israel's fourth national vote in the span of two years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist coalition partner Benny Gantz failed to pass a national budget in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, before a midnight deadline, leading to parliament's automatic dissolution and new elections.

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