Municipal Elections Today in Israel; Cabinet Members Participate in Election Campaign
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Municipal Elections Today in Israel; Cabinet Members Participate in Election Campaign

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Special policemen and civil guards were today assigned to maintain order at tomorrow’s municipal elections which will take place in various parts of the country. With the polling places open from 7 A.M. to midnight the election results are not expected to be known until fairly late on Wednesday.

The intense electionsering, in which even Cabinet Ministers and the Premier participated, continued right up to this evening with many political leaders and government officials touring various cities to speak over loud speakers and at public rallies. Work will stop in the 43 constituencies where the electors will vote for 527 municipal councillors.

In Tel Aviv the electorate numbers some 168,000–including the receptly in-corporated city of Jaffa. One hundred and sixty-eight polling places will be used. In Jerusalem the 51,000 voters will have a choice of 14 different slates in the first municipal elections to be held in the city since 1936. The only voting that took place since was the balloting for members of the Parliament in January, 1949, when some 35,000 of an eligible 43,000 men and women went to the polls.

One of the interesting developments of this election is that some 5,500 Arabs in the five principal cities of the country will participate in the elections. Arabs will vote in Jerusalem, the Jaffa section of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ramleh and Lydda.

Three independent all-Arab slates are in the field in Haifa, Lydda and Ramleh. Three all-Jewish lists are appealing for the Arab vote, while two parties have mixed slates. In Haifa a slate called “Arab and Minorities” is running a list of candidates headed by the Deputy Mayor of the city, Shehadeh Effendi Shalah. The slate is supported by the Arab Workers Party which is affiliated with the Histadrut and includes representatives of Christian groups such as the Christian Brotherboed League of Nazareth and the Greek Orthodox Youth League.

Both the Mapam and the Communist Parties have Arabs on their slates, while the Sephardic Party is campaigning in Arab areas on the basis of the “close and traditional relations” between the Arabs and Sephardic and Oriental Jews. In Jerusalem only the Sephardim and the Progressives are appealing to the 1,000 Arab voters who have entered no independent slate. In Tel Aviv-Jaffa the Histadrut list includes several Arabs.

One of the major points of interest in this election is that it is expected to give an indication of the relative strength of the parties. The arrival of tens of thousands of immigrants, many from Oriental countries, plus the enfranchisement of many more Arabs is expected to change the relative party positions.

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