Aliza Bloch, former school headmistress and mother of four, won a wafer-thin majority in the Beit Shemesh municipal election and unseats long-serving ultra-Orthodox Moshe Abutbul as mayor. This small town in the Judean Hills frequently hits the headlines over clashes between ultra-religious and secular residents. Bloch attributes her victory to a platform which addressed the local citizens’ needs rather than divisive national issues. Haifa, too, one of Israel’s three main cities, has its first lady mayor. Einat Kalush, an urban planning expert, roundly defeated Yonah Yahav, the three-term incumbent.