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What happened during the 2018 Israel Municipal Election Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 in Today's Israel

The municipal election in Israel is held every five years.

PikiWiki Israel 42039 Israel Election Day 2015 by Hedva Sanderovitz on Wikimedia Commons under public domain

In Israel, a local authority (רָשׁוּת) leader’s term (כְּהֻנָּה) lasts five years. The number of terms (כְּהֻנּוֺת) a local authority leader can serve is unlimited. Residents (תּוֹשָׁבׅים) can choose their leaders again and again, for unrestricted number of terms. Quite a few mayors (רָאשֵׁי עָרׅים) in Israel, therefore, are in office for more than a decade. Some for much longer: two, three and even four decades in a row. Approximately 20% Israeli cities (עָרׅים) –17 out of 77 – are ruled by senior mayors, serving their residents already four consecutive terms.

Shlomo Bohbot is the most veteran among them. He was chosen to be the mayor of the northern city Ma’alot-Tarshiha in 1976, at the age of 34. Back then, Ma’alot-Tarshiha wasn’t yet a city, but a local council (מוֹעָצָה מְקוֹמִית) with only 6,000 residents. Today, 42 years later, Ma’alot-Tarshiha is already a city of 25,000 residents, and Bohbot was officially still the mayor as of last month.

On October 30th, Israeli residents cast their ballots in the Israel municipal election (בְּחִירוֹת) of 2018. Bohbot, already 76 years old, didn’t receive the majority of the votes, and a run-off between him and another contender (מִתְמוֹדֵד) will be held this month. The results will determine if Bohbot is about to break the record of Avraham Krinitzi (1886 –1969) who served as the first mayor of Ramat-Gan for 43 years.

Efraim Derhi, on the other hand, didn’t planning on continuing his service as mayor. Derhi was chosen to lead Kfar Yona in 1977, then a local municipality and a home to 3,000 residents. Under his rule, Kfar Yona became a city in 2014 with 22,000 residents. After 41 years in office, Derhi was planning to retire. But many residents pleaded him to run again, and Derhi accepted their request. During the hectic election day, he explained why he decided to compete again only two months before the election. The public eventually chose another leader (מַנְהִיג), and Derhi finally departed.

Assaf Zamir, running against veteran Tel-Aviv municipal head Ron Huldai, is being interviewed, October 30th 2018, Tel-Aviv (photo by Ayana)

Derhi and Bohbot were not the only running mayors with decades of seniority in the 2018 election. Yehiel Zohar, for example, rules Netivot for almost three decades, received Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support, and won again. The only woman among these 17 mayors is Miriam Feirberg, the mayor of Natanya, who won again last month and is now beginning her fifth term. The most famous one is probably Ron Huldai, who serves as the mayor of Tel-Aviv for the last 20 years. After winning again, he declared:

“ניצחנו ועכשיו חוזרים לעבודה”

“We won, and now back to work”

Text vocabulary

Authority = רָשׁוּת

Term = כְּהֻנָּה, some still use the foreign word קָדֶנְצֽייָּה

Terms = כְּהֻנּוֺת, קָדֶנְצֽייּוֺת

City = עִיר

Cities = עָרׅים

Residents = תּוֹשָׁבׅים

Mayor = רֹאשׁ עִיר

Mayors = רָאשֵׁי עָרׅים

Local council = מוֹעָצָה מְקוֹמִית

Interior Ministry = מׅשְׂרַד הַפְּנׅים

Minister of Interior = שַׂר הַפְּנׅים

Election = בְּחִירוֹת

Contender = מִתְמוֹדֵד

Leader = מַנְהִיג

To elect = לׅבְחוֺר

To vote = לְהַצְבּׅיעַ

Seniority  = וֶתֶק

Senior = וָתִיק

 

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