Shinui (Hebrew for "Change") was formed in
1974, a few months after the Yom
Kippur (October) War, as one of the protest movements. Its original
name was "Shinui - The political and social revival movement."
As it was formed, Shinui decided to run for the Knesset.
In 1976, the late professor Yigael
Yadin, who was IDF's second chief of staff, formed a political party
which was destined to run for the Knesset - "The Democratic Movement."
Shinui and The Democratic Movement began negotiation to form a united
party, and indeed in the beginning of 1977 it was born as "Dash
- The Democratic Movement For Change." After Dash was formed, a
group from "Hamrkaz Hahofshi" ("The Free Center"),
led by the late MK Shmuel Tamir, and a group from the Israeli Labor
Party, led by Meir Amit, joined it.
In the 1977 general elections Dash got 15 seats. At
first, Dash did not join the Likud government, led by the late Menachem
Begin, and so Begin formed a coalition which only had a 61 majority
in the Knesset. When the late Moshe
Dayan joined the government as Foreign Minister, the majority went
up to 62.
In Dash, a fierce inner struggle about joining the
Begin government took place. Finally, after a few months, the Dash council
decided, on a small majority, to join the coalition. The Shinui members
inside Dash opposed this move.
About a year after it was formed, Dash split into two
parties - Shinui, and The Democratic Party.
In the 1981 general elections, Shinui got two seats
- MK Amnon Rubinstein
and MK Mordechai Virshuvski.
In the 1984 general elections, Shinui got three seats,
this time Rubinstein and Virshuvski were joined by MK Zeidan Atshi.
After the elections, Shinui joined the national unity government led
by Shimon Peres, and Amnon
Rubinstein became Minister of Communication. In the beginning of
1987 Shinui left the government as a reaction to Yitzhak
Shamir opposing "The London Agreement."
The 1988 general elections saw Shinui joining the "Independent
Liberals" (Lamed Ayin) and the "Liberal Center" (Hamerkaz
Haliberali), getting two seats - MK Amnon
Rubinstein and MK Avraham Poraz.
In the 1992 general elections, Shinui joined Ratz and
Mapam to form the Meretz
alignment, and got two seats as part of it. Amnon
Rubinstein served as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure for about
a year, and later became Minister of Education and Culture for three
In the 1996 general elections Shinui ran once again
with Meretz and Rubinstein
and Poraz were elected again.
In the beginning of 1997, Ratz and Mapam decided to
unite Meretz into one political
party. A group of Shinui members led by Amnon
Rubinstein left Shinui and joined Meretz.
In the 1999
election, Shinui increased its representation in the Knesset from one
seat to six. The party attributed its success to the fact that it was
the first party ever to refuse to join a government that included the
In the 2003
election, Shinui showed surprising strength, and catapulted to the third
largest faction in the Knesset with 15 seats.
Shinui is currently the only active liberal political
party in Israel, and finds its ideological position at the center of
the political map. Its basic principals are :
A. Supporting the peace process between Israel and
its arab neighbours, including the Oslo agreements with the Palestinians.
B. Free market economy based on liberal principals.
C. Israel should be democratic state which offers
its citizens freedom and equality.
Shinui differs from Meretz
and the Labor Party mainly
in its social and economical approach - liberal economy, as opposed
to socialism and centralist economy.
We believe in freedom of religion, and we strongly
oppose religious coercion. We fight against the national scandal of
the exemption of orthodox youth from army service. We do not alienate
religion, and we see all currents in judaism as equal. We believe in
mutual understanding and respect as basis to a healthy society.
Shinui is a member of The Liberal International since
Shinui fights against religious coercion and for a secular state with
room for all opinions and beliefs. Extortion and exploitation of the
public treasury for religious purposes have to end. The ultra-Orthodox
establishment is a threat to the orderly administration of a free society
and to the individual freedom that characterizes a democratic state.
