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Afghanistan Earthquake Kills 1,000+; Fighting Intensifies in Southern Ukraine; Erdogan Welcomes Saudi Crown Prince; January 6 Hearings; Floating Cities; Israeli Lawmakers Approve First Step to Trigger Election. Aired 10-10:40a ET

Aired June 22, 2022 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aid is being rushed to eastern Afghanistan where an earthquake has killed more than

1,000 people.

Plus the most difficult week for Ukraine's military since the fall of Mariupol. Heavy shelling devastates the south as intensive fighting

continues. And.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Dramatic testimony on the 2020 election, detailing harassment, racism and even death threats. The latest from the January 6




GIOKOS: I am Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi, welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

First, to a race against time in Afghanistan, rescuers desperately trying to reach possible survivors of a powerful earthquake. The magnitude 5.9,

struck in a remote area near Pakistan not far from the city of Khost. At least 1,000 people are now confirmed dead in Paktika province alone.

You can see the destruction the earthquake caused, shattering homes and communities in a country already suffering through a hunger crisis, as

regular viewers of this show will know. Scott McLean has the latest.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the sound of help arriving in Afghanistan's Paktika province. Overnight the remote area

struck by 6.1 magnitude earthquake which destroyed buildings and killed more than 1,000 people. The deadliest quake in more than two decades.

The injured are rushed to the helicopter to be taken for help. A clinic in the region, the injuries lie waiting for whatever help they can get.

The epicenter was a sparsely populated mountainous area. But the impact was felt much farther away.

"It was midnight when the quake struck," this woman said. "The kids and I screamed. One of our rooms was destroyed, our neighbors screamed and we saw

everyone's rooms."

Another local man says, "The houses of our neighbors were destroyed. When we arrived, there were many dead and wounded. They sent us to the hospital.

I also saw many dead bodies."

Taliban trucks were seen moving bodies out of the area. Some homes were badly damaged. The government says that some entire villages were


The man shooting this video says that one of his grandchildren was buried in the rubble but they managed to pull them out alive.

At a press conference, the Taliban pledged to send more than $500 to the families of those injured and more than $1,000 to those killed, a bold

pledge for a cash strapped government in the midst of an economic crisis.


GIOKOS: My next guest founded the group Save Afghans from Hunger. He writes that, "The ministry of defense has deployed six helicopters remove

the victims of the earthquake to Gardez and Kabul. We need tents and food items desperately. Our teams are assessing the amount of patients in Urgun,

Sharana and Gardez to figure out how much food we would need to prep."

Obaidullah Baheer is also a lecturer at American University of Afghanistan and he joins me now live via Skype.

Obaidullah, thank you so much for joining us. Honestly, these images, just show that the impact has been absolutely enormous. You have now put out a

plea that you need food, you need a lot more capacity to deal with destruction and devastation.

Can you give me a sense of what you are dealing with on the ground?

OBAIDULLAH BAHEER, SAVE AFGHANS FROM HUNGER: Thank you for having me on air. Honestly, it did not have to be like this. It's unfortunate, in fact.

Human suffering is a result of such grand politics that ends up benefiting no one.

The earthquake struck late that night. The problem is that this area is on a traditional faultline, it is hilly, houses on the sides of the mountains.

People living in the valleys. That means it is especially drawn to landsliding. That is what we saw, that is why the numbers are quadrupling

since we heard about them in the morning.


BAHEER: We have been in contact with Taliban authorities to find out what has been happening on the ground. Our teams are finally there. We figured

out that probably one of the major hospitals which is in Paktika province close to where the earthquake hit, that is where most of the patients have

been moved.

So we've been trying to find out the best approach. Right now we want to give emergency aid to make sure that these families do not go hungry. In

the longer run we want to figure out what kind of living arrangement we can afford to set up for these people. Other organizations are trying to get in

as well.

So we'll find out more as time progresses.

GIOKOS: You said something that really struck me. You said, it didn't have to be this way. We know that the defense ministry, as you, tweeted has

supported six helicopters.

Do you think the response has been sufficient and has there been a quick enough response from the international community and access to the area to

be able to assist?

BAHEER: The fact that six helicopters were sent out is because there probably were not more helicopters to send out, because when the United

States was leaving, it disabled most of the aircraft, whether it belonged to Afghan forces or to them.

