Meretz Founder Shulamit Aloni Is Born

November 29, 1928

Shulamit Aloni, the lawyer and politician who founds the Meretz party, is born in Tel Aviv.

From a young age, Aloni is involved with politics and is relentless in working to bring justice, equality and civil rights to the Jewish community and to Israel. During World War II she joins the Hashomer Hatzair Zionist youth movement, which supports Jewish resistance efforts in Europe’s forests, ghettos and concentration camps. She is captured by Jordanian forces while fighting with the Palmach in the defense of Jerusalem during the War of Independence.

Aloni works as a teacher and a radio producer, and she is the founder and chair of the Israeli Consumers Council. She starts working with David Ben-Gurion’s Mapai party in 1959 and is first elected to the Knesset in 1965. She leaves Mapai’s successor, the Labor Party, in 1973 to establish Ratz (the Citizens Rights Movement), a political party calling for the separation of state and religion, a basic law protecting human rights, and electoral reform. She serves in the Knesset as the head of Ratz from 1974 to 1992, when she forms Meretz by merging Ratz with two other left-wing parties, Mapam and Shinui. She then is elected to one more Knesset term before retiring.

She fights for the acknowledgment of universal human rights in the Palestinian conflict, including serving on the board of the human rights organization Yesh Din, and for the overall improvement of Israel. She is awarded the Israel Prize in 2000 for her lifetime achievements and contributions to Israeli society. She dies Jan. 25, 2014.