a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


I make my mark on the Knesset


Ben-Gurion 'sees a giraffe'
Uri Avnery Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

וככה הגענו לישיבת הפתיחה של הכנסת השישית. "אל תתייאש, עשן כנסת שש”. הייתה סיגריה כזאת. ונתנו לי כמובן את המקום הכי גרוע במליאה. הם לא הבינו שזה היה המקום הכי טוב, אבל זה התברר רק אחר כך. הכנסת הרי יושבת בחצי גורן עגולה, אז המקום הכי טוב זה כאילו מול דוכן הנואמים, ואני הייתי לגמרי אחרון בצד הזה. אבל האחרון שמה יושב בדיוק ליד דוכן הנואמים, מקום אידיאלי בשביל לקרוא קריאות ביניים למשל. נפתחת הישיבה ואנחנו שברנו את הראש. אנחנו צריכים לקבוע בישיבה הראשונה את נוכחותנו. בישיבה הראשונה אף אחד לא מקבל את רשות הדיבור. אף אחד. מפני שיש דברים לעשות כמו לבחור את יו"ר הכנסת וצריכים להתארגן בסיעות ולאשר ועדות, יש המון דברים סידוריים לעשות. דבר ראשון צריכים לפתוח את הכנסת. מי פותח את הכנסת? עוד אין יו”ר, אז זקן חברי הכנסת. מי זקן חברי הכנסת? דוד בן גוריון. דוד בן גוריון שהקים סיעה חדשה, רפ"י, של פורשי מפא”י. כשהדיחו את בן גוריון, אף אחד לא רצה לבוא אתו בעצם, לא רצו לעזוב את מפא”י, אבל הוא הכריח אותם בפועל. וככה משה דיין, שלא היה לו חשק, ושמעון פרס שגם לא היה לו חשק, יוסף אלמוגי, היו לו עשרה חברי כנסת. כל הגלריה הנהדרת הזאת קיבלה עשרה חברי כנסת כשלי היה אחד וחצי. ויש שתי תמונות היסטוריות, אחת כשבן גוריון קם ממקומו ובשביל להגיע,לשולחן היו"ר הוא צריך לעבור על פניי. ואיזשהו צלם זריז צילם את התמונה הזאת שאני יושב ובן גוריון עובר, נעצר ומסתכל עלי, כאילו הוא רואה איזושהי חיה מוזרה שאף פעם לא ראה בחיים. יש בדיחה שאיזה איכר בא בפעם הראשונה לגן החיות ורואה ג’ירפה. מסתכל, מסתכל בסוף אומר "אין דבר כזה”. אז ככה בדיוק הייתה הבעת הפנים שלו: "אין דבר כזה.‏”

And that was how we reached the opening session of the Sixth Knesset. 'Don't be discouraged, smoke Parliament Six'. That was a brand of cigarettes. And of course they gave me the worst place in the Assembly. They did not understand that it was the best place, but that only became clear later on. The Knesset sits in a semicircle so the best place should be in front of the podium, and I was absolutely last on this side. But the last person also sits right next to the Speaker's podium which is an ideal place for heckling, for instance. The first session opened and we were thinking as hard as we could. We needed to establish our presence during the first session. At the first session no one is given permission to speak. Nobody. Because there are things to do like choosing the Speaker and the organizing into factions and confirming Committees; there are lots of organizational things to do. The first thing to do is to open the Knesset. Who opens the Knesset? There is not yet a Chairman, so the oldest member of the Knesset does it. Who was the oldest member of the Knesset? David Ben-Gurion! Ben-Gurion, who had founded a new faction, Rafi - former members of Mapai. When Ben-Gurion was deposed no one really wanted to go with him, they did not want to leave Mapai, but he forced them. And that's what it was with Moshe Dayan who didn't want to go and Shimon Peres who didn't want to go either and Yosef Almogi. He [DB] had ten Mks. This great gallery received ten MKs when I had one and-a-half. And there are two historical photographs, one when Ben-Gurion stood up and in order to reach the desk of the Chairman he needed to pass by me. And somehow a quick-witted photographer took this picture with me sitting and Ben-Gurion passing by. He stopped and looked at me as though he were seeing some strange animal that he had never seen before in his life. There is a joke that a peasant came for the first time to the zoo and saw a giraffe. He stared and stared at it and in the end he says, 'There is no such thing'. That was exactly the look on Ben-Gurion's face when he was looking at me: 'There is no such thing'.

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: David Ben-Gurion, Yosef Almogi

Duration: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017