Meretz leader Zehava Galon to resign from Knesset
Galon will dedicate her time and effort into changing her party's election system; she will be replaced by Meretz secretary-general Mossi Raz; 'I love the Knesset, but I love Meretz more,' she tells party voters. ' I know if Meretz doesn't open its ranks—it will stop being.'
Meretz leader Zehava Galon announced on Wednesday her intention to resign from the Knesset, saying she wants to dedicate the coming months to leading Meretz and changing the party's election system.
She will be replaced in the Knesset by the party's secretary-general, Mossi Raz.
Galon met with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday, telling him she reached the conclusion she must work as party chairwoman full time in order to invest her all of her efforts to strengthening Meretz by opening its ranks to new people.
"Meretz cannot exist as a closed club that ignores you—its voters and supporters—and blocks additional powers from taking part in our struggle to bring fresh blood to the Left," Galon wrote in a letter to registered party voters.
"I love the Knesset, but I love Meretz more. And I know if Meretz doesn't open (its ranks)—it will stop being," she continued. "The Left has a much bigger audience than the number of people who voted for Meretz. To live up to this potential, Meretz must change."
She added she was "convinced my resignation from the Knesset will allow me, as the chairwoman of Meretz, to focus on promoting 'open primaries' and turning Meretz into a large, accepting home for anyone who believes in our values."
Galon has spent almost all of her years in the Knesset as part of the opposition and has never served as a member of the government.
"It is with a heavy heart that I leave the Knesset," she wrote. "I love this job, and being an elected public representative is a mission like no other and a privilege I am grateful for every day."
"I'm proud of the achievements I've had over the past 16 years, as I represented you in the struggle for equality and justice; for women's rights and LGBT rights; for Palestinian rights in both Israel and the territories; for human rights; against corruption and centralization in our economy in an effort to eliminate social gaps; and against right-wing governments determined to eliminate democratic characteristics in Israel."
Next Thursday, Meretz will hold an election in which registered party voters will choose the members of the party's central committee.
At the end of December, Galon plans to submit a proposal to the new central committee to change the election system in the party and allow all Meretz voters—and not just central committee members—to choose the party's chairperson and Knesset list.