Zehava Gal-On (Hebrew: זֶהָבָה גַּלְאוֹן; born 4
January 1956) is an Israeli politician, serving as a member of the
Knesset from 1999 to 2017. She was the chairwoman of the Meretz
political party from 2012 to 2018, which now has five seats in the
3 Political career
5 External links
Zehava Schnipitzky (later Gal-On) was born in 1956 in
Vilnius in the
Soviet Union (now in Lithuania). She immigrated at age four to Israel
in 1960 with her parents: father Aryeh (born 30 December 1925), a
plumber for a subsidiary of
Solel Boneh (a construction company), and
mother, Yaffa (19 February 1923 – 10 March 2012), a teacher. They
lived in a ma'abara transit camp and eventually moved to a housing
project in Petah Tikva. During her service in the
Forces, Schnipitzky served as a clerk in the Paratroopers Brigade. She
earned a bachelor's degree in
Special Education and Linguistics from
Beit Berl College, and an M.A. in the Philosophy of Education from the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Gal-On is married to Pesach (born 5 December 1953). They have two
sons, Yiftah (born 4 March 1980) and Nadav (born 28 January 1982), and
still lives in Petah Tikva.
Gal-On served as general secretary of the paper Politika, of the Human
Rights organization B'Tselem, and of the Ratz party. She is a member
of the general directorate of Meretz. Among her main activities: the
struggle for human and civil rights, women's rights, and the fight
for social justice.
In regards to IDF refuseniks, she has said that "
Meretz should not go
with the wind of refusal, but should not try to oppose it. We are a
party that believes in ideological pluralism and should not bury our
heads in the sand.
Meretz must show empathy towards the refuseniks and
must bring the matter up for public discussion and reveal the reasons
why the officers are refusing to serve."
She was elected to the
Knesset in 1999, and served as chairwoman of
Knesset committee for the struggle against trafficking in
women. She was a member of the
Knesset law and constitution
committee and the
Knesset committee. That same year, she also
called for a repeal of the Law of Return, stating that "The Law of
Return is discriminatory, it discriminates between Jews and non-Jews.
I can accept that after the Holocaust, it was kind of a necessity. But
maybe after 51 years, we are not in the same situation, and we don't
need to run our country based on such undemocratic laws."
In 2007, Gal-On launched an unsuccessful bid to become the leader of
Meretz. She believes that the party has to reinvent itself and promote
a civilian agenda, which encompasses human rights and civil liberties,
in order to remain politically viable. Gal-On said that
not afford to watch while other parties adopted some of its long-time
positions, and it must work to cement the principles of democracy and
equality in Israeli society. She lost to Haim Oron, as the polls
Gal-On volunteered her third spot on the
Meretz list for the 2009
elections as a gesture of respect for Nitzan Horowitz, but lost her
seat when the party was reduced to three seats. She attributed the
party's failure to its uncertain response to Israel's Operation Cast
Lead, and said: "My opinion was different than that of most party
Meretz is an ideological party, it must have a clear
statement even in such a situation". In March 2011 she returned to
Haim Oron retired.
On 7 February 2012 Gal-On was elected
Meretz party chair, with more
than 60% of the vote in the party's primary. In the 2013
Meretz doubled its number of seats from three to
Prior to the next election, Gal-On had said during the campaign that
she would resign if the party won only four seats. When preliminary
results of the 2015 election indicated that the party would be reduced
in representation, Gal-On announced she would resign as chairperson of
Meretz as soon as a successor is chosen, and from the
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,
Meretz gained a fifth seat.
With this success, Gal-On announced that she continue as party
leader. She said: "
Meretz received a fifth seat from young
supporters, from Israeli soldiers, who raised the party's rate of
support. That allowed
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."
In October 2017 Gal-On resigned from the Knesset, but said she would
remain leader of Meretz. Her seat was taken by Mossi Raz.
^ a b "
Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On is not looking to be loved",
haaretz.com; accessed 22 July 2014.
^ Galon, Zehava, Knesset
^ a b c "מפלגת מרצ-יחד - Zehava Galon". Archived from the
original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2007.
^ Mason, Ruth. "Zahava Galon - Advocating Tirelessly for Women". JW
Magazine (Fall 2004). Retrieved 27 December 2007.
^ Verter, Yossi (2 April 2008). "
Meretz denies ever backing
`refuseniks'". Haaretz.co.il. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
^ "Israel's Sex Trade Escalating". CBS News. 23 March 2005. Retrieved
27 December 2007.
^ "Jewish agency,
Meretz Party, Jewish law, Sun-Sentinel, 06 December
^ MK Zahava Gal-On launches
Meretz leadership bid,
themarker.captain.co.il; accessed 22 July 2014.
^ Senyor, Eli (11 February 2009). "
Meretz shock: Gal-On not in
Knesset". Ynetnews. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
^ "מרצ - הבחירות לראשות מרצ יתקיימו ב-7
בפברואר". Myparty.org.il. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May
Meretz chief Gal-On to resign in wake of party's poor showing in
election". Jerusalem Post. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March
Meretz wins 5th seat in absentee ballots, Likud secures 30th seat".
YNet. March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
^ "Gal-On decides not to quit as
Meretz chief after party rises to 5
mandates in final count". Jerusalem Post. March 19, 2015. Retrieved
March 19, 2015.
^ "LIVE BLOG: Final vote tally gives Likud,
Meretz extra Knesset
seats". Ha'aretz. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
^ "Left-wing Leader Zehava Galon Announces Resignation From Knesset",
Haaretz, 18 October 2017
Zehava Gal-On on the
Weitz, Gidi (2 April 2009). "One of a kind". Haaretz. Retrieved 4