Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have won a new, if narrow, mandate to lead Israel, and key disagreements remain: over Middle East peace, and how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.
Elections can sometimes lead to new beginnings and bold initiatives, but few Middle East experts expect a rosy hue to suddenly color US-Israel relations after Tuesday’s national elections in Israel.
Two key reasons explain why recent tensions in relations are likely to continue, analysts say: differences over the approach required to further Arab-Israeli peace on the one hand, and what some anticipate as a coming clash over Iran and its advancing nuclear program.
A third factor is less clear-cut: what the election results will mean for relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barak Obama.
Exit polls in Israel indicate that Mr. Netanyahu has won a new if narrow mandate in Tuesday’s voting. Netanyahu has already had uneasy relations with Mr. Obama, who has just begun a second four-year term. Experts will be looking to the makeup of Netanyahu’s new governing coalition and his choice for foreign minister as indications of how much personal friction will persist.
In the meantime, the Israeli electorate has shifted farther to the right on the question of reaching peace with the Palestinians, Israel experts say.
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