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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touches the stones of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 18, 2015.RONEN ZVULUN/Reuters

Ottawa is expected to maintain its staunch support for Israel's government after Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party won Tuesday's election, beating out Zionist Union rival Isaac Herzog.

Although exit polls on Tuesday initially suggested a possible two-way tie, Likud surged ahead in the final count to take 30 of the Knesset's 120 seats. The better-than-expected performance by Mr. Netanyahu's party means the incumbent leader will seek to form a coalition government in the coming weeks.

Mr. Netanyahu, whose relations with the Obama administration have frayed in recent months, can likely count Ottawa as a continued support.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has cultivated a close relationship with Mr. Netanyahu in recent years, and refused at times to criticize the Israeli leader even when the United States and European countries issued their own rebukes over some of his policies.

Mr. Harper took to Twitter Wednesday morning to congratulate Mr. Netanyahu on the election results, saying Ottawa looks forward to working with the government once it's formed and that "Israel has no greater friend than [Canada]."

Mira Sucharov, a political science professor at Carleton University and a blogger for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said on Tuesday that the two leaders have a close personal relationship, in part because they appear to share similar world views. But she and other experts said the ties between the two governments run far deeper than that personal connection alone.

"They see support for Israel in general as a compelling moral issue, a deep commitment that they have personally and have expressed collectively in the name of their government and in the name of the Canadian people," said Gil Troy, a professor of history at McGill University.

Shimon Fogel, chief executive officer for the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said there are also a number of links between the two countries that transcend politics, including in the business and academic sectors. "There are so many layers to the relationship that I think that it insulates it against any particular development on the political front," he said.

On Monday, Mr. Netanyahu suggested in an interview that he would not accept the formation of a Palestinian state as Israel's leader – a statement that contradicts Canadian policy promoting a two-state solution.

Prof. Sucharov said the comments are unlikely to have a significant effect on Mr. Netanyahu's relationship with the Canadian government.

"While the Harper government is publicly committed to a two-state solution as the best outcome, I think that they, like [Mr. Netanyahu], are more inclined to believe that there's no one to negotiate with and more inclined to be less trusting of the Palestinians," she said.