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HaOlam HaZeh comes under attack


Defeating the police in court
Uri Avnery Social activist
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אז קודם כל הבנתי שזה לא צריך להיות ככה. האיש החזק ב"שורת המתנדבים" היה בחור בשם אליקים העצני, לימים לאומן קיצוני-קיצוני בקרית ארבע, ממוצא גרמני. זאת אומרת שהיה קיצוני-קיצוני-קיצוני. הגרמנים הולכים תמיד עד הסוף בכל דבר. ואני הלכתי אליו, נסעתי אליו לקרית יובל בירושלים ואמרתי: "זה הרי שטות, לא ייתכן ששני גופים שונים יעסקו באותו דבר בדיוק ובאותו זמן, בוא נשלב ידיים ונעשה את הכל יחד".

באותו זמן עמוס בן גוריון החליט להגיש משפט דיבה, אבל לא נגדנו. אנחנו היינו מקצועיים, לא פרסמנו שום דבר שלא יכולנו להוכיח. "המתנדבים" היו תמימים, חובבנים, והם כן פרסמו דברים שההוכחה הייתה קשה. אז הוא הגיש משפט נגד "המתנדבים", לא נגדנו כי אם נגד “המתנדבים". ואז הלכתי כאמור להעצני הביתה ואמרתי לו: "בוא נשלב ידיים, ניקח עורך דין מוסכם על כולנו, אני ממליץ על שמואל תמיר”. הוא הסכים, ואז נוצר הריבוע הזה: "שורת המתנדבים", "העולם הזה" ושמואל תמיר ומה שנקרא "פרשת שורת המתנדבים". בעקבות הפרשה הזאת מפכ"ל המשטרה נידון ליום מאסר נדמה לי, או משהו כזה. חויב בדין על שקר בבית המשפט. עמוס בן גוריון הודח ולמעשה יצאנו מזה מנצחים, מהפרשה הזאת.


So first of all I realized that it did not have to be that way. The strong person in Shurat Hamitnadvim was a man named Elyakim Haetzni, later an extreme nationalist-radical in Kiryat Arba, of German origin. That is, he was the most extreme of the extreme. The Germans always go to the very extreme end of everything. And I went to him, I went to Kiryat Yovel in Jerusalem, and said: 'This is nonsense. It doesn't make sense for two different entities to be dealing with the same exact thing and at the same exact time. Let's join forces and do everything together'. 

At the same time, Amos Ben-Gurion decided to file a libel trial, but not against us. We were professionals and did not publish anything we could not prove. Hamitnadvim were naïve, they were amateurs and they did publish things which it was difficult to prove. So he filed a claim against Hamitnadvim not against us but against Hamitnadvim. Then as I said, I went to Haetzni's home and told him: 'Let us join forces, we will take a lawyer that all of us agree on - I recommend Shmuel Tamir'. He agreed, and then this unit was created, Shurat Hamitnadvim, HaOlam Hazeh and Shmuel Tamir, and the so-called Shurat Hamitnadvim affair. Following this episode, the police commissioner was sentenced to one day in prison, I think, or something like that. He was accused of perjury. Amos Ben-Gurion was dismissed and in fact we came out of this affair as the winners.

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, HaOlam HaZeh, Kiryat Arba, Kiryat Yovel, Elyakim Haetzni, Amos Ben-Gurion, Shmuel M Tamir

Duration: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017