Meretz officially out of Knesset for first time since party is formed

Meretz leader Galon: "The election results are a disaster for Meretz, a disaster for the country, and yes, also a personal disaster for me."

 Meretz Leader Zehava Galon (photo credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)
Meretz Leader Zehava Galon
(photo credit: GILI YAARI/FLASH90)

Meretz will not be a member of the 25th Knesset, according to data from the Central Elections Committee after 99.5% of the votes from Tuesday’s election were counted.

Meretz earned 3.14% of the vote, below the electoral threshold of 3.25%. It needed just 3,800 more votes to pass that line. As a result, its approximately 151,000 votes will not count in the division of seats, leaving the bloc led by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with 64 seats, and the parties that oppose him with 56 seats.

“This is a very difficult moment for me and for my friends in Meretz. The election results are a disaster for Meretz, a disaster for the country and a personal disaster for me,” Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon said in a video to her supporters after the announcement.

“A few days before the elections, when I already knew that Meretz was in tangible danger, this very nightmare crossed my mind, of a Knesset without Meretz – [Shulamit] Aloni and [Yossi] Sarid’s party – but with [Meir] Kahane’s [ideological descendant, Otzma Yehudit, as part of the Religious Zionist Party list ].

“For this, I did what I never thought I would do again. When I saw that Meretz was in danger, I returned to the throes of politics, hoping to save Meretz and the entire bloc,” said Galon.

 Meretz Party chairwoman Zehava Galon casts her vote at a voting station in Bnei Brak, during the Knesset Elections, on November 01, 2022. (credit: Roy Alima/Flash90) Meretz Party chairwoman Zehava Galon casts her vote at a voting station in Bnei Brak, during the Knesset Elections, on November 01, 2022. (credit: Roy Alima/Flash90)

"A few days before the elections, when I already knew that the danger to Meretz was great and tangible, this exact nightmare crossed my mind. Of a Knesset without Meretz."

Zehava Galon

She added that while she realized a few days before the election that her party was in danger, Prime Minister Yair Lapid "played with fire" and did not call on voters to support her.

"Not really a victory for the Right"

“The Right’s victory, with its racist and oppressive partners, is not a real victory. There is an equal number of Israelis on one side and on the other who believe in equality, human rights, ending the occupation and social justice.

“Look at what is happening in all the countries in the world that are now going through a wave of neo-fascism. They are confronted by a great human spirit insisting that human beings are equal. No Kahanist, no fascist, no homophobic racist or chauvinist will extinguish this spirit,” Galon said.

“The humanistic values do not disappear because of 3,800 votes that chose the wrong ballot. They are not blocked by any electoral threshold. We will continue to fight, and in the end we will win,” she concluded.

Meretz MK Mossi Raz wrote on Twitter, “I hope that from this low place a new left-wing party will rise, which will include Meretz, Labor and other elements, Jews and Arabs, from the periphery and the center of the country, women and men who will promote our values.”

Despite requests from both Lapid and Galon in September that Labor and Meretz run together, Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli was the one who refused to even consider a merger.

In a press conference on Thursday night, however, Michaeli did not take responsibility, and blamed Lapid for convincing voters to choose a large party over a party struggling to pass the electoral threshold. Michaeli’s party will enter the Knesset with four seats, far less than the seven it had in the previous Knesset.