October 16, 2018

Meretz underdog candidate Gaby Lasky struggles to keep Israeli Left alive

For years, the word Meretz has been synonymous in the Israeli lexicon with the country's mainstream Left. It brings to mind your average, secular Tel Aviv voter with a soft heart, a vegetable garden and a liberal slant.

So it's hard for many of us to believe, going into the 2015 parliamentary elections, that the left-wing Meretz party could be in danger of disappearing from the Knesset altogether. Recent polls show that Meretz might not reach the 3.25 percent vote threshold needed to secure it a presence in parliament — “>bye-bye, two-state solution.)

“The only time when we've been able to have a center-left government when was Meretz was big,” said Meretz candidate Gaby Lasky, a Tel Aviv city councilwoman and “>a bar full of international students that a vote for Meretz is a strategic vote to keep Israel from swerving irreversibly Right.

“When you vote Meretz, you actually have two votes,” she said. “You vote for [Isaac] Herzog as prime minister, because we are going to recommend him, but on the other hand, you vote for all the values that Meretz represents.”

Lasky sported some green Meretz stickers on her slouchy, very Tel Avivi jumper and made sure to touch on the full Meretz wish list: civil marriage, affordable housing, legal marijuana, an open Shabbat, a two-state solution, etc. She also put in overtime, lingering late into the night outside the Dolly Parton bar to argue with more conservative voters about the pros and cons of a welfare state.

By the end, one or two attendees did seem more open to voting Meretz — but many others had apparently just come to debate. “I still believe in Bennett,” said Avi Lichtenstein, a 25-year-old government and business student at the nearby Interdisciplinary Center.