This Sunday (11.11)- Primaries in Meretz

The law in Israel allows political parties to choose their own method of candidate selection. In the field of political science it is customary to differentiate between three main systems, by which party lists are formed:

  1. The party leader (or leaders) form the list. This method is used in quite a number of Israeli parties: Shas, Yahadut HaTora, Yisrael Beiteinu, Kadima, Atzmaut and most of the factions of HaIchud HaLeumi will all be employing this method in various forms in the weeks prior to the elections.
  2. The party members form the list. This is the exact opposite of the first method. Every member has the right to vote in a primary election for candidates competing for a spot on the party’s list. Most parties require members to have joined the party a minimum number of months prior to the primaries in order to be eligible to vote. Likud requires a 16 month membership, Labor requires 6 months of membership, Meretz requires 4 months of membership, and HaBayit HaYehudi, which will be holding the second part of its first-ever primaries this week (November 13th), required voters to have joined by a specific date in September this year (less than two months of membership).
  3. An elected committee or convention forms the list. This is a ‘mixed’ method. On the one hand, the entire membership does not vote, however, those who do vote are elected by the members.

Meretz’s logo

 Meretz is scheduled to hold its primaries this Sunday, November 11th. Despite the fact that the primaries are taking place in less than 72 hours, there has been almost no media activity whatsoever in this respect. The newspapers seem not to care. What’s even more surprising is that neither does the party’s website.

 Most importantly, I have yet to find the answer to the most important question- will Meretz be voting according to the second method or the third method (both methods have been used in the past)? The “Mitpakdim” website, which is a site aimed at getting all Israelis to become members of some political party in order to give the general population more political influence, claims that Meretz will be using the third method. Meretz’s book of regulations, dated from 2010, as it appears on their website, claims otherwise.

 Meretz’s website has a list of the candidates as well as a link to a Facebook event. The only details given in the Facebook event are the date and location: Ganei-Hataarucha convention center in Tel Aviv. The links to the candidates’ CVs and background information on Meretz’s site do not work.

 Meretz has a convention of 1000 members, elected from the 15,000 party members. If “Mitpakdim’s” information is correct, those 1000 convention members will decide the party’s list.

 Meretz, situated at the far left of the Israeli political spectrum, is expected to receive no more than 4-5 Knesset seats, according to polls. It currently holds 3 Knesset seats.

 The list of candidates includes 17 people, most of them unknown to the Israeli public. I will list some of the better known candidates (taken from Meretz’s website and Wikipedia):


Ilan Gilon – is currently a Member of Knesset. He contracted polio in infancy and uses a wheelchair. He considers himself a Marxist.


Nitzan Horovitz- is currently a Member of Knesset. He worked as a journalist on channel 10 until he joined politics in 2009. Horovitz is openly gay and has centered his political activity on gay rights and green issues.


Avshalom Vilan– was a Meretz MK from 1999 to 2009.


Tamar Zandberg -is a member of the Tel-Aviv city council.


Mossi Raz- was secretary general of the extreme left “Peace Now” organization (1994-2000). In 2000 he became a Member of Knesset after another Meretz member resigned. He served in the Knesset until 2003.


Other Election Updates:

  • Yair Lapid, leader of the new “Yesh Atid” party, finally revealed his party’s list of candidates last week. One of the candidates on the party’s list, a former chief executive of the Health Ministry, has already left the party, presumably because he was not given a high enough place on the list.
  • As I have already updated in a previous post, Moshe Kahlon of Likud will not be forming a new party.
  • Former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has not yet announced whether he intends to take part in the elections. Meanwhile, the State Attorney submitted an appeal against the light sentence he received in one of the many corruption cases in which he is involved.
  • Uri Sagi, a former army general who was competing in the Labor party, dropped out of the race last night (November 7th). According to reports, he was asked by the head of the party, Shelly Yehimovitch, to leave the party after she received a complaint from a woman who claimed to have been molested by Sagi 39 years ago. This marks a refreshing new policy in Israeli politics of zero tolerance for corruption and crime. If only other parties would follow suit. However, it is unclear whether the woman’s claim has been investigated.
  • On Tuesday, November 6th, the 54,000 members of HaBayit HaYehudi voted for Naftali Bennet as the new party leader. Bennet received approximately 24,000 votes, while his opponent, Zvulun Orlev, received approximately 11,000 votes. This Tuesday, November 13th, the party’s members will vote again, this time to decide the party list.
  • Rabbi Amsalem‘s new party party, Am-Shalem, passed the election threshold of 2% of the vote for the first time in a poll this week. Polls now predict that he may get between 2-4 seats in the next Knesset.
  • And meanwhile, the Left is frantically searching for a candidate who can beat Netanyahu. Tzipi Livni, reportedly approached 89 year-old President Shimon Peres and suggested that he run for Prime Minister with Livni as his number two. Peres, who served as Prime Minister in his younger days turned down her offer. The position of President in Israel is mostly ceremonial. Livni and Peres are both former members of Kadima.


Read my previous election updates:

Naftali Bennet is the new leader of HaBayit HaYehudi


Updates: Likud- Yisrael Beiteinu Mega Party * More Politicians Flock to Where the Seats Are * The Race Heats Up in Habayit Hayehudi * Qassam Rockets hit the South

What’s new on the Israeli election front?

You may also be interested in a basic description of the different parties in the Knesset:

Israeli Parties and Politics- Part 1

Israeli Parties and Politics- Part 2



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