(NBC News) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took center stage for a historic and controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress this Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Dozens of Democrats planned to boycott Netanyahu's speech, saying it was an attempt to undermine President Obama's foreign policy, specifically his ongoing nuclear talks with Iran.
Neither President Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden attended the speech.
In his opening remarks before a packed House chamber, Netanyahu gave a nod to the controversy surrounding his appearance before Congress, saying it was not politically motivated.
Strongly opposed to President Obama's talks with Iran, the Israeli leader proposed that world leaders should seek a better nuclear agreement and not one that includes war.
"I've come here today to tell you that we don't have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don't have to gamble with our future and with our children's future. We can insist that restrictions on Iran's nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu's appearance before Congress comes just two weeks before a tight election in which he is seeking a new term.