Shinui

   Hebrew for change. In the wake of the Yom Kippur War (1973), a small protest group called Shinui was founded by Professor Amnon Rubinstein of Tel Aviv University. It sought to effect changes in the Israeli political system and political life and developed a party organization but did not have a candidate of imposing stature. In 1976, it joined with others to form the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC), which secured 15 seats in the 1977 Knesset election under the leadership of Professor Yigael Yadin, who served as deputy prime minister in the coalition formed by Men-achem Begin.
   Shinui sought to present itself as a "centrist" alternative to both Labor and Likud. It focused on the need for electoral reform and general improvement in the political life of the country and encouraged a free enterprise economy, the protection of individual rights (to be enshrined in a formal, written constitution), and opposition to religious extremism. In the foreign policy realm Shinui favored a negotiated peace agreement with the Arabs, arguing that this would free Israel from the cycle of war and bloodshed and prevent it from becoming a binational state that would rule over another people. Israel's security would be guaranteed by secure border adjustments, security arrangements, and the demilitarization of evacuated areas.
   After DMC's dissolution, Shinui again emerged as an independent political unit and won 2 seats in the 1981 election. It won 3 seats in the 1984 election and was a junior partner in the 1984-88 Government of National Unity. It joined with the Independent Liberal and the Liberal Center parties to form the Center-Shinui Movement and won 2 seats in the 12th Knesset (1988). In 1992, it joined with two other Zionist-left parties (the Citizens' Rights and Peace Movement and Mapam) to form the Meretz/Democratic Israel coalition that won 12 seats in the 13th Knesset and participated in the coalition headed by Yitzhak Rabin, with party leader Rubinstein serving as minister of education. Shinui and Meretz won 9 seats in the 14th Knesset (1996).
   Prior to the May 1999 election to the 15th Knesset, Shinui went its own way. Running independently under the leadership of the prominent journalist and television personality, Yosef (Tommy) Lapid and on a platform dominated by opposition to what Lapid called "religious coercion" and unfair special privileges accorded the ultra-Orthodox political parties, Shinui won 6 Knesset seats. However, unable to reconcile its opposition to working with the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shinui remained outside of the governing coalition formed by Ehud Barak. Lapid and Shinui experienced their breakthrough in the election to the 16th Knesset in February 2003. Trading equally on popular disaffection with "politics as usual" and Lapid's traditional anticlerical message, Shinui took an unprecedented 15 seats in the Knesset and agreed to join the Ariel Sharon-led governing coalition on the condition that no haredi party be involved in the process. However, Shinui's ministers were dismissed from the government on 1 December 2004 over their failure to support the state budget due to a dispute over the distribution of public funds to ultra-Orthodox communities and to Orthodox political parties. The party split during the 2006 Knesset election campaign, and neither faction won enough votes to gain a seat in the Knesset.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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