It ain’t the first time Meretz seeks to change its name in an attempt to gain a broader public momentum.
In 2003 Meretz brought in Yossi Beilin and temporarily changed its name to Yachad. This was the year Yossi Sarid resigned from its chairman position in Meretz, and the year when Meretz initiated a self-inflicting coma.
Now, having survived 5 gloomy years, Meretz is trying to play the same card again — but this time, casting it in a different direction… ??
So many Israelis crave to see a government with a Socialist agenda. As we all know, Americans clearly chose the Socialist path when electing Barack Obama a month ago. And it’s high time that this small country would have a true Socialist alternative as well.
In 2003 Meretz largely abandoned its “social agenda” in favor of Beilin’s “peace agenda”. And as a result, a large percentage of their electorate eventually chose in 2006 to vote for Amir Peretz, who led an alleged Socialist agenda within the Israeli Labor Party.
Every big party, or any party that seeks to be a major force in Israeli politics, flirts with the center of the political map. Just as the Likud insists to call itself a “center-right party”, some people in Meretz are now claiming that Meretz is the “center-left alternative” — aiming to draw in voters from the Israeli Labor Party.
Personally, I think that’s a grave mistake. If Meretz wishes to be a valid option again, they should shift much of their focus to treat the many dire problems that taint our social fabric and our educational system. It doesn’t mean they have to abandon the desire for peace with the Palestinians, but it’s time to realize that in the name of either peace or security, we have abandoned the Israeli society for too long! Practically speaking, the Israeli public is simply unable to support any peace process with the Palestinians in its current state of social fragmentation, growing ignorance, and economical struggle. And if we must be realistic for a moment, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only widening as the years go by, and there is no chance of scoring a lasting solution in the next 4 years.
Long story short, I believe the folks at the Meretz headquarters start to realize where they have to turn next. And this is why we see people like Nitzan Horowitz and Dr. Avner Ben Zaken being invited to join the party. This is also why Ilan Gilon was voted into 1st place in the Meretz primary a few days ago.
If Meretz, led by Haim “Jumas” Oron, finds the courage to present itself as a “Social-Democratic Left”, it may see brighter days in the future.