Israelis vote in local polls, amid Palestinian boycott
Palestinian religious figures have urged Palestinian residents in Jerusalem to boycott the Israeli vote
Israeli voters went to polling stations on Tuesday in the country’s municipal election, amid a boycott by Palestinian residents.
Polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. local time and will close at 10 p.m. local time.
More than 6.6 million Israelis are eligible to cast their ballot in the vote.
According to the Israeli Interior Ministry, around 11,000 polling stations have opened in 251 municipalities across Israel for the vote.
A total of 863 candidates are vying for some 251 city, town and regional councils nationwide during the vote.
Local elections are held every four years in Israel amid partisan rivalries.
Like every year, attention is drawn to the Israeli-occupied city of East Jerusalem, where the vast majority of Palestinians boycott the vote since Israel captured the city during the 1967 Middle East war.
Palestinians, who are considered as "permanent residents" under Israeli law, are entitled to cast ballot, but not to run in the vote.
According to Israeli official figures, Palestinians make up around 40% of Jerusalem's population in its both eastern and western parts.
In the recent weeks, Palestinian religious figures have urged Palestinian residents in Jerusalem to boycott the vote.
The Palestinians view the participation in the Israeli election as an endorsement of the Israeli occupation of the holy city.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Druze Arabs in the village of Majdal Shams in Israel-occupied Syrian Golan Heights demonstrated against the Israeli polls.
The municipal polls in the village have been already cancelled after all candidates withdrew from the vote.