|27 December 1928|
|24 January 2014(aged 85)|
|Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel|
|Knessets||6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13|
|Faction represented in Knesset|
|1974||Minister without Portfolio|
|1993||Minister without Portfolio|
|1993-1996||Minister of Communications|
|1993-1996||Minister of Science and the Arts|
Shulamit Aloni (Hebrew: ; 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.
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."
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:
Aloni in 2002 at a Peace Now demonstration.
In 2018, the Shulamit Aloni Prize was established. The prize is awarded by the Shulamit Aloni Foundation, a non-profit organization created by a group of Aloni's family members and leading media and cultural professionals for this purpose. The prize, which bears a monetary award, is bestowed to its recipients each year in the Jaffa Theater (aka The Arab-Hebrew Theater), to creators of cultural works (theater, film, poetry and prose) in both Hebrew and Arabic whose work promotes human rights. Inaugural prize recipients included Rana Abu Fraihah (Arabic Culture Prize), Renana Raz (Hebrew Culture Prize) and Sami Michael (Lifetime Achievement Prize). Additional prize recipients include Ayat Abou Shmeiss for Arabic Culture, and Achinoam Nini for Lifetime Achievement.