Attempts to turn Israel into a state based on Halacha (Jewish religious
law) endanger our future. We seek to separate state and religion, while
preserving the country's Zionist character.
Shinui supports the peace process. However, Arafat is not a partner
for peace, and negotiations have to be conducted with moderate Palestinians.
The cessation of terror is an indispensable condition for progress in
the diplomatic negotiations. Illegal outposts must be evacuated immediately.
As part of the peace arrangements, Israel will also have to leave settlements
scattered in the heart of Palestinian populations, but Israel will not
evacuate settlement blocs, and these will be integrated within Israel's
borders. There are also large settlements, which will be subject to
negotiation. We are committed to setting up a separation fence as a
partial defense against the frequency of terrorist infiltrations. At
the end of the peace process, we will have to find a modus vivendi for
Jerusalem, to enable both sides to coexist in peace, with respect for
the holy sites of all the three religions. A Palestinian state will
be established only after the Palestinians renounce their right to return.
We represent the middle classes, that are the backbone of Israeli society.
In our opinion, the middle class pays too much in taxes and receives
too little in return. A reduction in taxes will free up investment funds
that will start the wheels of the economy turning once again, thereby
providing jobs for the unemployed. We see ourselves as representing
professionals, the self-employed, business proprietors, managers and
administrative staff, high-tech staffers, those in the standing army,
farmers, professors and teachers, pensioners and students. We are the
voice of the productive, creative, cultured layer of Israeli society
-- those who pay taxes and serve in the military reserves, who believe
in law and order, who despise corruption, who suffer from bureaucracy,
and who unashamedly believe in Zionism.
The rate of privatization has to
be accelerated and the state must relinquish its heavy involvement in
the business sector. Within the globalization process, Israel has to
be part of the Western economy and we unreservedly support a free market
economy, scientific and technological development and high-tech industries.
The role of trade unions is to take care of workers' welfare, but the
Histadrut has become a political organization serving party-political
interests and does not operate for the benefit of the economy. The state's
job in economic development is to invest in infrastructure.
Shinui believes that the Tal Law, which grants legitimization to draft
dodgers, is a national tragedy. The Tal Law rewards a prize for evasion
of service. It inflicts severe damage on the principle of equality and
endangers our security. Every Jewish youngster who is healthy in mind
and in body must serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for the same
period of time and under the same conditions. This obligation is binding
also for yeshiva students, except when the IDF decides, from professional
considerations, not to recruit him. In such a case, he is entitled to
go out to earn a living in the workplace, and not have to remain trapped
in a yeshiva. The Ministry of Defense has to pay proper compensation
for reserve army service, especially to those who serve prolonged periods
in combat units.
The state has to strive to provide free education from kindergarten
to university. Education must impart humanistic, democratic, Liberal
and pluralistic values. A core curriculum, giving the foundation for
the knowledge and education to eventually integrate autonomous individuals
in an information-rich society and educate them to personal, social,
national and Zionist commitment, must be taught in all schools, of all
streams. Shinui will act to enhance the standing of teachers and school
principals and to improve their training. Shinui advocates equal opportunities
in education, in order to reduce gaps and to give every schoolchild
the chance to fulfill his/her potential. Better staff and larger budgets
must be directed to the outlying districts and for the weaker strata
of society. The Ministry of Education will not subsidize educational
institutions that do not teach Zionism, civics, mathematics, science
and English. Shinui views higher education as the basis for the nation's
scientific and technological advancement.
Everyone is entitled to the health benefits made possible by medical
science. The health system at present does not meet this criterion.
The state has to make every financial, organizational and scientific
effort to ensure preventative health services for every healthy person
and skilled medical treatment for every sick person. At the same time,
private medical services should be encouraged to develop, since they
ease the heavy burden that is overloading the public health services.
Shinui sees the law courts in Israel as the backbone of Israeli democracy.