So it is just we constantly keep dealing in absolutes, in right and wrong and black and white. And the world is not like that. For Afghans inside of

Afghanistan, it does not matter what I perceive the Taliban has.

But when calamity hits, I have to turn to them to get information from them to coordinate with them to get to these areas as quick as we can.

So I mean, it is as simple as having a basic principle of trying to limit human suffering. Everything else sorts itself out, both on the Taliban side

and on the international community. And I wish policymakers cared.


How has it been in terms of working with the Taliban on this crisis?

You have, since the withdrawal of the U.S. last year, decided to stay in Afghanistan, decided that was the right place to be.

But what has that been like, especially in times of necessity and need, like we are facing right now?

BAHEER: I mean, the Save Afghans from Hunger was an initiative I never planned on starting. I am not an aid person. I am a lecturer and an

academic. But before the Taliban came, I was asked by multiple outlets what I would do if the Taliban came. I said this is my land, this is my


I wasn't going to leave it. One does not leave a difficult parent and after the Taliban came to power as quick as they did, I said the walls were down.

There was no us and them anymore.

The only way forward was reconciliation. The Taliban have to acknowledge that people like us exist. We have to acknowledge that the Taliban exists

and find a synthesis of vision, something that is sustainable for Afghanistan, which means that these calamities sometimes offer

opportunities as well because we try to offer services that they are incapable of offering.

So the whole othering that has existed for 20 years, sort of starts going away because we start seeing each other as human, start communicating and

connecting. And things are not wonderful. I mean, yes, Afghanistan has a horrendous human rights record right now.

But we do not have many good alternatives. So considering what we, have we have to play the cards that we have and try to make the most of it.

GIOKOS: Yes, and we wish you all the best. I know you are doing a lot of work with your teams on the ground. Thank you so much.

Now to Ukraine, where it has been one of the most difficult weeks for the Ukrainian military since the surrender of Mariupol. We are talking about

the intense fighting in southern Ukraine, along the borders of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.

Ukrainian officials say that Russian shelling is massive and Russian troops are setting fire to crops in rural areas. That is causing Ukraine officials

to urge civilians to leave Kherson. The deputy prime minister says there's only one humanitarian corridor. But it goes through other countries to

reach parts of Ukraine which are not under Russian control.

Salma Abdelaziz joins us now from Kyiv, live with the details.

Salma, as we've now heard this has been a bad week for the Ukrainian military. I want you to give me a sense of what is happening on the, ground

specifically in the south.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Eleni. Breaking down the entire front line, there is 1,000 kilometers of active fighting. So that

really stretches Ukraine's resources ever more thinly.

And all along that front line, Ukrainian forces are on the back foot. They are outmanned and outgunned. They are struggling to hold the line. To the

north, let's start with this area, where Ukrainian officials say there are cross border attacks happening.


ABDELAZIZ: Russian forces using kamikaze drones. These are important because they have their own warheads and basically they self detonate by

taking out tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Important equipment there being destroyed. Then in Kharkiv, officials are saying that Russian artillery attacks are increasing and they're hitting

civilian areas. So far several civilians killed and wounded, including an 8 year old girl.

South to the Luhansk region, that is where the all important battle for Sievierodonetsk is taking place. Ukrainian officials are admitting that

they are losing territory around this sister city of Lysychansk. Several cities to the south have been taken by Russian forces, now being used as

artillery positions.

And Ukrainian forces are coming to the sheer firepower from Moscow's troops. It looks like they are on their last legs. That is important,

because, again, that links to Sievierodonetsk. That is where Ukrainian defenders are holding out in this chemical plant.

Also civilians trapped in that plant. And they are really making their last stand there. Russian firepower is being backed by the air. They also have

air support. You can imagine how difficult that is, the, sheer constant artillery and firepower coming at Ukrainian defenders.

Also multiple launch rocket systems that are being used. So really heavy assaults and further to the, south Mykolaiv, Ukrainian officials saying

seven missiles struck that city recently.

So you see this very long, active front line, where Ukrainian forces are struggling to hold the line. You can only imagine that they can't hold onto

Sievierodonetsk much longer. And there's something very sophisticated about the strategy, Eleni. This is just sheerly trying to overwhelm these cities

with the superior military force that is Russia. But there is one other worrying thing that I want to point out.

