Aloni (Adler), Shulamit

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ALONI (Adler), SHULAMIT

ALONI (Adler ), SHULAMIT (1928– ), Israeli politician and civil rights activist. She served in the Sixth and Eighth to Thirteenth Knessets. Shulamit Aloni was born in Tel Aviv. She served in the *Palmaḥ during the *War of Independence and was taken prisoner by the Jordanians in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. After her release she worked with immigrant children. She received a law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and joined *Mapai in 1959. In 1961–65 she produced a radio program dealing with issues of legislation and legal procedures, establishing a reputation as a fighter for citizens' rights, and as a critic of the bureaucracy in Israel. It was largely due to her advocacy that the Commission for Public Complaints was established by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1965. She was elected on the Mapai ticket to the Sixth Knesset in 1965. During this period she established the Consumers' Council and served as its chairperson until 1970. Her refusal to toe the party line, and personal animosity between herself and Prime Minister Golda *Meir, resulted in her exclusion from the Mapai list for the Seventh Knesset. As a result, in September 1973, before the elections to the Eighth Knesset, she established the Civil Rights Movement (Ratz), which managed to pick up some of the protest votes following the *Yom Kippur War, and received three Knesset seats. In the government formed by Yitzhak *Rabin, following Meir's resignation, Aloni was appointed minister without portfolio, but when the National Religious Party joined the government in October 1974, she resigned. In the Tenth Knesset, after receiving only one seat, Aloni joined the Labor-Mapam Alignment for the duration of the Knesset, for tactical reasons. In the course of the Twelfth Knesset Aloni was one of the advocates of the establishment of a new parliamentary group, made up of the ten members of the crm, *Mapam, and Shinui. The new group called itself *Meretz and ran in the elections to the Thirteenth Knesset under Aloni's leadership. Meretz joined the government formed by Rabin in 1992, and Aloni was appointed minister of education, culture, and sport. However, she had frequent verbal clashes with the leaders of the *Shas religious party, which was also a member of the government, and in order to avoid a coalition crisis agreed, in May 1993, to hand the ministry of education over to Amnon *Rubinstein of Meretz, while she became minister of communications, science, and arts. Aloni decided not to run in the elections to the Fourteenth Knesset, but continued to fight for the issues she believed in from outside the Knesset.

Over the years Aloni helped numerous couples, unable to marry in Israel for halakhic reasons, to draw up marriage contracts, and participated in other activities designed to abolish or circumvent what she regarded as religious coercion. She was also active in helping establish shelters for battered women and stations to assist rape victims. In 1982 she was one of the founders of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East. In 2000 she was awarded the Israel Prize for her special contribution to Israeli society.

Among her books (all in Hebrew) are "Children's Rights in the Laws of the State of Israel" (1964); "Social Legislation" (1970); "The Arrangement: From a State of Law to a State of Halakhah" (1970); "Women as Human Beings" (1976); "Citizen and State: Basic Principles of the Doctrine of Citizenship" (1985); "Can't Do It Any Other Way" (1997).

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]