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MERETZ (Hebrew : מֶרֶצ‎, lit. "Vigour") is a left-wing , social-democratic , green , and Zionist political party in Israel .

The party was originally formed in 1992 with the union of Ratz , Mapam
Mapam
, and Shinui and was at its peak in the 13th Knesset
Knesset
between 1992 and 1996, during which it held 12 seats. At the 2015 legislative elections the party won five seats.

Meretz
Meretz
is a secular party emphasising a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
, social justice , human rights (especially for ethnic and sexual minorities ), religious freedom , and environmentalism .

The party is a member of the Progressive Alliance and Socialist International , and is an observer member of the Party of European Socialists .

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 1999–2009 * 1.2 2009–present

* 2 Ideology

* 2.1 Stated principles

* 3 Chairpersons (leaders) * 4 Knesset
Knesset
Members * 5 Meretz
Meretz
supporters abroad * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links

HISTORY

Meretz
Meretz
was formed in 1992 prior to the 1992 legislative elections by an alliance of three left-wing political parties; Ratz , Mapam
Mapam
and Shinui , and was initially led by Ratz's chairwoman and long-time Knesset
Knesset
member Shulamit Aloni . The name "Meretz" (מרצ‎) was chosen as an acronym for Mapam
Mapam
(מפ"ם‎) and Ratz (רצ‎). The third party of the alliance wasn't reflected in its name, but was instead mentioned in the party's campaign slogan: "ממשלה עם מרצ, הכוח לעשות את השינוי‎" (A government with VIGOR , the strength to make the CHANGE ). Its first electoral test was a success, with the party winning twelve seats, making it the third largest in the Knesset. Meretz
Meretz
became the major coalition partner of Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
's Labor Party , helping pave the way for the Oslo Accords . The party also picked up several ministerial portfolios; Aloni was made Minister of Education, though disputes over the role of religion in education meant she was moved out of the education ministry to become Minister Without Portfolio in May 1993. In June she became Minister of Communications and Minister of Science and Technology , a role that was later renamed Minister of Science and the Arts. Amnon Rubinstein became Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and Minister of Science and Technology and later Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport , whilst Yossi Sarid was named Minister of the Environment and Yair Tzaban
Yair Tzaban
named Minister of Immigrant Absorption .

After the 1996 elections , in which Meretz
Meretz
lost a quarter of its seats, Aloni lost internal leadership elections to Yossi Sarid and retired. In 1997 the three parties officially merged into a single entity, though part of Shinui (under the leadership of Avraham Poraz ) broke away to form a separate movement. Later in the Knesset
Knesset
session David Zucker also left the party to sit as an independent MK.

1999–2009

The 1999 elections saw the party regain some of its former strength, picking up 10 seats, including the first ever female Israeli Arab MK , Hussniya Jabara . Meretz
Meretz
were invited into Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
's coalition, with Sarid becoming Education Minister, Ran Cohen Minister of Industry and Trade , and Haim Oron Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development . However, after Likud leader Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
beat Barak in a special Prime Ministerial election in 2001 , Meretz
Meretz
left the government.

On 22 October 2002 Meretz
Meretz
MK Uzi Even made history by becoming the first openly gay Member of Knesset, after Amnon Rubinstein retired. This created a vacancy and Even was next on the Meretz
Meretz
list. His term lasted less than three months, however, as the Knesset
Knesset
was dissolved in January 2003. Even's entry to the Knesset
Knesset
was met by mixed reactions from the ultra-orthodox parties; Shas
Shas
's Nissim Ze\'ev was the harshest, saying Even "symbolized the bestialization of humanity," adding that he should be "hidden under the carpet" and banned from entering the Knesset.

For the 2003 elections , Meretz
Meretz
were joined by Roman Bronfman 's Democratic Choice . However, the party shrank in representation again, this time to just six seats. Sarid immediately took responsibility and resigned from leadership, though he did not retire from the Knesset and continued serving as an MK, before stepping down prior to the 2006 elections .

