Yossi Sarid (Hebrew: יוסי שריד, born 24 October 1940) is a left-wing Israeli news commentator and former politician. He served as a member of the Knesset for the Alignment, Ratz and Meretz between 1974 and 2006. A former Minister of Education and Minister of the Environment, he led Meretz between 1996 and 2003 and served as Leader of the Opposition from 2001 to 2003.
Born in Rehovot, Sarid served in the Artillery Corps and as a Military Correspondent during his national service in the IDF. He went on to work as a media aide to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.
He was first elected to the Knesset in 1973 on the Alignment list. He was re-elected in 1977, 1981 and 1984. After the Alignment agreed to join a national unity government with Likud in 1984, Sarid left the party on 22 October to join Shulamit Aloni’s Ratz. He was re-elected on the Ratz list in 1988.
In 1992, Ratz merged with Shinui and Mapam to form Meretz. The new party won 12 seats in the elections that year and joined Yitzhak Rabin’s coalition. Sarid was appointed Minister of the Environment, a position he kept when Shimon Peres formed a new government after Rabin’s assassination in 1995.
In 1996 Sarid replaced Aloni as Meretz leader. Although the Labor Party won the most seats in elections that year, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu won the special election for Prime Minister and formed a right-wing government.
In the 1999 elections Meretz won 10 seats. Although Sarid had vowed not to join a coalition that included the ultra-orthodox Shas, Ehud Barak persuaded Sarid to join the government, making him Minister of Education. Sarid explained the breaking of his vow in the need to promote the peace process. However, in 2000 Sarid resigned from the government and Meretz quit the coalition after failing to agree on authority to be given for Shas deputy minister of education.
In the 2003 elections Meretz was reduced to 6 seats, after which Sarid resigned as party leader, to be replaced by Yossi Beilin. He remained a member of the Knesset until the 2006 elections, when Meretz was reduced to 5 seats, after which he retired from politics, a plan he had announced the previous year.
Sarid now writes a weekly column for Haaretz. He holds an MA in political science from New School for Social Research in New York. He lives in Margaliyot in the Upper Galilee and is married to Dorit, with whom he has three children.