Nir Barkat reelected, but so was the terrible Moshe Abutbol
The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem won re-election on Wednesday in a hotly contested race that dealt a political blow to his challenger's main backers, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.With his shady record, it's good he failed.
Lieberman, a legislator whose far-right Yisrael Beitenu party is allied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, is embroiled in a corruption case, with a court verdict next month likely to determine whether he returns to the cabinet.
The Jerusalem race, in which his mayoral candidate, Moshe Lion, failed to unseat incumbent Nir Barkat, had been an opportunity for Lieberman to flex some political muscle.
Now the bad news: Moshe Abutbol, the corrupt, discriminatory mayor of Beit Shemesh, was sadly reelected. There was a lot of corruption and fraud involved though, so it remains to be seen if that'll impact the results. In fact, there were several Haredis arrested for ID fraud:
Election day was marred by suspicion of fraud as police arrested eight Beit Shemesh residents thought to be involved in fraudulent using the identities of Israeli citizens who live abroad to vote multiple times. Officers subsequently raided two apartments in the city and discovered about 200 identity cards, which were confiscated.For now, however, it does not bode well for the city, since now, a lot of people could end up leaving as they become a Haredi enclave.
All the identity cards were found to belong to Israelis living abroad and who are barred from voting in the municipal elections. The raid also turned up various items of clothing that may have been intended for use as disguises. In addition, the raid yielded different voter lists for various voting stations in the city.
Abutbol even went so far as to attack Zionist leaders in speech, plus Netanyahu, proving that no matter how dreadful he's turning out to be himself, he has no respect for him either.
Whatever the future holds, I do believe that funding for Beit Shemesh will have to be cut off if a message is to be sent to Abutbol for the damage he's caused.