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Reuters/Gary Cameron
Perhaps it’s easier to like someone who doesn’t govern you.
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Americans may like Binyamin Netanyahu more than Israelis do

By Hanna Kozlowska

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has just finished speaking at the US Congress today, trying to convince lawmakers to oppose a deal with Iran on the country’s nuclear program unless the constraints on Iran are much stricter. The Republicans, who control Congress, invited Netanyahu, sparking controversy among prominent Democrats, more than 50 of whom boycotted the speech. Despite the boycott, the speech attracted a lot of attention in Washington.

In Israel, Netanyahu’s approval rating in a Times of Israel poll last month was 41%. In a Gallup poll conducted at about the same time in the US, it was 45%, considerably higher than when the organization last asked, in 2012. The Israeli and US polls aren’t directly comparable, and margins of error mean the difference isn’t that significant. Still, with an election in Israel two weeks away, it’s possible the speech in Congress will have done Netanyahu more good in the US than at home. His Likud party apparently fears it is losing support in Israel.