In December 2003 Meretz
Meretz
was disbanded in order to merge with Yossi Beilin 's non-parliamentary Shahar (שח"ר‎) movement. The original name suggested for the new party was Ya'ad (יעד‎, Goal), but was not used because it sounded like the Russian word for poison ("yad"), and it was feared that it might alienate Israel's one million Russian-speaking voters (although there had been two parties previously in Israel
Israel
using the name – Ya\'ad and Ya\'ad – Civil Rights Movement , the latter ironically a forerunner of Meretz, they both existed before large-scale immigration from the Soviet Union). Instead, the name Yachad (Hebrew: יח"ד) was chosen. As well as meaning "Together", it is also a Hebrew acronym for Social-Democratic Israel
Israel
(Hebrew: ישראל חברתית דמוקרטית‎, Yisrael Hevratit Demokratit).

The new party was established in order to unite and resuscitate the Israeli Zionist peace camp, which had been soundly defeated in the 2003 elections (dropping from 56 Knesset
Knesset
members in 1992 to 24 in 2003) following the Al-Aqsa Intifada . The party's purpose was to unite a variety of dovish Zionist movements with the dovish wing of the Labor Party. However, the efforts were largely unsuccessful as, except for the original Meretz, Shahar and Democratic Choice, no other movement joined the new party. It has suffered from declining popular interest in left-wing peace movements, as a result of the rise in Palestinian violence, and only 20,000 people are now registered members of the party, half the number who were prior to the 1999 party primaries.

In March 2004 Yossi Beilin was elected party leader, beating Ran Cohen, and started a two-year term as the first chairman of Yachad. In July 2005 the party decided to change its name to Meretz-Yachad, because opinion polls revealed that the name Yachad was not recognisable to the Israeli public, and that they preferred the old name Meretz. The chairman Beilin opposed the motion to revert the name to Meretz
Meretz
and a compromise between the old and new names, Meretz-Yachad, was agreed upon.

However, in the 2006 election campaign the party dropped the Yachad part of its name, running as just Meretz, under the slogan " Meretz
Meretz
on the left, the Human in the centre". Nevertheless, it failed to stop the party's decline, as they won just five seats. In 2007, Tsvia Greenfeld , sixth on the party list, became the first ever female Ultra-orthodox Knesset
Knesset
member, following Yossi Beilin's decision to retire from politics.

In March 2008, internal elections for the chairman of the party were held. At an early stage, Yossi Beilin, Zehava Gal-On , and Ran Cohen announced their bids. After Haim Oron announced his bid in December 2007, Beilin withdrew his bid and announced his support for him. Oron went on to win the internal elections held on 18 March 2008 with 54.5% of the vote, beating Ran Cohen (27.1%) and Zehava Gal-On (18.1%) to become Meretz's new chairman.

On 22 December 2008 Meretz
Meretz
finalized its merger with Hatnua HaHadasha ("The New Movement") for the 2009 Israeli elections .

2009–PRESENT

The joint Meretz-Hatnua HaHadasha list ended up winning only 3 seats in the elections . This electoral loss was largely attributed to traditionally left-wing voters choosing to strategically vote for Kadima
Kadima
, in an effort to get Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
to head the next government instead of Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud .

Following the party's failure in the 2009 legislative elections, some of the party members called for the resignation of the party chairman Haim Oron and to give way for Zehava Gal-On. Haim Oron indeed left the Knesset
Knesset
on 23 March 2011 and later left the chairmanship of the party. As a result, MKs Zehava Gal-On , Ilan Gilon , and youth activist Ori Ophir began campaigning to win the position of the party chairman. The primaries were held on 7 February 2012 for the position of the party's chairman; Zehava Gal-On was elected as the chairman with 60.6% of the votes, whilst Ilan Gilon was second with 36.6%, and Uri Ofir was third with 2.8%.

In the 2013 legislative election held on 22 January 2013, Meretz received 4.5% of the national vote, winning 6 seats.

