Rachel Yechezkel, owner of Zangi Yechezkel, a linen store in Mahane Yehuda.
(photo credit: SHAKED KARABELNICOFF)
Less than 24 hours after a repeat election was called, Mahane Yehudah Market was bustling with discussion about what just happened.
Many interviewed by The Jerusalem Post agreed on one thing: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be re-elected.
“There’s not any great alternatives,” said Danny Taragin, noting that the majority of Israelis voted for Netanyahu despite being disconcerted by the potential indictment of the prime minister and some of his conduct during the election, such as recruiting and legitimizing the far Right Otzma Yehudit Party.
“This is how it goes, that’s politics, and it’s beyond our control,” he said.
Danny’s wife, Susan, agreed that Netanyahu will be re-elected, though she noted that some citizens may be discouraged from voting in a second round when the first round concluded only two months prior.
“It’s a waste of money,” she continued. “People are fed up... I think people are very disillusioned and just won’t bother to vote.”
Disillusionment seemed to be a common theme around the market, as some locals explained they are tired of politics.
“I only found out about the repeat election from my son, who’s living in America right now,” said one passerby who chose not to give her name. “All the chaos and scandal: It’s just too much to keep up with.”
In contrast, some local merchants said staying up to date is more important now than ever.
“This is our country and we are the ones who have to stick it out here,” said Rachel Yechezkel, owner of Zangi Yechezkel, a linen store in the shuk.
“People like me want [life] to be good here,” she continued. “We believe in Jerusalem, we believe in Israel – but there are 120 people in the Knesset who are always fighting about what they want and it’s not good for the little people [local business owners] like me.”
Woman in the Shuk
Yechezkel said she will be voting for Netanyahu because he is the only leader who can help build a “united Israel.”
“Gantz would be no good because he doesn’t know how to be a politician,” she explained. “He was in the army, he’s a good man, but he doesn’t understand politics.”
When asked whether the corruption charges would deter her from voting Netanyahu, she said that the benefits of having him in power outweigh the drawbacks.
“All the people in the Knesset have skeletons in their closet... but he is good for us, for the nation,” she said.
Many of the merchants expressed similar sentiments and said that they, too, would vote for Netanyahu, while a number of passersby said they are deliberating between Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu, or not voting at all.
“I just don’t like Bibi,” said a soldier who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons. “And a lot of my friends don’t either. I’m happy about the new election.”