Left-wing Meretz's New Plea to Voters: Don't Let Us Get Wiped Out This Election

Party launches new campaign urging undecided voters not to support Zionist Union.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

The left-wing Meretz party launched a campaign on Tuesday warning that it could be wiped out in next week’s election.

“We must not lose Meretz. It depends on you alone,” is the slogan of the campaign, which contradicts the party chairwoman Zehava Galon’s message over the last few weeks, dismissing fears that Meretz would not pass the electoral threshhold. Galon even estimated that Meretz, which has six seats in the current Knesset, would emerge stronger after the election.

But in the new campaign, Meretz admits for the first time that it might not make it into the Knesset because its traditional voters are bolting to Zionist Union.

The campaign comes in the wake of two polls published on Tuesday — by Channel Two and by the Knesset Channel — both of which gave the party five seats, down from six in the previous poll. Meretz is considered the only left-wing Jewish party in the Knesset. The threshold for entering the Knesset at 3.25 percent of the vote, or roughly four Knesset seats.

Meretz's latest campaign is directed toward undecided voters who are considering voting for Zionist Union in the hope that giving Isaac Herzog’s party more seats than Likud gets will usher Herzog into power instead of Netanyahu. Voters may assume that the president will give the task of forming the next government to Herzog if his is the largest party. However, Meretz is warning that this is faulty thinking; it is not the size of the party that will determine whom the president will turn to, but rather the number of party leaders who back a prime ministerial candidate and are willing to form a coalition with him.

Meretz officials caution that Herzog will have no chance of forming a government if Meretz does not pass the electoral threshold, since the party's disappearance would significantly weaken the center-left bloc that is a natural coaltion member of a Herzog-led government.

“The campaign is based on internal studies by the party that found that supporters who left Meretz and intended to vote for Zionist Union still have a great deal of support for the party and appreciation for its work, and the reason they are leaving is the belief that doing so could be an effective way to replace Bibi,” according to a party statement on the new campaign.

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