Meretz MK, former IDF general, removes Twitter slogan calling himself a Jew

When told that his moniker was offensive, Yair Golan changed it to be more inclusive.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In an effort to allay criticism from the Left, Meretz MK Yair Golan last week removed his Twitter profile slogan that described him as a “proud Leftist Jew” to now read “Together we will build hope.”

According to a report in Makor Rishon, Golan confirmed to supporters during a video-conference that he made the switch because he was told that the word “Jew” offended other minorities who thought the term was meant to represent the far-leftist party’s ideology and not his personal identity.

“I am aware that it has an exclusionary element, and am conscious of the criticism over this issue,” he told his listeners. “The logo has since been changed.”

He said that he understood that “people look at it and sort of expect that this will be the identity that we (the party) will adopt. I have no intention that a Druze, Arab or Circassian [member] should say that he is a Jew.”

What is important to him is that the Left build a big party that can compete in the political arena with the Right.

As to his personal identity, Golan made clear that he is a proud Jew.

“My Jewish identity is very important to me,” he explained. “That’s how I grew up, and in general, I think that this is the home of the Jewish nation, otherwise we wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t have returned [to Israel]. My identity doesn’t exclude anyone else but rather hugs the other, loyal to the commandment of [helping] ‘the convert, orphan and widow.’”

Before joining the Knesset as part of the Meretz party last year, Golan had been a career IDF officer, rising to the rank of major general. He served as Home Front commander, headed the Northern Command, and ended his career as the IDF’s deputy chief of staff.

The left-wing Labor-Gesher-Meretz list gained seven seats in the the March elections, but has fallen apart into its three components – Labor (3 seats),  Gesher (1 seat) and Meretz (3 seats).

Two of the three members of Labor have joined with Blue and White since the election. Orly Levy-Abekasis of Gesher is considering joining the national unity government that is expected to be formed, although currently negotiations have hit an obstacle. Meretz has declared unequivocally that it will remain in the opposition.