As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu departed for Washington, D.C. today, March 1, he underscored the solemnity of his mission, and the fact that his efforts are made on behalf of all Israelis. Every one of them.
The prime minister said:
A few days before the Fast of Esther, I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. 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.
Throughout this campaign season in Israel, every one of the major center- to right-wing parties stated that they are in agreement with Netanyahu regarding Iran.
As far left as Labor-Livni, including Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beitenu and Bayit Yehudi, all pledged that there is no space between them and Netanyahu’s position regarding the existential threat posed to Israel, and the entire western world, by an Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons capability.
TIMING OF THE SPEECH
One of the main criticisms aimed at Netanyahu for coming to speak to Congress in March is that it is a scant few weeks before the Israeli elections. Presumably, the thought was, the speech would unfairly boost his standing and translate into more votes for him.
How strange, then, that Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is slated for 10:45 a.m., east coast time. This means that very few working Americans will be able to watch the speech live; they will all be at work.
Having Netanyahu speak to Congress at 10:45 east coast time, however, means that he will be on the air in Israel during prime viewing time, starting at about 5:50 p.m. (there will be a five minute delay in Israel).
In other words, to the extent the White House had any ability to influence the timing of the speech, it was deemed more important that Americans not be able to see and hear the Israeli prime minister, than that Israeli voters might be influenced by their prime minister’s congressional speech.
Had the speech been scheduled for 9:00 p.m. EST, as most important speeches are, only the most die-hard Bibi fans in Israel would be up at 4:00 a.m. to watch.
The fear is and was that Netanyahu will be able to infuse Congress and the American people with the necessary backbone to stand up to the global threat of a nuclear armed Iran.