JERUSALEM (AP) — Voters in a deeply divided Israeli city have returned an ultra-Orthodox mayor to his post after he narrowly defeated a secular challenger in a repeat vote held following fraud allegations.
Beit Shemesh's incumbent Mayor Moshe Abutbul won 51 percent of Tuesday's vote. His opponent, Eli Cohen, won 49 percent.
Cohen conceded defeat on Wednesday, telling Israel Radio that the majority decided "it wants a city with an ultra-Orthodox character."
The city's 100,000 residents are almost equally split between ultra-Orthodox and other Jewish groups. Results from initial elections in October showed voters lined up almost entirely along religious affiliation.
After the October vote in which Abutbul narrowly defeated Cohen, dozens of witnesses alleged fraud. The vote was challenged in court, which later ordered new polls.