Sarid (Schneider), Yossi

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SARID (Schneider), YOSSI

SARID (Schneider), YOSSI (1940– ), Israeli journalist and politician, member of the Knesset since the Eighth Knesset in 1974. Born in Rehovot, he served in the artillery corps and as a military reporter. In the course of his studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1961–64, he worked as a reporter and news editor for the Israel Broadcasting Authority. He received a B.A. in philosophy and literature in 1964. Until 1965 he served as the spokesman of *Mapai, and, after the elections to the Sixth Knesset in 1965, served as advisor to Prime Minister Levi *Eshkol. He received an M.A. in political science and sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York in 1969. After his return to Israel, he was close to Minister of Finance Pinḥas *Sapir.

In 1970–73 Sarid ran the section for academics in the Ministry of Labor. In the elections right after the Yom Kippur War at the end of 1973, he was first elected to the Knesset on the Alignment list. In the course of 1974, after a deadly terrorist attack on Kiryat Shemonah, he moved with his family to the northern town for three years, and, in addition to his position as a Member of Knesset, worked voluntarily as a teacher in one of the local high schools. Sarid was one of the staunchest opponents of Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982, and as a result a rift opened between him and the Labor Party. When, after the elections to the Eleventh Knesset in 1984, the Labor Party decided to join a National Unity Government with the *Likud on the basis of rotation in the premiership, and agreed to Ariel *Sharon being given a ministerial position in the government despite the conclusions of the Kahane Commission, and approved the continued financial and moral support of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Sarid decided to leave the party, and joined the Civil Rights Movement, headed by Shulamit *Aloni. Free of the constraints of membership in a leading party, Sarid became famous for his outspokenness and cynical style, and assumed the role of the "hated left-winger" among right-wing circles. In 1985 Sarid became editor of Politika, a left-wing political journal, which he continued to edit for several years.

In 1992, as a member of *Meretz, Sarid was appointed minister of the environment, and joined Minister for Foreign Affairs Shimon *Peres in peace talks after the signing of the Declaration of Principles with the Palestinians in 1993. When Aloni resigned from active politics prior to the elections to the Fourteenth Knesset in 1996, Sarid was elected as leader of the crm and of Meretz. In the government formed by Ehud *Barak after the elections to the Fifteenth Knesset, Sarid was appointed minister of education and culture, a position he held until June 2000, when he decided to take Meretz out of the government several months before the outbreak of the second Intifada, owing to his dissatisfaction with Barak's attempts to pacify *Shas. In March 2000, Sarid was the first official Israeli who accepted an invitation by the Armenian Church in Jerusalem to participate in a memorial service for the genocide of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks in 1915, even though the official Israeli position was not to anger the Turkish government, which has never accepted responsibility for the event.

Following the major electoral defeat suffered by Meretz in the elections to the Sixteenth Knesset in 2003, when it lost four of its 10 seats, Sarid resigned from his position as leader of the party, but remained in the Knesset. In July 2004 he underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumor.

In the Knesset, Sarid has served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the House Committee, and the Education and Culture Committee.

He wrote books of poetry, Pegishah be-Makom Aḥer (1960) and Shirim 20032005, and Ze ha-Nitu'aḥ Sheli (2005), a book about his brain-surgery experience.


Y. Ben-Porat, Siḥot im Yossi Sarid (1997).

[Susan Hattis Rolef (2nd ed.)]