Leftist Leader Shulamit Aloni Passes Away at 86

Meretz Chairman and former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni passes away; funeral in Kfar Shmaryahu Sunday.

Tova Dvorin ,

Shulamit Aloni (file)
Shulamit Aloni (file)

Meretz chairman and former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni has passed away Friday at the age of 86.

Aloni's funeral will beheld Sunday morning, in the cemetery in Kfar Shamaryahu. 

Shulamit Aloni - nee Adler - was born in Tel Aviv in 1928. Her parents, a seamstress and a carpenter, were both descendants of a Polish rabbinical dynasty. She was married to Reuven Aloni - the founder of the Israel Lands Administration and the head of the Civil Administration - until his death in 1988.

Three children - Dror Aloni, a retired Navy colonel and the director of the Herzliya Gymnasia in Tel Aviv; Dr. Nimrod Aloni; and artist Ehud Aloni - and seven grandchildren survive them. 

Aloni served in the Knesset for 27 years. From 1965-1969 she served under the Labor/Mapai party; from 1974-1996 she served under the Ratz and Meretz parties. During the 1974 elections, she championed the civil rights movement in Israel; she resigned just a few months after joining the cabinet of Yitzhak Rabin as a minister without a portfolio. 

Aloni's career was marked by initiatives to establish peace with the Palestinian Arabs. In 1982, she established the International Center for Peace in the Middle East, at the height of the Lebanon War; in 1984, she aligned with Peace Now and other left-wing parties to increase the leftist influence on the Knesset for that end.

Her resignation from her post as Education Minister stemmed from her outspoken views on religion, including a strong opposition to Israeli high school visits to Holocaust sites and concentration camps in Poland - which she claimed were turning Israelis into xenophobes, as revealed in the Chicago Tribune

Aloni was also highly involved in the Yesh Din leftist organization and defended former US President Jimmy Carter's use of the word "apartheid" to describe Israel's relationship with the Palestinian Arabs.