Minister Moshe Arbel at the polling station
Minister Moshe Arbel at the polling stationSpokesman

Election day for local authorities is taking place almost without any incidents. As of 8 pm, about 45% of those with the right to vote have voted in elections for local authorities.

This number does not include IDF soldiers who voted in the combat zones, soldiers on base and police on duty, who vote in double envelopes and these will be counted only later tonight.

The highest percentages of voting were recorded in Sajur (80%), Kafr Manda (78%) and the Gilboa regional council (70%).

In the larger cities, the leaders are: Bnei Brak (51%), Ashdod (39%), Tel Aviv - Jaffa (35%), Haifa (33%), and Be'er Sheva (31%).

Irregular events were recorded in several polling stations, but the police took immediate action and prevented any escalation.

The police arrested a Beit Shemesh resident in his 20s, on suspicion of election bribery in the city. An investigation revealed that the suspect, who is an activist on behalf of a party contesting in the elections for mayor of Beit Shemesh, gathered votes from voters who chose not to vote, in return for payment for their vote.

In Bnei Brak, the police arrested a 37-year-old man who came to vote at the polling station and identified himself using an identity card that apparently did not belong to him.

The candidates in the cities and regional councils already went out to vote, before the long day expected for them until the polls close.

Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, opened the election morning with a prayer at the Western Wall and then voted at the polling station at the Hebrew Gymnasia High School in the capital.

Hagit Moshe, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and chairperson of the Religious Zionist list in the city, voted in her local neighborhood - Ramot. Deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Aryeh King, voted at the Guy Ben Hinnom polling station near his house.

The Incumbent Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, who is running for a sixth term, has already voted at the Naomi Shemer school in the Tel Baruch neighborhood. Candidate Orna Barbivai voted at the Kokhav Hatzafon polling station in the city.

Yona Yahav, the former mayor of Haifa who is running for office once again, voted at the polling station near his home in the Denya neighborhood, together with his wife and daughters.

Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion council, who is running for another term, voted at the polling station in his village of Karmei Tzur.

Former MK Oren Hazan, candidate for mayor of Ariel, voted at the polling station in Gan Geffen in his city.

Mayoral candidate in Beit Shemesh Shmuel Greenberg voted at the polling station near his house.

In the local authority elections, 24,910 candidates are running on 3,705 lists. 801 candidates are running for the position of head of the authority. Of these 83 are women, and 474 are candidates running for the first time as mayor or councilor.

The Ministry of the Interior published data, according to which the oldest candidate running for head of a council, is 74 year old Tali Argaman, from Givatayim, and the two youngest candidates are 31 years old – David Hadas from Shoham and Michal Shapira from Ma'ale Ephraim.

Forty-eight candidates are 21 years old, and the oldest candidate is 105 year old Advi Samikh, who is running on the list for the Turan city council.

There are over 11,000 polling stations around the country in 242 regional authorities and they will close at 10:00 p.m. In small settlements with up to 350 voters and special polling stations (in hospitals, sheltered housing, old age homes and prisons) the polling stations will close at 20:00.

Soldiers and reservists who are in combat were able to vote already from last week. Even today, the IDF soldiers will be able to vote at approximately 570 polling stations in bases and combat zones until 21:00. Dedicated mobile polling stations operate between the outposts, Iron Dome batteries and standby classrooms in various communities, in order to reach all IDF forces and enable them to exercise their right to vote. The northernmost polling station is on Har Dov and the southernmost at the Taba outpost.

השר ארבל: הבחירות לרשויות משפיעות לא פחות מהבחירות לכנסתצילום: דוברות

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel voted at the polling station at the Yad Habanim Community Center in Petah Tikva and called on all citizens to go out and vote. "Local authority elections influence the lives of citizens no less than the Knesset elections," Arbel said.

The chairman of New Hope Minister Gideon Sa'ar voted at the polling station near his home at Beit Hayeled school in Tel Aviv. "Israel is a strong and vibrant democracy - go vote and make an impact," said Sa'ar.

State President Yitzhak Herzog exercised his right to vote in the local authority elections and voted at the Arts High School in Jerusalem. "We have fulfilled our duty and have now voted in the elections for the local authorities, in the elections for the mayor and the city council in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel," Herzog said.

He added, "The local government affects our lives in a very dramatic way, every aspect of civilian life in Israel is handled by the local authorities. Therefore, if we really want to influence the direction our lives are taking, it is best to go out and vote in the local authority elections. This has been proven all the more so during the war. In a state of emergency, we see the municipality and the local authority and council handling and coping with many challenges, and nothing is more important. I call on the citizens of Israel – go out and vote and make an impact."

"I also ask everyone that if you see booths and polling stations of the families of the hostages, please express your demand and prayer to see the hostages home very soon. Please go up to them, hug them, sympathize with them, and give them a real sense of caring and solidarity. Prove that Jewish people are responsible for each other – for there is no greater mitzvah than redeeming captives," Herzog said.

Anyone coming to the polling stations must identify themselves using one of the following documents: identity card (teudat zehut), passport, Israeli driver's license, personal military ID and transit card. The certificate must be valid and include a photo of the voter.

Votes will be counted after all polling stations are closed. Due to the high number of reserve duty soldiers, the Ministry of the Interior is expecting about 400,000 double envelopes, four times more than during the previous elections. Because of this, the publication of the final results may be significantly delayed.

After the counting of votes begins, results will be gradually published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, with final results delivered only at the beginning of next week.

In authorities where none of the candidates for the position of council authority obtain more than 40% of the votes, a second round of elections will be held on Sunday, March 10.

In eleven local and regional authorities, from which residents were evacuated after October 7th, elections will be held on November 19. In the south: the city of Sderot and the regional councils of Eshkol, Shaar HaNegev, Sdot Negev and Hof Ashkelon. In the north: Kiryat Shmona, Shlomi and the Upper Galilee councils, Mevo’ot Hermon, Merom HaGalil and Ma'ale Yosef.