Officials: Netanyahu to head to United States next month

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend a conference in Washington in March.

Story highlights

  • Israel's prime minister will attend an AIPAC conference in Washington
  • The trip comes as tensions mount between Israel and Iran over Iran's nuclear problem
  • Speculation is swirling over whether Israel may bomb Iran to slow nuclear efforts
  • Israel's defense minister appoints a new air force chief
Israel's prime minister will visit the United States in March, officials said Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, Israeli government officials said.
AIPAC is a major force in U.S. politics, making significant campaign donations and drawing top administration and congressional leaders to its conventions.
Netanyahu also spoke at AIPAC's annual conference last year. This year's trip comes amid mounting tensions between Israel and Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
Speculation is swirling in Washington about whether Israel may preemptively bomb Iran in an effort to slow its nuclear program.
The head of Israel's intelligence agency was just in Washington for meetings with intelligence officials and some members of Congress, according to Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who mentioned the meetings during a hearing this past week.
When the head of the Mossad visited Washington last week, it was to hear what steps the United States might take against Iran, and to gauge what the United States would do if Israel were to strike Iran on its own, a congressional source told CNN.
At a policy conference in Israel last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak repeated his government's concerns that Iran's preparations for the development of a nuclear weapon are entering their final stages and will soon "enter the immunity zone from which the Iranian regime will be able to complete the program without any effective intervention."
On Sunday, Barak appointed a new commander of the Israeli Air Force.
Gen. Amir Eshel, currently head of the Israeli military's planning directorate, will replace current chief Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan in April.