Newsletter: Today: Trump’s Envoy of Discord in Israel

David Friedman, U.S. ambassador to Israel
David Friedman, U.S. ambassador to Israel, during his confirmation hearing.
(AFP/Getty Images)

The provocations of President Trump’s ambassador to Israel are upturning decades of U.S. diplomacy.


Trump’s Envoy of Discord in Israel

David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, was one of President Trump’s earliest appointments. Since then, he has been the prime mover behind a string of new U.S. tactics and positions, helping to engineer the most significant shift in American policy toward Israel and Palestinian Arabs since the establishment of Israel in 1948. One by one, Friedman has taken steps and crossed lines, going where no U.S. ambassador has gone and upturning decades of policy, often in contravention of international law. In any previous administration, Friedman would be reined in for going rogue; instead, he’s been encouraged by his bosses.

More Politics


-- The future of the Affordable Care Act, and the health coverage it has delivered to millions of Americans, is once again in doubt as a federal appeals court in New Orleans convenes today to hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law.

-- Trump on Monday held himself out as a leader in the fight to protect America’s air and water, despite two years of policies that have weakened environmental regulations. Indeed, few of his environmental claims stand up to scrutiny.

-- Rep. Eric Swalwell abandoned his uphill run for president, while Tom Steyer, a fellow Californian who seemingly ruled out a 2020 presidential run, was preparing to announce he’s running.

-- Gay voters are taking pride in South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential candidacy, but many question whether he can win.

The Rupture Is Here

As the desert communities of Ridgecrest and Trona continue to deal with the effects of last week’s magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes, the ruptures in the earth caused by the temblors have drawn tourists, geologists and students. While researchers with GPS devices set up their machinery, curiosity seekers have also driven out to take a look or snap a selfie.

Is This Campus Big Enough for Both?

The eighth-grade English class at Magnolia Science Academy 3 met last semester in an unusual setting: a carved-out rectangle in the school’s office, formed by portable dividers. The charter school is cramped for space and would like to rent more at the roomy campus it shares with Curtiss Middle School in Carson. But that’s much more difficult than it sounds.

King of the Street

Big Willie Robinson was a 6-foot-6, muscle-bound street racer who preached peace a quarter-mile at a time. After the Watts riots in L.A., he used street racing to heal a city torn apart by racial violence. Along the way, his exploits touched Hollywood, the Southland’s most notorious gangs — and even the Los Angeles Times. In our new podcast “Larger Than Life,” Times staff writer Daniel Miller tells the story of an L.A. underground legend.

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At 6:42 a.m. on June 29, 1925, the city of Santa Barbara was heavily damaged by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. Thirteen people were killed and damage was estimated at $8 million. Few buildings on State Street escaped damage.

A car in Santa Barbara damaged by the June 29, 1925, earthquake.
(Los Angeles Times)


-- University records show that a patient who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a UCLA Health gynecologist was awarded $2.25 million in a settlement finalized last month with the University of California regents.

-- The state medical board says a psychiatrist who caused an uproar in the 1990s when he admitted altering clinical notes in the infamous Menendez brothers’ murder trial has agreed to surrender his medical license over new allegations of wrongdoing.

-- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to help the state’s largest utilities stave off bankruptcy from costs associated with wildfires is being put to the test in Sacramento.

-- Scrappiest place on Earth? Video shows a violent family fight at Disneyland as stunned parkgoers tried to intervene.


-- In Season 3, “Stranger Things” goes to the mall. What the Netflix show finds there is a nostalgic and often discomfiting reflection of our own socioeconomic moment.

-- “Apollo 11 — The Immersive Live Show” brings the moon landing to life inside a dome in Pasadena.

-- A music festival scheduled for next month in Detroit was charging white people double, until an uproar ensued.

-- The man who accused Kevin Spacey of groping him at a Massachusetts resort island bar in 2016 asserted his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify about text messages the defense claims were deleted.


-- Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a secret deal, federal prosecutors are making another run at putting the billionaire financier behind bars on sex charges. Then there’s the mystery around Epstein’s fortune and how he made it.

-- Death at the border: The story of four migrants from Guatemala, three of them children, who succumbed to the heat in Texas.

-- Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that a much-protested extradition bill is now “dead.” The bill brought millions to the streets in a month of mass protests.


-- Earthquake insurance: Is it worth it? Consumer columnist David Lazarus does the math.

-- Amazon warehouse workers in Minnesota plan to strike during the online retailer’s summer sales extravaganza next week, a sign that labor unrest persists at the company.


-- The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is today. Here’s how the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger transformed himself into a player fit for the starting lineup.

-- What’s next for the U.S. women’s soccer team after its World Cup win?


-- The Trump administration is expected to offer a new rationale soon for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. But it’s just a charade.

-- Winged victory: Megan Rapinoe’s post-goal pose stood for more than just another World Cup win, writes columnist Mary McNamara.


-- Federal immigration officials are relying on databases run by foreign police and militaries to check whether migrants crossing the U.S. border have gang affiliations. (ProPublica)

-- How book fairs are growing amid censorship in the Middle East. (The Economist)


Did you feel the earthquake on Friday night? Lucy Jones, the scientist who has been the go-to expert for Southern Californians for decades when the earth moves, did not. She and her husband, a fellow seismologist, were on a walk to their Pasadena pharmacy to pick up prescriptions that had gone uncollected when a magnitude 6.4 earthquake had struck the day before. But during the stroll, her cellphone rang — and both sprang into action.

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