Standing just steps away from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israelis expressed satisfaction on Wednesday that Jerusalem would finally be recognized as the nation’s capital by the US – feelings that were tempered with some trepidation over possible violence.
As Dana Levy, 26, struggled to light a cigarette under a gray sky and in heavy winds, she said she had conflicting emotions.
“I’m really happy about it because from the beginning it needed to be in Jerusalem, because it’s the capital city,” said Levy, a university student.
Still, she noted that having US President Donald Trump announcing the controversial move will likely result in added violence in the region.
“I think that because of Trump it’s a problem because people don’t like him,” Levy said. “If it was Obama, it wouldn’t be as much of a problem. So it’s very scary for me because there will be violence by the Palestinians. But it’s OK. We’re used to it.”
Levy’s friend, Adi Hershkowitz, 25, also said she is pleased Jerusalem would be identified as the capital, but is concerned about resulting violence.
“I think that it’s a good thing,” she said.
“First of all, it’s right that the world knows that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and I’m happy that the world is finally talking about it. As far as the Arabs and Palestinians go, there will likely be violence that will last a long time.”
Hershkowitz, who served in a combat unit in the IDF, said police must respond to the unrest with a heavy hand.
“It will be worth [the violence] to me because we need to win the war between Jews and Arabs inside Israel and put limits on them, so they can’t be violent every time they are upset,” she said.
Jacky Kalderon, an audio salesman across the street from the embassy, said he is less concerned about imminent violence.
“I have no worries, because the capital of Israel is Jerusalem,” said Kalderon. “The US just now is acknowledging what Israel has known for 3,000 years.”
He continued: “We can’t worry about the violence with everything we do. We should do what is right.”
In terms of the negative Arab response to the development, Kalderon shrugged.
“They are insulted by everything, so what should we do?” he asked. “They are insulted by me being here, so should I go?”
Nadav Errad, a 27-year-old chef and poet, said the Palestinian population in particular will likely view the move as a marginalizing and alienating event.
“I think the Arab population is very concerned about it because they feel the tension from the united front of Israel and the United States, and it makes them feel very small,” he said. “I am sure it will create violence because the Israeli government is already very powerful and doesn’t treat the Arab population with any respect.”
Errad contended that Palestinian violence will be imminent and significant.
“Everything that happens in Jerusalem spreads throughout the country and world, and it is not worth the violence if we can avoid it, since we already have so many other issues,” he said. “So, in my opinion, it is very, very dangerous now.”
A travel agent in her 60s who did not want to be identified expressed antipathy toward Trump, whom she considers unstable.
“I think he is meddling in the Middle East, and I think he is going to bring war to us,” she said. “After he announces it, just watch what happens after Friday
prayers. They already started burning his pictures last night in east Jerusalem.”
“This is a mistake, and he is putting Israeli lives at risk,” she continued.
“I think the US made a huge mistake electing him, because he plays with the world like a toy.”
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