Runoff Election Puts Third Woman at Helm of Local Authority

Polling was marred by allegations of fraud in Petah Tivka and a stabbing in Rahat.

Incumbent mayors were defeated in Petah Tikva, Yehud, Afula, Pardessia and Rahat in the runoff mayoral elections that took place Tuesday.

Runoffs were held in the 38 cities or local councils where no candidate had garnered more than 40 percent of the vote in the October 22 balloting.

Overall, voter participation in the runoff elections was 60 percent, compared to the 50.9 percent in the first election two weeks ago.

In Petah Tikva, Uri Ohad, who had replaced former Mayor Yitzhak Ohayon when the latter retired several months ago for health reasons, was defeated by Labor Party challenger Yitzhak Braverman, who got 57.7 percent of the vote. Voter participation was only 35 percent.

The Braverman election team filed a complaint about forged slips that turned up at several polling places in the city. Police also questioned the chairman of the local Likud branch, Rami Greenberg, who failed in his first-round bid for mayor and had thrown his support to Ohad, on suspicion that he had tried to illegally influence voters.

In Yehud, Yaela Maklis defeated Mayor Yossi Ben-David, receiving 65.6 percent of the vote. Maklis thus becomes the third woman to head a local authority.

In a close race in Pardessia, Tal Gorky defeated local council chairman Yitzhak Yemini, who had headed the council for 41 years. Gorky got 50.9 percent of the vote.

In Afula, Yitzhak Meron got 50.5 percent of the vote, defeating Mayor Avi Elkabetz by only 200 votes. Meron, a former mayor, had been only 200 votes short of winning the first round two weeks ago.

In Rahat, Talal Alkanirawi overcame Mayor Fayez Abu Sahiban of the Islamic Movement, with 59.6 percent of the vote. Abu Sahiban had received 37 percent of the vote in the first round. Voter participation in the city was relatively high at 76 percent.

In Herzliya, whose former mayor, Yael German, had to resign when she entered the Knesset, Moshe Fadalon defeated former deputy mayor Zvi Hadar, even though Hadar had German’s endorsement. Voter participation was only 33 percent, after a campaign that was full of mutual accusations and recriminations.

In Kiryat Shmona, Mayor Nissim Malka retained his post, defeating challenger Yoram Malul. Hod Hasharon Mayor Hai Adiv also won another term. In Mevasseret Zion Yoram Shimon defeated Yoram Cohen, and in Basmat-Tab’un the winner was Munir Zabidat.

A man was arrested in Yehud on Tuesday for grabbing a ballot box and trying to flee with it. In Tamra, police intervened in an argument between two residents and the chairman of one of the voting station committees; the policemen were attacked and one man was arrested.

In Rahat, four men were stabbed outside a voting station and were admitted to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva with light wounds. A man was arrested after he and another man scuffled at a voting station in Afula. Residents of Abu Snan in the north reported rioting in the town that was related to the election, which included firing in the air and the torching of polling places.