Israelis elected a new parliament this week. The results gave 30 seats in the 120-member parliament to the Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Zionist Union finished second, winning 24 seats. A union of four Arab-led parties won 14 seats to become the third largest group in Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

    Mr. Netanyahu has said he plans to form a government in the next two or three weeks. He said he already spoke with smaller parties on forming the 61-seat coalition he needs to govern. On Thursday, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said his party will not join the coalition.

    In the United States, debate has begun over how the election results will affect U.S. relations with Israel. Differences on major issues have led to increased tensions between the countries.

    Earlier this month, Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Washington and spoke to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. His comments about nuclear negotiations with Iran angered the administration of President Barack Obama. He called a yet-to-be-announced agreement with Iran, "a bad deal."

    There are also tensions about the Middle East peace process. Earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu said he would never support a Palestinian state. His comment came in the final hours of the election campaign. It appeared to overturn the position he had held as prime minister, when Israelis and Palestinians held peace talks. Those negotiations eventually broke down.

    On Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu appeared to step away from that comment. He told American media he does not object to a "demilitarized Palestinian state." But he said that creation of such a state is not possible at the current time.

    In the United States, lawmakers of the two major parties have congratulated Israel on the elections. But there was a striking difference in public statements between Republicans and Democrats.

    The Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, was satisfied with the election results. "Heartfelt congratulations to Netanyahu," he wrote on Twitter. Speaker Boehner said he was "looking forward to continuing the strong bond" between the two countries.

    Another Republican, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, made clear he was cheering for Mr. Netanyahu, or, as he calls him, "Bibi."
    另一位共和党人,犹他州参议员奥林·哈奇(Orrin Hatch)明确表示他为内塔尼亚胡先生喝彩,并以其昵称“比比”称呼他。

    "Bibi is one of the strongest people I've seen in the, in the world. So you gotta give him a lot of credit for winning that election and, personally, I believe that's in the best interests of Israel, and I'm glad they (Israeli voters) made that choice."

    But many Democrats seemed to avoid discussion of Mr. Netanyahu at all. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey described the ties between the United States and Israel as "unbreakable."
    但是许多民主党人似乎在完全避免讨论内塔尼亚胡先生。宾夕法尼亚州参议员鲍勃·凯西(Bob Casey)称美国和以色列之间的关系牢不可破。

    "We're gonna be not only supportive of Israel's security, but also reaffirming the values that bring our countries together. So that's, in short, I think, (the case) no matter, no matter what happens in any election."

    Another Democrat, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, had a similarly measured reaction.
    另一位民主党人,康涅狄格州参议员理查德·布卢门撒尔(Richard Blumenthal)也有类似的慎重回应。

    "I'm looking forward to continuing to work with Prime Minister Netanyahu and seeking peace in the Middle East."

    Neri Zilber is with The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He says the United States may continue having problems with Mr. Netanyahu's way of doing things. But he expects a continued U.S. push for its policy objectives in Israel. In his words, "you can expect an increased push by this administration on the Palestinian peace process. The U.S. will likely put forward its own idea with respect to what a negotiated final status agreement looks like," whether Mr. Netanyahu and the Israeli government like it or not.
    内里·齐尔博(Neri Zilber)就职于华盛顿近东政策研究所。他说,美国对内塔尼亚胡先生处理事情的方式可能还会有问题。但他估计,美国会继续推动它在以色列的政策目标。用他的话来说就是,“你可以预期本届政府会进一步推动巴勒斯坦和平进程。美国可能会就谈判的最终协定提出自己的想法。”无论内塔尼亚胡先生及以色列政府是否喜欢。

    And that's In The News from VOA Learning English.