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Updated: January 25, 2014 01:13 IST

Israeli civil rights pioneer Shulamit Aloni dies

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Shulamit Aloni in a 1993 file photo. Photo: AP
AP Shulamit Aloni in a 1993 file photo. Photo: AP

Shulamit Aloni, an Israeli civil rights pioneer and longtime dovish politician, has died. She was 85. Meretz, the party she helped found, announced her death in a statement on its website on Friday. The party did not reveal the cause of death.

Ms. Aloni served as a member of parliament for 28 years and held a number of Cabinet posts. An audacious speaker, she was known to be one of the few women to openly challenge the nation’s rabbis and their grip on Jewish life in Israel. She was also a fierce opponent of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Ms. Aloni was recognized for her devotion to civil liberties in 2000, when she was awarded the Israel Prize, the country’s highest distinction.

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