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Rachel falls ill


My magnificent wife
Uri Avnery Social activist
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And you were the final push.  In 1982, we went to visit Yasser Arafat in Beirut. You were with me as a photographer. Sarit Yishai was also with us as a reporter. And this was published all around the world. It was a worldwide sensation and Rachel was berating herself. Berating herself that everywhere you and I were talking about it, what happened and how exciting it was and she was on the outside. Then she decided, in secret, to study photography. I didn't know. She went to Camera Obscura, the school of photography, and passed the entire course. And one day, I think we were at a demonstration led by Rabbi Meir Kahane in Umm al-Fahm it seems to me, and she came with us and brought the camera, and said: 'I want to try'. When we were preparing the article, in HaOlam HaZeh you put your photos on the table and suddenly she came and said: 'I want you to also see the pictures that I took'. And they were good! I chose them, without knowing, even before she said, I chose from here and there. And so she became a photographer and came to all the demonstrations of Gush Shalom. I have thousands of her photographs. One day we will have to organise them. And she became the organiser of Gush Shalom. We established Gush Shalom when Yitzhak Rabin exiled some 400 Palestinian activists – I forget how many. And we decided then to set up Gush Shalom in protest. We set up a tent opposite the Prime Minister's Office and we did a sit-in. And out of this protest emerged the movement called Gush Shalom.  Rachel who hated anything that was 'organised' and did not like the yekke side of me with everything being organised; she really did not like it. She became the main organiser of Gush Shalom through coercion. Everyone else failed, so she took over the job and from then on she organised dozens of Gush Shalom protests, and photographed them. And she turned out to be a very good organiser. 

והדחיפה הסופית היית את. אנחנו נסענו ב-82' לבקר את יאסר ערפאת בביירות. את [ענת סרגוסטי] היית אתי בתור צלמת. הייתה גם שרית ישי ככתבת. והדבר התפרסם בעולם כולו. הייתה סנסציה עולמית ורחל אכלה את עצמה. אכלה את עצמה שבכל מקום אני ואת מדברים מה היה וכמה זה היה מרגש והיא בחוץ. ואז היא החליטה, בסוד, ללמוד צילום. לא ידעתי. והיא עברה בקמרה אובסקורה, בבית ספר לצילום, עברה את כל הקורס. ויום אחד, אני חושב שהיינו בהפגנה של הרב כהנא באום אל פאחם, נדמה לי, והיא באה אתנו והביאה את המצלמה, ואמרה: "אני רוצה לנסות”. וכשהכנו את הכתבה ב"העולם הזה" את שמת על השולחן את הצילומים שלך, ופתאום היא באה אומרת: "אני רוצה גם שתראה את הצילומים שאני צילמתי”. והם היו טובים! ואני בחרתי. בלי לדעת, עוד לפני שהיא אמרה, אני בחרתי מפה ומפה. וכך היא הפכה לצלמת, ובאה לכל ההפגנות של "גוש שלום". יש לי פה אלפי צילומים שלה. פעם אחת צריכים לסדר אותם. והיא הפכה למארגנת של "גוש שלום”. הקמנו את "גוש שלום" כשיצחק רבין "הגלה", שכחתי כמה, 400 פעילים פלסטינים. והחלטנו אז להקים את "גוש שלום" כמחאה. והקמנו אוהל מול משרד ראש הממשלה ועשינו שם שביתת שבת. ומתוך המחאה הזאת יצאה תנועה בשם "גוש שלום”. רחל, שתיעבה כל דבר ארגוני וכל דבר מסודר ומאוד לא אהבה את הצד הייקי שלי שכל דבר מסודר, מאוד לא אהבה את זה. היא הפכה למארגנת הראשית של  "גוש שלום", מאונס. כל האחרים נכשלו, אז היא לקחה את התפקיד והיא ארגנה מאז את כל עשרות ההפגנות של "גוש שלום" וגם צילמה אותן. והיא התגלתה כמארגנת טובה מאוד.‏



Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Umm al-Fahm, Gush Shalom, yekke, Camera Obscura, Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Meir David HaKohen Kahane, Rachel Avnery, Anat Saragusti, Sarit Yishai-Levi

Duration: 4 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017