Meretz ("Energy," in Hebrew) is a left-wing, social-democratic political party in Israel.
Meretz was originally founded in 1992 through a union of three other left wing political parties - Ratz, Mapam and Shinui. Ratz's leader, veteran Knesset member Shualmit Aloni was pegged as the new party's leader on their electoral list.
Meretz's platform states that the party stands for "A Just and Comprehensive Peace between Israel and its Neighbors; Human and Civil Rights; Social Justice; and, Ecology and a Safe Environment.
In June 2005, following an initiative by party leader Yossi Beilin to win back voters who had defected from Meretz to the center-left Labor Party and the secular Shinui Party. the party was renamed Meretz-Yahad. The decision was a compromise between those who favored the name Yahad and others who preferred the party’s original name. In the next election cycle in 2006, however, Meretz dropped Yahad from its official name and won five seats in the Knesset.
In March 2008, Haim Oron won inter-party elections and was named Meretz's new leader. A few months later the party merged with Hatnua HaHadasha ("the new movement") but ended up winning only three seats in the 2009 Knesset elections.
Zahava Gal-On was re-elected as Meretz Party leader on January 19, 2015. Analysts predict that the newly formed union of the Labor and Hatnuah parties, dubbed the “Zionist Union” may siphon off potential Meretz voters during the March election.