Russian officials are claiming that they are destroying American made and European provided howitzers. That is important because they are a long-

range weapon. They give Ukrainians the opportunity to hit back at those Russian artillery positions, up to 40 kilometers away.

There are precious few of them. If this is, true if Russian forces are targeting, them that is very important. Eleni.

GIOKOS: All. Right Salma. Thank you so much for that detail.

Now Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is making a visit to Tehran today. He is scheduled to meet with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and the

Iranian foreign minister. Russia's foreign ministry says a number of issues will be covered on this visit including the war in Ukraine and the Iran

nuclear deal.

Talks have stalled around Iran returning to the deal. Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are working to expand economic ties amid tightening economic sanctions

by the West. This is Lavrov's first trip under the new administration.

Now mending ties is front and center in Ankara. In a meeting between the Turkish president and Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

is hosting crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The visit coming nearly four years after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It is the latest stop on the

crown prince's regional tour minister aimed at rehabilitating his image after a U.S. intelligence report concluded that he ordered Khashoggi's


Atika Shubert is connecting us from Istanbul.

Great to see you. The question here, is what is in it for Turkiye and it seems like this is about alliance building for Erdogan at this point in


ATIKA SHUBERT, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. For Turkiye, the short answer is money. Turkish President Erdogan really is in dire financial straits. He is

facing an election in exactly one year's time.

And he is struggling to contain both an inflation crisis and the currency crisis. Inflation, here, has skyrocketed to 73 percent. Meanwhile, the

Turkish lira, the currency here, has really plummeted. It has lost nearly a quarter of its value.

And so it is really hitting the economy very hard. What Erdogan needs most of all is some way to replenish Turkiye's foreign exchange reserves so that

he can prop up the Turkish lira.

This is where Saudi Arabia comes in. I think it is likely to be a main point of discussion between the two leaders today. And Saudi Arabia is not

the only, one I should point out. Turkiye has made a concerted effort to try to mend relationships across the region, with the UAE, with Israel,

even Egypt.

In January, for example, Turkiye and the UAE had an agreement for a $5 billion swap deal. That helped to top up the foreign exchange reserves



SHUBERT: It also included a promise for nearly $10 billion in direct investment. So it could very well be that President Erdogan is looking for

something similar from crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

So he has welcomed him to Turkiye, literally embracing him upon arrival, a lot of pomp and circumstance. We saw him arrive just a short while ago.

However, as you can imagine, there are still some here in Turkiye who are bitterly opposed to it, this visit.

First and foremost would be Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee. She has put out a statement on Twitter, decrying this visit by the crown prince. What's

she said, basically, was, quote, "His visit does not change the fact that he is a murderer." Some very strong words from her. Back to you.

GIOKOS: Atika, thank you so very much.

Ahead on the show, the U.S. Senate one step closer to potentially passing a new gun control bill. What's in the legislation and the hurdles it faces in

the coming days.

Also, coming up, Israel gets closer to another election.

Could there be a comeback bid from Benjamin Netanyahu?

Live reports just ahead.




GIOKOS: Welcome back.

Now U.S. lawmakers and the American public heard dramatic testimony Tuesday about Donald Trump's pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 presidential

election. Poll workers and Republican election officials have been telling stories of harassment, racism and even death threats from supporters of the

former president.

All of it as Trump's own inner circle of advisers told him repeatedly that the election was not stolen. CNN's Pamela Brown has details.

RUSTY BOWERS (R-AZ), STATE HOUSE SPEAKER: You're asking me to do something against my oath and I will not break my oath.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rusty Bowers, the Republican House speaker in Arizona, offering powerful

testimony about the pressure he faced from former President Trump and his legal team to decertify Arizona's legitimate election results showing Joe

Biden as the winner.

BOWERS: He said just do it and let the courts sort it out. And I said, you're asking me to do something that's never been done in history, the

history of the United States. No, sir. He said, well, my suggestion would be, just do it and let the courts figure it all out.

BROWN: Bowers also telling the committee, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani acknowledged they didn't have any proof of fraud. Bowers even disputing the

claim Trump made about him shortly before the hearing.


BOWERS: Anywhere, anyone, anytime, had said that I said the election was rigged, that would not be true.

