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Daily Briefing May 20: Day 227 – The butcher Raisi is dead. What now for Iran?

Diplomatic reporter Lazar Berman on lack of progress on hostage release deal, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s push for Saudi normalization and strong Israel-Egypt ties

Welcome to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing, your 20-minute audio update on what’s happening in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world.

It is day 227 of the war with Hamas. Diplomatic reporter Lazar Berman joins host Amanda Borschel-Dan for today’s episode.

Police and anti-government demonstrators clashed this morning near the Sha’ar Hagai Junction on the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway as demonstrators from the Brothers in Arms group calling for a hostage release deal tried to block the highway and were dispersed by police. Several groups are heading to Jerusalem to demonstrate outside the Knesset at the start of its new session today. Berman explains what we know about hostage talks.

The Iranian Red Crescent said this morning that the bodies of President Ebrahim Raisi and others who died in a helicopter crash have been recovered, and search operations have ended. What happens now for Iran?

Visiting US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan laid out to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday the opportunity currently available for Israel to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia if Jerusalem agrees to a pathway to a future Palestinian state. Berman weighs whether there is a realistic chance for normalization during the ongoing war.

Last week, all eyes were on the Israel-Egypt relationship as Cairo expressed fury when the IDF continued pinpoint operations in Rafah. What’s happening now?

For the latest updates, please see The Times of Israel’s ongoing live blog.

Discussed articles include:

Netanyahu said to reject negotiators’ bid to formulate new hostage deal proposal

Iran’s Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash near Azerbaijan border

Raisi’s death doesn’t change Iranian policy, but will spark fight for power

Saudi ties in reach but hinge on path to Palestinian state, Sullivan tells reluctant PM

THOSE WE HAVE LOST: Civilians and soldiers killed in Hamas’s onslaught on Israel

THOSE WE ARE MISSING: The hostages and victims whose fate is still unknown

Subscribe to The Times of Israel Daily Briefing on Apple PodcastsSpotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

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