Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, long criticized for being passive and reactionary, is under pressure to exhibit the Zionist legacy of risk-taking and initiative in his address to Congress today.
Four days after publicly spurning President Obama's vision for ending the Israeli-Arab conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from supporters and critics alike to present an alternative plan for peace as he addresses a joint session of US Congress.
In the shadow of regional change, Mr. Netanyahu has been attacked for taking a passive, reactive stance that favors his own political survival over meaningful progress with the Palestinians. Now, with Palestinians gaining momentum on a United Nations vote to establish a Palestinian state without Israel's approval, his country faces a growing threat of isolation and attacks on its legitimacy.
Many see Netanyahu's speech today as an opportunity to take the diplomatic initiative, tapping into an Israeli legacy of risk-taking, initiative, and creativity that stretches from the country's founding fathers to today's technology entrepreneurs. That spirit – summed up in Zionist leader Theodore Herzl's phrase, "If you will it, it is no dream" – has been seen in everything from preemptive military attacks to a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
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