Israel's Longest-serving Mayors Ousted as Residents Vote for Change

Ashdod's Zilker and Rishon Letzion's Nitzan lose elections after 33, 25 years in office respectively.

The residents of Be'er Sheva, Rishon Letzion and Ashdod ousted some of Israel's longest-serving local leaders in Tuesday's upset municipal elections.

In Be'er Sheva, veteran mayor Ya'akov Terner lost to his former deputy Rubik Danilovich. The incumbent won just 30 percent of the vote versus an impressive 60 percent for Danilovich.

Challenger Dov Tzur beat Rishon Letzion's incumbent mayor, Meir Nitzan, garnering 52 percent of the vote. Nitzan has served as the mayor of Israel's fourth largest city for the past 25 years.

Ashdod's current mayor, Zvi Zilker, was defeated by Dr. Yehiel Lasri, who secured 55 percent of the vote. After 33 years in office ? albeit nonconsecutive ? Zilker has been the country's longest-serving local leader.

Other than in Tel Aviv and Haifa, where Ron Huldai and Yona Yahav won another five-year term in office, incumbent mayors were re-elected in Ramat Gan, Bat Yam, Holon, Herzliya, Netanya and Carmiel.

Candidates in Rehovot, Yavneh, Yafiya, Lakiya, Rahat and Givat Ze'ev failed to secure the minimum 40 percent of the vote required for victory, and second election rounds will be held shortly.