By Susan Heavey
In a statement that made no mention of Netanyahu, Biden welcomed the new government coalition led by nationalist Naftali Bennett and sought to reaffirm U.S.-Israel ties.
“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations,” Biden said. “Israel has no better friend than the United States.”
“United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security,” Biden said. “My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also issued statements welcoming their counterparts in the new Israeli government.
Bennett, a former defense minister and a high-tech millionaire, won by a thin 60-59 majority vote, and the coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties is likely to be fragile.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, vowed to return to power soon. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Phil Stewart and David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis)