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Defeating the police in court


Exposing police corruption
Uri Avnery Social activist
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There was a discussion in the Knesset before I became a member of Parliament. During a break, I was sitting in the Knesset cafeteria and sitting at another table were the heads of the police force: Ezekiel Sahar, the Police Commissioner, Amos Ben-Gurion, the Deputy Commissioner, and several other officers. And I was quite friendly with Amos Ben-Gurion. So-so from afar, but friendly. So he came up to my table and said: 'Well, who's your next victim?' So I said: 'You. Three bombs. The police hint that they suspect us, but there is not even one suspect. Nothing'. And that's how it was. We began a campaign of disclosures about the police and at exactly that same time there was a body called Shurat Hamitnadvim.

These were good people who wanted to do good things, among which to teach new immigrants Hebrew. And Moshe Sharett, who lived in Jerusalem was the Foreign Minister, and as the Foreign Minister he received an official residence. What does a decent Zionist leader do? He sold his private apartment and distributed the money to several organisations that do good things, among others to Shurat Hamitnadvim. And Shurat Hamitnadvim somehow, it's not clear, got the idea to fight corruption in the country, and they learned about a case in which the police, Amos Ben-Gurion, his friend, Shaike Yarkoni, the husband of Yaffa Yarkoni, were engaged in some kind of importation which was illegal or corrupt, and just as we were beginning our series on police corruption – by some strange coincidence – Shurat Hamitnadvim started with their publications on exactly the same subject.

היה דיון בכנסת ובהפסקה, בכנסת, אני יושב, לפני שהייתי חבר כנסת, בהפסקה בכנסת אני יושב במזנון הכנסת ובשולחן השני יושבים ראשי המשטרה: יחזקאל סער, מפכ"ל, עמוס בן גוריון, סגן מפכ"ל, ועוד כמה קצינים. והייתי די מיודד עם עמוס בן גוריון. ככה, מרחוק, אבל מיודד. אז הוא ניגש לשולחן שלי ואומר: "נו, מי הקורבן הבא שלכם?" אז אמרתי: “אתם, שלוש פצצות, המשטרה רומזת שהיא חושדת בנו, אף חשוד אחד. כלום״. [הכוונה לפצצות שהתגלו בבניין מערכת העולם הזה ב-1954 ולא התגלה מי הטמין אותם].

וכך אכן היה. פתחנו במערכה של גילויים על המשטרה ובאותו זמן בדיוק היה קיים גוף שנקרא "שורת המתנדבים", שזה היה אנשים טובים שרצו לעשות דברים טובים, בין השאר ללמד עולים חדשים עברית ודברים כאלה. גוף של עושי טוב. ומשה שרת, שגר בירושלים, אבל היה שר חוץ ובתור שר חוץ הוא קיבל דירת שרד, מה עושה מנהיג ציוני הגון? מכר את הדירה הפרטית שלו, ואת הכסף חילק לכמה אגודות שעושות דברים טובים, בין השאר ל"שורת המתנדבים". ו"שורת המתנדבים" באיזשהו אופן לא ברור לי נכנס לה לראש להילחם בשחיתות במדינה, והם עלו על איזה פרשה שהמשטרה, עמוס בן גוריון, חבר שלו, שייקה ירקוני, הבעל של יפה ירקוני, עסקו איזשהו דבר בייבוא לא חוקי או מושחת, ובדיוק כשאנחנו מתחילים, זה מקריות מוזרה, בדיוק כשאנחנו מתחילים את הסדרה שלנו "שחיתות במשטרה", "שורת המתנדבים" התחילו עם הפרסומים שלהם על אותו נושא בדיוק.


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: Shurat Hamitnadvim, Knesset, Moshe Sharett, Amos Ben-Gurion, Yaffa Yarqoni, Yafa Yarkoni, Shaike Yarkoni

Duration: 3 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017