On 8 December 2014, Meretz
Meretz
signed a surplus-vote agreement with the Labour Party for the upcoming 2015 legislative election , the latter set to contest the election as the Zionist Union
Zionist Union
. On 19 January 2015, Meretz
Meretz
held its primaries at a meeting of its 1,000-member central committee in the Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Convention Center : Zehava Gal-On was re-elected party leader, whilst MK Nitzan Horowitz chose not to stand for re-election.

In the next election, preliminary results of the 2015 election indicated that the party would be reduced she announced she would resign as chairperson of Meretz
Meretz
as soon as a successor is chosen, and from the Knesset
Knesset
in order to open a place for Tamar Zandberg , the party's fifth place candidate who appeared to have lost her seat. Zandberg, Ilan Gilon and others urged Gal-On to reconsider her decision. Once absentee and soldier ballots were counted, however, Meretz
Meretz
gained a fifth seat negating the premise for Gal-On's earlier announcement and she announced that she would continue as party leader, saying: " Meretz
Meretz
received a fifth seat from young supporters, from Israeli soldiers, who raised the party's rate of support. That allowed Meretz
Meretz
to maintain its strength in terms of the number of voters – some 170,000 – compared with the last election. Under the circumstances and against all odds, that is a success."

IDEOLOGY

Meretz
Meretz
marchers at the International Human Rights March, Tel Aviv, 7 December 2012

Meretz
Meretz
defines itself as a Zionist, left-wing , social-democratic party. It sees itself as the political representative of the Israeli Peace movement in the Knesset
Knesset
– as well as municipal councils and other local political bodies.

In the international media it has been described as left-wing, social-democratic, dovish , secular , civil libertarian , and anti-occupation .

STATED PRINCIPLES

The party emphasises the following principles (not necessarily in order of importance):

* Peace between Israel
Israel
and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution as laid out in the Geneva Accord . * Freezing construction of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank . * Human rights issues:

* Struggle for the protection of human rights in the Israeli-occupied territories . * Rights of minorities in Israel
Israel
(such as Israeli Arabs and foreign workers ), fight against discrimination, and support for affirmative action . * Women\'s rights and feminism . * LGBT rights .

* Struggle for social justice :

* Making Israel
Israel
a social-democratic welfare state . * Protecting workers' rights and fighting against their exploitation (especially, though not exclusively, in the case of foreign workers and immigrants).

* Separation of religion and state , and religious freedom. * Liberal secular education. * Israel's security. * Environmentalism.

CHAIRPERSONS (LEADERS)

* Shulamit Aloni (1993–1996) * Yossi Sarid (1996–2003) * Yossi Beilin (2004–2008) * Haim Oron (2008–2011) * Zehava Gal-On (2012–present)

KNESSET MEMBERS

KNESSET KNESSET MEMBERS COMMENTS

12TH KNESSET (1988) 10 Seats:

* Ratz: Shulamit Aloni , Mordechai Virshubski , Ran Cohen , David Zucker , Yossi Sarid * Mapam: Haim Oron , Hussein Faris , Yair Tzaban
Yair Tzaban
* Shinui: Avraham Poraz , Amnon Rubinstein

The party was formed 9 March 1992 with the union of Ratz, Mapam, & Shinui.

13TH KNESSET (1992) 12 Seats:

* Ratz: Shulamit Aloni , Ran Cohen , David Zucker , Yossi Sarid , Naomi Chazan , Binyamin Temkin * Mapam: Haim Oron , Walid Haj Yahia , Yair Tzaban
Yair Tzaban
, Anat Maor * Shinui: Avraham Poraz , Amnon Rubinstein

14TH KNESSET (1996) 9 Seats:

* Ratz: Naomi Chazan , Ran Cohen , David Zucker , Yossi Sarid * Mapam: Haim Oron , Walid Haj Yahia , Anat Maor * Shinui: Avraham Poraz , Amnon Rubinstein

* In 1997, Ratz, Mapam, this includes the London-based Meretz
Meretz
UK, France's Cercle Bernard Lazare, and the USA's Partners for Progressive Israel
Israel
. The World Union of Meretz
Meretz
has representation in a number of organizations, such as the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish National Fund .

