Mayors elected in 24 regional councils

432 communities hit the polls with a 61.5% average turnout; Gush Etzion, Har Hevron show lowest turnout rate with 40%, officials blame weather.

Polling booth 370 (photo credit: Reuters Amir Cohen )
Polling booth 370
(photo credit: Reuters Amir Cohen )
Hof Hacarmel was the only regional council of 25 that held elections on Tuesday that will have to go to a second round of voting because no mayoral candidate won the 40 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff race.
Residents of 432 communities across the country were eligible to vote. The 61.5 percent turnout varied between the 80% in Lachish and 40% in the Gush Etzion and Har Hevron Regional Councils.
Uri Bank, who was elected to the Gush Etzion council representing Neveh Daniel, blamed the low turnout on the weather and the fact that mayor, Davidi Perl, did not have competition in his race. Bank defeated candidate Rabbi Yehezkel Lichtenstein by a vote of 223 to 146 among some 1,200 eligible voters.
“The freezing cold weather caused low turnout, but it has also made our snow-covered mountain tops beautiful,” said Bank, who was born in Detroit and raised in Chicago.
Besides Perl, seven mayors were elected without competition, including Sigal Moran in the Bnei Shimon Regional Council in the northern Negev, who is one of Israel’s four female mayors.
Among the mayors who had competition, the mayor reelected with the most support was Dov Litvinoff of the Tamar Regional Council near the Dead Sea, with 77.1% of the vote.