After twelve years with Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, young Israelis and Palestinians – who can hardly remember his predecessor – have expressed a wide range of reactions about the possibility of a future without Mr. Netanyahu at the helm.
“Wow,” said Gil Maymon, a graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who barely hid her excitement. “We started thinking he would never leave, but now it’s finally happening.”
But Maymon, 30, has expressed reservations about the politician who is expected to replace Mr. Netanyahu will take over: Naftali Bennett, the leader of the hard-line Yamina party, who strongly supports the establishment of the settlements.
“Sometimes you don’t get everything you want,” she said.
Young supporters of mr. Netanyahu, however, said they were not only shocked, but also bitter, at the prospect of his retirement.
Nathan Moatti, 27, an education student, said he was furious with Mr. Bennett – a former chief of staff of mr. Netanyahu – because he ousted the prime minister. “I feel betrayed,” he said. Moatti said.
“I love Netanyahu very much, and I appreciate that,” said Moatti, 27. He lives about 150 meters from the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem. “He changed our economy, defended us against Iran and stood up for our country around the world.”
The government, which is expected to be inaugurated on Sunday, consists of right-wing, left-wing and centrist political parties, as well as the first independent Arab party to join a coalition in Israel’s history.
But many Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have said they doubt a new prime minister would bring about dramatic changes in their lives.
“The same system and strategy – the restrictions on movement, the checkpoints and the wall – will remain,” said Bahaa Nairoukh, 30, an accountant in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, in the West Bank. “It’s hard to imagine anything else because I’ve known the profession all my life.”
Mohammed Wawi, an Arab citizen of Israel, also did not expect a transformation. “It is true that he incited against the Arab community,” he said of Mr. Netanyahu, “but Bennett also commented on us.”
Mr. Wawi, 29, a physiotherapist from Nazareth, said that although the Arab party that joined the growing coalition could withdraw extra money in the budget for Arab towns, it probably would not be able to change the country. state legislation – legislation passed in 2018 that formally declared Israel to be the nation state of the Jewish people only.
Some on the right have Mr. Netanyahu praised, but said that the only way Israel could overcome its political stalemate, after four elections in two years, was that he should resign.
“The country is stuck,” said Alon Saperia, 30, an industrial engineer living in the long-disputed Golan Heights. “The unfortunate reality is that he had to leave.”