Residents in 38 towns Tuesday will have another shot to elect a mayor.
second round of voting features mayoral races in which no candidate broke 40
percent support. Only the top two candidates from October’s election compete
In all, 639,898 people will have the opportunity to vote in 1,032
Polling places are open for reduced hours, between 1 and
While turnout in the first round of elections was deemed low –
the final number is slightly over 51 percent – one election observer said the
second round may see slightly higher turnout.
Assaf Shapira, a researcher
in the Israel Democracy Institute’s Political Reform project, said the second
round of the 2008 municipal elections had a four percentage point increase in
turnout than the first round.
The main reason, he said, is because the
majority of the towns with a runoff – both in 2008, and also this year – are
Arab municipalities, which historically have very high voter turnout. Jewish
areas, which typically have low turnout in the first round, are not expected to
experience a change in the second round.
“Of course the second round is
much less interesting and less appealing for voters that prefer the candidate
that didn’t make it to the second round, or for voters who were only interested
in the election for the local council,” he said.
are involved in hotly contested elections that are divided along
One such example is Petah Tikva, where the race
is between incumbent Mayor Uri Ohad and Yitzhak Braverman. Braverman has the
support of religious parties Shas, UTJ and the Bayit Yehudi, while secular
candidate Ohad is backed by Rami Greenberg and Yigal Suissa, who came in third
and fourth place two weeks ago.
According to preliminary results data
released by the Interior Ministry the day after the first round of the election,
Ohad earned 36% of the vote, just shy of the 40% threshold. Braverman earned
Shas leader Arye Deri put serious efforts into Petah Tikva this
week, telling Shas supporters in the town Sunday to “go to war” and vote for
Both campaigns traded barbs on their Facebook pages on Monday,
each accusing the other of spreading “lies.” Braverman’s campaign organized
“dozens of volunteers” to man a phone bank in order to “dispel the
In Herzliya, current mayor Yohanan Yasur did not make it to the
second round, in which Zvika Hadar and Moseh Fadlon are running. Yasur and
fourth-place candidate Yaron Olami support Hadar, as does Health Minister and
former Herzliya mayor Yael German.
The margin between Fadlon and Hadar in
the first round was razor thin; Fadlon won 24.9% and Hadar won 24.4%, a margin
of just 135 votes.
The race between Hadar and Fadlon took an ugly turn
over the past several days, after Hadar took out a newspaper advertisement
saying that half of Fadlon’s voters are haredim or Shas members. The
advertisement was styled in the form of a newspaper article and he was ordered
to apologize and pay a fine.
Hadar acknowledged on his campaign Facebook
page that “these ads are not news items.”
For his part, Fadlon uploaded a
picture of the advertisement with the Hebrew word for “false” scrawled on top in
red magic marker.
In Mevaseret-Zion, west of the capital, where incumbent
Arye Shamam failed to make the cut, Boaz Cohen has accused his rival Yoram
Shimon of trying to set up a separate council for the “Castel,” or Moaz Tziyon,
an area that used to be predominantly settled by Kurdish immigrants.
Sunday, Cohen’s campaign released a long letter which accused Shimon of
collaborating with Shas.
Shimon implored his supporters to “continue to
show restraint and not respond to abuse and slander, and hatred between
brothers.” Shimon denied he had signed any political deals.
In the first
round, Shimon won 36% of the vote and Cohen won 22%.
The other towns
holding elections today are: Abu Sanan, Elkana, Bir al-Maksur, Beit El, Beit
Jan, Basama, Bosmat Tivon, Baana, Jdeide-Makar, Daburiya, Dir El-Assad, Hod
Hasharon, Zemer, Zarzir, Tamra, Yehud- Monoson, Cauchab Abu al-Hija, Caubiya-
Tabash-Hajajra, Kafr Kama, Kafr Kana, Kfar Kara, Lakiya, Maar, Migdal, Ma’aleh
Iron, Nahaf, Asfiya, Afula, Pardesiya, Kalansuwa, Kiryat Tivon, Kiryat Ekron,
Kiryat Shmona, Rahat and Reineh.