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Arab-Israeli tension reaches breaking point


A life blighted by hatred
Uri Avnery Social activist
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To depose the Prime Minister or at least the Minister of Defence... there were a few candidates. There were several candidates. The most prominent candidate was David Ben-Gurion. He was still around. He was the head of the opposition party, Rafi. There was Yigal Allon, the legendary commander from the War of Independence. There was Sukenik, Yigael Yadin, who was a former Chief of Staff and had in fact been the man who directed the War of Independence. Who else was there? There were all sorts of useless generals. But Yigal, as I said, I met with him every day and his dream was to be the Minister of Defence. Gradually there was a growing realization that war was inevitable. So for Yigal being Minister of Defence for the war was really a lifelong dream come true. And the opposite candidate was Moshe Dayan. The 'Merry Wives' were in favour of Moshe Dayan, of course. One day I met Yigal happy, cheerful. That's it – Levi Eshkol had resigned from the Ministry of Defence and surely they will appoint Yigal who was in HaMaarakh, his party. What – would they take Moshe Dayan from the opposition? From the Rafi party? The next day I met with Yigal who was in a deep depression. Levi Eshkol decided to appoint Moshe Dayan as Minister of Defence. This was a turning point in Yigal's life. From then on he faded before my eyes. This blow, and his hatred for Moshe Dayan, increased the hatred that had always been there ever since the War of Independence, but it really grew from day to day. If we jump forward from then to the end of his life, it was the so-called leitmotif, the central tune in Allon's life. He schemed, he hated, hated hated! There was once a German statesman named Bismarck who wrote somewhere in his memoirs: 'I lay down every night and I hated'. So Yigal from that moment lived all his life and hated.

להדיח את ראש הממשלה, או לפחות את שר הבטחון היו מעט מועמדים. היו כמה מועמדים. המועמד הבולט היה דוד בן גוריון. הוא היה קיים. הוא היה ראש מפלגת אופוזיציה בשם רפ"י. היה יגאל אלון, המפקד האגדתי ממלחמת תש"ח. היה סוקניק, יגָאֵל ידין, שהוא היה רמטכ"ל לשעבר, למעשה האיש שניהל את מלחמת תש"ח. מי עוד היה? היו עוד כל מיני גנרלים שיצאו מכלל שימוש. אבל יגאל, שכאמור נפגשתי אתו כל יום, חלום חייו היה להיות שר הבטחון. לאט-לאט גם גברה ההכרה שלא יהיה מנוס ממלחמה. אז יגאל, להיות שר הבטחון של המלחמה זה היה ממש הגשמת חלום חייו. והמועמד הנגדי היה משה דיין. "הנשים העליזות" היו בעד משה דיין, כמובן. ויום אחד אני פוגש את יגאל שמח, עליז. זהו זה, לוי אשכול מתפטר ממשרד הבטחון ובטח ימנה את יגאל שהיה ב"מערך", המפלגה שלו. מה, ייקחו את משה דיין מהאופוזיציה? ממפלגת רפ"י? למחרת היום אני פוגש את יגאל בדיכאון טוטאלי. לוי אשכול החליט למנות את משה דיין לשר הבטחון. בחייו של יגאל זה היה מפנה. מאותו רגע יגאל דעך לנגד עיניי. המכה הזאת והשנאה שלו למשה דיין, שנאה שגברה, שתמיד הייתה קיימת, עוד מתש"ח, אבל היא גברה ממש מיום ליום והיא, אם לקפוץ קדימה, מאותו רגע עד סוף ימיו זה היה מה שנקרא במוזיקה "לייט מוטיב", הנימה המרכזית בחייו של יגאל אלון. הוא זמם, הוא שנא, הוא שנא הוא שנא! היה פעם מדינאי גרמני בשם ביסמארק, שכתב באיזה מקום בזיכרונותיו: "שכבתי כל הלילה ושנאתי”. נקודה. אז יגאל מאותו רגע חי כל חייו ושנא.‏

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: Merry Wives of Windsor, David Ben-Gurion, Yigal Allon, Moshe Dayan

Duration: 3 minutes, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017