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Israeli Municipal Election Results: From Slam-Dunk To Run-Off To Shocker

Long-time Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai won his fifth consecutive term in Tuesday’s nationwide municipal elections, passing the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off against his deputy Asaf Zamir. In Jerusalem, the race was neck-and-neck, with city council members Moshe Lion and Ofer Berkovitch set to go head-to-head in a follow-up vote slated for November 13 after finishing first and second, respectively. Notably, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who was endorsed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, finished a distant third. In a major upset, Dr. Einat Kalisch Rotem (Labor) made history by defeating Haifa mayor Yona Yahav, who has served in the position since 2003, to become the first woman elected to head a major Israeli city. In another milestone for women, the Israeli parliament will welcome a record 36th female member when Osnat Mark (Likud) takes the place of Jackie Levy, who won the mayoral race in Beit She’an. Under a new law, Israelis were for the first time given the day off from work to vote in 251 districts across the country. According to the Interior Ministry, 3.6 out of 6.6 million eligible people cast a ballot, an increase of 5.2%—the equivalent of some 400,000 votes—over the last municipal elections held in 2013. The move to increase democratic participation is estimated to have cost the Israeli economy about $500 million in lost productivity.