Gal-On wins Meretz leadership race

MK takes some 60 percent of vote in battle against MK Ilan Gilon, vows to make Meretz "a large and influential party."

Zehava Gal-On 311 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Zehava Gal-On 311
(photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
MK Zehava Gal-On won Tuesday’s Meretz leadership race over MK Ilan Gilon and activist Ori Ophir.
In voting at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, Gal-On received 506 votes, Gilon, 306, and Ophir, 23. Ninety percent of the Meretz council members voted.
“Meretz is waking up,” Gal-On said. “From tomorrow we will go to the streets of Israel to make Meretz a large and influential party.”
Gal-On thanked her predecessor Meretz chairman Haim Oron and said she felt overwhelmed to fill the shoes of former Meretz leaders Shulamit Aloni, Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin.
She vowed to make Meretz “sharp and chutzpahdik” and focus the party on fighting for human rights and peace. She said the formation of a leftwing government in Israel was possible.
Oron said he was happy his former seat had been filled. He and Gilon offered to help Gal-On.
During the six hours of voting, the hallways of the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds were full of Gal-On activists in green shirts, Gilon in red shirts, and Ophir in white shirts.
Gal-on attacked former journalist Yair Lapid, who will compete with Meretz for votes. He sent his followers on Tuesday a lengthy document with his views on issues affecting the middle class and attacks on rival parties.
He called Kadima "a group of failed politicians” and Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich a radical leftist. He promised he could bring support from both the Left and Right ends of the political map.
Pledging to support reforms in the political system, he vowed his party would not accept any appointments of ministers without portfolio.
“Our goal is to win enough seats so we will be able to set the agenda of the next government,” Lapid wrote. “Experience shows that with 15-20 seats, we can free the next government from political extortion to enable it to do what is really important: Decrease the size of the government and change the government’s priorities on housing, education, health, internal security.”
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who can not run for the next Knesset due to the cooling off period law, is set to unveil a new movement encouraging changes in the political system in a speech in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.