The Story of Meretz
In 1973 Shulamit Aloni established the Ratz party. Ratz’s main issues were the separation of religion and state and human and civil rights. The party was also called the Movement for Civil Rights. Ratz acted as an independent party until 1992, except for a short period in which it joined Lova Eliav and another period in which it was a part of the Alignment faction (“HaMaarach”). In 1992 Ratz joined the parties Mapam and Shinui. And so Meretz was established. Since then, Meretz has been and still is today the party most important and most active regarding social issues in the Knesset. Knesset member Ran Cohen of Meretz led the efforts for the Public Housing law being passed by the Knesset. The most active Knesset member of the Finance Committee for many years was Haim “Jumes” Oron. The best Minister of Education Israel ever saw was Yossi Sarid, according to all of the mayors and municipal council heads, many of whom belong to other parties. Shulamit Aloni, the founder of Meretz, is one of the most impressive and principle-driven women the Israeli political system has known. In 2000 Aloni won the Israel Prize in the Contribution to Society category. The judges’ justification for her win was “her fight for human respect and for humans’ fundamental and natural rights, her acting as a voice for citizens, her fight for correcting injustices, and standing for equality of the different peoples and faiths in Israel and for mutual respect.”
The judges added that “many of the issues Aloni fought for bravely as a vanguard have become public domain, some of which are no longer disputed.”
Knesset member Zehava Galon, today the chairperson of Meretz, continues to follow the path of the movement’s founders in her unrelenting struggle for human and civil rights, freedom, equality, justice and peace. In the current Knesset, Gal-On has been named “the number one legislator for women.” The other Meretz Knesset members, Ilan Gilon and Nitzan Horowitz, are active in many various fields, such as good governance and fighting corruption, legislation for fighting violence against women, gender representation, cancelling discrimination against the gay community, public medicine, and so on. A study performed by ‘The Social Guard’ determined that “Meretz acts to promote social legislation more than any other faction.”
Meretz views itself as a left-wing Israeli party that promotes human and civil rights, a social-democratic economic policy, a vehement opposition to continuing the occupation, and political moderation. Meretz believes in and promotes the values of equality, morality, justice and peace and is not ashamed to say, loud and clear, things that no other party dares to.
Wherever she goes, Gal-On is discovering that many are gathering anew around Meretz. The students are with Meretz. The high-schoolers are with Meretz. Meretz is once more becoming the proud, strong, left-wing party of Israel.
The undecided voter has quite a lot of alternatives, but the principle that must guide his or her vote is clear: Weakening the right-wing parties and the Haredim in order to halt Israel’s slide into political isolation, fascism and apartheid.
Israel’s historic left-wing party has been accused of lacking passion, but what else do you call its lonely and tireless defense of democracy?
Speaking to about 30 academics who are considering voting for Meretz, Oz compared Israel to an apartheid state and made angry predictions about its future.The writer and Israel Prize laureate Amoz Oz harshly attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Labor chairwoman MK Shelly Yacimovich.
Zahava Gal-On, the leader of the left-wing Meretz party, is holding a live Q&A with Haaretz readers. She talks about the status of civil rights in Israel, the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace and preventing Netanyahu from winning the elections.
: Meretz supporters write
Why I’m Voting Meretz / Barry Leff
Why I’m Voting Meretz / Ellis Shuman