Netanyahu Opponents Celebrate at Tel Aviv Rally

Netanyahu Opponents Celebrate at Tel Aviv Rally


Ecstatic Israelis descended onto Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Sunday for a celebration marking the ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu and the swearing-in of a new — if precarious — government.

The euphoric atmosphere reflected the relief of many Israelis that a new day had sprung and that a public figure that many in the liberal enclave disdain had at last been dispatched.

As music blasted into the square, it was blanketed in people of all ages carrying Israeli flags, rainbow flags and pink flags, the color adopted by members of the movement to oust the prime minister.

Many wore shirts saying simply “Go,” in a font matching Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party logo. Others wore shirts emblazoned with references to the various corruption scandals during Mr. Netanyahu’s tenure.

Omer Ziv, dancing under a large “Crime Minister” banner with Mr. Netanyahu’s image on it, was thrilled. “We feel like the democracy is back, and we’re super happy about it,” she said.

Chany Gross said she felt “high, high in the sky,” declaring that Israel had “finally got rid of the horrible person — I don’t want to say his name.”

“We are in heaven,” she said.

But even as they basked in the moment, some spoke of mixed emotions. They remain wary of Naftali Bennett, Mr. Netanyahu’s replacement, since he hails from a hard-right party not necessarily aligned with their views.

Aviv and Inbal Adashi found a babysitter for the evening so they could attend the gathering. While Mr. Adashi feels ambivalent about Mr. Bennett’s elevation and initially harbored doubts over Yair Lapid, another key player in the coalition, he was relieved to see Mr. Netanyahu go.

“It’s been a very bad dream for a very long time,” Mr. Adashi said. “It’s been a nightmare.”

Noam Goodman, also unsure of the new prime minister, was still optimistic, given the presence of other parties in the coalition.

“I think it’s a little pathetic that somebody with so few voters became prime minister, it’s not ideal,” Mr. Goodman said. “But I think the main thing is not who’s prime minister, it’s who’s in control, and who’s in the government.”

Shoval Sadde expressed relief that the coalition had come together after weeks of uncertainty.

“Today is final,” she said. “There are no secret magics anymore that Bibi can pull out of a hat. It’s final.”

Some saw a moment of closure.

Yuval Geni, 76, said he felt “reborn,” noting the significance of the celebration’s location: in the square named after Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister assassinated there in 1995 at a peace rally. Mr. Netanyahu ascended to the premiership for the first time months later.

“It’s a kind of balancing,” Mr. Geni said.

Mr. Geni was hopeful that Mr. Netanyahus’ reign, the longest of any Israeli prime minister, would ultimately be a footnote in the country’s history.

“Bibi will go,” he said. “He’ll be forgotten. It won’t take long.”



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