Netanyahu: Israel Has 'No Greater Ally' Than the U.S.

US Obama Netanyahu Abbas Israel Palestine
U.S. President Barack Obama walks down Cross Hall with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make joint statements in the East Room of the White House in Washington September 1, 2010. Reuters / Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed his country's strong ties with the United Stated on Thursday after tensions in the run-up to his election victory, saying Israel has "no greater ally."

"There are so many areas where we must work together with the United States," Netanyahu said in an interview with NBC. "America has no greater ally than Israel and Israel has no greater ally than the United States."

Netanyahu won a bitterly contested Israeli election this week after shifting to the right in the final days of campaigning.

On Wednesday, the White House scolded Netanyahu for abandoning his commitment to negotiate for a Palestinian state and "divisive" campaign rhetoric toward Israel's minority Arab voters.

In the NBC interview, Netanyahu dismissed allegations he was racist.

"I'm not," he said.

NBC reported the Israeli prime minister also backed off his opposition to a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu said he had not yet spoken to U.S. President Barack Obama, but he was sure they would speak soon, according to NBC.

The full interview was to be broadcast later on Thursday.