Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) addresses the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015.
Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Republicans congratulate Netanyahu on election victory

Updated

A number of Republicans, including some potential 2016 contenders, congratulated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his election victory, with some of them taking jabs at President Barack Obama.

Defying expectations and the most recent polls, Netanyahu’s Likud Party surged ahead of Isaac Herzog and his Zionist Union on Tuesday. Just after polls closed, Netanyahu claimed victory on Twitter. Days ago, the race had appeared to be slipping away from Netanyahu. Now, he is urging other parties on the right to form a strong and stable government to protect the security of Israel.

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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called Netanyahu an “extraordinary leader.”

“His electoral success is all the more impressive given the powerful forces that tried to undermine him, including, sadly, the full weight of the Obama political team,” Cruz wrote in a statement. “American officials should not be undermining the elected leaders of our closest allies, especially when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s heroic — even Churchillian — opposition to a nuclear Iran has done such tremendous service to U.S. national security.”

Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate, tweeted his congratulations on Wednesday morning.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Rick Santorum, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential bid, praised Netanyahu’s victory over the Obama administration.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, thanked the people of Israel for supporting a leader “who will stand up and fight for all the free world while other leaders sit down.”

It remains to be seen how Netanyahu’s victory will impact the rocky relationship between the Israeli leader and Obama. The two leaders have had rocky ties for years. And Netanyahu’s recent speech to Congress, which Republicans organized without the approval of the White House, further strained the relationship.

Netanyahu recently vowed there would be no Palestinian state if he were re-elected, contradicting a previous stance he took in repeated promises to the United States.

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During his speech to Congress, Netanyahu came down hard against the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, which are set to wrap up in a matter of weeks. The Obama administration has been involved in tense negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program for months. Obama has been pushing for a diplomatic agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But Netanyahu doesn’t think Iran can be trusted to make a deal in good faith.

Forty-seven GOP senators, including Cruz, last week signed an open letter to the leaders of Iran warning that a future administration could reverse any potential deal reached with the Middle Eastern nation.

Other GOP leaders voiced their support for Netanyahu:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz

Republicans congratulate Netanyahu on election victory

Updated