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Meretz Definition

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Meretz - (Hebrew) - An Israeli leftist party formed from MAPAM, the Shinui and Ratz parties. Briefly called Yahad and Ya'ad. Toward the end of the Twelfth Knesset (1992), the MAPAM, Ratz, and Shinui parliamentary groups merged into single parliamentary group. The three united around agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of a territorial compromise, and the establishment of a Palestinian state, civil and human rights, and the separation of religion and state. In February 1997, the three parties merged into a single party, though MK Avraham Poraz preferred to stay outside the new party, and formed the Shinui-Center Party parliamentary group. Meretz was headed by Shulamit Aloni (1991-99) and Yossi Sarid (1999-2003). Meretz ran in the elections for the Sixteenth Knesset in a single list with the Democratic Choice and Shahar. In the course of the Sixteenth Knesset, Yossi Beilin of the Labor party joined Meretz. The party briefly changed its name to "Yahad and the Democratic Choice" or Yaad. Apparently it has now returned to the name Meretz. Prominent MKs of Meretz include or have included Yossi Sarid, Ran Cohen, Haim Oron, Naomi Chazan and Shulamit Aloni.

Meretz Party Platform:

(recent, but not authoritative)

Security/Foreign Affairs:

* Israel's dream of peace is possible today and has been, in part, met with peace with Jordan and the signing of the Oslo Accord . The only way to guarantee peace is through the creation of a Palestinian State

* Jewish settlement in the territories and the Golan Heights is presently the greatest obstacle to both the final settlement and interim agreements. Continued settlements endanger the current peace negotiations. End the Occupation!!

* Jerusalem, Israel's capital, will never again be divided. Its special national and religious characteristics for all religions and people will be taken into consideration in determining its final status.

Social and Economic Policy:

*Progress towards peace and compromise with our neighbors is essential to Israel's economic development.

*Our goal is to achieve a modern economy which combines efficiency and development with social sensitivity and balance.

*We must supply employment opportunities, low-cost housing and an adequate absorption basket to the new immigrants.

Civil and Human Rights:
* All are equal before the law - no person shall be discriminated against because of origin, religion, sex, political outlook or sexual preference.

* The right of equal opportunity for all of Israel's citizens is a precondition for an organized and united society. Educational integration serves this purpose.

* Israel is the state of all its citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, and must guarantee them all equal rights and opportunities in all spheres of life.

* Arab citizens of Israel are part of the Arab-Palestinian people from the viewpoint of language, culture and heritage and have the right to express this bond, which does not contradict their Israeli citizenship.

* Women are a sovereign legal entity in all matters concerning their bodies, property, income and activities, and full and equal partners in family planning, raising and educating their children. Women must be guaranteed equality in all spheres of life.

Religion and State:
* Jewish law and tradition are the cornerstones of our national culture, but they must not be a compulsory norm in an open and democratic society.

* Israel is a country of law and not of halacha.

* Every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel, without any religious limitation. Given the assassination of Rabin,? Meretz would encourage the restriction of Jews involved in terrorist activities or illegal groups to emigrate to Israel.

* All religious groups, including the various streams of Judaism, must have equal status.

* There must be freedom to choose between religious and civil marriage and every person shall be guaranteed the right to be buried according to their beliefs and understanding.

* All public services must be provided on Shabbat and holidays according to need; this includes public transportation and cultural activity.

* Yeshiva students will be drafted into the IDF.

Electoral Strategy
* Meretz will enter a coalition with Labor on the condition that it does not give into the demands of the religious.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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