The exit polls show Tzipi Livni and the Kadima party slightly ahead of the Netanyahu and the Likud, but the right-wing nationalist block with a small majority. The Green Movement-Meimad did not achieve the two percent threshold.
So was my vote wasted?
There are two possible answers. Had the Green Movement-Meimad’s votes gone to Livni directly, she’d be in a stronger position, with a clearer lead over the Likud. And had they gone to Labor or Meretz, the left-wing block just might barely have tied the right wing block, meaning that Netanyahu could not form a government of the right alone. (Probably not, but maybe just.) From this point of view, my vote was wasted and in fact gave Bibi a boost into power.
On the other hand, even if such a tie between right and left had been achieved, the only government that Livni could form would be one much like the one she might just be able to form with the current results. That means a government that will be dependent on the support of at least two of the right wing and/or ultra-religious parties. And that means a government that would be unable to pursue the peace process or make significant progress on the other pressing issues facing the country. In that case, the votes cast for the Green Movement-Meimad would not have made much difference anyway.
While I’m aware of the logic of the first answer, my gut feeling is that the second is more correct. Whether Livni or Netanyahu forms a government, it will be a weak and divided one. New elections, within a year or two, seem a likely bet.
During that time, the Zionist left will need to reorganize, rethink its principles, and revamp its leadership. The supporters of the Green Movement-Meimad will necessarily play an important role in that process.
To Meretz and Labor, the message should be clear–the same old messages and same old faces are not going to convince the Israeli public to support the peace process and social democracy. To the Green Movement-Meimad the message should also be clear–we can’t create a new left without the old one. Both old and new will have to talk and compromise and create a united force. That united force must be one that doesn’t just mouth old slogans but talks in new ways about the problems that face us and the ways we can solve them.