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One against 119


Leaving the Knesset
Uri Avnery Social activist
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בשבילי זו הייתה מכה איומה היציאה מהכנסת. כל כך התרגלתי לכנסת ולעבודה הזאתי ואהבתי את העבודה הזאתי והיא נראתה לי חשובה מאוד, ופתאום זה היה חלל ריק. למזלי הרב נשארתי עורך "העולם הזה", ואני תמיד חשבתי שהעבודה ב"העולם הזה" חשובה יותר מהעבודה בכנסת. "העולם הזה" היה הבסיס. זה היה הבסיס המוצק, כל השאר היו מותרות. אבל הפעולה שלי בכנסת הייתה תלויה ב"העולם הזה”, מפני שלולא היה לי המוסף השבועי הזה "דו"ח לבוחר" שסיפר על מה שעשינו בכנסת, מי היה שומע בכלל שאנחנו בכנסת?

הכתבים היו כולם עוינים. שייכים לכל מיני מפלגות. כולם היו עוינים לסיעה שלנו. לא כתבו עלינו כלום, אלא אם כן זה ממש היה בלתי אפשרי לא לכתוב, אבל על הפעולה היומיומית התעלמו לגמרי, כאילו לא היינו קיימים, ולכן הדיווח ב"העולם הזה" היה כל כך חיוני לקיומנו. וחזרתי ל"העולם הזה", זה מילא את יומי. אבל זה היה מכה. אני מוכרח להגיד שבשבילי זה היה מכה מאוד-מאוד קשה. לקח לי כמה חודשים להתגבר על זה. אבל הייתי עסוק ב"העולם הזה" כל שבוע. המחזור השבועי, הכתיבה וכל זה. התנועה עוד נשארה קיימת – "העולם הזה - כוח חדש”. אני כמה זמן הייתי נציג התנועה בהסתדרות, בוועד הפועל של ההסתדרות, שזה היה גורל מר ממוות, מפני שכמה שנהניתי מהעבודה בכנסת, ככה אני תיעבתי את העבודה בהסתדרות. ההסתדרות זה ברדק. הוועד הפועל זה פרלמנט שאינו פרלמנט, שאין בו סדר, אין בו תקנון אמיתי, מפא"י עשתה שם מה שהיא רוצה, בן אהרון היה אז המזכ”ל. אני הלכתי, ממש הכרחתי את עצמי ללכת לשם, אבל לא נהניתי. גם לכנסת כשחזרתי בפעם השנייה אני כבר לא נהניתי כמו בשמונה השנים האלה, זה היה שמונה שנים של כיף. עשיתי מה שרציתי, העליתי כל נושא שבעולם שהתעניינתי בו ואני מטבע הדברים מתעניין כמעט בכל, זאת הייתה פרידה קשה.

For me it was a terrible blow to the leave the Knesset. I had got so used to the Knesset and to the work there which seemed to me to be so very important, and suddenly I felt like I was in a vacuum. Luckily I had remained as editor of HaOlam HaZeh, and I always thought that was more important than my work in the Knesset. HaOlam HaZeh was the basis. It was a solid foundation, everything else was a luxury. But my activity in the Knesset had been dependent on HaOlam HaZeh because if I would not have had this weekly supplement – Report to the Voters – which reported what we were doing in the Knesset, who would even have known that we had been in the Knesset?

All of the reporters were hostile. They belonged to all kinds of different parties. All of them were hostile to our faction. They wrote nothing at all about us unless they really had to, but the daily activities were completely ignored as if we didn't exist, so the reports in HaOlam HaZeh were vital to our existence.  I returned to HaOlam HaZeh and it filled my days. But it was a blow. I must say that for me it was a very, very hard blow. It took me several months to get over it. But I was busy with HaOlam HaZeh every week, the weekly cycle, the writing and all that. The movement also remained alive – HaOlam HaZeh – Koah Hadash. For some time I was the representative of the movement in the Histadrut, in the General Council of the Histadrut, which was a fate worse than death because as much as I had enjoyed working in the Knesset, I loathed working at the Histadrut. The Histadrut was total confusion. The General Council is a parliament which is not a parliament, there is no order, no real rules. Mapai did whatever they wanted to there, Ben-Aharon was then the Secretary-General. I went – literally forced myself to go there – but I didn't enjoy it. Even at the Knesset, when I returned the second time, I did not enjoy it the way I had during those eight years; it had been eight years of fun. I had done whatever I wanted to, I raised any subject that I was interested in and I am naturally interested in almost everything. It was a difficult departure for me.

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, Yitzhak Ben-Aharon

Duration: 3 minutes

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017