But amid the sharpness there were also moments of unity and empathy across party lines.
After Mr. Levin, the speaker, was replaced in a separate vote by Mickey Levy, an ally of Mr. Lapid, the two hugged for a few seconds. Previously, ultra-Orthodox lawmakers laughed amiably along with jokes from Merav Michaeli, a staunch secularist and critic of Mr. Netanyahu – barely an hour after insulting Mr. Bennett, their new coalition partner.
Up until the day of the vote, Netanyahu and his right-wing allies worked hard to break the alliance before it could take office. They put heavy pressure on right-wing opposition lawmakers, telling them to break away from their leaders and refuse to support a coalition they claimed would ruin the country. For most of this month, supporters of Mr. Netanyahu picketed the homes of Mr. Bennett and his lawmakers, yelling insults in passing.
The departure of Mr. Netanyahu was a turning point for Israeli politics. He had been in power for so long that he was the only prime minister many young adults could remember. For many it was not only a synonym for the Israeli state, but also for the concept of Israeli security – and an Israel without it seemed to some to be hard to imagine.
In Tel Aviv, enthusiastic opponents of Netanayhu came to an impromptu celebration in Rabin Square. As the music boomed, Israelis of all ages crowded together wearing the national flag, rainbow flags and pink flags, the color chosen by members of the movement to overthrow the prime minister.
Israelis understand developments in Israeli politics
- Key characters. The main actors in the recent turnaround in Israeli politics have very different goals, but one common goal. Naftali Bennett, who leads a small right-wing party, and Yair Lapid, the centrist leader of the Israeli opposition, have teamed up to form a multifaceted coalition to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
- Range of ideals. The coalition, dubbed a “change of government” by its supporters, stretches from left to right and relies on the support of a small Arab, Islamist party, and is likely to mean profound change for Israel.
- A common goal. After a deadlock that led to four unsuccessful elections in two years, and an even longer period of polarizing politics and government paralysis, the coalition architects have promised to get Israel back on track.
- An uncertain future. Parliament still has to ratify the fragile agreement in a vote of confidence in the coming days. But even if so, it remains unclear how much change the “change of government” could bring to Israel, as some of the parties involved have little in common other than hostility towards Mr. Netanyahu.
One celebrant, Shoval Sadde, was relieved that the coalition had come together after weeks of uncertainty.
“Today is over,” she said. “There are no more secret magic that Bibi can pull out of her hat. It is final. “
For followers of Bibi, as Netanyahu is commonly known in Israel, his departure was devastating and worrying.