Round 2 of Municipal elections held in 38 towns where no candidate breached 40% of vote

639,898 people will have chance to vote in 1,032 polling places; polls open for reduced hours, between 1 and 10 p.m.

Polling booth 370 (photo credit: Reuters Amir Cohen )
Polling booth 370
(photo credit: Reuters Amir Cohen )
Residents in 38 towns Tuesday will have another shot to elect a mayor.
The 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 today.
In all, 639,898 people will have the opportunity to vote in 1,032 polling places.
Polling places are open for reduced hours, between 1 and 10 p.m.
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.
Several municipalities are involved in hotly contested elections that are divided along secular-religious lines.
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 26%.
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 Braverman.
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 rumors.”
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.
On 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.