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White House says no change in policy after surprise coalition change in Israel

A surprise coalition in Israel between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the center-right Kadima group will not make Washington change its “approach” to its close Mideast ally, the White House said Tuesday.

“A new coalition in Israel will certainly not affect our policy approach. We continue to have very good relations with leaders in Israel, and we provide significant support for, in coordination with Israel’s military, on its security interests,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“We share a lot of information when it comes to intelligence, and we will work very closely with the Israelis,” Carney told journalists aboard Air Force One as it took President Barack Obama to Albany, New York where he was to deliver a speech.

The agreement to form what will be Israel’s seventh national unity government was to be put to a vote in the Knesset Tuesday, and if approved would put Netanyahu at the helm of a ruling coalition with an overwhelming 94 votes in the 120-seat parliament.

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Netanyahu said the agreement would give greater stability to the coalition, which is led by his rightwing Likud party.

[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz during a joint press conference at the Knesset. AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon]

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