VIDEOS/PHOTOS: Last Minute Election News From Israel – 10/29/2018



Following are updates from the various parties and candidates as they pertain to the chareidi tzibur vis-à-vis the upcoming municipal elections throughout Israel, which are scheduled for Tuesday, 21 Marcheshvan.

Some Facts About the Upcoming Municipal Election Day
For the first time since 1989, Municipal Election Day in Israel has been declared a national holiday in the hope of bringing out more voters. Most employees in Israel are not required to work, and anyone working for last 14 consecutive days at his job is entitled to the day off according to law.

The services that will observe the national holiday were announced by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. Those employees of local and national government whose job is election-related can be compelled to work on Election Day. This also applies to security and emergency agencies.

Which Services will Operate?
Transportation will operate on a regular, and not holiday schedule. That said, one can expect some scheduling changes and one is advised to check with a bus/train carried regarding a specific schedule. Other businesses that will operate on regular schedules include hotels, cafes, kiosks, communications services, factories and agriculture in which production continues around-the-clock, water & electric plants, and fuel suppliers. Bread, fruit and vegetable and dairy producers will work until 11:00AM and food shops will work from 6:00AM to 12:00PM.

May One Work & Can One Demand Additional Wages?
The law does not prohibit working on this Election Day and one may request to work. An employer must act as one does on Election Day for Knesset, which means one may not count the day off as a vacation day, and one must permit an employee to go vote, even if one has to travel out of the area to do so. There is nothing set in the law regarding one’s wages if one works on the municipal Election Day. However, workers expect additional pay as if one worked on a day off. The accepted norm is 200% of one’s regular wages or an additional vacation day.

Who, How and Where to Vote
Elections will take place in 251 of the nation’s 257 local authorities. There will not be elections in Maale Ephraim, Rajer, Rechasim and Kiryat Yearim (Telshe Stone) as only one candidate is running in those authorities.

All citizens 17 and over are permitted to vote in one of the polling stations, which open at 7:00AM and will operate until 10:00PM. This does not include authorities with fewer than 350 persons, in which polling stations close at 8:00PM. Voting cards were sent out to registered voters in recent weeks, including information as where one votes. One may visit the Interior Ministry’s website towards determining where one votes.

What Must I Bring to the Polling Station?
One must bring an official identity card to a polling station, which includes a teudat zehut, driver’s license, Israeli passport, or IDF ID card ( תעודת חוגר/קצין) or officer’s id.

Soldiers in the career military or in reserve duty who are working on Election Day may vote in one of the polling stations in IDF facilities. Soldiers sent out on Election Day will vote in the voting station nearest to their place of residence.

How Many Ballots?
Unlike Knesset elections, on this election day there will be two ballots, one for mayor and the second for a council list. The mayoral candidate slip is yellow, and the council slip white. In regional councils, there is a third slip, which is blue, to determine the members of the local council. In municipalities with only one candidate for mayor, one may vote with a yellow slip or green, which signals one’s opposition to that candidate. If there are more green slips than votes for that candidate, the members of the municipality council will select the new leader.

How are Polling Stations Set Up?
Each polling station will have one person in charge, overseeing operations. After placing the voting slips into the envelope, one then places the envelope into the ballot box and the votes will be tabulated after the polls close.

How Much Does a Candidate Require to Win in Round One?
In order for a candidate to be elected as the mayor or municipality head, s/he must earn at least 40% of the votes. In the event this is not so, there will be a second-round election held on November 13, 2018, 5 Kislev 5779. The two candidates who had the most votes in round one will face off. The second round will be held more or less in the fashion of round one, but polling stations will only operate from 1:00PM to 10:00PM and it will not be a national holiday.

2nd Elections – Where?
It is predicted that there will be second round elections in Yerushalayim, Herzliya, Petach Tikvah, Rishon L’Tzion and in Eilat, with there being seven candidates in the latter.

Deutsch Shows Support in Non-Chareidi Camps
Jerusalem mayoral candidate Yossi Deutsch shows a chareidi candidate can receive the support of many outside his sector due to his proven record in Jerusalem City Hall over the past 12 years.

Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav
City sanitation workers are told that under Yona Yahav, they receive their salaries “like clockwork” and if they do not vote for him, and he loses the election, they may lose their jobs instead of voting for another five years of “economic tranquility”.

Degel Hatorah is vehemently opposed to Yahav’s reelection, as in the current term in office, he violated many agreements made with the chareidi party.

Degel Turns to Residents of Binyamin Regional Council in Shomron
In a proclamation released by Degel Hatorah regarding voters in the Binyamin Regional Council of Shomron, the chareidi party backs Yisrael Gantz in his bid to become head of the regional council. The kol korei denies reports endorsing another candidate

Rav Netanel Shriki Shlita Endorses Ze’ev Elkin
Admor Rav Netanel Shriki Shlita of Netivot has released a kol korei endorsing Ze’ev Elkin in the Jerusalem mayoral race.

Degel Hatorah Leader Gafne Blasts Haifa Mayor Yahav
Degel Hatorah chairman MK Moshe Gafne has come out in the strongest terms against Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, who is seeking reelection. Speaking at an election rally, Gafne spoke for over 20 minutes, emphasizing the need to oust Yahav from office on Election Day.

Report: Deutsch Offers Leon A Rotation Deal In Return For Stepping Out Of The Race

With Election Day all but upon us, Roter News quotes Yarah Shapira reporting a proposal, from Jerusalem mayoral candidate Yossi Deutsch to mayoral candidate of Degel Hatorah and Shas, Moshe Leon; I will pull out of the race in return for a mayoral rotation agreement with you. This would bring Agudas Yisrael on board, backing Leon on Election Day. Leon would resign from his post as mayor nine months before the end of his term to permit Deutsch to step in.

