The mayor of Jerusalem is fighting for his political survival in a race that has become the centerpiece of Israel's municipal elections.

Secular Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat is running against Orthodox Jewish candidate Moshe Lion.

Lion is backed by two powerful politicians: Israel's former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and the chairman of ultra-Orthodox political party Shas.

Tuesday's election results will impact the political future of Lieberman and Shas. Lieberman's party lost seats in the last national election, and Shas was once a kingmaker in Israeli politics but no longer sits in the ruling coalition.

Two leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis declined to endorse Lion. He was counting on votes from their followers.

In two other cities, two lawmakers are running to become Israel's first gay mayor and first female Arab mayor.