Polling Stations Close, Counting Begins

Voter turn out recorded at 42.63% across the country for municipal elections,

Maayana Miskin & Adam Ross,

Incumbent Ron Huldai votes in Tel Aviv
Incumbent Ron Huldai votes in Tel Aviv
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Polling stations across Israel have closed, with counting now beginning in the country's municipal elections held every five years. The most recent turnout was given as 42.63%. 

By 8.30 p.m. Ministry Interior statistics said 32% of voters had turned out in the capital Jerusalem, while In Tel Aviv, under a quarter of residents,  22% had cast ballots according to the ministry. 

By 7 p.m. far higher turnouts had already been recorded in the hareidi-religious cities of Elad and Kiryat Sefer, where 65% cast votes, although the highest voter turn was recorded in the Bedouin town of Arah where 94% turned out.

Beit Shemesh, where tensions have been high owing to recent religious secular tensions, has seen 45% cast votes.

Five minutes to decide five years
Earlier Tuesday, Minister of the Interior Gidon Saar released a statement urging Israelis to get out and vote. “Each resident invests just a few minutes in casting a vote, and it has significance for the next five years,” he said.

Unlike in national elections, when voters select a party list alone, in the municipal elections voters were asked to make two choices: a local political party, and a mayoral candidate.