Leon camp officials respond, explaining they are unaware of any such. “There was no such deal offered by Leon or Degel Hatorah, and Leon is running to become the city’s next mayor. This is probably the case when disappointment and despair are knocking on the door. Suddenly, bogus surveys are published and when that does not work, they try to dispel rumors that lies are founded. This is a cheap and false spin. The reason for the false spin is total loss of control. Deutsch, like Elkin, knows that Moshe Leon will probably be elected in the first round and finds it difficult to accept this reality.”

Deutsch officials admit Deutsch received such an offer from Degel Hatorah and Leon officials, “but he turned it down immediately but adds Degel Hatorah is not certain Leon will win and the party is trying to boost his chances. Deutsch is running to the end.”

HaGaon HaRav Kessler: Electioneering Permitted 3 Days Prior To Elections Only

Mora D’asra of Modi’in Illit HaGaon HaRav Meir Kessler Shlita has announced electioneering would only be permitted three days prior to the elections, and therefore, the signs began appearing over the weekend, with Election Day being Tuesday, 21 Marcheshvan.

Tens of thousands participated in an election rally Sunday night attended by Rav Kessler.

Last week, while there was election fury in other chareidi cities, quiet prevailed on the streets of Modi’in Illit as a result of the rav’s decision.

HaGaon Rav Kessler turned to the heads of the major parties in the city; Yahadut Hatorah and Shas, asking them to adhere to his request and refrain from electioneering prior to the three-day period before elections, Kikar Shabbos News reports. He explained that since avreichim will adhere to the words of their rabbonim, there is no need for all the ruckus prior to this time, which is sufficient to inform them which candidate to support. Rav Kessler explained the mountain of flyers and pashkavilim are unnecessary.

Deri Regarding Elad Election: Vote For Barak Tzabari

Shas party chairman Minister Aryeh Deri on Sunday night announced during an election gathering in Elad that the party’s rabbonim shlita have instructed Shas voters to vote for Barak Tzabari, who only days ago never imagined in his wildest dreams he would become the Shas party candidate for mayor in the city. This is the result of Shas & Degel Hatorah candidate Yitzchak Pindrus being disqualified by the courts. Not willing to give up, the parties then petitioned the High Court of Justice, seeking to have municipal elections in Elad postponed, to permit them to find a replacement candidate. This too was rejected by the court.

Deri stated HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen Shlita, head of the Shas Moetzas Gedolei Torah, has instructed backers of Shas to vote for Barak, as the party is willing to bring anyone in as mayor towards achieving its goal of unseating Mayor Yisrael Porush of Agudas Yisrael Porush.

Gabbai Was Offered To become Opposition Leader In Exchange For Backing Draft Bill

A senior Likud cabinet minister who is close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu conducted negotiations with the head of the Machane Tzioni party, Avi Gabbai, offering a deal. According to the report, if Gabbai’s party backed an amended version of the draft bill, Gabbai would be appointed head of the opposition, Yuval Karni of Yediot Achronot reports on Monday morning, 20 Marcheshvan.

According to the Yediot report, phone conversations and formal talks are taking place to close the deal with Gabbai, and this is taking place with the knowledge of PM Netanyahu. The report adds that that time, the Prime Minister was truly working to resolve the draft bill crisis and he was not just using it as an excuse to call for new elections, as the chareidi parties opined.

The deal was offered in June 2018, and Gabbai was told the coalition would change the law to permit him, one who is not a MK, to become head of the opposition. This was at the time Yitzchak Herzog was stepping down as opposition leader to become head of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

According to Chadashot News, Gabbai tried to muster a majority in Knesset to amend the law to permit him to become opposition leader, and this led to contact with the senior Likud minister. Gabbai eventually explained he was unwilling to back the draft law, and therefore, MK Tzipi Livni was appointed as opposition leader.

Gabbai’s office responded to the report, stating “We will not take part in political-dealing. The Machane Tzioni party stands by the side of IDF soldiers who serve and will vote against the draft deal that Lieberman, Lapid and Litzman prepared – deal-making that will not result in one additional chareidi serving in the IDF”.

Court Fines Candidate For “Embarrassing Racist” Election Posters

On erev Shabbos, Tel Aviv District Court Justice Eliyahu Bachar, in a rare decision, fined Yisrael Zinger NIS 10,000 for his “embarrassing racist” election posters, ordering them taken down immediately. This pertains to the municipal elections in Ramat Gan.

In the decision, Justice Bachar noted that together with the understanding that freedom of expression is a supreme value in Israel, especially during this period of elections, since he found that the publication did not benefit the public at all, not even during the election period in particular.

Last week, Singer posted billboards in a picture showing the father of the leading candidate Carmel Shama HaKohen (chairman of the Economics Committee and Israel’s former ambassador to the OCED) in a negative and racist manner.

It should be emphasized that for the first time, members of the family of a candidate for local elections were used on billboards. The ad uses motifs and clear racial stigmatization and a distortion of the family name of the candidate.

After the signs began appearing, there was a great unrest in the city of Ramat Gan, condemning the racist signs as well as on social media networks. As a result of the emotional pressure and injury, Carmel Shama’s father was hospitalized this week.

A hearing took place in the court on Thursday, 16 Marcheshvan, and the ruling was announced on Friday. In his ruling, Justice Bachar stated he did not find any value to the ads, or interest for the public, ordering them removed and levying the fine of NIS 10,000.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)