Rehovot to Elect New Mayor Today to Replace Ousted Forer

The residents of Rehovot will head to the polls today to elect a new mayor to replace ousted mayor Shuki Forer. Forer left office as mayor of the 110,000-resident city after being convicted in a plea agreement of breach of trust. He claimed that he should not be disqualified from staying on as mayor, but the district court rejected Forer's appeal, ruling that his crime involved moral turpitude and required that he step down. A further appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected two months ago.

The three current mayoral candidates are Rahamim Maloul, who has been acting mayor for the past several months and is a Likud city council member formerly affiliated with Shas; Ami Feinstein, a businessman and former deputy mayor who recently returned to Israel after living in Australia; and councilman Uzi Salant, a former director general of the Meuhedet health maintenance organization who lost to Forer in the mayoral elections held last year.

The first two candidates both claimed to be endorsed by the Likud party, but a court ruled that in fact neither is. Salant has the support of Kadima.

Last year's election was decided in two rounds after none of the candidates earned the required 40 percent of the vote in the first round. In the event that none of the three candidates in today's election clears the 40 percent threshold, a second round will again be necessary.