Netanyahu Arrives in US Capital
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington Sunday evening ahead of his speeches at the American Israel Policy Action Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference and what has become a highly controversial address to Congress on Iran's nuclear program.
Before boarding the plane with his wife, Sara, Netanyahu said he's embarking on an historic mission just days before Jews observe the Fast of Esther, commemorating the three-day fast in ancient Persia, modern-day Iran, when the Jewish queen risked her life to save her people from annihilation (see Esther 4:16).
"A few days before the Fast of Esther, I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission," Netanyahu said. "I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish people. I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis, for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people and I will do my utmost to ensure our future."
After praying at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City Saturday evening, Netanyahu told the press he believes in the strength of U.S.-Israeli relations and the ability to overcome "differences of opinion," as it has been in the past and the future as well.
"On the eve of my trip to the U.S., I came here to the Western Wall. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I respect U.S. President Barack Obama. I believe in the strength of the relationship between Israel and the US and in their strength to overcome differences of opinion, those that have been and those that will yet be."
Netanyahu said he's obligated to speak out on behalf of the Jewish state.
"As prime minister of Israel, it is my obligation to see to the security of Israel," he said. "Therefore, we strongly oppose the agreement being formulated with Iran and the major powers, which could endanger our [Israel's] very existence. In the face of this danger we must unite and also explain the dangers stemming from this agreement, to Israel, to the region and to the world."
Netanyahu is scheduled to address participants at the AIPAC conference mid-morning Monday and a joint session of Congress Tuesday. CBN News will live stream both addresses on its website.
Some experts speculate Netanyahu may share details about Iran that will force the U.S. president to justify the deal he's working on with the Iranians.