In Haredi city of Elad, Shas candidate ousts longtime United Torah Judaism mayor

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Yehuda Botbol, a local politician representing the Sephardic Haredi party Shas in the city of Elad, unseats incumbent mayor Yisrael Porush from the United Torah Judaism party.

Botbol’s hefty triumph in Tuesday’s local election – the challenger received 55% of the vote compared to Porush’s 44% — constitutes a symbolic changing of the guard in Elad, a Haredi city which for the past decade has had an Ashkenazi mayor even though the majority of its residents are believed to be of Sephardic descent.

Porush’s loss follows multiple controversies involving him, including his handing out cigarettes to minors in March and his unlicensed procurement of lemur monkeys for Elad’s zoo in 2018, which prompted the Nature and Parks Authority to raid the facility and impound the animals.

That incident is making headlines this month following the airing this week of a Channel 12 expose that shows Porush was present during the capture of the monkeys under unclear circumstances from an animal shelter. A contractor hired to catch the lemurs died within hours of being bitten by one of them, the expose also reveals.

Elad, which was established in 1994 near Petah Tikvah and got its first residents four years later, has about 50,000 residents, nearly all of them Haredi.

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