US Secretary of State John Kerry with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome, yesterday. Both sides differed over Iran’s nuclear programme as Israel called for its effective dismantlement and the United States suggested better safeguards could assure that it is peaceful rather than military in nature.
JERUSALEM: The mayor of Jerusalem has won re-election in a hotly contested race against a challenger linked to a far-right opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Former high-tech tycoon Nir Barkat won about 51 percent of votes in polling held on Tuesday, a count of all ballots showed. His main rival, Moshe Lion, polled about 45 percent. Other votes went to a third candidate.
The Jerusalem contest was seen as the most strategic of nearly 200 local government elections held across Israel, with a Barkat victory dealing a blow to his contender’s main backer, far-right former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Lieberman, currently a lawmaker, had hoped a Lion victory would give him political momentum to mount a challenge to Netanyahu’s leadership should he be acquitted in a corruption trial whose verdict was expected next month.