Meretz takes one last small step for a big Left
By BEN HARTMAN
On last day on elections campaign, Meretz pounds the pavements of Tel Aviv and petitions the court.
Meretz Party candidates for Knesset hit the streets of Tel Aviv on Monday in a
get-outthe- vote effort in the city that is the left-wing party’s base of
Party head Zehava Gal-On was joined by MKs Ilan Gilon and Nitzan
Horowitz, as well as Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg, numbers four and six
respectively on the party list.
During the tour, Gal-On said “We feel
that we have a great opportunity to form a large, meaningful left-wing camp but
we must remember that we have more work ahead of us.”
Meretz also marked
the last day of the campaign by submitting a petition to the High Court of
Justice, calling on it to implement the public housing law. The petition,
submitted to the court by by Gilon, former Meretz MK Ran Cohen and two public
housing residents, is directed at Construction and Housing Minister Ariel
Attias, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and the Amidar public housing company,
and calls on them to begin immediately implementing the law, which went into
effect on January 1, 2013.
Cohen said on Monday that “we turned to the
High Court in order to force the government to implement the rule of law. The
government [of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] has proven that it is not only
anti-welfare but that it also simply does not care about the law.” He also
accused the government of refusing to make public housing available to the
The public housing law allows citizens to purchase the public
housing they live in at a set low price. The law also states that the proceeds
from these sales will be put into a fund for public housing.
petition was submitted the day after Netanyahu announced that he would appoint
former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon to head the Israel Lands Authority. The Likud
Beytenu joint list has presented the move as an opportunity for Kahlon to bring
down housing prices like he did cellphone plan prices when he was communications
Critics have painted the move as a last-second election gimmick
hours before the polling stations open.
The petition by Meretz and the
pavement-pounding in Tel Aviv came on the last day of a campaign that has been
defined by the party’s drive to cement itself as the only real home of the
Zionist Left in Israel.
The party has been polling at between 4 and 7
Knesset seats, an improvement over their current standing of three, but a far
cry from their height of 12 during the 13th Knesset.
For anyone living in
or visiting Tel Aviv over the past several months, the message of the party has
been clear, plastered in slogans reading “Lefties come home,” “Your voice is
secure against Bibi [Netanyahu],” and in the final days of the campaign “One
last small step for a big Left.”
They have also been the only Zionist
party to speak regularly about the Palestinian issue and the peace process, and
last month issued a four-point diplomatic plan that included implementing the
suggestions of the Saudi Peace Initiative and an abolition of the Oslo
The party has drawn a clear line in the sand, vowing not to sit
in any Netanyahu-led government, though it is highly unlikely it would be
offered such a spot.
Still, in an election season that has seen
center-left parties criticized for supposedly zig-zagging and erstwhile rivals
Likud and Yisrael Beytenu join on a single party list, Meretz has taken a clear
stance – unafraid to say that they are left-wing, unafraid to garner only a
handful of seats in the next Knesset.