Most of the time, a foreign dignitary stopping by the Capitol to address a joint meeting of Congress doesn't attract a whole lot of attention. Remember when South Korea's Park Geun-hye spoke to Congress in 2013? No? Yeah, no.

However! That is not the case with the appearance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning. But you already knew that, which is precisely the point.

Netanyahu enters elite company with this address, becoming one of two people to make three appearances before Congress. The other: another close ally of the United States at a time of international tension, Winston Churchill. A number of other prominent names have spoken before Congress -- Charles de Gaulle, Queen Elizabeth II, Benazir Bhutto, Haile Selassie, Nelson Mandela -- but none has appeared as often as Netanyahu or Churchill.

Israel is not the country that has been represented most frequently, however. That title is held by Britain and France, each of which has sent an emissary eight times. Israel is tied for third place with Mexico at seven, just ahead of Italy, Ireland and South Korea.

Nearly all of those who have spoken have been the political leaders of countries; 98 of the 116 formal and informal addresses have been by a president or a prime minister. There have also been 10 kings and queens, two ambassadors and one emperor (the aforementioned Selassie).

All of this data, we'll note, comes from the historian of the House. According to that list, the first appearance before Congress was from King Kalakaua of Hawaii, in 1874. There were no further appearances until the 1930s, with the number climbing steadily by decade until the 1970s, when the United States was fairly preoccupied with its own problems. The peak came in the 1990s.

But you knew all of this, right? You, like all Americans, assiduously attend to every appearance of a foreign dignitary before our Congress. Hm? Oh. Congress. It's the legislative branch. House, Senate, etc.?

No? Then never mind.


Bonus feature! Watch Netanyahu's previous two appearances before Congress.

1996

2011