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Israeli civil rights pioneer Shulamit Aloni dies at 85

JERUSALEM--Shulamit Aloni, an Israeli legislator who championed civil rights and was fiercely critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, died on Friday. She was 85.

Meretz, the party she helped found and led, announced her death in a statement on its website. The party did not reveal the cause of death.

An audacious speaker and one of few women to openly challenge the nation's rabbis, Aloni fought for civil liberties, women's rights and a separation of church and state. But her boisterous crusade for secular rights was perceived as offensive by some ultra-Orthodox.

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