Meretz takes one last small step for a big Left

On last day on elections campaign, Meretz pounds the pavements of Tel Aviv and petitions the court.

Meretz hits streets on eve of elections 370 (photo credit: Tal King)
Meretz hits streets on eve of elections 370
(photo credit: Tal King)
Meretz Party candidates for Knesset hit the streets of Tel Aviv on Monday in a get-outthe- vote effort in the city that is the left-wing party’s base of support.
Party head Zehava Gal-On was joined by MKs Ilan Gilon and Nitzan Horowitz, as well as Michal Rozin and Tamar Zandberg, numbers four and six respectively on the party list.
During the tour, Gal-On said “We feel that we have a great opportunity to form a large, meaningful left-wing camp but we must remember that we have more work ahead of us.”
Meretz also marked the last day of the campaign by submitting a petition to the High Court of Justice, calling on it to implement the public housing law. The petition, submitted to the court by by Gilon, former Meretz MK Ran Cohen and two public housing residents, is directed at Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and the Amidar public housing company, and calls on them to begin immediately implementing the law, which went into effect on January 1, 2013.
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Click for full JPost coverage
Cohen said on Monday that “we turned to the High Court in order to force the government to implement the rule of law. The government [of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] has proven that it is not only anti-welfare but that it also simply does not care about the law.” He also accused the government of refusing to make public housing available to the poor.
The public housing law allows citizens to purchase the public housing they live in at a set low price. The law also states that the proceeds from these sales will be put into a fund for public housing.
The Meretz petition was submitted the day after Netanyahu announced that he would appoint former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon to head the Israel Lands Authority. The Likud Beytenu joint list has presented the move as an opportunity for Kahlon to bring down housing prices like he did cellphone plan prices when he was communications minister.
Critics have painted the move as a last-second election gimmick hours before the polling stations open.
The petition by Meretz and the pavement-pounding in Tel Aviv came on the last day of a campaign that has been defined by the party’s drive to cement itself as the only real home of the Zionist Left in Israel.
The party has been polling at between 4 and 7 Knesset seats, an improvement over their current standing of three, but a far cry from their height of 12 during the 13th Knesset.
For anyone living in or visiting Tel Aviv over the past several months, the message of the party has been clear, plastered in slogans reading “Lefties come home,” “Your voice is secure against Bibi [Netanyahu],” and in the final days of the campaign “One last small step for a big Left.”
They have also been the only Zionist party to speak regularly about the Palestinian issue and the peace process, and last month issued a four-point diplomatic plan that included implementing the suggestions of the Saudi Peace Initiative and an abolition of the Oslo Accords.
The party has drawn a clear line in the sand, vowing not to sit in any Netanyahu-led government, though it is highly unlikely it would be offered such a spot.
Still, in an election season that has seen center-left parties criticized for supposedly zig-zagging and erstwhile rivals Likud and Yisrael Beytenu join on a single party list, Meretz has taken a clear stance – unafraid to say that they are left-wing, unafraid to garner only a handful of seats in the next Knesset.