Hashomer Hatzair , a progressive Zionist youth movement with branches in many countries, is informally associated with Meretz, although its historic connection had been with Mapam
Mapam
.

American Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman , whose sister Susan moved from the USA to Israel
Israel
and is a Reform rabbi there, asked Israeli voters to choose Meretz
Meretz
in the 2015 election .

SEE ALSO

Meretz
Meretz
balloon flying at the Rabin memorial rally in Rabin Square , 1 November 2014

* Peace Now * Young Meretz-Yachad * Meretz Youth

REFERENCES

* ^ Ishaan Tharoor (14 March 2015). "A guide to the political parties battling for Israel’s future". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 June 2015. * ^ A B Melanie J. Wright (2013). Studying Judaism: The Critical Issues. A&C Black. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-4725-3888-8 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ "Guide to Israel\'s political parties". BBC News. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2015. * ^ Itamar Rabinovich (2009). Waging Peace: Israel
Israel
and the Arabs, 1948–2003. Princeton University Press. p. 147. ISBN 1-4008-2597-0 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Sharon Weinblum (2015). Security and Defensive Democracy in Israel: A Critical Approach to Political Discourse. Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-317-58450-6 .

* ^ Meretz
Meretz
is commonly described as social-democratic political party:

* Ronit Chacham (2003). Breaking Ranks: Refusing to Serve in the West Bank
West Bank
and Gaza Strip. Other Press, LLC. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-59051-099-5 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Shmeul Sandler; Manfred Gerstenfeld; Jonathan Rynhold, eds. (2013). "Appendices". Israel
Israel
at the Polls 2006. Routledge. p. 281. ISBN 978-1-317-96992-1 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Hoda Ragheb Awad (2013). "The Legal Status of Women in Eqypt: reform and social inertia". In Fatima Sadiqi; Moha Ennaji. Women in the Middle East and North Africa: Agents of Change. Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-136-97037-5 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Gershon Shafir (2014). "Business in Politic: Globalization and the Search for Peace in South Africa and Israel/Palestine". In David Levi-Faur; Gabriel Sheffer; David Vogel. Israel: The Dynamics of Change and Continuity. Routledge. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-135-30142-2 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Jenna Lea (2007). "Israel". In Karl R. DeRouen; Paul Bellamy. International Security and the United States: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 391. ISBN 978-0-313-08486-7 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Emilie van Haute; Anika Gauja, eds. (2015). Party Members and Activists. Routledge. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-317-52432-8 .

* ^ Meretz
Meretz
is described as a Zionist political party:

* Allan Russell Juriansz (2013). King David\'s Naked Dance: The Dreams, Doctrines, and Dilemmas of the Hebrews. iUniverse. p. 280. ISBN 978-1-4759-9569-5 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Ilan Pappé (2003). "The Square Circle: The Struggle for Survival of Traditional Zionism". In Ephraim Nimni. The Challenge of Post-Zionism: Alternatives to Fundamentalist Politics in Israel. Zed Books. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-85649-894-4 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Ofir Abu; Fany Yuval; Guy Ben-Porat (2011). "All That is Left: The Demise of the Zionist Left Parties 1992–2009". In Asher Arian; Michal Shamir. The Elections in Israel 2009. Transaction Publishers. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-4128-4432-1 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Naomi Kazan (2005). "The Knesset". In Raphael Cohen-Almagor. Israeli Institutions at the Crossroads. Routledge. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-134-22676-4 . Retrieved 16 June 2015.

