Meretz members voted overwhelmingly in favor of uniting their party with the new left-wing movement. Following the decision, journalist Nitzan Horowitz will be ranked third on the joint elections roster.
Prior to the vote several key Meretz leaders addressed the crowd. Party Chairman Chaim Oron said he
was convinced the unity vote would go smoothly.
"I wasn't concerned, but the majority we have is big, and I see that as a serious vote of confidence in our way," said Oron.
Ilan Gilon, who scored a surprising victory in the recent primaries and landed the second slot on the roster, seemed pleased: "Obviously we welcome the completion of this process, now we will make an effort to get more representatives into the Knesset. There's a good synergy here. With this new assemblage we must break the double-digit figure of Knesset seats."
Less thrilled was Issawi Frige, representative of the Arab sector. "This was obviously a disappointment. The war will be waged after the elections," he said, "but for now I will continue to strengthen the Jewish-Arab ties within Meretz. I may have lost the battle now, but not the war itself, and I believe that with others we will be able to improve our standing within the movement as well."
Author Amos Oz also spoke at the gathering, and used the podium to launch an attack against the defense minister.
"Ehud Barak is trying to present himself as a leader of the peace camp. but how can he present himself in that manner if for two years he hasn't brought down a single illegal outpost? What leader of peace would offer himself as a junior partner in (Likud Chairman) Netanyahu's government?" said Oz.
The Labor Party stated in response that "Oz's opinion is surreal, and testifies to the irrelevance of Meretz to what is really going on in Israel."