Jerusalem: Aiming to press his case against an emerging deal on Iran's controversial nuclear programme, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday dubbed his US visit as a "historic mission" and said he will do everything to guarantee the Jewish nation's future.
"I'm going on a crucial and historic mission," Netanyahu said before his departure to the US from Ben-Gurion Airport.
"I feel I am the representative of all Israel, even those who disagree with me. I feel a deep concern for the fate of Israel. I will do everything to guarantee our future," the Israeli Premier, who is being accompanied by his wife on the trip, said.
Netanyahu has been arguing that the current nuclear deal being worked out between the world powers and Iran puts Israel under grave danger.
The Israeli leader's speech to the US Congress, the invitation for which is said to have been obtained by manipulation behind US President Barack Obama's back, has sparked outrage both in Israel and America.
Critics in Israel have accused Netanyahu of trying to use the speech to bolster his own political chances in the March 17 Knesset elections where current opinion polls show the opposition gaining strength.
The much publicised event has also caused controversy over the fact that the White House was apparently deliberately kept in the dark about the invitation to Netanyahu. The invitation was issued by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Opposition leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni today accused the Israeli Premier of sacrificing the US-Israel strategic ties for the sake of a handful of voters in the upcoming election.
The speech will have a five-minute delay in transmission in Israel to allow any comments perceived by the Central Elections Committee as electioneering to be cut out.