Courtesy Reuters

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, much will look familiar to the last time he was accorded this honor, 15 years ago, during his first term as prime minister. Then, Netanyahu felt more at home in a Republican-led Congress (the GOP held both houses in 1996) than at Pennsylvania Avenue in a Democrat-inhabited White House. And he did little to disguise his willingness to play adversarial politics on the president's home turf.

Back in the mid-1990s, Netanyahu offered no flexibility on peace. This week, he will likely serve up more of the same. Yet as much as Netanyahu himself remains constant, Israel has undergone some dramatic changes over the last 15 years. In some respects, these changes have made Netanyahu more representative of the country he leads; in others, less so. Israel's parliament, its politics, and its public discourse have all shifted to the right,

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  • DANIEL LEVY is Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation and was a member of the official Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations with the Palestinians in January 2001.
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