From our blogger/colleague, Hillel Schenker, co-editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal:
In memory of Shulamit Aloni, the dedicated fighter for human rights, civil rights, women’s rights, consumers rights, democracy and peace, I searched through my collection and found this photo from an anti-nuclear action in the mid-90s, when we floated a balloon with streamers along the Mediterranean coastline warning about the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Shula Aloni, who lived in nearby Kfar Shmaryahu, came to support the action, organized by the Israeli branch of IPPNW (International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War) at the small Herzliya airport. That’s my son Adi with the eye patch, who is now 26.
Naomi Chazan, a veteran of Meretz and Ratz who worked closely with Shula over the years, wrote a comprehensive biographical essay, well worth reading, some time ago for the Jewish Women’s Archive. And this by a writer in Tablet, celebrates her legacy as a feminist.
The NY Times obit is by Jodi Rudoren, its Jerusalem bureau chief: Shulamit Aloni, Outspoken Israeli Lawmaker, Dies at 86, with the subhead, “Mrs. Aloni was an early champion of civil liberties, challenger of religious hegemony and outspoken opponent of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.” Unfortunately, in referring to Meretz as “far-left,” Rudoren (perhaps inadvertently) continues the mainstream American press tendency to disparage the party’s seriousness as a liberal and social democratic political force; Meretz — Yitzhak Rabin’s main coalition partner, and later Ehud Barak’s principled ally and honest critic — was never extreme. Still, she did remind us of a resolute measure urged by Aloni and Meretz that sadly was not taken by Rabin:
After Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994, she was among the first to call for the expulsion of hundreds of Jewish settlers from the West Bank city of Hebron.
The tributes and remembrances keep on cropping up. An excellent one is by Yossi Beilin in The Jewish Daily Forward. Beilin, then a Labor MK, worked in the Yitzhak Rabin government with Aloni and other Meretz cabinet ministers. Later, he joined Meretz, and led the party from 2004 until 2008.
His predecessor as leader of Meretz, Yossi Sarid (now a columnist for Haaretz), wrote one of the earliest tributes to Shula: The legacy of Shulamit Aloni, our fearless teacher. An editorial in Haaretz both salutes Shula and promotes Zehava Galon, the current leader of Meretz, as her worthy successor: Farewell to one of Israel’s true fighters on the left; it also includes a sidebar with links to other pieces on Shula.
An uncharacteristically enthusiastic testimonial was written by the “Magnes Zionist,” Jerry Haber (a blogger who is often an acerbic critic of our brand of progressive Zionism): One of Israel’s Last Remaining Jews Dies.
We continue to invite your reflections and remembrances as comments on this or other of our posts remembering Shula. Just remember that comments do not post immediately, as they are reviewed by an administrator for civility and to guard against spam.
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