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Ben-Gurion 'sees a giraffe'


Sterling advice from a reliable source
Uri Avnery Social activist
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I asked Amnon Zichroni, who was a young unknown lawyer but, like I said, he was famous for enduring the longest hunger strike in Israeli history against enlistment in the IDF. He was released and he never served in the military. I asked him to be my parliamentary aide. This tradition of a parliamentary aide did not exist. People were members of parties and belonged to political factions. Knesset members belonged to party factions. There were party mechanisms and somehow we managed. I was the first person who came to the Knesset and had a 'shadow'.  Like a shadow – an aide that never left my side for a single moment in the Knesset. Amnon was not a yekke, but I was. We took the Knesset Rules of Procedure and ploughed through them, really learned them all by heart. And I, as I said on a previous occasion, because I had worked for more than five years with a lawyer, I never studied law but I have a legal mind, I simply understand the law. So I understand the Knesset Rules of Procedure, which is a legal document. And we looked for all the crevices and all the loopholes and all of the cracks through which one can get to things.

Before convening the Knesset, a tour was conducted for the new members. The Knesset then was in Froumine House in the center of Jerusalem, opposite Café Ta'amon. I still remember Yohanan Bader who was the Herut number two. Of course I had known him before, from HaOlam HaZeh and there was a kind of friendship between us. He always went up to people like this, he would take their hand and say: 'Let me give you some advice'. As we toured the building and learned lessons about the procedures in the Knesset, he said: 'Look Uri, you have nothing to look for in the Committees. You will not be able to pass even a single resolution in any Committee. There is no chance of that. You should concentrate on the Assembly. And use the Assembly to reach the general public. You will not persuade even one person in the Knesset, but through the Knesset microphone you will reach the public, so concentrate on that. As a single faction that is what you need to do'. That was very good advice. I took it.

אני ביקשתי את אמנון זכרוני, שהיה עורך דין צעיר, לא ידוע, אבל שכאמור שהיה מפורסם מפני שהוא עשה את שביתת הרעב הארוכה ביותר בתולדות המדינה נגד גיוס לצה"ל ושוחרר, לא שירת בצה”ל. וביקשתי ממנו שיהיה עוזר פרלמנטרי שלי. המוסד הזה, "עוזר פרלמנטרי”, לא היה קיים. אנשים היו אנשי מפלגות והשתייכו לסיעות. חברי הכנסת השתייכו לסיעות של מפלגות. היו מנגנוני מפלגות והסתדרו איכשהו. אני האיש הראשון בכלל שבא לכנסת ואתו “צל". צל כאילו - עוזר פרלמנטרי שלא מש מצידי אף רגע אחד בכנסת. אמנון לא היה יקה, אבל אני כן. ולקחנו את תקנון הכנסת וחרשנו אותו, ממש למדנו אותו בעל-פה. ואני, כפי שאמרתי בהזדמנות קודמת, מכיוון שעבדתי חמש שנים פלוס אצל עורך דין, לא למדתי משפטים אף פעם אבל יש לי מוח משפטי, אני מבין משפטים פשוט. ולכן הבנתי גם את תקנון הכנסת שהוא מסמך משפטי. וחיפשנו את כל הנקיקים ואת כל החורים ואת כל הסדקים שדרכם אפשר להגיע לדברים. לפני שהתכנסה הכנסת עשו סיור לחברי הכנסת החדשים. הכנסת הייתה בבית פרומין, במרכז ירושלים, מול טעמון. אני עוד את יוחנן באדר שהיה מס' 2 של חירות, הכרתי אותו קודם כמובן מ"העולם הזה" והייתה בינינו ידידות. הוא תמיד הלך עם אנשים ככה, התחבר עם הידיים וככה, ואמר: "בוא אני אתן לך עצות”. תוך כדי כך שסיירנו בבניין ולמדנו שיעורים בנהלים בכנסת, הוא אמר לי: "תראה אורי, אין לך מה לחפש בוועדות, אתה לא תעביר אף החלטה אחת בשום ועדה, אין שום סיכוי, אתה תתרכז במליאה. ובמליאה תשתמש בזה כדי להגיע לקהל הרחב. אתה לא תשכנע אף אדם אחד בכנסת, אבל דרך הרמקול של הכנסת אתה מגיע לציבור ואתה תתרכז בזה. כסיעת יחיד זה מה שאתה צריך לעשות". זאת הייתה עצה מאוד טובה. קיבלתי אותה.‏

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: Knesset, Herut, yekke, Frumin House, Froumine House, Cafe Ta'amon, HaOlam HaZeh, Jerusalem, Amnon Zichroni, Yohanan Bader

Duration: 3 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017