Moshe Lion voting with his wife today November 13, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem city councilman Moshe Lion appeared to defeat councilman Ofer Berkovitch in a close race for Jerusalem mayor early Wednesday, with nearly all of the 200,000 votes cast counted.
Lion had a lead of some 6000 votes over Berkovtich in a race that was impacted by a rift inside the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community. Shas leader Arye Deri called Lion to congratulate him.
In the first round of voting on Ocober 30, Lion won the most votes out of four candidates, thanks to the support he received from the Degel Hatorah and Shas parties. His own Jerusalem Shelanu party did not receive enough votes to make it into the 31-member Jerusalem city council.
By contrast, Berkovitch’s Hitorerut party won seven seats, more than any other party. Due to its rift with Degel Hatorah, the Agudat Yisrael party told its supporters not to vote in the election.
Consequently, there was better turnout in secular and religious Zionist neighborhoods like Baka than haredi neighborhoods like Mea Shearim.
Earlier, Berkovitch has as much as a 10 percent lead with a smaller amount of the votes counted, and the atmosphere at Lion's campaign headquarters was negative. But the mood improved as Berkovitch's lead became smaller.
In other races, former Likud MK Carmel Shama-Hakohen defeated incumbent Yisrael Singer in Ramat Gan, Rafi Saar led former police investigations department head Yossi Sitbon in Kfar Saba, Avichai Shtern led Yossi Malka in Kfar Saba, Eilat mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi was re-elected, Shuki Ohana of Likud won in Tzfat and the former head of US president donald Trump's campaign in Israel Tzvika Brot beat incumbent Yossi Bahar in Bat Yam.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Halevi, Ohana and Brot to congratulate them.
The number of women mayors rose in Tuesday's run-off race from 11 to at least 13, with Yehud's Yaela Maklis winning and Hagar Perry Yagur winning in Pardes Hana.
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