While the results were mixed in Israel's local elections held yesterday, two big losers are clear – the Sefardi haredi Shas Party's chairman, Aryeh Deri, and the Likud-Beiteinu Party headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman.
Secular Candidate Wins Jerusalem; Haredi Wins Beit Shemesh
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The local elections results in Israel are in. Here are the winners and losers in a few key races.
• Jerusalem – Incumbent Labor-endorsed Mayor Nir Barkat was reelected to second term, winning 52% to 45% over Moshe Leon. The Sefardi Zionist Orthodox Leon had the backing of the mainstream Ashkenazi haredi non-hasidic rabbis and of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party while the hasidic Agudath Israel Party chose not to endorse either candidate and some individual hasidic rebbes even endorsed Barkat, as did the non-hasidic Ashkenazi haredi rebel Bnei Torah faction headed by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach. Leon also had strong backing from leading right wing politicians, including many right wing Likud-Beiteinu Members of Knesset and was Likud-Beiteinu’s endorsed candidate.
The Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party appears to have earned a ninth seat on the city council. The Ashkenazi haredi rebel Bnei Torah Party received 7,377 votes – reportedly enough for one city council seat. It had light success in several small haredi towns, as well.
• Beit Shemesh – Incumbent Sefardi haredi Mayor Moshe Abutbul (Shas) has apparently won 51.9% to 46.51%, beating the Zionist Orthodox/secular-backed candidate Eli Cohen. But there was reportedly a lot of haredi voter fraud in support of Abutbol and it is unclear if that will change or impact the results.
• Elad – In what is considered to be a major upset in a haredi town with a Sefardi majority, Ashkenazi haredi candidate Yisrael Porush defeated the Shas-endorsed candidate by about 500 votes.
• Tov Party – The moderate haredi Tov Party that represents haredim who work and even serve in Israel’s military appears to have been shut out in every race it ran in across the country – meaning it will have no elected officials anywhere in the country.
• Shas Party – The chairman of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party, Aryeh Deri, personally backed Porush’s opponent in Elad and Moshe Leon in Jerusalem. Both of Deri’s candidates lost, and those losses are being viewed as a major defeat for Deri and for Shas.
• Public Corruption – Three mayors currently facing criminal charges, all of whom who had been recently removed from office by Israel’s High Court of Justice, were reelected, even though the High Court made it clear that it could – and probably would – remove them again. Ramat Hasharon’s Itzik Rochberger, Bat Yam’s Shlomo Lahiani and Upper Nazareth’s Shimon Gapso were all removed after being indicted on public corruption charges.
• Voter Fraud – Widespread haredi voter fraud was reported in Beit Shemesh, and police made at least 8 arrests and confiscated about 200 forged or fraudulent national IDs.