It is final: Beit Shemesh Mayor Rabbi Moshe Abutbul, who served two terms, has been defeated by Bayit Yehudi candidate Dr. Aliza Bloch. Bloch won the race by 533 votes, and becomes the city’s first female mayor.
Most of the chareidi tzibur felt the reports that Bloch might emerge the victor was nothing more than hype, (or ‘fake news’ as it is commonly referred to today,) but it appears the reports were quite accurate.
The final 1030 votes of the soldiers were tabulated as were the 300 votes of the disabled residents. Bloch succeeded in closing the gap of 251 votes to catch up to Abutbul and then pushed ahead to take the race.
The time since the closing of polls in Beit Shemesh Tuesday night were tense ones for both candidates, as the initial tabulation of votes showed they were not far apart.
The victory is a major one for the dati leumi Bayit Yehudi party, as well as for Likud. It is a significant blow to the Chareidim in the city, who once again were not united, as Shas and Degel Yisrael backed Abutbul, but Agudas Yisrael would not join the ticket because Shas and Degel refused to back the Agudah candidate in the Jerusalem race. In that race, the Agudas Yisrael candidate, Yossi Deutsch, lost.
Folllowing the announcement of her victory, Bloch said:
“The people of Israel look at the city of Beit Shemesh and wake up to a new hope. Beit Shemesh decided to cancel the walls and partitions,” she said, adding, “Today we have proven to ourselves and to Israeli society that we respect each other and do not create gaps. This is what we have davened for all these years, and the people of Israel are waiting for such a thing.”
“As mayor of Beit Shemesh, I intend to engage in finding the good and the common, and together we will become a model for Israeli society, each of whom will live his life in his own way with respect for the other,” Bloch declared.
“Many chareidim voted for me, I know what the situation is at the polling stations, and there is no doubt that thousands of chareidim said, ‘We want to live in a healthy society,'” concluded Bloch, who turned out to be victorious in the race.
The dati leumi and secular community have been working hard to oust the Shas-affiliated mayor. In the last election, the results were challenged and a second election was ordered by the court after too much foul play was documented. However, Abutbul won again. This time, the opponent learned from past mistakes and rallied to a victory, with the help of many chareidim who voted for her as well.
Bayit Yehudi chairman MK Naftali Bennett congratulated Bloch on her victory.
“I congratulated Aliza Bloch on her historic win in Beit Shemesh. This was a critical campaign for the future of the city. The residents of Beit Shemesh chose hope, unity and future. We agreed to meet next week to build a plan to boost education in the city. Something new is starting in Beit Shemesh,” Bennett tweeted.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: Media Resource Group)