Meretz in action as Israel stirs

Whether or not the widespread tent city protests in Israel reflect breezes from the Arab Spring, they certainly suggest that civilian voices are making themselves heard at last. Meretz has been particularly active in this arena. To use a boxing analogy, with only three representatives in the Knesset the party seems to be Israel's "pound for pound" champion when it comes to dynamism!

MK Ilan Ghillon, for instance, marched with his daughter and granddaughter at a Tel Aviv "strollers rally" to protest the vaulting costs of raising children. MK Zehava Gal-On (see photo above) slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu for his archaic fixation on free enterprise and his "disconnected" response to the house prices uprising.

Not all Meretz campaigns have succeeded. The Knesset has just voted down the attempt by Nitzan Horowitz to pass a bill to institute civil marriage in Israel by a margin of 40 to 17. At least it is heartening that 14 MK from other parties backed the Meretz bid. For a more mordant comment on the paradoxical state of the Israeli left, see this Ha'aretz op-ed from former Meretz leader, Yossi Sarid.

Gal-On, meanwhile, has also called for transparency in the financial market and raised questions about the over-subsidised bus routes that serve settlers in the territories - apparently at the expense of the long-suffering Israeli taxpayer! Lastly, former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan is profiled in this excellent Ha'aretz article, "Fighting for Israel's Soul". Only a panglossian optimist would predict an immediate knockout. But Meretz UK says "we are in your corner" as Meretz Israel pugilists move to rounds two, three and four...