Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On was ecstatic on Tuesday evening as exit polls showed her party receiving six Knesset seats, doubling the party's mandates from the previous parliament.
"The numbers have bolstered our strength. This is a great and powerful achievement for the public, where so many people wanted an ethical and ideological party that stands for minority rights, and human rights. We have given and are receiving public confidence," Gal-On said Tuesday night following the announcement that Meretz was set to receive 6 to 7 seats in the 19th Knesset.
"I am calling on [Yesh Atid Chairman Yair] Lapid, [Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi] Livni and [Labor Chairwoman Shelly] Yachimovich to coalesce and form a Center-Left bloc. Now there is a larger Left. We have a mission: to get back to talking peace," she said.
Gal-On called on leaders among the cluster of Center-Left parties to decline any offer from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him in the next government.
"We would not advise any candidate to follow Netanyahu. But tonight, we ought to celebrate," she said.
"News about the death of our party was made prematurely," Ilan Gilon, no. 2 on the Meretz list, announced Tuesday night. "There is a left wing, and it seems that it's much bigger than predicted. This is the infrastructure for the future."
Hundreds of Meretz supports gathered at the Tzavta events hall in Tel Aviv to celebrate their party's success. Revelers hung balloons in Meretz's trademark green color and donned T-shirts with the slogan: "My vote is certainly not for Bibi. Meretz."
Former party chairman, Haim Oron, joined Gal-On on the stage to applause from party supporters, hugging the current chairwoman.
Meretz no. 5 Issawi Frej celebrated with friends in his hometown of Kafr Qassem, an Israeli Arab city located near Petach Tikva.
"This is the fourth time I am experiencing this," said Avshalom Vilan, who has been a part of Meretz since the party's founding, and is the kibbutz representative and no. 7 on the list.
"In 2006, I waited four days for the results to come in. This time, most of the incoming numbers give us a reason to be optimistic," he said.