The leader of the left-wing Meretz party, which doubled its current three
mandates to six or seven for the 19th Knesset, says the electorate is seeking an
alternative to the country’s governing parties.
“These elections have
proved that the public is crying out for the Left and for an alternative,”
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said in a speech to supporters at party
headquarters in Tel Aviv after the results of exit polls were released on
Gal-On also called on the leaders of centrist parties to
rally with Meretz and form a strong opposition bloc to counter a coalition led
by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud.
“I call on them to
build together an alternative to preserve democracy and restore sanity to
Israel,” she said. “This could be a historic opportunity to change the rule of
the extreme Right, which has crushed democracy.”
She also thanked Meretz
voters on her Facebook page on Wednesday morning.
“We said one more small
push for a large Left,” she stated. “But the push wasn’t small, it was
huge, and it was yours, tens of thousands of voters, of volunteers and of
activists who believed in the way and the goal and trusted us.”
that she was “grateful and filled with pride.”
“I can’t physically hug
all of you so I am sending you a virtual hug and hope you feel it,” she said.
“Thanks to you we will reach our goal.”
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon also
expressed his satisfaction and said the election results had proved that “rumors
of the death of the Left in Israel” were not true.
chose an alternative to the racist and anti-democratic voices present in the
last Knesset. They chose an alternative to the extremism that characterized the
campaigns of right-wing parties,” Gilon said in a statement on
“This is the first step to the deployment of a true Left camp,
a seeker of peace and social justice that constitutes a strong opposition
fighting for human rights and the separation of religion from the state,” he
The party’s number three, MK Nitzan Horowitz, who had stayed
“cautiously optimistic” throughout election day, had yet to react to the
Earlier on Tuesday, as Israelis went to the polls, Gal-On
repeatedly expressed optimism regarding the results.
“I’m hoping we will
double or even triple our seats in the Knesset this time,” she told The
as she joined young Meretz supporters in north Tel Aviv. “I think
people see in Meretz a party you can believe in. Bibi will be prime minister
again, but we are going to be a strong fighting opposition.”