Jerusalem: A senior Israeli official said Friday that defence ties with the United States would remain "intensive" despite a deepening rift between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"The picture is clear -- security relations are extremely strong," the defence ministry`s strategic affairs director Amos Gilad told Israel public radio, hours after a frosty Thursday night phone conversation between the two leaders.
"Defence relations continue full strength. Everything concerning the security dialogue is deep, broad and intensive," Gilad said.
"These ties will continue and are continuing."
Two full days after Netanyahu`s shock election victory, Obama called the Israeli leader to congratulate him -- though the message was decidedly lukewarm.
The White House warned on Thursday that it might withdraw crucial diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, where the Palestinians have pledged to step up a diplomatic campaign to end Israeli occupation and achieve independence.
Obama said that Netanyahu`s pledge to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, and comments about Arab Israelis voting in "droves" -- a remark designed to frighten rightwingers into turning out -- would force a rethink in Washington.
The President said the US would "reassess" its policies in the light of the Israeli leader`s campaign remarks.
"I don`t know what they mean by that expression," Gilad said in response. "The picture is not yet clear. We have to see what they mean."