October 24, 1940
Yossi Sarid, a politician on the left known as “Israel’s moral compass,” is born in Rehovot.
Sarid begins his professional life by working for a leftist newspaper, then becomes the spokesman of the governing Mapai party at age 24. He serves as a spokesman, speechwriter and adviser for David Ben-Gurion, Levi Eshkol and others.
He serves in the Knesset from 1973 to 1983 with Mapai’s successor, Alignment, then moves further left and joins Ratz, the Civil Rights Movement, led by Shulamit Aloni. The party focuses on civil rights, human rights and women’s rights. In 1992 it merges with Shinui and Mapam to form Meretz. Sarid in 1996 succeeds Aloni as the Meretz leader, a position he holds until 2003.
He is named environment minister by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1992 and education minister by Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 1999.
In 2006, facing a shrinking Meretz presence in the Knesset, Sarid retires from politics but remains a vocal advocate for a two-state solution, human rights and dignity for all.
Sarid dies of cardiac arrest at age 75 on Dec. 4, 2015, in Tel Aviv.