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Voted in to the Knesset


Support comes from Ashkenazi Jews
Uri Avnery Social activist
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האמת שהיה קהל אשכנזי ברובו גדול, מפני שקוראי "העולם הזה" היו אשכנזים, רובם המכריע. כמה שלא ניסינו, "דופקים את השחורים”, לא הביא לנו קוראים "שחורים", להיפך. אני חושב שרבים מעדות המזרח בהתחלה נרתעו מזה, הם לא רצו שידברו על זה בכלל, על הנושא הזה. התחבאו וזה בייש אותם. אבל, היה לנו סניף גדול באור יהודה. סניף של חירות, סניף שלם עבר אלינו. וזה היה תוצאת לוואי ש"העולם הזה" גילה שהסוכנים מישראל שמו פצצות בבתי הכנסת בבגדד. והקבוצה הזאת ידעה את הסוד הזה ומסרה לנו. היה לנו סניף מאוד גדול בערד, שאז הייתה עוד עיר חלוצית כזאת. וקיבלנו המון קולות בצפון תל אביב ועל הכרמל בחיפה והלכנו לבחירות. תעמולת בחירות עשינו ב"העולם הזה", לא היה לנו כסף אחר. הייתה לנו זכות נדמה לי של עשר דקות ברדיו, עוד לא הייתה טלוויזיה. המפלגות הכי קטנות יכלו לקבל עשר דקות. הכנו שלושה שידורים ועשינו פיקניק באכזיב עם מדורות ולישון שם בלילה וכו', ועשינו כל מיני דברים שלא עלו כסף. והגיע יום הבחירות. עשינו את הפיקניק הזה שהיה מאוד שמח ומאוד ארצישראלי, ועשינו כמה פעולות כאלה. עשיתי פעולה בוואדי ערה. יום אחד עשינו שיירה. עשינו הרבה שיירות, הרי לא היו לנו המון אנשים. כשאתה אוסף מאה אנשים ברחוב זה עושה רושם קטן מאוד, אבל אתה לוקח מאה אנשים ומחלק אותם ב-25 מכוניות זה ענק, זה שיירה ענקית. וככה עשינו שיירות בכל מיני מקומות. עשינו שיירה בוואדי ערה. אני נאמתי ביום אחד שמונה פעמים. ושמה הייתה לי הבעיה הזאת שעליה חלוקות הדעות ביני ובין עמוס עוז. עמוס עוז אומר: ”אני מגיע לניסוח מסוים, אני דבק בו. חוזר עליו עוד ועוד ועוד”. אני לא מסוגל לזה. אני לא מסוגל לנאום אותו נאום פעמיים. אז בין כפר לכפר, אני כל פעם חיפשתי איזה צורה חדשה. וקיבלנו קולות ערבים אגב, לא מעט. הגיע יום הבחירות, שאלו אותי מראש: "כמה אתה לדעתך תקבל?" אמרתי: "אני מקווה לשתיים, אני חולם על שלוש, אני לא בטוח אפילו באחד”. זה, אגב, כל מערכות הבחירות שלי חזרתי על הנוסחא הזאת.‏

The truth is that for the most part it was a community made up of Ashkenazi Jews because the overwhelming majority of readers of HaOlam HaZeh were Ashkenazi Jews. However much we tried, 'screwing the blacks' didn't bring us black readers. On the contrary, I think a lot of the Mizrahi Jews were initially deterred by this; they didn't want anyone to talk about this subject. They hid, and this shamed them. But we had a large branch in Or Yehuda. A branch of Herut, an entire branch came over to us. A side effect of this was that we discovered that agents from Israel had placed bombs in synagogues in Baghdad.  This group was aware of this secret and gave it to us. We had a very large branch in Arad which was at that time another pioneering city. We got a lot of votes in northern Tel Aviv and on the Carmel in Haifa and we went to the elections. We conducted our election campaign at HaOlam HaZeh. We had no other money. We had the right, I believe, to 10 minutes on the radio. Israel did not yet have television. The smallest parties could get 10 minutes. We prepared three broadcasts and we had a picnic at Achziv with campfires and slept there overnight. We did all kinds of things that did not cost money. And then Election Day arrived.

We had the picnic in very high spirits and it was very 'Israeli' and we did that kind of thing a few times. I had an activity in Wadi Ara. One day we had a convoy. We had a lot of convoys. After all, we did not have a lot of people. When you collect 100 people on the street it seems very small, but if you take 100 people and divide them between 25 cars it's huge, it's a huge convoy. And so we had convoys to all sorts of places. We had the convoy to Wadi Ara. I gave a speech eight times in one day. And that was where I had this problem about the disagreement between me and Amos Oz. Amos Oz said: 'I formulate a particular wording, I stick to it.  I repeat it over and over and over'. I'm not capable of doing that. I cannot make the same speech twice. So between every village, each time, I looked for a new format. We got Arab votes, by the way, quite a few. Election day came, they asked me in advance, 'How many do you think you'll get?' I said: 'I hope for two, I dream of three, I'm not sure that I'll even get one'. This formula, by the way, I repeated during all of the election campaigns.

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: HaOlam HaZeh, Achziv, Carmel, Tel Aviv, Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Or Yehuda, Herut, Arad, Haifa, Achziv, Wadi Ara, Amos Oz

Duration: 4 minutes, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017