Nitzan Horowitz to step down as Meretz head

The health minister's decision to not run for the Meretz chairmanship currently leaves Yair Golan as the sole candidate.

 Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz will not run for the chairmanship of his party in the upcoming primaries, paving the way for current MK Yair Golan to head Meretz.

Health Minister Horowitz, who led Meretz in the second, third and fourth elections in the current cycle that began in 2019, said he will remain on the faction list for the upcoming Knesset election on November 1.

Golan is currently the only person to announce he was running for head of Meretz. However, recent reports have indicated that party members have asked former Meretz leader Zehava Galon to run. Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, who led Meretz in the first election of the current cycle, is also considering running, according to Channel 13 News.

“I am very proud of Meretz’s and my part in forming the Change Government,” Horowitz said in a video statement. “We proved that we know how to take part in the country’s leadership and we had many achievements.”

 Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan at the Knesset plenum (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan at the Knesset plenum (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Meretz head lists achievements

Horowitz mentioned a number of his own achievements in the Health Ministry, including leading it through two corona cycles without lockdowns, and enlarging its budget by NIS 2 billion.

This budget was used to advance issues on the Meretz agenda, including mental health, LGBT rights, and reform of Israel’s abortion policies and procedures, he said.

Horowitz then praised his party in the Knesset, claiming that Meretz had been an “outstanding” and “groundbreaking” faction. He also praised fellow Meretz ministers Zandberg and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej, as well as Golan.

Golan, deputy economy minister, is a front-runner in the race to take over the Meretz leadership.

“Our movement is larger than any chairperson or member,” Horowitz said. “This is how it should be. Replacement, opportunity, change.

In these elections, Meretz has a key role. It is crucial in order to form a sane government in order for there not to be a government of darkness of Bibi-Ben Gvir.”

Frej, who criticized Horowitz’s leadership of Meretz after announcing he will not run in the next election, thanked his faction head for “leading Meretz to impressive achievements in the election, the Knesset and the government.” He reiterated his call for Galon to return to lead Meretz.