Shulamit Aloni

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Shulamit Aloni
Shulamit Aloni portrait.jpg
Date of birth (1928-12-27)27 December 1928
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Mandatory Palestine
Date of death 24 January 2014(2014-01-24) (aged 85)
Place of death Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel
Knessets 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Faction represented in Knesset
1965–1967 Labor Alignment
1967–1968 Labor Party
1968–1969 Alignment
1974–1975 Ratz
1975–1976 Ya'ad – Civil Rights Movement
1976–1981 Ratz
1981–1984 Alignment
1984–1992 Ratz
1992–1996 Meretz
Ministerial roles
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 Aloni as a young woman with her mother.

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 and served as Minister of Education from 1992 to 1993. In 2000, she won the Israel Prize.


Shulamit Adler was born in Tel Aviv. Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a carpenter, both descended from Polish rabbinical families. 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.[1] 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.[2]

In 1952 she married Reuven Aloni (founder of Israel Lands Administration), moved to Kfar Shmaryahu, and they had three sons:

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.[citation needed]

She contributed the piece "Up the down escalator" to the 1984 anthology Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women's Movement Anthology, edited by Robin Morgan.[3]

Last years[edit]

Reuven Aloni died in 1988. Shulamit Aloni died at age 85, on 24 January 2014.[4][5]

Political career[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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,[6] 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".[7] She was reappointed Minister of Communications and Science and Culture and served until 1996 when she retired from party politics.

After the massacre of 29 Muslims in Hebron, West Bank by Baruch Goldstein, Aloni urged for the expulsion of Jewish settlers from the West Bank. She also condemned high school trips to Holocaust sites as she considered them to be detrimental to the spirit of Israeli youth.[8]

Political activism[edit]

Aloni was a board member of Yesh Din, an organisation focusing 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.[9] Later, Aloni said, "I hate to cover up things that should be open to the sun."

Views and opinions[edit]

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, for criticism coming from Europe "we bring up the Holocaust."[10]

Awards and recognition[edit]

The Grave of Shulamit Aloni

Published work[edit]

  • Democracy in Shackles (Demokratia be'azikim), Am Oved (in Hebrew)[14]
  • The Citizen and His Country, published in 1958
  • Israel: Democracy or Ethnocracy? Published in 2008

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shulamit Aloni Jewish Virtual Library; accessed January 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Shulamit Aloni | Jewish Women's Archive". Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  3. ^ "Table of Contents: Sisterhood is global :". Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  4. ^ Yaron Druckman (24 January 2014). "Former minister Shulamit Aloni dies at the age of 85". Ynetnews. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Shulamit Aloni, former minister and staunch civil rights supporter, dies at 85". Haaretz. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Shulamit Aloni | Israeli politician". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  7. ^ Tom Hundley (9 May 1993). "2 Views Of A Horror". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Rudoren, Jodi (2014). "Shulamit Aloni, Outspoken Israeli Lawmaker, Dies at 86". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  9. ^ Shulamit Aloni (8 January 2007). "Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel". Counterpunch. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Israel’s First Lady of Human Rights: A Conversation with Shulamit Aloni; 14 August 2002; accessed 20 October 2015.
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew)". 
  13. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site (in Hebrew) – Judges' Rationale for Grant to Recipient". 
  14. ^ Yair Sheleg (23 November 2008). "The road to perdition". Haaretz. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

External links[edit]