netanyahu obama - GPO - May 20 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, May 20, 2011. Photo by GPO
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday congratulated President Barack Obama on his victory in the U.S. elections, in a special message released just moments after the results were announced.

"The strategic alliance between Israel the U.S. is stronger than ever," he declared. "I will continue to work with President Obama to protect the security interests of Israeli citizens."

Netanyahu will meet U.S. ambassador Dan Shapiro on Wednesday afternoon at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, and will apparently try to arrange a telephone call with the American president.

Netanyahu's government quickly embraced President Obama's victory in the U.S. elections late Tuesday, expressing certainty that his administration would continue to show support for Israel.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak was first to congratulate the president. In the last few weeks, Barak had warned the prime minister not to compromise ties with the American administration over the two governments' discord regarding the Iranian issue.

"I have no doubt that the Obama administration will continue with its policy of supporting Israel's security, and with its effort to confront the obstacles facing all of us in our region, to help advance the political process," Barak said. "I believe that in the tradition of the deep friendship we have formed with President Obama, we will be able to overcome the difference of positions as much as possible. I wish Obama success in all the tasks before him.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon also praised President Obama, as well as the American people. "President Obama, in his second round, will be an excellent president for Israel."

Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, expressed assurance that the relations between the two countries would remain strong. "The ties between Netanyahu and President Obama are completely fine… their close relationship will continue," Oren told Channel 2. "I don't foresee any change in Israel-U.S. relations during Obama's second term. Our alliance will continue."