* ^ Meretz
Meretz
is recognised as secular by numerous texts:

* Gideon Doron; Michael Harris (1 January 2000). Public Policy and Electoral Reform: The Case of Israel. Lexington Books. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7391-0134-6 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Asher Cohen; Bernard Susser (24 May 2000). Israel
Israel
and the Politics of Jewish Identity: The Secular-Religious Impasse. JHU Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-8018-6345-5 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Dieter Nohlen; Florian Grotz; Christof Hartmann (15 November 2001). Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook : Volume I: Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia: Volume I: Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. OUP Oxford. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-19-153041-8 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * William Safran (2 August 2004). The Secular and the Sacred: Nation, Religion and Politics. Routledge. p. 221. ISBN 978-1-135-76211-7 . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * Mayn Katz (1 April 2005). Song of Spies. Variocity. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-933037-73-8 . Retrieved 16 June 2015.

* ^ "Meretz". Ynetnews. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ "Participants". Progressive Alliance. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ "Member Parties of the Socialist International". Socialist International. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ "Members". Party of European Socialists (PES). Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ "Openly Gay Knesset
Knesset
Member Ripples the Establishment". Northern California Jewish Bulletin . 11 October 2002. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Somfalvi, Attila (2008-03-19). "MK Oron voted new Meretz chairman". Ynetnews . Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Senyor, Eli (2008-12-22). " Meretz
Meretz
finalizes union with new leftist movement". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2008-12-23. * ^ Senyor, Eli (12 February 2009). " Meretz
Meretz
chief: Women\'s groups support of Livni harmed us". Ynetnews. Retrieved 7 December 2012. * ^ "גלאון: "זה בוקר קשה עבורי"" (IN HEBREW). CHANNEL 2 NEWS . RETRIEVED 19 MAY 2012. * ^ פרידה בדמעות מג\\'ומס: "אחד הפרלמנטרים הבולטים שעיצבו את הכנסת" (IN HEBREW). KNESSET. 23 MARCH 2011. ARCHIVED FROM THE ORIGINAL ON 21 SEPTEMBER 2011. RETRIEVED 19 MAY 2012. CS1 MAINT: BOT: ORIGINAL-URL STATUS UNKNOWN (LINK ) * ^ Hoffman, Gil (28 December 2011). "Young activist joins Meretz leadership race". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 June 2015. * ^ " Elections in Israel January 2013". Israel
Israel
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ " Meretz
Meretz
and Labor sign vote-sharing agreement". The Jerusalem Post. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ " Meretz
Meretz
primary puts incumbent MKs on top of Knesset
Knesset
slate". Haaretz. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Lahav Harkov (18 March 2015). " Meretz
Meretz
chief Gal-On to resign in wake of party\'s poor showing in election". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 18 March 2015. * ^ " Meretz
Meretz
wins 5th seat in absentee ballots, Likud secures 30th seat". Ynetnews. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015. * ^ "Gal-On decides not to quit as Meretz
Meretz
chief after party rises to 5 mandates in final count". The Jerusalem Post. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015. * ^ "LIVE BLOG: Final vote tally gives Likud, Meretz
Meretz
extra Knesset seats". Haaretz. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015. * ^ Attila Somfalvi (19 September 2008). "Livni reaches out to Meretz". Ynetnews. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Nissan Ratzlav-Katz (25 December 2008). "UN Condemns Hamas; Meretz
Meretz
Wants Military Action". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ "Ultra Left Meretz
Meretz
Party Decimated". CBN News. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Etgar Lefkovits (21 September 2008). "Egged removes political ads on \'haredization\' of J\'lem". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Ashraf Khalil (9 February 2009). "Livni going after far left, women before Israeli vote". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Lahav Harkov (11 March 2015). " Sarah Silverman endorses Meretz". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 June 2015. * ^ Sarah Silverman (11 March 2015). "Israel!". Twitter. Retrieved 16 June 2015.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to MERETZ .

* Official website (in Hebrew) * English portal of official website * Meretz
Meretz
on Facebook
Facebook
(in Hebrew) * Meretz\'s