From left to right (Attn Gaby Lasky, MK Issawi Frej, MK and Meretz chair Tamar Zandberg, Mossi Raz at Meretz press conference Monday morning.
(photo credit: COURTESY MERETZ)
Meretz MK Esawi Frej and former MK Mossi Raz both threw their support behind current party chairwoman Tamar Zandberg on Monday morning for the upcoming Meretz leadership contest.
Their backing for Zandberg follows the decision of the party’s convention not to open up the leadership contest or primaries for the party list to a vote by the party’s entire 31,000-strong membership, but rather to keep both votes within the thousand-member convention itself.
Both Frej and Raz stated last week that they were considering joining the race for Meretz leader, and both also backed a motion to create two chairmanship positions that could have been used to elect a Jewish and Arab chairperson.
That motion was also defeated on Sunday night.
The only declared candidate currently in the leadership race other than Zandberg is former Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz.
Frej, Raz and Zandberg held a news conference on Sunday morning at which Frej and Raz announced that they would not be running and are backing Zandberg.
“There will not be a [political] revolution without Jewish-Arab partnership,” said Frej, adding that the relatively large number of Arab votes Meretz took in the April elections was “proof” that Arab society wants such a partnership.
“Tamar Zandberg has proved that she is a full partner in this process,” Frej continued. “The Left must remain in the State of Israel.”
Raz also gave praise to Zandberg, saying she was the most committed leader for Meretz to the concept of Jewish-Arab partnership and to “the struggle against the occupation.”
Zandberg herself spoke of Meretz’s emphasis on Jewish-Arab cooperation on the political level, while strongly denouncing the Israeli Right and its agenda.
“The Right is uniting around racists and Kahanists; we are uniting for equality,” said Zandberg. “We have made partnership and equality a banner, as an ethical force and as a political force. The Right made hatred for the Left and Arabs into a system, and the silence of the [political] Center entrenches the hatred. A Smotrich coalition threatens to return us to the Middle Ages,” she said, in reference to hard-line National Union MK Bezalel Smotrich.
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