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A life blighted by hatred


Fulfilling a long-held dream
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Once the crisis began I decided to fulfil my old dream. My dream had been to put out a daily newspaper. HaOlam HaZeh already had a sound foundation and its status was permanent. I decided that if such a crisis had already begun and everyone was living is a state of anxiety and close to the radio, then this was a good opportunity to publish a daily newspaper. For a daily newspaper I needed a printing house. There were not a lot of printers that could print a daily newspaper. There were printing houses owned by the newspapers, which certainly were not interested in me competing with them, and in the end the choice was limited to one or two printers. One belonged to the newspaper LaMerhav of the Ahdut HaAvoda party. I was friendly with Yigal Allon who was in fact the 'boss' of the party and therefore also of the printing house. And I entered into negotiations with him for us to print the newspaper at the Labour Unity printing house. And as a result, quite by chance, I met with Yigal every day and followed the crisis from the aspect of the government through my daily conversations with Yigal. After a few days of panic, Levi Eshkol's position became uncertain. Levi Eshkol was, as Ben Gurion had been before him, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. And a movement began which aimed to oust him and get rid of him altogether or if not to remove him altogether, at least remove him from the post of Minister of Defence. And it increased. The demand grew daily. There was a phenomenon that entered into the annals of history and came to be known as the Merry Wives of Windsor. The Merry Wives of Windsor is a well-known operetta about a group of women who started to demonstrate here [sic], across the street where the center of the Mapa party was located, and here they demonstrated daily to overthrow Levi Eshkol. And this demand increased day by day to at least remove him from the Ministry of Defence.

אני חוויתי ברגע שהתחיל המשבר, אני החלטתי להגשים חלום ישן שלי. החלום שלי היה להוציא עיתון יומי. "העולם הזה" כבר היה מבוסס ומעמדו היה קבוע, והחלטתי שאם מתחיל משבר כזה וכולם חיים בחרדה וכולם חיים צמודים לרדיו, אז זו הזדמנות טובה להוציא לאור עיתון יומי. בשביל עיתון יומי הייתי זקוק לבית דפוס. ולא היו הרבה בתי דפוס שיכלו להדפיס עיתון יומי. היו בתי-הדפוס של העיתונים, שבהחלט לא היו מעוניינים שאני אתחרה בהם, ובסוף הבחירה הצטמצמה לבית דפוס אחד או שניים. האחד היה של העיתון "למרחב" של מפלגת "אחדות העבודה”. ואני הייתי מיודד עם יגאל אלון. יגאל אלון היה בפועל ה"בוס" של המפלגה וממילא גם של הדפוס. ונכנסתי למשא ומתן אתו, שנדפיס את העתון החדש בדפוס "אחדות העבודה”. וכתוצאה מכך, לגמרי במקרה, אני נפגשתי עם יגאל כל יום, ועקבתי אחרי המשבר מהבחינה הממשלתית באמצעות שיחותיי היומיות עם יגאל. אחרי כמה ימים הפאניקה גרמה לכך שמקומו של לוי אשכול הפך ללא בטוח. לוי אשכול היה - כמו בן גוריון לפניו - ראש ממשלה ושר הבטחון. והתחילה תנועה להדיח אותו, לסלק אותו בכלל. ואם לא לסלק אותו בכלל, לפחות לסלק אותו מתפקיד שר הבטחון. וזה גדל. הדרישה החריפה מיום ליום. הייתה תופעה שנכנסה להיסטוריה בשם "נשות וינדזור העליזות”. "נשות וינדזור העליזות" זו אופרטה ידועה וייחסו את זה לקבוצה של נשים שהתחילה להפגין פה, למטה, פה ממול היה מרכז מפלגת מפא”י, ושמה הן יום-יום הפגינו להדיח את לוי אשכול. והתביעה הזאת גברה מיום ליום, לפחות להדיח אותו ממשרד הבטחון.‏


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: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Yigal Allon, Levi Eshkol

Duration: 3 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017