Former Meretz leader Zehava Galon was elected as the party’s leader on Tuesday evening, defeating her challenger Yair Golan by a large margin.
Galon won 60% of the votes in the party primaries that took place on Tuesday. Golan finished in fifth place after receiving 40% of the votes, a spot that according to recent polls may not be realistic. Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who led Meretz during the 24th Knesset, suffered an even sharper downfall, finishing in the unrealistic seventh spot, which means he won’t be part of the next Knesset.
Horowitz, who is part of the LGBTQ community, spent much of his time and efforts on advancing LGBTQ issues and women’s “rights,” such as easing Israel’s regulations on abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. He also sent a letter to the directors of hospitals across Israel ordering them to allow chometz in their hospitals on Pesach, in violation of Israel’s religious status quo – leading to the resignation of Yamina MK Idit Silman.
Mossi Raz is number two on the party slate, followed by Michal Rozin, Ali Salalha, Golan, Gaby Lasky and Horowitz.
The battle between Galon, who led Meretz from 2012-2017 and espouses exteme left views, and Golan, centered on the identity of Meretz as “Israeli” or “Zionist.” Galon views Meretz as an “Israeli” party rather than “Zionist,” focusing on Palestinian rights and progressive issues. Golan, who espoused less extreme views than Galon, strived to represent Meretz as a “Zionist left” party.
In her victory speech, Galon said: “To all those who eulogized Meretz, I have news for you: Like the phoenix that arose from the dust to a new life – tonight Meretz was resurrected. And tonight, Meretz rises again.”
“Just as the struggles of the left are reawakening and strengthening throughout the world – this is what happened tonight in Israel as well. The left is alive and well. And tonight the leftists returned to Meretz.”
“We will defeat the Bibists and the Kahanists – those who want to run over the leftists, crush their bones, put us on trains and send us out of here. Those who want to crush the Supreme Court and spill bleach on the prosecutor’s office. When Meretz is strong in the Knesset, Bibi-Ben Gvir will remain outside.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)