The decision by longtime Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On to step aside for the upcoming primaries to make way for a younger leadership symbolizes more than just a generational shift. Knesset member Tamar Zandberg, likely to be crowned on March 22 as Gal-On’s successor in the left-wing party, is signaling a clear shift in political strategy, shelving the Gal-On style “purism” that has ruled out any type of partnership with right-wing parties.
Zandberg wants to “exert influence from within” and is therefore willing to join a government in which hawkish Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is a member. In a Feb. 13 Haaretz article, Zandberg argued that one cannot change politics from the outside. She has not retracted her statement to the effect that she does not rule out joining a governing coalition that includes Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beitenu. When asked by Al-Monitor whether she supports a partnership with a party that advocates the expulsion of Israel’s Arab citizens and whose top leadership is suspected of corruption, she responded, “Meretz will not join any calls for a transfer [of Arabs], of course, nor will it lend a hand to corruption. I am striving for Meretz to be part of a left-wing government that makes peace and promotes social justice. Not part of any other government.”