Bet Shemesh workers accused of removing campaign ads

Opposition candidate in Bet Shemesh mayoral race charges municipality of engaging in “governmental bullying”.

June 17, 2013 04:00
1 minute read.
Eli Cohen campaign posted picture on Facebook of city worker removing campaign poster.

Bet Shemesh worker removing campaign poster 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Eli Cohen campaign Facebook page.)

An opposition candidate for mayor of Bet Shemesh has accused incumbent Moshe Abutbol of sending municipal workers to remove his campaign signs in locations throughout the city.

On Friday, independent candidate Eli Cohen’s campaign posted a picture on Facebook of a man identified as a municipal employee in the process of tearing down several of his banners.

“It is too bad that the mayor does not understand democracy,” one of Cohen’s election workers posted alongside the picture on Cohen’s official campaign page, accusing Abutbol of “using his power against the public.”

MK Dov Lipman, a resident of Bet Shemesh and a longtime opponent of Abutbol, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that he “can confirm” that the man in the photograph is a city worker. The man in question, Lipman continued, is a “very nice guy who would only be doing this if he was ordered to do so.”

“We are talking about a city filled with chaos regarding unlawful signs – from illegal signs demanding how women should dress to signs for businesses in places where they are not allowed,” Lipman asserted.

“This is a stain to democracy and brings shame to our municipality." According to local blogger and pundit Rafi Goldmeier, Cohen is the “leading non-haredi candidate” in a city whose ultra-Orthodox population is expanding rapidly.

Speaking with the Post, Cohen accused the municipality of “governmental bullying,” claiming that the municipal workers had admitted that they were “sent by the mayor and the management of city hall.”

Residents reported seeing some posters still up in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh.

Mayor Abutbol’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

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