Need to Know: From the New York mayoral race to a new leadership In Israel, we bring you the most important national and international stories of June 2, 2021. 

1. President Biden announced his Covid vaccination plan for the nation on Wednesday. By July 4, American Independence Day, Biden wishes for 70% of the nation to be at least partially vaccinated in his new plan ‘National Month of Action’. This is an 8% jump from the current 62.8% mark the US just reached. Hitting the halfway mark just a couple of days ago, the nation is moving fast in distributing and giving vaccines, with over 12 states who have already hit the 70% mark. Biden promised normalcy by July 4 and urged Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible to reach this goal and herd immunity. Adults in all states are eligible for the vaccine along with children from the age of 12. Biden’s plan includes shifting vaccination sites from local to larger-scale environments, allowing more people to walk in and receive their first or second dose. He also announced a couple of other initiatives to encourage Americans to get their vaccinations, such as four of the nation’s largest child care providers offering free care to parents and caregivers while they get vaccinated and many businesses hosting incentives and sweepstakes only available to vaccinated individuals, such as United Airlines and Anheuser-Busch, giving out free flights and beers. “We need everyone across the country to pull together to get us over the finish line,” says the President, urging Americans to receive their vaccines as we cross the line back to normalcy.

2. The New York Mayoral race is a very controversial and hot topic in the nation. With politicians such as past presidential candidate Andrew Yang and New York Senator Eric Adams, the race is extremely heated. While Yang and his supporters have been performing well in the beginning, his thoughts on the Israel-Palestine conflict pushed to the back as many supporters confronted his pro-Israeli thoughts and tweets. Many Democratic and left-leaning pro-Palestine activists stopped supporting him. Now, there is a new face in town. Kathryn Garcia, a former city sanitation commissioner, is also in the race. She is not as popular or relevant as the other candidates, but Andrew Yang said he would hire her as deputy mayor if given the position. However, after an endorsement from the Editorial Board of The New York Times which changed her life, she is now a top-tier candidate in this extremely close race. Garcia is polling at 21%, while Adams is at 20% and Yang at 16%, according to the most recent polls from Emerson College. The endorsement resulted in as well as backlash from her fellow candidates. Yang called her out for the “piles of trash” left on the New York City sidewalks due to her past job as sanitation commissioner. Because of her seven-year managerial position with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Adams claims the city needs a “visionary” instead of a “manager.” Despite these claims from her candidates, Garcia has risen at the top of the heavily-contested race and now possesses the chance to be the mayor of New York City.

3. The opposition parties in Israel have agreed to form an alliance – ending the 12-year reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Right at the midnight deadline, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party announced the eight-party coalition which had been formed to overtake the government. Some parties in the coalition include the Centrist party, Social Democratic party, and even an Arab Islamist party. This is huge news due to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, which was carried out by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his right-wing party. The right-wing extremists of Israel were unable to form a coalition to win the race, allowing the opposition to unite and take over the Israeli government. Netanyahu calls it “the fraud of the century,” but the leader of the Centrist Party, Yair Lapid, says “I pledge that this government will work in the service of all Israeli citizens, those who voted for it and those who did not.” This new party consisting of left-wing and centrist groups can mean big changes towards the treatment of Palestine may be coming – perhaps even a solution to the century-long conflict. 

Anoosha Murtaza is a Gen Z Voice at the Pavlovic Today and a rising third-year student at the University of Virginia. Anoosha has a passion for good journalism, strong political views, and social justice. 

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