What caused Netanyahu to rethink his long-held ideology? To be sure, he did not go through a midlife left-wing epiphany any more than Nixon did. Rather, he succumbed to American pressure, and this, too, speaks in his favor. Statecraft requires reading power relationships correctly and acting accordingly.
Past right-wing Israeli leaders went through similar about-faces. Menachem Begin gave the entire Sinai back to Egypt only weeks after he pledged to spend his retirement in an Israeli settlement there. Ariel Sharon demolished the settlements in Gaza shortly after declaring them as important as Tel Aviv. Yitzhak Shamir, the toughest of the breed, put aside his beliefs to attend the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. All these leaders were said to have “reckoned with reality” — which, in Israeli political parlance, is a euphemism for “dependence on America.”
He therefore wants President Obama to help neutralize the Iranian threat — and he understands that Obama’s price for that help will be Israeli concessions in the West Bank.
the Israeli public loves it when a right-winger performs the left-wing script — just as the American public did when Nixon visited Mao, rewarding him with a landslide reelection.