People on the streets of Jerusalem are glad to see the return to power of Benjamin Netanyahu despite his heavy-handed approach to the Covid-19 pandemic when he was last in power.
They said they forgave him for vaccine mandates and lockdowns, and now hoped for stability after five national elections in less than three years.
Most people I spoke to said Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic was appropriate even though they themselves broke his lockdown rules.
One man, who was typical of those I interviewed, said he agreed with the lockdown before laughing that he had abided by the rules only “for a moment, and then I went out”.
“And the mask I was wearing about two weeks, not all the way, because I hate it.”
Another, who said “I’m happy that Bibi is back”, lauded Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic as “the best thing he could have done” while laughing that he himself didn’t follow the strict lockdown.
Those who did follow government guidelines during the pandemic said they wouldn’t do so again.
One man who had received four jabs of the vaccine said he would never get another one.
“Why would I?” he shrugged. He added that had been willing to forgive Netanyahu for the vaccine mandates and voted for him.
“The thing with Corona is that it was a political moment,” another Israeli told me. “Because no one is talking about vaccines, no one is talking about shutting everything down. No one really cares about it.”
But not everyone I spoke to was so quick to forgive Netanyahu’s previous term of government.
“I was angry because of the handling of Covid,” one man said. “They were pushing and making things which today should be looked at as illegal acts.”
Despite his anger, he could not bring himself to vote for the left-wing parties. Instead he simply didn’t vote at all, explaining that the far-left Meretz party was punished by its voters for its role in enforcing Covid-19 restrictions, causing them to miss out on representation in Parliament for the first time since 1992.
"The only reason I think the right wing won is because Meretz didn't make it and supporters of Meretz were open-minded enough to actually withdraw their votes because they were pushing for the vaccinations and many of their votes they didn't like their handling," he added.
Stay tuned to BibiReturns.com for all my latest reports from Israel in the days ahead.