Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to Israel's Arab citizens for remarks he made during last week's parliament election and which offended members of the community.

Netanyahu, whose Likud Party won re-election in the vote, met with members of the Arab community at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on Monday and apologized.

He says he knows his "comments last week offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli-Arab community."

Netanyahu says: "This was never my intent. I apologize for this."

Netanyahu drew accusations of racism in Israel, especially from its Arab minority, and a White House rebuke when, just a few hours before polling stations were to close across the country, he warned that Arab citizens were voting "in droves."