Zehava Galon: Labor could crash out of Knesset without Meretz merger

When asked if a merger is needed, Zehava Galon said that "out of responsibility, you must consider that one of the parties could fall [below the threshold].

 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)

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli's Labor party could fall below the electoral threshold in November's election if it does not merge with Meretz, chairwoman Zehava Galon said in a Shabbatarbut event in Rishon Lezion on Saturday.

When asked if a merger is needed, the former MK said that "out of responsibility, you must consider that one of the parties could fall [below the threshold].

"Meretz is on an upwards trend, Labor is falling," she added, arguing Labor has less momentum than her party.

Israeli left-wing torn on Labor-Meretz merger question

Galon's comments come amid increased pressure from Labor and Meretz's left-wing base to merge in order to maximize the Left's votes in the upcoming elections to the Knesset.

Earlier this week, the two parties reached an understanding that if they end up running separately in the upcoming election they will sign a surplus vote-sharing agreement.

 Members of the Knesset's Finance Committee vote for a  bill to promote competition and reduce concentration separation between major financial corporations and major financial institutions in the Israeli parliament on June 18, 2013 (credit: FLASH90) Members of the Knesset's Finance Committee vote for a bill to promote competition and reduce concentration separation between major financial corporations and major financial institutions in the Israeli parliament on June 18, 2013 (credit: FLASH90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid also called for the factions to merge, warning that failure to do so could result in a government led by opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu and MK Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Galon responded to the prime minister's comments with a humorous tweet alluding to Merav Michaeli's unwillingness to merge with Meretz.

Michaeli defends decision to distance Labor from Meretz

Michaeli, who has long expressed her opposition to the idea of a merger on the Left, defended her view in a Friday Facebook post in which she explained that the whole would be smaller than the sum of its parts.

She noted that in a recent N12 poll, a Meretz-Labor union took nine seats, one less than if the parties were to run separately. In that scenario, the parties will win five seats each, according to the poll.

"I am attentive to the voices in our camp attempting to engineer the political map in a way that could potentially give our bloc the advantage," the transportation minister wrote. "This is precisely my goal, too."

She finished by saying that "this is why I am convinced Labor and Meretz should run independently."