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Leaving the Knesset


Losing the election of ‘73
Uri Avnery Social activist
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We remained together for another two years in the Knesset, two separate factions. The Knesset Committee decided that the name should remain with me, HaOlam HaZeh – Koah Hadash. He became the Black Panthers. Then, at the next election, we both lost. It did enormous damage, this separation. HaOlam HaZeh had been a concept. Ha – Koah Hadash, This World – A New Force.  There had been romance associated with this faction; this was not just another parliamentary faction. There were people around us who loved us, loved the faction, who read every word that I wrote about it.  After all, in HaOlam HaZeh I had included supplements about the activities of the faction, two pages every week. At first as part of the paper, then I realised it was not beneficial for the newspaper so we printed two pages separately and inserted them into the paper. There were many people who were not just our followers, but they really liked us, they were friends, they felt as if they were also members of Knesset belonging to this faction – this relationship was something totally special. And when this thing occurred, it was as if their mother and father were getting divorced. As if they were divorcing in a hostile divorce, and a lot of that romance and sympathy and the love was lost.

So in the elections of 1973 we went down, we did not pass the threshold, as strange as it seemed. Later a lot of people came to me and said if they had even dreamed that HaOlam HaZeh would not pass the threshold, of course they would have voted for us. But what happened? It wasn't only a matter of Shalom Cohen and our split and all the ugliness that accompanied it, but there were other things: there was Shulamit Aloni's faction which arose, called Moked.

And people were so used to me, a lot of people told me afterwards, many people were so used to me being in the Knesset, that they simply could not imagine the Knesset without me. They were confident that I would certainly be elected. So they thought: let me help these others, Shulamit Aloni or Meir Pa'il in Moked, and afterwards they were sorry that I lost. But I lost the election. I left the Knesset.

נשארנו עוד שנתיים בכנסת ביחד, שתי סיעות נפרדות. ועדת הכנסת החליטה שהשם נשאר אתי, "העולם הזה כוח חדש”. הוא הפך ל"פנתרים שחורים" ואז בבחירות הבאות שנינו הפסדנו. זה עשה נזק עצום, הפירוד הזה. "העולם הזה" היה מושג, "העולם הזה - כוח חדש”. הייתה רומנטיקה מסביב לסיעה הזאת, זה לא סתם הייתה סיעה פרלמנטרית. היו עוד מסביב אנשים שאהבו אותנו, שאהבו את הסיעה, שקראו כל מילה שכתבתי על זה. אני הרי ב"העולם הזה" צירפתי מוסף על פעולות הסיעה, שני עמודים כל שבוע. קודם בתוך העיתון, אח"כ ראיתי שזה לא טוב לעיתון אז הדפסנו שני עמודים לחוד ושמנו בתוך העיתון. והיו אנשים רבים שלא סתם היו אוהדים שלנו, אהבו אותנו, היו חברים, הרגישו כאילו הם חברי כנסת מטעם הסיעה הזאת, זה היה יחס לגמרי-לגמרי-לגמרי מיוחד. וכשפרץ הדבר הזה, זה כמו אבא ואמא מתגרשים. מתגרשים בגירושים עוינים, והרבה מהרומנטיקה הזאת ומהאהדה הזאת ומהאהבה הזאת הפסדנו. ולכן בבחירות של 73' אנחנו ירדנו, לא עברנו את אחוז החסימה, כמה שזה מוזר. אח"כ ניגשו אלי הרבה אנשים ואמרו: אילו היו חולמים על זה ש"העולם הזה" יכול לא לעבור את אחוז החסימה, כמובן שהיו מצביעים. אלא מה קרה? זה לא רק היה העניין של שלום כהן והפילוג וכל הכיעור שנלווה לזה, אלא היו עוד דברים: קמה הסיעה של שולמית אלוני, קמה הסיעה שנקראה “מוקד".[ שתי מפלגות חדשות שהיו שייכות למחנה השמאל וישבו על אותה נישה של ״העולם הזה - כוח חדש"]. אנשים כל כך התרגלו אלי, אני שמונה שנים בכנסת נאמתי לפחות נאום אחד ביום. שמונה שנים של הכנסת השישית והשביעית אני נאמתי לפחות נאום אחד ביום. היו ימים שנאמתי פעמיים ואולי אפילו שלוש פעמים. ואנשים כל כך התרגלו אלי… אמרו לי הרבה אנשים אח"כ, לא מעט אנשים, הם כל כך התרגלו שאני בכנסת, שבכלל לא יכלו לתאר לעצמם כנסת בלעדיי. אז ידעו – אני בטח אבחר "אז בוא אני אעזור גם לאלה, לשולמית אלוני או למאיר פעיל, ב'מוקד'", והצטערו אח"כ שהפסדתי. אבל הפסדתי את הבחירות. יצאתי מהכנסת.‏

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: HaOlam HaZeh, Moked, Koah Hadash, Black Panthers, Shalom Cohen, Shulamit Aloni, Meir Pa'il

Duration: 3 minutes, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017