Liberman ally faces test in Arad elections

Arad will become the final city in the country to hold municipal elections Tuesday.

Avigdor Liberman 370 (photo credit: reuters)
Avigdor Liberman 370
(photo credit: reuters)
Arad will become the final city in the country to hold municipal elections Tuesday, when incumbent mayor Tali Ploskov faces off against candidates Nisan Ben-Hamo and Moshe Edri.
Ploskov, who is close to Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, beat seven candidates to become mayor three years ago. The election is being held three months after other municipalities, due to a technicality related to the city’s former management by an Interior Ministry appointed acting mayor before Ploskov’s election.
The election is seen as a vote of confidence in Ploskov’s performance as well as in Liberman, in a contest in which Edri is connected to Likud and Ben-Hamo with Yesh Atid.
Liberman visited the city recently with Hollywood producer Arnon Milchen and promised a Hollywood- style movie studio would be built there.
A poll sponsored by Ploskov predicted she would win 60 percent of the vote, but her opponents believe the election is very much up for grabs. Forty percent of the vote is needed to prevent a run-off race between the top two finishers.
Ploskov made aliya more than 20 years ago from Moldova, with two children and ten dollars in her pocket. She started working cleaning hotel rooms. She then rose to become a banker, a job in which she met many residents and learned about their problems.
Her main achievements are an NIS 70 million facelift of the city in which parks, traffic circles, and sidewalks were built, the city’s main shopping plaza renovated, and its community center expanded. The percentage of students who passed matriculation tests rose significantly and the city’s library won a national award.
She is one of only four female mayors in the country, along with the mayors of Netanya, Ganei Tikva, and the Bnai Shimon Regional Council.
Ben-Hamo, 39, is a businessman who has worked with international hi-tech companies. Learning from his party leader, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, he is holding a parlor meeting Monday that will be broadcast live on Facebook.
Edri is a veteran Likud politician who has run for Arad mayor multiple times.