Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz's political adviser Rami Tiyeb won Thursday's election for the chairmanship of the Likud's branch in Afula, the party announced over the weekend.
Tiyeb's opponents charged that he could not run legally because he is a government employee. But legal officials ruled that his government position was not high enough to bar him from holding a political post.
Afula was one of 14 Likud branches to elect a chairman on Thursday in races that could decide who will run the cities for the foreseeable future. The others were Beersheba, Ganei Tikva, Karnei Shomron, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Ekron, Ma’aleh Adumim, the Binyamin region, Merom Galil, Mevaseret Zion, Migdal Ha’emek, Nazareth, Ra’anana and the Shomron region.
In Ra'anana, tax adviser Rachel Skat beat Ilan Cohen, who together with his late brother Uzi had considerable power in the city for decades. The race divided immigrants from English-speaking countries, who make up a large percentage of the city’s residents and a smaller percentage of its Likud central committee members.
Natan Engelsman, who won the race in Mateh Binyamin, is considered a power broker who signed up thousands of settlers to the Likud.