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The New Movement-Meretz was established in the period leading up to the elections to the 18th Knesset, with the ambition of filling the vacuum created in Israeli politics in the center and left of center.

However, the closer we get to election day, the more the doubts increase about the ability of this organization to fulfill its aim.

The leaders of the movement invested a great deal of effort attacking the Labor Party and the man at its helm, Ehud Barak, and presented themselves as a sane, just and humanistic alternative. But is that indeed so?

Meretz suffered a total and resounding failure with its automatic support for the decision to go to war in Gaza. We had more than enough supporters of the war, both at its inception and as it continued - after all, the representatives of Labor and Kadima led this war in the government. Meretz did not provide an alternative, at any rate not a humanistic one.

That is precisely what also happened to Meretz two years ago, during the Second Lebanon War. Support for one erroneous war could be attributed to naivety; support for two erroneous wars indicates carelessness.

The only right to existence of a party like Meretz is in its being a courageous and true alternative that gives voice to clear and precise positions. When this voice becomes blurred and turns into nothing more than a weak echo of the positions of the large parties in the center and on the left, its role becomes redundant.

The voters of the left therefore have no reason to support a party whose positions are flaccid. In a war of the type waged in Gaza it is not enough to express criticism post factum, as the leaders of Meretz are doing now.

Their test came during the first week of the war, and they failed that test. Even the reinforcements in the form of the New Movement with its plethora of intellectuals did not prevent the failure.

Despite all the self-justification and twisting and turning on the part of its leaders, voting for Meretz is no different from voting for the Labor Party, certainly not with regard to the supreme test of a politician's mettle - his judgment.

Meretz's failure leaves a vacuum among the left-of-center public. These are sad tidings for Israeli politics.

It is to be hoped that a real Zionist left-wing peace party will be established in Israel before the next elections. Until then, there is no point in casting a vote for Meretz