Meretz Lawmaker Attacks Party Leader Over Fears for Future of Israeli Left Wing

Michal Rozin has thrown her support behind Nitzan Horowitz, who is challenging current party head Tamar Zandberg

Meretz head Tamar Zandberg at a party meeting, May 27, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Lawmaker Michal Rozin of Meretz sharply criticized the party’s chairwoman, Tamar Zandberg, accusing her of bringing the party to “the brink of extinction” and saying she was “fearful” for what the future held for the party and the entire Israeli left wing.

Rozin’s criticism came in the context of her expressing support for former lawmaker Nitzan Horowitz, who is challenging Zandberg for party leadership.

“[Horowitz] was an excellent parliamentarian, he’s a popular man in Israel with a lot of merit,” said Rozin in an interview with Kan Radio.

Rozin added that since Zandberg was elected head of Meretz, the party has stood in place to the point of reaching “the brink of extinction.” She added that Zandberg ran the last election campaign alone and that she omitted party members from the list, contrary to party practice in past elections.

“We have never been a leader’s party, I’ve always said you don’t vote Meretz solely on the basis of its leader. Meretz’s world view did not exist during the campaign, it hasn’t been sharpened at all in the past year,” Rozin said.

She added that Zandberg is a worthy lawmaker, and therefore she has proposed reserving a spot for her on the party’s list in the September election but that Zandberg voted against that proposal. It was ultimately decided that the Meretz Conference would choose the party’s leader and the composition of the party’s list of candidates for the Knesset.

She hinted that Zandberg ought to quit her post as party chairwoman: “It’s a matter of management – you have to be a leader, to get up and say ‘I am leading the party to a new place and therefore I must leave my position,’ that would be the proper thing to do.”