Activists call for Labor-Meretz merger ahead of elections

Michaeli has consistently refused to enter negotiations with Meretz, arguing that the two parties were different. Galon, on the other hand, supports such a move.

 Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli, Meretz leader Zehava Galon (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli, Meretz leader Zehava Galon
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

A combined 79% of Meretz and Labor support the two parties’ merger ahead of the upcoming election, according to a new poll.

The poll, which was carried out by the Kantar Institute amongst 450 participants, found that 71% of Labor voters and 87% of Meretz voters wanted the two left-wing parties to run in a joint list.

The poll was circulated by a group of activists along with a flyer calling on the Meretz leader Zehava Galon and Labor leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli to make the “brave decision,” ahead of the September 15 deadline for parties to hand in their lists.

Michaeli has consistently refused to enter negotiations with Meretz, arguing that the two parties were different and that similar mergers in previous elections did not work. Galon, on the other hand, supports a merger.

“Merav, Zehava, this is the voice of the moment. A moment for a rare opportunity – founding a bloc led by two women leaders! Leaders who [inspire] hope, freedom, equality and peace,” the flyer said.

Labor leader Amir Peretz and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz after announcing a merger between the two parties ahead of the 2020 elections.(credit: LABOR-GESHER PARTY SPOKESPERSON)Labor leader Amir Peretz and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz after announcing a merger between the two parties ahead of the 2020 elections.(credit: LABOR-GESHER PARTY SPOKESPERSON)

“Merav, Zehava, the voice of the moment is also our voice. We are 79% of Meretz and Labor voters who want this merger to happen,” the flyer continued.

“One large, ethical, strong bloc, standing unified against the enemies of democracy, freedom and rule of law. A bloc determined to fight racism, equality and the high cost of living. A battle for equality for women, and certainly against violence against women. A battle for the state, a battle for two states.

“One unified bloc, composed of two movements whose consciences and moral compasses are identical and whose hearts are in the right place.

“Merav, Zehava, together, we will pass the electoral threshold! Together, we will block a racist right-wing government.

“There already are two brave women leaders. Now, one brave decision is necessary,” the flyer concluded.

Who is behind the campaign?

The campaign’s leaders include Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Shikma Shwartzman, leader of the “Black Flags” movement that protested against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he was still in office; Amir Haskel and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Asaf Agmon, also from the anti-Netanyahu protest movement; Brig.-Gen. Giora Inbar; TV and media personality Shira Margalit, and others.

“The Right, including [MK Itamar] Ben-Gvir and [MK Bezalel] Smotrich, have merged and organized, which increases the importance of a merger between the left-wing parties in the ‘Change Bloc,’” the group said in a statement.

“An additional poll by Kantar Institute found that a merger between the parties brings the joint party 11 mandates. However, a technical merger carried out in the last minute out of a fear of falling below the electoral threshold may cause it to lose a mandate or two,” the group said.

If the parties remain separate and one does not pass the electoral threshold, the chances are significantly larger that opposition leader Netanyahu will be able to form a right-wing government, the group added.

“Voters of both parties have arrived at an understanding that this strategic merger will ensure the continuation of the ‘Change Government,’” the group concluded.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid has also said that he supports the parties merging.

Labor responded on Tuesday.

“Lapid is acting irresponsibly and repeating past mistakes. The joint run in the 2020 election was a serious failure that led to the founding of a government led by Netanyahu. We will continue to act responsibly, and leave the clashes of ego … to Lapid and Netanyahu,” the party said in a statement.