‘Obama trend’ hits mayors

By Michal Levertov, November 13, 2008

The veteran mayors of three of Israel's largest cities lost out to younger rivals in this week's municipal elections, with one blaming his defeat on "the Obama trend".

In Beer Sheva, Yaakov Turner, 73, mayor for the past 11 years, was roundly defeated by his former protégée and deputy, 36-year-old Rubik Danilovitch, who won 60 per cent of the votes.

Mr Terner said: "The Obama trend, with its spirit of change, swept many young people to voting, but hurt veteran mayors."

Meir Niztan, 76, Rishon Le Zion mayor for the past 25 years, lost out to Dov Zur, 52, after a stormy campaign.

In Ashdod, Zvi Zilker, 75, will leave the mayoral office in which he has spent most of the past 40 years.

In Tel Aviv, communist MK Dov Khenin failed to defeat Mayor Ron Huldai, who will now start his third term in the post. Haifa incumbent Yona Yahav also kept his seat.

The overall voting rates stood on 55 per cent, a low turn-out which led Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit to call for legislation to fine citizens who fail to vote in future elections.

However, a couple of celebrities did succeed in their bid for local office: Moshik Liptz, who starred in TV's channel 10 reality show Survival, won in Savion, and chairman of the Bnei Sakhnin football club, Mazen Ganeim, was elected as head of Sakhnin municipal council.


Last updated: 3:27pm, November 13 2008