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Destruction of the Egyptian air force ends the war


Under fire at the Knesset
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Then the war broke out. On the eve of the war, Nasser exerted tremendous pressure on King Hussein who did not want to join in this 'adventure', but he pressured him and made a military alliance and the Jordanian army were subjugated to him as supreme Egyptian commander. War broke out, in fact, on all three fronts: Egypt, Jordan, Syria. On the first day of the war, the Knesset convened because it was necessary to approve budgets. War costs money. And I remember this trip. At the time I had the car which I most loved in my life, an American Mustang. It was a beautiful car and I really liked it. And we went. It seems to me that Rachel was with me. We drove to Jerusalem for a session of the Knesset. The entire road from Zerifin to Jerusalem was jammed with military vehicles. Because Jordan had entered the war the military force that had been concentrated at Tzrifin came to Jerusalem to defend Jerusalem against King Hussein. And I remember the atmosphere. The atmosphere was incredibly cheerful. All the soldiers shouted greetings. I was already quite popular because of my activities in the Knesset, in part because of my battle for the law that allowed soldiers free travel on public transport. And so I arrived in Jerusalem. In the end, I think I got there on time or, if not, then I was only a few minutes late. And we voted to ratify the war budget. Then in the middle of the meeting there was a siren. Downstairs in the Knesset there is a shelter that also served as a sports hall. We all went down to the shelter. The atmosphere was very cheerful. And there was a small explosion. Jordan had started an artillery bombardment of the western city. Nothing serious, not much, but we thought they were probably aiming at the Knesset.

ואז פרצה המלחמה. ערב המלחמה נאסר הפעיל לחץ עצום על המלך חוסיין, שלא רצה להצטרף להרפתקאה הזאת, אבל הוא לחץ עליו ועשו ברית צבאית והצבא הירדני הכפיפו אותו למפקד עליון מצרי וכך פרצה המלחמה למעשה בשלוש החזיתות: מצרים, ירדן, סוריה. ביום הראשון של המלחמה התכנסה הכנסת, מכיוון שהיה צורך לאשר תקציבים. מלחמה עולה כסף. ואני זוכר את הנסיעה הזאת. היה לי אז האוטו שאני הכי אהבתי בחיים שלי, מוסטנג אמריקאי, היה אוטו יפהפה, אני ממש אהבתי אותו, ונסענו. נדמה לי שרחל הייתה אתי. נסענו לירושלים לישיבת הכנסת. כל הכביש מצריפין עד ירושלים היה פקוק מרכבים צבאיים, מפני שירדן נכנסה למלחמה אז הכוח הצבאי שהיה מרוכז בצריפין, סרפנד, עלה לירושלים להגן על ירושלים מפני המלך חוסיין. ואני זוכר את האווירה. האווירה הייתה עליזה מאין כמוה. כל החיילים צעקו. צעקו לי ברכות. אני הייתי אז די פופולארי כבר בגלל פעולתי בכנסת, בין השאר בגלל המלחמה על החוק שחיילים יוכלו לסוע בחינם בתחבורה ציבורית. וככה הגעתי לירושלים. בסופו של דבר הגעתי בזמן נדמה לי, או שלא, או שאיחרתי כמה דקות. והצבענו למען אישור תקציב למלחמה. ואז באמצע היו אזעקות. בכנסת למטה יש מקלט שמשמש גם לאולם ספורט. ירדנו כולנו למקלט הזה. האווירה הייתה מאוד עליזה. והייתה הפצצה קטנה. הירדנים התחילו בהפצצה ארטילרית של מערב העיר. לא משהו רציני, לא מי יודע מה, אבל חשבו שבטח מתכוונים לכנסת.‏

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: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Knesset, 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, King Hussein

Duration: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017