Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform.
(photo credit: MERETZ)
Nine candidates announced their candidacy for the leadership of Meretz by Monday’s deadline, and will face off in the party’s first-ever primary on March 22.
The candidates are: incumbent Zehava Gal-On, MKs Ilan Gilon and Tamar Zanberg, former Peace Now secretary-general Avi Buskila and party activists Avi Dabush, Imri Kalman, David Kashana, David Naveh and Ofir Paz De Portuguese.
The nine-candidate field is nearly double the size of the current Meretz faction, which has five MKs.
The party’s membership drive, which ended on Sunday, resulted in Meretz boosting its numbers to some 31,000 members, including 13,000 new ones.
“The fact that the party doubled its membership in a matter of months and reached a record reflects the strengthening of Meretz’s image as the main opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which I am sure will be expressed in the next election,” said MK Mossy Raz, who is the party’s secretary-general.
Gal-On wrote on Facebook that she was very happy that the party had fulfilled her vision of expanding its ranks.
“We went from being a closed-door club to a giant in quantity and quality,” she said. “The 30,000 Meretz members said no to Netanyahu and nyet to [Defense Minister] Avigdor Liberman. Now it is time for Meretz to enlarge the Left as a whole.”