Municipal elections that were held on Tuesday saw the status quo largely maintained as incumbent mayors in Israel's biggest cities retained their seats.
In Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai
won 53.07% of the votes with rival Nitzan Horowitz
(Meretz) taking 38.2% of the ballots. Aaron Maduel garnered 8.76% of the votes.
In Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat
won 51.11% of the votes while Moshe Leon took 45.32%.
Following his win, Barkat visited the Western Wall and addressed the elections. "We had wall-to-wall support, certainly in the traditionalist sector and even in considerable parts of the haredi sector. It was not an easy campaign but the bottom line is that Jerusalemites gave us a mandate to lead Jerusalem for another five years and make it attractive for young folk and businessmen."
Both cities registered low voter turnout.
Barkat celebrates in Jerusalem (Photo: EPA)
Ron Huldai arrives at campaign HQ (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
haredi neighborhoods, voter turnout was 70%, whereas ballot polls in secular neighborhoods saw 30-50% turnout. Voting rates among east Jerusalem's Arab residents were lower than 1%.
In Tel Aviv,
voting rate was at 31% as the polls closed. Voter turnout in Beersheba was 39.8% and in Haifa 45%.
Counting ballots (Photo: Ido Erez) Photo: Ido Erez Photo: Ido Erez Photo: Ido Erez Photo: Ido Erez Photo: Ido Erez Photo: Ido Erez
where 99% of the ballots were counted, Mayor Yona Yahav won with 48.98% of the votes.
In Beersheba, Mayor Ruvik Danilovich won a landslide with 92.21% of the ballots.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yeshuv)
In Bat Yam, Mayor Shlomo Lahiani,
who was forced to step down by the High Court Sunday due to an indictment filed against him, garnered 57.5% of the votes.
In Ramat Gan, Israel Zinger defeated Carmel Shama-Hacohen winnin
52.38% of the votes.
In Ashkelon, after 40% of the ballots were counted, Itamar Shimoni was leading with 52%.
In Netanya, Miriam Feirberg will stay on for another term having won 72% of the votes. Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri also retained his seat after winning 53.74% of the ballots.
In Rishon Lezion, Mayor Dov Tzur
took the lead with 70.96% of the votes, after 78% of the ballots were counted.
In Bnei Brak, Chanoch Zeibart gained 94% of the votes.
In Beit Shemesh, ultra-Orthodox candidate Moshe Abutbul (Shas) beat Habayit Hayehudi's Eli Cohen in a tight race that saw Abutbul taking 51.9% of the votes – less than 6% more than Cohen (46.5%).
MK Hanin Zoabi lost the Nazareth race to incumbent mayor Ramiz Jaraisy, having won only 3,812 votes.
Second rounds will be held in Petah Tikva, Kiryat Shmona, Herzliya and Yahud.
Moran Azulay, Elior Levy, Itamar Fleishman, Yoav Zitun, Ilana Curiel, Shahar Chai, Gilad Morag, Ahiya Raved, Itay Blumenthal, Hasan Shaalan, and Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to this report
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