Shulamit Aloni (Hebrew: שולמית אלוני; 27 December 1928 – 24 January 2014) was an Israeli politician. She founded the Ratz party, was leader of the Meretz party, Leader of the Opposition from 1988 to 1990, and served as Minister of Education from 1992 to 1993. In 2000, she won the Israel Prize.
|Date of birth||27 December 1928|
|Place of birth||Poland|
|Date of death||24 January 2014(aged 85)|
|Place of death||Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel|
|Knessets||6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13|
|Faction represented in Knesset|
|1975–1976||Ya'ad – Civil Rights Movement|
|1974||Minister without Portfolio|
|1992–1993||Minister of Education and Culture|
|1993||Minister without Portfolio|
|1993–1996||Minister of Communications|
|1993–1996||Minister of Science and the Arts|
Shulamit Adler was born in Poland. Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a carpenter, both descended from Polish rabbinical families. The family migrated to Mandatory Palestine when she was a child, and Aloni grew up in Tel Aviv. She was sent to boarding school during World War II while her parents served in the British Army. As a youth she was a member of the socialist Zionist Hashomer Hatzair youth movement and the Palmach. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, she was involved in military struggles for the Old City of Jerusalem and was captured by Jordanian forces. Following the establishment of the state of Israel, she worked with child refugees and helped establish a school for immigrant children. She taught in a school while studying law. After her marriage in 1952 to Reuven Aloni, the founder of Israel Lands Administration, she moved to Kfar Shmaryahu.
Aloni joined Mapai in 1959. She also worked as an attorney and hosted a radio show Outside Working Hours that dealt with human rights and women's rights. She also wrote columns for several newspapers.
In 1965, Aloni was elected to the Knesset on the list of the Alignment, an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda, and subsequently founded the Israel Consumers Council, which she chaired for four years. She left the Alignment in 1973 and established the Citizens Rights Movement, which became known as Ratz. The party advocated electoral reform, separation of religion and state and human rights and won three seats in the 1973 Knesset elections. Ratz initially joined the Alignment-led government with Aloni as Minister without Portfolio but she resigned immediately in protest at the appointment of Yitzhak Rafael as Minister of Religions. Ratz briefly became Ya'ad – Civil Rights Movement when independent MK Aryeh Eliav joined the party, but returned to its original status soon after.
Throughout the 1970s Aloni attempted to create a dialogue with Palestinians in hopes of achieving a lasting peace settlement. During the 1982 Lebanon War she established the International Center for Peace in the Middle East. In the run-up to the 1984 elections, Ratz aligned with Peace Now and the Left Camp of Israel to increase its size in the Knesset to five seats. In 1992, she led Ratz into an alliance with Shinui and Mapam to form the new Meretz party, which won 12 seats under her leadership in the elections that year. Aloni became Minister of Education under Yitzhak Rabin but was forced to resign after a year due to her outspoken statements on matters of religion. As Education Minister, she also criticized organized tours by Israeli high school pupils to Holocaust concentration camps on grounds that such visits were turning Israeli youth into aggressive, nationalistic xenophobes, claiming that students "march with unfurled flags, as if they've come to conquer Poland". She was reappointed Minister of Communications and Science and Culture and served until 1996 when she retired from party politics.
After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Aloni expressed her sentiments that the agreements were a positive turning point on an historic scale: "I feel like on the 29th of November [the date of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine]; we did not know then what we were heading for, but we knew we were heading for great days."
After the massacre of 29 Muslims in Hebron, West Bank on February 25, 1994 perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein, Aloni called for the expulsion of Jewish settlers from Hebron. She also condemned high school trips to Holocaust sites as she considered them to be detrimental to the spirit of Israeli youth.
In a 2002 interview with American journalist Amy Goodman, Aloni said that charges of antisemitism are "a trick we use" to suppress criticism of Israel coming from within the United States, while for criticism coming from Europe "we bring up the Holocaust."
Aloni was a board member of Yesh Din, an organisation founded in 2005 which focuses on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. She defended U.S. President Jimmy Carter's use of the word "apartheid" in the title of his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Later, Aloni said, "I hate to cover up things that should be open to the sun."
With her husband, Reuven Aloni, she had three sons:
- Dror Aloni – later mayor of Kfar Shmaryahu and head of Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium
- Nimrod Aloni – an education philosopher
- Udi Aloni – a film director, writer and artist
Aloni in 2002 at a Peace Now demonstration.
Awards and recognitionEdit
- "Up the down escalator" in Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women's Movement Anthology, ed. Robin Morgan, 1984.
- Democracy in Shackles (Demokratia be'azikim), Am Oved (in Hebrew)
- The Citizen and His Country, published in 1958
- Israel: Democracy or Ethnocracy? published in 2008
- Shulamit Aloni Jewish Virtual Library; accessed January 25, 2014.
- "Shulamit Aloni | Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- "Shulamit Aloni | Israeli politician". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- Tom Hundley (9 May 1993). "2 Views Of A Horror". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Shulamit (Adler) Aloni (Hebrew)". palmach.org.il. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- Rudoren, Jodi (2014). "Shulamit Aloni, Outspoken Israeli Lawmaker, Dies at 86". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- Israel’s First Lady of Human Rights: A Conversation with Shulamit Aloni democracynow.org; 14 August 2002; accessed 20 October 2015.
- Shulamit Aloni (8 January 2007). "Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel". Counterpunch. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Yaron Druckman (24 January 2014). "Former minister Shulamit Aloni dies at the age of 85". Ynetnews. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Shulamit Aloni, former minister and staunch civil rights supporter, dies at 85". Haaretz. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "List of recipients of the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award on the Association of Human Rights in Israel website" (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
- "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew)".
- "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) – Judges' Rationale for Grant to Recipient".
- "Table of Contents: Sisterhood is global :". Catalog.vsc.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
- Yair Sheleg (23 November 2008). "The road to perdition". Haaretz. Retrieved 27 January 2014.