ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Smotrich asks for local elections to be delayed again amid Israel-Hamas war

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a Religious Zionism party faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 27, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks at a Religious Zionism party faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 27, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Religious Zionism party chief Bezalel Smotrich asks Interior Minister Moshe Arbel to again push back nationwide municipal elections, saying that many of his party’s candidates are currently serving in the military reserves and cannot run adequate campaigns.

Last week, Arbel set municipal elections for January 30 in most communities, with a later date to be set for communities evacuated from the southern and northern fronts, amid the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza and fighting with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Smotrich says that 62% of Religious Zionism’s candidates for municipal office are currently in reserve duty, affecting campaigns in the 66 municipalities in which the far-right party has fielded a candidate. The group includes nearly a quarter of the party’s candidates for mayor or local council head.

Smotrich asks Arbel to “postpone the elections to a date to be determined only at the end of the war, in order to ensure proper elections that do not discriminate against those who fight and sacrifice their lives for the State of Israel and the people of Israel.”

The original nationwide election date, October 31, was pushed back after Hamas launched its shock October 7 terror attack and triggered the ongoing war.

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