Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS on 28 February, 2024

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv Mayors Re-elected In Vote Delayed By Gaza War

Public By Pesach Benson • 28 February, 2024

Jerusalem, 28 February, 2024 (TPS) -- The incumbent mayors Jerusalem and Tel Aviv coasted to re-election as Israelis voted on Tuesday in municipal elections delayed by the war in Gaza.

In Jerusalem, Mayor Moshe Lion won 81.4% of the vote with nearly 100% of the ballots counted, securing his second five-year term.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was challenged by Maj. Gen. (res.) Orna Barbivai, the highest-ranking woman in the Israel Defense Forces and former Minister of Economy and Industry. With most of the votes counted, Huldai won 51% of the vote to Barbivai’s 37%. A third candidate, former Knesset member Yuvall Zellner took 12% of the vote.

The war put a damper on what would usually be a festive night for the winners.

“I admit that this is difficult for me, and in these moments, I’m thinking, first of all, of all the hostages we pray to return as soon as possible to the State of Israel. I’m thinking of the IDF soldiers and security forces who are fighting for us in these moments,” said Lion.

Voting took place in 233 cities, regional councils and local councils throughout the country. However, 180,000 evacuees from 11 communities near the Gaza and Lebanon borders will have to wait till November 19 to vote.

Several municipalities, including Haifa, will hold run-off elections as no candidate secured enough votes.

Voter turnout was 49.2%.

Separately, national elections for the Knesset, by law, must be held no later than October 27, 2026.