While not exempt from criticism, the courts have to be defended because
of the anti-democratic forces conspiring against them. Every effort
must be made to strengthen the rule of law. The Ministry of Justice
has to allocate the requisite resources to shorten legal processes.
The excessive authority of the rabbinical courts must be curtailed and
their powers transferred to civil courts.
Shinui supports the passing of more Basic Laws, in order to consolidate
a constitution for the country. The very first priority is to pass a
Basic Law on Legislation, so that the legal framework is laid down for
Basic Law legislation. Then, a Law on Freedom of Religion must be passed,
in order to establish equality between the different streams of Judaism
and to liberate citizens from the arbitrary rulings of the religious
Shinui battles capricious bureaucracy and waste. Public administration
must be made more efficient and officials must interfere less in citizens'
Shinui champions integrity in public life and combats corruption at
every level of government. Clean administration and the rule of law
are essential conditions for correctly regulated public life.
Shinui demands a new division of the nation's resources. The billions
earmarked for religious purposes have to be used for more essential
requirements: Less to religious needs and more for social needs. Less
to religious needs and more for health. Less to religious needs and
more to education and science. Less to religious needs and more for
culture and the arts.
Close contact with the Jewish world is of prime importance to Shinui.
The centrality of Israel in Jewish consciousness must be enhanced through
educational activity among secular and religious Jewish youngsters worldwide.
The damage inflicted by the religious establishment in Israel on the
Reform and Conservative streams hinders the majority of Diaspora Jewry
in their affiliation with Israel, leading to rifts within the Jewish
The Law of Return is the foundation stone of Israel as a Jewish and
Zionist state. The state must invest every effort to increase immigration
and to create the conditions for immigrants to be quickly absorbed in
the nation's social, economic and cultural life. The ultra-Orthodox
persecution of 'mixed' immigrant families from the former Soviet Union
must be stopped.
Every woman is entitled to realize her full potential and to equal opportunities
in any job and situation, including equal pay for equal work. Equality
of rights should also apply to ultra-Orthodox women, who are at present
greatly discriminated-against. Any law or procedure that hinders women's
equality, on the grounds of Jewish religious law, will be abolished.
In addition, great efforts must be made to reduce domestic violence,
the sexual exploitation of women and girls, and sexual harassment.
/ College Students
Shinui considers university students to be Israel's future as a progressive
and developed Western state. The enormous sums that flow to yeshivas
and to yeshiva students must be diverted to the universities and their
students, in order to upgrade academic levels and to lower fees, until
fees can be totally abolished. Colleges are an expression of the fact
that the field of higher education also needs private enterprise. The
subsidies for college fees must be made the same as for university fees.
People who have worked all their lives, supporting their family, deserve
a dignified old age. Israeli society sins unforgivably when it condemns
pensioners, who depend on the National Insurance allowance, to lives
of humiliation and distress.
Shinui upholds the struggle of the homosexual-lesbian community against
all discrimination based on sexual orientation and for equal rights
of single-sex couples, including the right to adopt children.
Shinui champions efforts on behalf of the environment, to protect flora
and fauna, to prevent cruelty to animals, to preserve archeological
sites and to create a more beautiful Israel. Shinui initiated the Law
of the Commissioner for Future Generations, to prevent irreparable environmental
The carnage on the roads is, Shinui believes, a national disaster. The
government must make the fight against road accidents a top priority
and it must designate massive budgets to the upgrading of road and rail
infrastructure. Greater emphasis must be placed on educating youngsters
to caution on the roads, while also imposing more severe penalties on
Shinui believes that every citizen is entitled to decide what to believe,
what to eat, what and where to buy, when and where to travel, where
to go for entertainment, whom and how to marry, and how to be buried.
Freedom of expression and freedom of association are the cornerstones
of democratic life.
Declaration Of Independence
Shinui upholds the basic values of Israel as a Zionist and Jewish state,
open to every Jew, a state ruled by law in which the minorities have
equal rights, in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.