BROWN: The committee demonstrating how state officials remain steadfast in the fact of a constant barrage of calls.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Mr. Speaker, this is Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. We're calling you together because we'd like to discuss,

obviously, the election.

JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: Hello, Mr. Speaker, this is Jenna Ellis and I'm here with Mayor Giuliani.

BROWN: The committee revealing how Trump-aligned members of Congress like Arizona Republican Andy Biggs urged Bowers to throw out Biden electors and

detailing how Trump's election lies inspired many of his supporters around the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The punishment for treason is death.

BROWN: Some supporters even threatening election workers.

JOCELYN BENSON, MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: We started to hear the noises outside my home and that's -- my stomach sunk. And I thought, it's me. That

was the scariest moment, just not knowing what was going to happen.

WANDREA "SHAYE" MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere. It's affect my life in a

major way, in every way.

BROWN: The committee used Trump's own words to make its case, playing audio of an hour long phone call he made to Georgia secretary of state,

Brad Raffensperger.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.

BROWN: Raffensperger, who is Republican, insisted Georgia's election result were accurate.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Every single allegation we checked, we ran down the rabbit trail to make sure that our numbers were


BROWN: Trump's top two officials in the Justice Department also testifying.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: We didn't see any evidence of fraud in the Fulton County episode.

RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed.

BROWN: State officials are already investigating Trump's pressure campaign in Georgia and that call, specifically, for any criminal wrongdoing.

FANI WILLIAMS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: If there's ever a crime and it's ongoing, we're going to look at everything.

BROWN: Vice Chair Liz Cheney put public pressure on the former White House counsel under Trump, Pat Cipollone to testify publicly, saying the American

people deserve to hear from him personally.

But the source close to Pat Cipollone says he has resisted those invitations to testify publicly because he feels he's already been

cooperating with the committee. He sat down with the committee for an interview behind closed doors and the source says that he has institutional

and privilege concerns.

But we heard Congresswoman Cheney say that they are still working on it. So we'll have to see and wait what happens -- Pamela Brown, CNN, Capitol Hill.


GIOKOS: Also on Capitol Hill, in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the Senate is one step closer to passing a nearly finalized

bipartisan gun safety bill on Tuesday. Lawmakers voted to advance the vote, pushing it toward a potential final vote. But it will likely need to

survive a filibuster first.

Then, it could be up to 30 hours of additional debates before a final vote. The legislation includes more money for mental health programs and more

funding for crisis intervention programs. It would also close the so-called boyfriend loophole so people convicted of domestic violence can't own or

purchase a gun.

Let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar.

The Russian president is participating in this year's BRICs summit, hosted by China, along with leaders of India, Brazil and South Africa. It is the

first such meeting since Russia launched its war on Ukraine. In ish opening address, China's president criticized sanctions as weaponizing the world's


Environmental concerns have Nepal considering moving Everest Base Camp. Officials say the current location is at risk from a nearby melting

glacier. The decision won't come anytime soon. It will take two or three years of studies first.

Singapore is confirming the first case of monkeypox in Southeast Asia. Health officials say a British man who works as a flight attendant tested

positive Monday and is in a stable condition. South Korea is also reporting its first case of monkeypox.

The South Korean national who returned from Germany tested positive with the virus.

All this week, our series "Mission: Ahead" meets innovators tackling some of our world's biggest challenges today. We're looking at rising sea

levels, something that's already impacting coastal cities across the world and it could leave some communities entirely underwater in years to come.

A growing number of architects are planning for the future by designing cities that can literally go with the tide.


GIOKOS: CNN's Rachel Crane has the story.



RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): In the Netherlands, living by the water comes with its charms but

also its challenges. Almost one-third of the country lies below sea level, leaving many areas vulnerable to coastal storms and flooding.

It's why some choose to live in a floating home, like this one, built on a concrete platform that floats on the water surface and anchored by poles to

the riverbed. The villa can rise and fall over four meters with the tide while a breakwater stops waves from rocking the foundation.

The architect behind this floating house and hundreds like it is Koen Olthuis. He founded Waterstudio to build floating buildings in 2003.

KOEN OLTHUIS, FOUNDER, WATERSTUDIO: All the other architects said, you're crazy.

Why would you build on water?

There's so much land. You're an architect.

