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The Golan Heights, Midwest flooding & let's spacewalk: The Morning Rundown

"The message that President Trump has given the world is that America stands by Israel," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Image: Mike Pompeo, Benjamin Netanyahu
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. should recognize Israel's sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights. Amir Cohen / Pool via AP

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump has altered long-standing U.S. policy with a tweet — again. We take a closer look at Midwestern farmers grappling with their future as they face unprecedented flooding. And we've got tips on how to watch NASA's first spacewalk of 2019.

Here is what else we are watching today.

Trump lends a helping hand to Netanyahu on the campaign trail

President Donald Trump said Thursday that it's time for the United States to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, an announcement that signals a major shift in decades of U.S. policy.

The announcement gives Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a major boost on the campaign trail with just three weeks before a tight election, NBC News' Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell writes.

Netanyahu couldn't conceal his excitement about the announcement during a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"President Trump has just made history. I called him. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel. He did it again!" an elated Netanyahu said.

Meantime, Pompeo suggested that God sent Trump to save Israel during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network while he was in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu, who has been beset by a corruption scandal while running for his fifth term as prime minister, will get another lift from Trump next week when he visits the White House.

But in what may be a sign of shifting political winds, several Democratic presidential hopefuls said they will skip the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference next week after a prominent progressive group called on them to boycott the event.

Image: Mike Pompeo  Benjamin Netanyahu
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel's sacred Western Wall alongside Netanyahu yesterday — the highest-ranking U.S. official to ever do so. Abir Sultan / AFP - Getty Images

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Midwest flooding leaves farmers questioning their future

“We’ve done this before,” said David Lueth, 61, who has been farming in Iowa for 35 years and has seen flooding multiple times in the past.

“But I just don’t know if I want to go through it again.”

Floodwaters have devastated farms and rural towns in the Midwest, forcing people in Iowa to contend with difficult questions about their loyalty to a home they love and the unforgiving floodwaters that seem to strip them of their way of life with growing frequency.

Residents of Hamburg, Iowa, look at flooded businesses on Main Street. Whitney Curtis / for NBC News

A country that idolizes Clinton and Bush grapples with ghosts of bloody past

Kosovo is one of the most pro-American places on Earth thanks to a U.S.-led bombing campaign that began 20 years ago Sunday.

The bombing lasted 78 days and is often touted in the West as an example of successful military interventionism.

Two decades later — with 4,000 NATO troops including 650 Americans still posted here — the county remains beleaguered by instability and division.

Image: U.S. and Kosovo flags displayed for sale in the street in the town of Mitrovica
The pro-U.S. vibe in Kosovo is unmistakable. American and Kosovo flags are sold in the street in the town of Mitrovica. Armend Nimani / for NBC News

The Week in Pictures

A young girl lays flowers at a memorial in Christchurch, New Zealand. Vincent Thian / AP

The Islamic call to prayer was broadcast across the small, broken-hearted nation of New Zealand on Friday as a moment of silence was observed to honor the 50 people gunned down at two mosques one week ago.

See more of the most compelling images from the last week.


THINK about it

Kellyanne and George Conway: A modern marriage in the age of Trump, or a couple in crisis?

Stephanie Coontz, an academic whose research focuses on the history of marriage and its modern evolution, writes that what we've seen over the last week would "raise serious red flags" for any normal couple, but this is no ordinary union.

Science + Tech = MACH

Two NASA astronauts will conduct the first spacewalk of the year today at the International Space Station. Here's how to watch it.

Image: Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques are pictured in between a pair of spacesuits that are stowed and serviced inside the Quest airlock where U.S. spacewalks are staged.
Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques are pictured in between a pair of spacesuits that are stowed and serviced inside the Quest airlock where U.S. spacewalks are staged.NASA


Yes, you can train your brain to save more money. Here's how.

Quote of the day

"I am confident that the Lord is at work here."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the Trump administration's diplomatic work in the Middle East.

One fun thing

"You 'Kin Do It!" Korey Nolan entered a competition that challenged people to make something out of garbage by making a surfboard out of 700 Dunkin' Donuts cups and plastic straws. That's one way to keep moving!

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Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, Petra