MK Tamar Zandberg.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Tamar Zandberg announced that she was entering the crowded field of candidates in the March 22 Meretz leadership race, joining incumbent Zehava Gal-On, MK Ilan Gilon, and Sderot party activist Avi Dabush.
Zandberg, 41, said on Thursday that she believes the time has come for Meretz to have young, new leadership after years of the press declaring the party tired, boring, and irrelevant. She said she admired Gal-On and Gilon, but the time has come for the party to move on.
“I decided to run in order to raise the party and the Israeli Left from its current nadir,” Zandberg said. “The time has come to say clearly: ‘Meretz needs a new spirit and a new leader.’”
Zandberg said she saw an opportunity because of disgust she sensed in the public with the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies on the Right. She said she believes the Left could come to power and Meretz could win 10 Knesset seats and play a central role in the next government.
“After too many long years of the Right bullying the Left, the time has come for us to raise our heads high, fight fire with fire, and bring excitement and joy back to our camp,” she said. “We cannot let it happen that we will find ourselves once again begging for the party to be kept alive a moment before a general election.”
Zandberg noted that unlike the two veteran candidates, she was “born into a reality of occupation” and came of age after the Left had lost the control over the country that it enjoyed in Israel’s first three decades.
She said she was the best candidate to represent young couples, students, and socioeconomic protesters.
The other candidates all welcomed Zandberg’s candidacy. Gilon said the fact that there are four candidates running proved the importance of the party, and Dabush said he agreed with her that the time has come for new leadership.
Gal-On said her move to shift the race from the party’s governing council of 1,000 people to a primary of 18,000 Meretz members with a membership drive, facilitated more candidates to be able to run.
“I am sure that after I get reelected, we will work together with the determination to advance our joint values and help Meretz grow,” Gal-On said.