Meretz chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On, who has served in the Knesset for 16 years, on Wednesday announced her resignation from the Knesset – but not from the party’s chairmanship, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported. Gal-On said she is resigning from the Knesset in order to concentrate on the coming open primaries in Meretz. Gal-On has said that if she loses this vote, she would also resign from the party leadership.
Last month, Gal-On, the first director general of anti-Zionist NGO B’Tselem, was spared a vote to oust her from the chairmanship in her party’s national convention.
Gal-On will be replaced by the next in line on the party’s list, Musi Raz.
Meretz is a secular party, supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli–Arab conflict, and advocating a leftwing-style social justice, human rights (especially for ethnic and sexual minorities), religious freedom, and environmentalism.
The party was originally formed in 1992 with the union of leftwing and center-left factions, reaching its peak in the 13th Knesset, between 1992 and 1996, when it held 12 seats and was part of the Labor coalition government. In the 2015 elections Meretz won five seats.
Zehava (Schnipitzky) Gal-On was born in 1956 in Vilnius in the Soviet Union (now in Lithuania). She immigrated to Israel in 1960 at age four with her father, a plumber, and her mother, a teacher. They lived in a transit camp for olim and eventually moved to a housing project in Petach Tikva. She earned her MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.