In Israel's local authority elections held yesterday, several mayoral candidates managed to unseat incumbent mayors. This goes contrary to what we have known in the past, which was that incumbents in local authorities were almost immoveable. 57% of those eligible to vote, some 3.67 million Israelis, went to the polls yesterday to choose local authority leaders and council members.
In Haifa, Dr. Einat Kalisch-Rotem defeated Yona Yahav, who had been mayor for three terms. Kalisch-Rotem managed to form alliances in Haifa with both Meretz and the haredim, and received the backing of Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay, against the position of the local Labor Party branch, headed by Yisrael Savion, who also stood for mayor. Kalisch-Rotem will be the first woman mayor of Haifa, and indeed of any of Israel's three major cities since the State of Israel was founded 70 years ago.
In Jerusalem, council member Moshe Lion and former deputy mayor Ofer Berkovitch will face off in a second round of voting in two weeks' time, neither of them having achieved the 40% of the vote required for outright victory in the first round. After 98% of the votes had been counted, Lion had 33.3% and Berkovitch 28.8%. The resounding defeat of Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Ze'ev Elkin in the Jerusalem election is a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who supported Elkin and even sent out a voicemail message towards the end of the day yesterday calling on Jerusalemites to go to the polls to vote for him. In the end, Elkin garnered 19.8% of the votes. The result is also a defeat for outgoing mayor Nir Barkat, who failed to organize an effective campaign on Elkin's behalf. Elkin's loss means that no place will open up for Barkat on the Likud list for the next Knesset elections. Elkin said after the result became known, "In politics one should know how to lose. I congratulate both winners."
In Tel Aviv, however, the picture remains unchanged. Despite rumors of a close race, incumbent mayor Ron Huldai will continue to a fifth term with no need for a second round of voting after handily beating his closest rival Asaf Zamir with 46% of the vote to Zamir's 34%.
Elsewhere, in Tiberias, Yossi Ben David was unseated by Ron Kobi, and in Petah Tikva the incumbent mayor Itzik Braverman was defeated by Likud candidate Rami Greenberg. In Nahariya, Jacky Sebag, who had been mayor for nearly 30 years, was defeated by Ronen Marli. Sebag was not gracious in defeat. "After 30 years I have come to the conclusion that most Nahariya residents are ingrates," he said.
In Beersheva, incumbent mayor Ruvik Danilovich won resounding approbation, taking 90% of the votes. Miriam Feirberg, who has been questioned by police in a corruption affair, stays on as mayor of Netanya.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 31, 2018
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