Modi’in elections: Bibas remains mayor, city council up for grabs?

What are the platforms of the top-contender parties in a city which has grown to 100,000 residents, many of them Anglos, since being founded in 1996?

modiin night 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
modiin night 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After Modiin’s incumbent mayor of 10 years Haim Bibas trounced his opponent with almost 90% of the vote in the last municipal elections, he is running unopposed in Tuesday’s vote.
But what about the widely split 19-seat city council?
Bibas’s party, affiliated with the Likud, controls six seats. The next biggest party, Ilan Saadon’s party, affiliated with Zionist Union, controls the second largest bloc with four seats.
The other nine seats are split between seven parties, none of which holds more than two seats.
Since Bibas is expected to enter national politics before the 2023 local election, the next biggest vote-getting parties will also be positioning themselves for a future mayoral run.
What are the platforms of the top-contender parties in a city which has grown to nearly 100,000 residents, and become a major hub for Anglos, since being founded in 1996?
Bibas’s party claims credit for the city’s decade of prosperity. “The list has promoted and led the city to achievements in all areas of life for many years, and will continue to do so in the next term.”
It says it has invested more than half of the municipal budget in the education system, making it one of Israel’s best.
It takes credit for accelerating the pace of development and the implementation of a plan for urban renewal at a cost of tens of millions of shekels.
Ilan Ben Saadon’s party’s mantra is, “Because you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket: while the mayor is building the city, Ilan LeModi’in is building up the residents and the community.”
He told The Jerusalem Post, “The connection with the residents and the spectrum of solutions to strengthen them and help them grow are in my blood. My door is always open to any resident for anything they need.”
The next two largest vote-getters in the last election were the Shachar party, led by 15-year council veteran Moish Levy, which garnered two seats based on 2,914 votes (out of about 26,000), and Bayit Yehudi, which got two seats based on 2,601 votes.
While multiple parties call themselves diverse, Levy’s party makes it their flagship issue with Levy connected to the founding of Modi’in’s Yachad school, one of the largest pluralist schools in the country.
Bayit Yehudi had been led by Michael Harlap for a number of years, but has been taken over by businessman and political newcomer Amiad Taub.
The local party received heavy investment from its national leaders with both Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked holding house meetings with Anglos and other residents.
After local resident and Bayit Yehudi activist Yocheved Feinerman met Shaked, she told the Post, “We are so happy that she was able to come to an English-speakers event for… the upcoming elections. She is an outstanding speaker and a role model for young women in Israel.”
The party seeks to further not only religious-Zionist values, but a broader return to cultural Zionism and Jewish values and to be a voice for Anglos who sometimes get lost in the mix.
Shahar Mey-On leads Yesh Atid’s Modi’in local affiliate.
Despite heavy backing from the national party in the last local elections, outreach by then-MK Anglo Dov Lipman, and the fact that Yesh Atid got the largest number of votes from Modi’in in national elections, his party currently controls one seat.
The party emphasizes it is “comprised of a majority of women, and offers representation for retirees, the Maccabim Reut quarter, the LGTBQ community, those with special needs, young adults and education.” Mey-On himself is known for his involvement in children’s special education.
Baruch Bochnik’s Gesher party and Avi Elbaz’ pro-secular party Modi’in Chofshit are also back, having each won one seat in the last elections, while newcomers Elad Shimonovich, Jacky Pinto and Meirav Peleg look to replace Kulanu Maccabim-Reut and Modi’in Shel Kulanu, according to the Modi’in App election guide.
With the city’s steadily increasing population and the number of eligible voters up to 62,785, the number of votes estimated needed to win a seat this year is expected to jump several hundred votes to between 1,700-1,900 votes.