Peace Now head running for Meretz leader

Peace Now secretary-general Avi Buskila the first Sephardi head of Peace Now.

Meretz Bus 521 (photo credit: Courtsey Meretz)
Meretz Bus 521
(photo credit: Courtsey Meretz)
Peace Now secretary-general Avi Buskila quit his post over the weekend and announced Sunday that he is running in the March 22 Meretz leadership race.
Buskila, 42, is the son of immigrants from Morocco. He was born and raised in Mishmar Hayarden, a moshav in the Galilee, and now lives Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliyahu neighborhood. The first Sephardi head of Peace Now, he has led the organization since April 2016.
“Our party is acting like a rusty ship stranded on the seashore,” Buskila wrote on his Facebook page. “No one stole the country. We gave it up without noticing. The time has come to fight for it, because it’s worth it.”
Buskila joins a crowded field that includes incumbent Zehava Gal-On, MKs Ilan Gilon and Tamar Zandberg, and activist Avi Dabush. The other candidates welcomed him to the race.
“I am happy about the wide variety among the candidates that was enabled by my effort to open the party,” said Gal-On.
Gal-On’s son Nadav, who is the spokesman for Peace Now, was kept in the dark about his boss’s political move.
Dabush, who is no longer the only Sep  hardi candidate in the race, vowed to stay in the contest and win. He said he was still the best candidate to bring Israel’s peripheries to the party.
“I welcome Buskila to the race and wish the best to all of us,” Zandberg said.
Zandberg received a key endorsement Sunday from former Meretz leader Yossi Beilin. She was endorsed last week by former Meretz MK Ran Cohen, for whom she was a spokeswoman when he was in the Knesset.
“I believe in Tamar Zandberg’s ability to make Meretz younger and more relevant,” Beilin said. “I believe Tamar is our future.”