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 years.
In the 1996 general elections Shinui ran once again with Meretz and Rubinstein and Poraz were elected again.
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 ultra-Orthodox parties.
In the 2003 election, Shinui showed surprising strength, and catapulted to the third largest faction in the Knesset with 15 seats.