In Jerusalem, Nir Barkat edged past challenger Moshe Leon - the joint candidate of Avigdor Liberman (Israel Beitenu) and Arye Deri (Shas) - to retain his seat; in Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai won a fifth term; Yonah Yahav is re-elected in Haifa; and Rubik Danilovitch, who won big (92 percent), in Beersheba. Mayors Shlomo Lahiani in Bat Yam and Yithzak Hochberger in Ramat Hasharon kept their seats although under indictment for corruption charges.
The average national turnout has not been finally computed, but by the time the polls closed in 191 towns and villages across the country Tuesday night, it was an estimated 42.6 percent of the 5.46 million eligible voters – below even last year’s low 51.8 percent.
Voter apathy especially in the main towns greeted the lackluster campaigns run by the contenders for office as mayors, heads of local councils and council members. The only mayor seriously challenged was Nir Barkat in Jerusalem. The defeat of his challenger Moshe Leon counts as a political failure for his backers Liberman and Deri - and their parties - on the wider national scene, after Prime Minister Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu withheld his endorsement of their candidate.