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Palestinians Again BoycottEast Jerusalem Elections

Voter turnout among Palestinians varied drastically among regions for municipal elections in Israel on Oct. 22, amid a near-comprehensive boycott in east Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (C) walks after praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City  October 23, 2013. Barkat  won re-election on Wednesday in a hotly contested race that dealt a political blow to his challenger's main backers, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. REUTER/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTX14KZG

The voter turnout rates tell the story. Israel held elections on Oct. 22 for all its cities and communities as well as for what Israel calls “united Jerusalem.” While the overall national voter turnout rate was 51%, the variation between Arab towns in Israel and Jerusalem were the largest. The largest Palestinian city in Israel, Nazareth, witnessed one of the highest percentages of participation, while east Jerusalem saw a near-total boycott.

Incumbent Nazareth Mayor Ramez Jariysi was re-elected with the thinnest of margins (a 500-vote difference), defeating his toughest challenger, Ali Salem. A third contender for the office of mayor, left-wing Knesset member Hanin Zoubi, was also unsuccessful. Participation was very high in Nazareth, topping 73% of qualified voters in the town where Jesus grew up.

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