Meretz doubles Knesset faction from 3 to 6 or 7

"Bibi will be Prime Minister again, but we are going to be a strong fighting opposition,” says party leader Zehava Gal-On.

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On with activists 370 (photo credit: DANIELLE ZIRI)
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On with activists 370
(photo credit: DANIELLE ZIRI)
The Meretz Party doubled its Knesset mandates according to exit polls released Tuesday night, jumping from its current three seats to either six or seven. After the results were published, party chairwoman Zehava Gal-On called for a strong opposition bloc to counter Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Earlier in the afternoon she told The Jerusalem Post “I have a good feeling that we will get about eight to 10 mandates,” as she joined young activists giving out Meretz stickers and pamphlets outside the Ramat Aviv Mall in north Tel Aviv.
“I’m hoping we will double or even triple our seats in the Knesset this time. I’m very optimistic,” she said, compared to the party’s current three seats. “I get texts from people telling me they voted Meretz and even messages from some of the polling stations telling us there is a shortage in Meretz paper slips. I have a feeling we will be in a good mood tonight.”
After casting her ballot in Petah Tikva on Tuesday morning, Gal-On and dozens of young Meretz supporters wearing the party’s signature green shirt met voters in the streets and engaged in final attempts to convince hesitant voters to cast their ballot for the party.
“Bibi [Netanyahu] will be prime minister again, but we are going to be a strong fighting opposition,” she told an undecided voter who approached her and expressed concerns regarding the outcome of the elections, “Don’t hesitate anymore, we are not a party that just talks and makes promises, go vote Meretz.”
Amongst the activists who chanted slogans and applauded for Gal-On, Aviv Perry and his girlfriend, Emily Milan Eide, came to support the party for one specific reason: its stance on civil marriage.
“I support civil marriage and Meretz is the only party that could really take it further,” Perry told the Post. “For me today, what matters is not how many mandates we get, it’s the fact that I get my voice out and I express myself against the huge force of the Right.”
“I support Meretz because they support us being together,” added Milan Eide, who followed Perry to Israel after they met in her homeland of Norway two years ago.
“I’m very touched when I see so many young people and volunteers coming out to support us, it’s heartwarming,” said Gal- On. “I think people see in Meretz a party you can believe in.”
Meanwhile, Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz met supporters at a coffee shop in Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv and explained that while he is optimistic, he anxiously awaits the final results.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, until the votes are really closed, anything can happen,” he told the Post after ordering an Americano coffee with hot milk on the side. “We’ve worked very hard over the past few months, we’ve rallied thousands of people to help us, made big efforts, and it all comes down to this day. Today is the day.”
Horowitz said he hopes Tuesday’s election will strengthen Meretz and “possibly change the current leadership.
“Bibi does not have to be our fate.”