After expressing harsh criticism of the prime minister both before and after his reelection, US President Barack Obama "looks forward" to working with Benjamin Netanyahu and his newly formed government, the White House said on Thursday.
"The president congratulates the Israeli people, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the new governing coalition on the formation of Israel’s new government," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "President Obama looks forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new government."
Likud\’s Netanyahu formed a government in the eleventh hour, just before a deadline set by President Reuven Rivlin, comprising of a largely conservative block of parties. Bayit Yehudi, which opposes a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, was the last party to sign on to the coalition and deliver to Netanyahu the necessary 61-seat majority in the Knesset.
Bayit Yehudi negotiated the education and diaspora portfolio, as well as the positions of justice minister, agriculture minister and deputy defense minister.
"As the president has emphasized, the United States places great importance on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries," Earnest continued. "We also look forward to continuing consultations on a range of regional issues, including international negotiations to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and the importance of pursuing a two-state solution."