Municipal elections in Israel today
Today is election day for all of the local elections, mayor and city council.
I would like to focus on 1 city, Bet Shemesh, that is not getting much attention from the national press but is actually very important.
One of the candidates running for mayor is Moshe Abutbul from Shas. Abutbul made deals with a number of non-religious parties and from his ads in the secular press you would never know that he is Charedi or from Shas. Every ad has him surrounded by his bare headed coalition partners who are featured prominently. There is only 1 party that he made a deal with, that does not feature in any of his ads at all, UTJ. The reason is obvious, he is trying to to run as the stealth Charedi candidate.
This is a very important race for Shas and the Charedi world as a whole. For Shas, if Abutbul wins he would be this would be the first mayor ever elected from Shas. For the Charedi world as a whole this race is very important. The Charedi world looks at Bet Shemesh as the next big Charedi city and a place that can alleviate the housing issues.
Another interesting development in Bet Shemesh is the party Tov. Tov is a party started by Charedi baal habatim who feel that UTJ doesn't really represent them. UTJ has ran a very nasty campaign against Tov and has basically tried everything possible to get them to withdraw. They even sponsored an assembly in one of the shuls in which the focus how they (Tov) are going against the gedolim, and how people who vote for TOV cannot be called frum etc.
What UTJ hasn't done is explain why someone should vote for them, aside from the fact that the gedolim say so. This is part of the reason for Tov's success.