Why I am voting Meretz, again

The main reason my vote went to Meretz in the past was its stance on the conflict with the Palestinians. Amazingly, that issue is barely mentioned in the run-up to the elections this year.

Looking through an archive on my blog, I found an old article I wrote explaining why I was voting for the left-wing social-democratic and green political party. Although I agree with everything I wrote back then, the arguments I made seem so out of touch with today’s reality. And the reality right now is pretty bleak.

The outcome of the vote, I’m afraid, is already known. Bibi Netanyahu and his Likud party will again form a coalition with the rightwing parties. The next government will be extremist, a threat to our democratic state. Expect additional actions against Israel’s Arab minority; further concessions to the ultra-Orthodox; attacks on the justice system; and the annexation of Palestinian territories.

Meretz’s platform starts with the words, “The State of Israel is a democratic country, the country of the Jewish people and all its citizens.” Meretz works tirelessly to protect civil rights and promote social justice, including the rights of women, LGBTQ, retirees, national minorities, and people with limitations. These are worthy causes and I fully support them.

“Meretz will work to nullify the ‘Nation State Law’ passed in the Knesset last year, a law that does not serve public interests or national needs, and one which purposely excludes Israel’s Arab minority,” its platform states. Meretz will fight against corruption; advance transparency in the work of authorities; promote the legalization and regulation of the use of cannabis; act for reforms in the tax system; further protection of the environment; and support freedom of religion and freedom from religion, allowing all Jews to express their Judaism as they see fit, unhindered by the Orthodox monopoly.

Meretz calls for an end of Israel’s rule over the Palestinians and the end of the occupation of Palestinian territories. Furthermore, Meretz calls for the partition of the country: two nations for two peoples. Annexation of the territories, in my opinion, will lead to an end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state.

I have only touched briefly on what Meretz’s platform includes. These are not just slogans. Meretz has actively and relentlessly pursed its social democratic agenda in the Knesset year after year.

Whatever the outcome of the elections, Israel is in for a rough ride ahead. My vote may not influence which party will form the government, but at least it will help promote the social, democratic, and political causes in which I believe. My vote is going to Meretz.

About the Author
Ellis Shuman made aliya to Jerusalem as a teenager, served in the IDF, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and now lives on Moshav Neve Ilan. Ellis is the author of ‘The Burgas Affair’ – a crime thriller set in Israel and Bulgaria; ‘Valley of Thracians’ - a suspense novel set in Bulgaria; and 'The Virtual Kibbutz' - a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. Ellis lived with his wife for two years in Bulgaria, and blogs regularly about Israel, Bulgaria, books, and writing.