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Israel’s Meretz party giving up on Arabs

Despite the support it gained in the September elections within the Israeli-Arab communities, the Meretz party list will not include an Arab candidate in a realistic slot.
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Midnight on Jan. 15 will be the last chance parties have to submit their lists of Knesset candidates for the 23rd Knesset to the Central Elections Committee. With both parties hovering around the electoral threshold, Meretz and Labor-Gesher came to the conclusion on Jan. 12 that they have no choice. If they really want to survive the upcoming elections, they will have to unite. “We need to join forces with Meretz,” said Amir Peretz, Labor-Gesher party chairman and Knesset member, at a meeting of his party’s leadership. Then he added, “Even if we are being forced into it." He and Meretz party Chairman Nitzan Horowitz then met for a meeting described as “decisive.” By the end of the meeting it was decided that the two parties would run March 2 on a joint ticket.

On the eve of the September 2019 election, Meretz merged with former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s Democratic Israel and Stav Shaffir’s Green Movement and ran as a single list, known as the Democratic Camp. Together, these three parties were able to garner just five seats. At the same time, the Labor party, which joined forces with Orly Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher party, received just six seats. Since then, the Democratic Camp has fallen apart, and Meretz, like Labor-Gesher, could, according to the most recent polls, fall below the electoral threshold.

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