CRANE (voice-over): Fast forward almost two decades and hotels, gardens, even farms have moved onto Dutch waterways. Offices, too, like the

headquarters of the Global Center on Adaptation in Rotterdam.

It's part of a growing movement to work with sea level rise rather than against it, a strategy which the organization says will be crucial for

communities on the front line of climate change.

PATRICK VERKOOIJEN, CEO, GLOBAL CENTER ON ADAPTATION: If cost of flooding in coastal cities could even increase to $1 trillion. So at the same time

we need to lower our carbon footprint, we need to prepare ourselves for the future. So investing in climate adaptation, investing in floating

constructs, it's not defeat; it's defense.

CRANE (voice-over): For architects like Olthuis, business is booming. This mockup might look like a game of Monopoly but it represents Waterstudio's

largest scale project to date, a floating city in the Maldives for 20,000 people, complete with solar powered schools, shops and a raft of energy

saving features.

Construction is underway near the nation's capital in partnership with Dutch Docklands Maldives.

Another floating city in South Korea, backed by the U.N., is also in development. But the biggest challenges for floating cities are still to

come, Olthuis says.

OLTHUIS: It takes more than only the floating building itself. It takes also the regularity (ph) framework. You have to have parties who want to

ensure it, who want to give mortgage for it.

CRANE (voice-over): There are no shortage of people to live in floating cities, though. As the global population continues to grow, these kinds of

projects could encourage cities to expand sustainably and Olthuis hopes, have more respect for the water.






GIOKOS: Welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. And you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Bring you up to date on our top story, aid agencies are

sending workers and supplies to southern Afghanistan following the country's deadliest earthquake in years.

Afghan officials say the 5.9 magnitude quake killed more than 1,000 people. At least 1,500 others are injured. The quake struck remote mountain

villages where most of the houses are made of mud.

Israel is moving closer, now, to holding its fifth election in under four years. A short time ago its parliament approved a preliminary bill to

resolve itself. The final votes to dissolve parliament are expected to be held next week.

Prime minister Naftali Bennett called time on his premiership after just a year on the job, essentially throwing a political lifeline to Benjamin

Netanyahu, despite the fact that he is in the middle of an ongoing corruption trial. CNN's Hadas Gold standing by for us in Jerusalem.

Parliament has approved a bill to dissolve itself.

I know they are talking about it happening next week but what do we know what is actually going to happen next and whether we have a secure


HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The bill that was passed is a preliminary hearing. It still has to go through committee and at least

three votes before the parliament would actually be dissolved.

If all goes to plan, that will happen sometime next week. Within 24 hours of the parliament being resolved, Yair Lapid, the current foreign minister,

will be the caretaker interim prime minister. Elections will be held sometime in the fall, talking about a late October election time.

However, there is still time and there are still a few days. In Israeli politics, a few days can feel like a week. In the interim, former prime

minister Netanyahu could try to pull something off.

If they convince five or six coalition members to join them, they could potentially form an alternate government without even needing to go to

elections. Very unlikely that that would happen. But stranger things have happened in Israeli political history.

So that is very possible. Most likely, next week the Israeli parliament will be dissolved and they will go to election. Yair Lapid will take over

in the interim for about four months as prime minister.

But just because Lapid will be the interim caretaker prime minister does not mean that his term will potentially end on elections. As we have, seen

in the previous election cycles, if no bloc can get the 61 seat or more majority to form a proper governing coalition, then the caretaker prime

minister stays as prime minister for quite a while.

Netanyahu, right now, if we are to believe the polling, his Likud Party will get the most number of seats. But the Netanyahu led bloc still does

not seem to have that 61 seat majority that they would need. They are the closest of any bloc.

But four months, potentially, until election, a lot of the numbers could change there. As of right now, Netanyahu is very pleased with himself, very

pleased to go toward election. And he does have a path toward regaining the premiership.

GIOKOS: Many interesting probabilities playing out for. Us thank you so much for that update.

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Israel next month. Observers may be wondering what all of this could mean for that trip. Here is one


My next guest tweeted, quote, "Impending election will have little impact on the substance of Biden's visit. He will still focus on promoting

Israel's integration in the region (Abraham reports.)

"U.S.-Israel security cooperation improving atmosphere with Palestinians preparing for the next phase, deal or no deal, on Iran."

