Despite Absence of the Opposition, Knesset Approves ‘Equal Burden’ Law
WATCH: Beit Shemesh Elects Moshe Abutboul; Ali Salem Wins in NazarethShas candidate Moshe Abutboul won by a margin of 758 votes for the mayoral elections in Beit Shemesh, despite the high 76% turnout. There were celebrations at Abutboul’s campaign headquarters, while a gloomy atmosphere prevailed at Eli Cohen’s. Nazareth elected Ali Salem by a wide margin and Hadash member Ramez Jaraisi completed his 20 years serving as mayor.
At 10:00pm Tuesday night, the polls closed in the cities of Beit Shemesh and Nazareth, where new elections were held yesterday and the cities recorded a higher turnout.
In the counting of the votes that continued throughout the night, it became clear that Moshe Abutboul will remain as mayor of Beit Shemesh, where 76% of the city exercised their right to vote, compared to 69.3% in earlier elections. Abutboul won 19,401 votes compared to 18,643 that went to his rival, Eli Cohen, representing a difference of 758 votes. Abutboul won over 51% of the voters, while his opponent received support from 49% of the population.
In Nazareth, Ali Salem will become mayor, after a record voter turnout was recorded, with 83.8% of the voters coming to the polls, compared to 72% who voted in the last round. In Nazareth, the gap between the two mayoral candidates was great. 27,666 voters, representing 61.5% of the population, voted for Ali Salem compared to 17,266 voters representing 38.4% of the voters that voted for Ramez Jaraisi.
Beit Shemesh Elections: A Victory for the Haredi Sector
During the night, secular candidate Eli Cohen’s campaign headquarters was full of activists. He conceded his loss: “We accept the results. All of the time, we state that the one who believes will not be afraid and we must continue on our way. Beit Shemesh is our home and we must do everything to keep it like that.”
Simultaneously, the campaign headquarters of Moshe Abutboul held large celebrations. The Haredi sector made great efforts to get to the polls, as many of them supported the Shas candidate. On his part, he believes that he won support from all sectors of the population within his municipality.
“I don’t think that secular people are afraid of me,” Abutboul stated. “In the last elections, I won the support of thousands of secular people who look at the positive aspects of my initiatives across the city, such as shopping malls and the entertainment sector, which don’t affect my religion an ounce.”
Nazareth: Ali Salem Won by a Large Margin
Before the end of the counting of the votes in Nazareth, the identified victor was clear. The system reached a decision by holding elections again between non-Hadash Muslim candidate Ali Salem and his rival, Ramez Jaraisi, who served as mayor for two decades and is a Christian Hadash supporter. Crowds of people visited the polling stations throughout the day and a record percentage registered to vote. One of the memorable pictures in Nazareth is of disabled and elderly people brought to the polling stations in wheel chairs, in order to contribute to the decision for the revote where every voice counts.
Despite enormous efforts that were made to bring voters out to the polls, the Hadash Party, the party of Jaraisi, admitted defeat. Jaraisi accused Likud activists of being responsible for his loss in the speech that he delivered. Jaraisi is vocally opposed to Arab enlistment in the IDF. According to Shai Friedman, who was quoted in Al Monitor, “There is a war in Nazareth against youths who enlist in the IDF. Nazareth’s mayor was a key player in this war. He participated, together with fellow party members from the Knesset, against ‘enlistment in the Zionist army.’ A Druze youth who received a call-up order tore it up to the sound of the cheering crowd. Jaraisi and the members of his party clapped their hands.”
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