An Israeli official who suffered a decisive election loss last week is blaming “Right-wing racists” for her defeat while refusing to address her past remarks about the unvaccinated population.
Zehava Galon, chairwoman of the Meretz faction, demanded on social media last year that those who refused the COVID-19 injections be hauled away on buses.
“Disgrace,” Galon wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “[The unvaccinated] subjected [then-Health Minister Yuli] Edelstein to a few protests in hotels and some in Ben Gurion airport refused to disperse so [Edelstein] and the government folded from their decisions.
“The police should come and haul away these people on buses because it’s a matter of life and death. How can you be proud of the vaccines while also enabling this criminal laziness?”
The Meretz party, which Galon shared with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, suffered a stunning election defeat last week when it failed to gain enough votes to enter the Knesset for the first time since the party’s founding in 1992. Horowitz was a chief architect of Israel’s notorious response to the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
As Israelis were going to the ballot boxes on Tuesday, Galon was confronted by a citizen over her past remarks while she was campaigning in Tel Aviv.
“Hi Zehava, how are you? You wanted to haul away the unvaccinated in buses, is the fascism of [Right-wing politician] Ben Gvir really scarier than the Left’s fascism?” the woman asked Galon.
Galon turned away and tried ignoring the questioner, burying her face in her phone.
“Was that human rights? Why are you hiding your face now? You’re embarrassed now that I came?” pressed the woman. Galon muttered several times under her breath “bunch of delusional people,” before ultimately looking at the activist and accusing her of “harassment".
Later, Galon did not take her defeat in stride. She published a video on social media saying her loss is a “disaster for Meretz, a disaster for the country and a personal disaster for me.” She claimed that she returned to Meretz in 2022 because she believed she could save the party. She warned Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the Left about an incoming Right-wing victory, but to no avail.
“Now we will all pay the price,” she said ominously.
“The victory of the right side, with its racist and oppressive partners – is not really a victory,” she went on. “There is an equal number of Israelis on one side and on the other, who believe in equality, human rights, ending the [Jewish] occupation [of Judea and Samaria] and social justice.”
“Because look at what is happening in all the countries in the world that are now going through a wave of neo-fascism, they are confronted by a great human spirit, which originates from the idea that all men are born equal. And no Kahanist, no fascist, no homophobic racist and chauvinist will extinguish this spirit.”
Israeli social media users responded to Galon with their own thoughts on Meretz’s defeat.
“You abandoned the unvaccinated and it seems this is the price."
“Too bad, the Green Pass [vaccine passport], the protocols and your tweet about sending the unvaccinated to quarantine. It actually cost you the election.”
“Just reminding you that the bus for the unvaccinated is waiting empty. Use it, you already paid didn't you?”
“If only you apologized for what you said during COVID, if only you would apologize for supporting apartheid against the unvaccinated, for imprisoning healthy children at home, for forcing vaccinations on farm workers, for the Special Powers Act and more, at least half of the voters . . . would vote for you and you would pass. It's time for you to look inside yourselves!!”