Workers remove an election campaign billboard of the Likud party showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Ramat Gan, Israel, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, a day after Israel held legislative election. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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The White House Wednesday scolded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his re-election victory for abandoning his commitment to negotiate for a Palestinian state and for what it called "divisive" campaign rhetoric toward Israel's minority Arab voters.Even as President Barack Obama's administration congratulated Netanyahu for his party's decisive win in Tuesday's ballot, the White House signaled its deep disagreements – and thorny relationship – with Netanyahu will persist on issues ranging from Middle East peacemaking to Iran nuclear diplomacy. Netanyahu's Likud party looked set to win 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, comfortably defeating the center-left Zionist Union opposition with 24 seats, after exit polls on the night of the election showed the two sides to be in a near dead heat. The result was a dramatic and unexpected victory for Netanyahu – the last opinion polls four days before the vote had shown Likud trailing the Zionist Union by four seats.Isaac Herzog, leader of the Zionist Union, conceded defeat and congratulated Netanyahu, adding that he would not seek to join a Netanyahu-led government.
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