For more than 15 years, it was an axiom in Israeli politics that, like two ships in the same bay, the Labor and Meretz parties either rise together or fall together. In other words, when hope for peace is the dominant theme of the election campaign (e.g., 1992), both parties gain; and when fear and despair are ascendant (1996, 2003), both parties will sink at the polling booths.
In the current election campaign, a new paradigm might be emerging, though, in which Meretz gains at the expense of a withering Labor: Witness the large number of senior figures associated with the Labor Party who are in the process of ‘defecting’ and creating a new left-Zionist movement that will run with and support Meretz in the upcoming elections. The latest news flash from Haaretz (scroll down to Friday at 17:27) reports that Labor MK, Major-General (retired) Ami Ayalon, will be part of this movement as well. There are also rumors that Meretz might recruit Labor/Meimad MK, Rabbi Michael Melchior.
Similarly, the latest polls indicate that while Meretz might increase its strength in the Knesset by 40%, Labor is looking at a decline of 1/3 of its Knesset representation. The following articles add insight into the latest developments: