Today is the municipal election day in Israel. Polls opened at 7am and will close at 10pm. The results should be made known sometime about midnight here.
This is now the fourth municipal voting I have witnessed.
The arguments haven't changed in 20 years….
Voters complain that the main problem of the languishing local authorities is “too much politics and too little municipal services”.
But the police have been involved too this year with no less than four indictments being filed against mayors around the State in the past year.
The High Court has ruled that if these men, found guilty of various crimes, are elected again, that they are liable to be removed from office.
This serves only to strengthen the fact of what the public is feeling.
Over here, mayors and local council members are elected separately. This strengthens corruption and the wheeling-and-dealing mentality in coalition politics as the mayors try to form governing majorities.
The ironic problem with this is that rather than making the voters lives better, whoever is elected today is going to make life better for the politicians who will comprise the council!
And again at this election time here in Jerusalem, we are reminded that there is a constituency of around 250,000 Palestinians who can vote but wont, as they continue their protest of the 1967 Six Day War where Jerusalem was unified under Israeli control and the inequality of municipal services.
This action suits both Jewish politicians and policies – such as settlement activity in Arab neighborhoods. If the Arab population were to vote in mass – it could have a decisive effect on the races for both mayor and city council.
But they don't. It is another thing that doesn't seem to change, and seems a missed opportunity. It is a longstanding, highly sensitive, and complex issue here in the Middle East, and in Jerusalem in particular.
I'll be sharing the results with you tomorrow on Wednesday's Harvest Show – so be sure to join us!
Middle East Correspondent