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel and distinguished fellow at The Atlantic Council, Dan Shapiro, joins me now.

Great to see you, Dan. We have heard some of the possible outcomes of what will happen in the next week. We will see a caretaker prime minister, Yair

Lapid, coming into play from next week.

And you have said that this is going to have little effect. But let's talk about the ramifications here. When you talk such a high level on regional

issues, you absolutely want security about who you are building a relationship with and, importantly, execution.

DAN SHAPIRO, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Well, the relationship between the United States and Israel surpasses who is the current President

of the United States and who is the current minister of Israel.


SHAPIRO: President Biden has spent decades of his career focused on U.S.- Israel partnership. He's traveled there many times, knows many of the leaders, known every prime minister there since Golda Meir in the 1970s.

So he has a full agenda and he will carry that agenda forward, whoever is the sitting prime minister when he arrives. If Naftali Bennett did the

planning, it may well be acting prime minister Yair Lapid.

And there's a situation where it could be Benjamin Netanyahu. But his agenda, as I said in the tweet that you quoted, is really about helping

advance Israel's integration into the region by expanding on and deepening the Abraham accords with Arab countries;

About strengthening U.S.-Israel security cooperation, which now takes place within the context of an emerging regional coalition of countries, all

focused on Iranian threats;

Trying to stabilize the situation and improve the atmosphere between Israelis and Palestinians and preparing for the next phase on the nuclear

talks with Iran, whether or not there is a deal.

On almost all of those issues, there is not wide disagreement between the different Israeli parties that he would be working with. And so those are

really strategic issues between the countries more than they are issues that will be deeply affected by politics in Israel.

GIOKOS: Yes. Let's talk about that probability that many are talking about with Benjamin Netanyahu possibly coming back into play. And as our

correspondent just said, that he does not have the majority of the seats that are required but he is definitely closest to that. And a lot can

happen in the next few months.

How would that, in the U.S.' mind play out?

You have obviously said that there is general consensus across different political affiliations about the big security issues that you spelled out

for us.

But importantly, leadership will matter and is Benjamin Netanyahu someone that the U.S. is happy to work with?

SHAPIRO: President Biden is going to be very respectful of Israel's democratic process and of the voice of the Israeli people in choosing their

leaders. That is how it should be and that is how it is between democratic partners.

So he has worked very well with the outgoing government, led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. He had a long history throughout his time in the

Senate and as vice president, working with other leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu, who was prime minister when he was vice president. They

have known each other long before that.

So he will not really change the policies he will bring to the table. And he will be able to work with whoever that is, whoever the prime minister

is. And hopefully that Israeli prime minister will also be as attentive to the need to work directly with the White House, not try to get too deeply

into American political dynamics.

And that is the way that this relationship can and should be conducted. That is certainly the way President Biden, I believe, (INAUDIBLE) conduct


GIOKOS: I'm curious, this would be the third election in four years.

Is there concern about the political stability that we are seeing playing out in Israel at the moment?

SHAPIRO: Well, there is concern for Israelis. They certainly are feeling somewhat exhausted by a series of elections and a kind of stalemate or

dynamic within the political life of Israel, where nobody can quite establish a stable governing majority.

It goes back-and-forth and they are a closely divided country with a system that also lends itself to small parties rising and falling and also often

being the determiners of who is able to form a government.

So I think Israelis may feel frustrated by. It for Israel's partners like the United States, again, there may be periods when certain decisions

cannot be made. Because they are in an election mode or because people are involved in jockeying for the next election or domestic political

considerations. That does happen from time to time in democracies.

But I've seen a significant amount of progress made on strengthening Israeli security, cooperation with the United States on consolidating the

Abraham accords that have been signed in 2020 under Netanyahu. But consolidation occurred under Bennett.

Certainly, Israel and the United States will continue their dialogue on Iran and other common threats, regardless of who's prime minister. So there

are sometimes bumps and obstacles. But I think the main work between our countries gets done in any event.

GIOKOS: The question is whether there'll be any kind of delays, as you say, when the focus changes. Ambassador, great to see, you I'm sure we'll

have a lot more on this conversation in the weeks to come. Great to see. You

Still, ahead Serena Williams is back on the court and back in the victory column. What's she's saying about her return to action just ahead of