Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boarded a plane for Washington, D.C. today (March 1, 2015), telling reporters at the airport that he would deliver a speech to the U.S. Congress -- even though it has proved contentious on both sides of the Atlantic -- out of a "deep and genuine concern" for Israel's security, according to the Times of Israel website.
During Netanyahu's controversial 48-hour visit he will address a joint session of Congress in an effort to garner last-minute support for a halt to an emerging U.S. deal with Iran over its nuclear program. The move has infuriated the White House -- President Obama and Vice President Biden do not plan to hear Netanyahu's address -- and several Democratic lawmakers. Many view the speech as being politically-driven; that is, to gain votes in Israel's election later this month.
The invitation to Netanyahu was extended by House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, who did not consult with the Obama administration before inviting him.
Many Israelis believe that Iran and world powers are likely to reach a deal that eases international sanctions on Tehran without applying sufficiently stringent safeguards to stop it from developing nuclear weapons.