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Clashing with Golda Meir


Golda Meir: a natural phenomenon
Uri Avnery Social activist
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טוב, אז גולדה קיבלה את ראשות הממשלה וקרה משהו מוזר, מוזר מאוד אפילו: גולדה הייתה בלתי פופולארית בצורה קיצונית, כולם תיעבו אותה. היא הייתה מזכירת מפא"י והיא התנגדה למינוי משה דיין לשר הבטחון לפני מלחמת ששת הימים ו"הנשים העליזות של ויצ"ו" קיללו אותה, ולא רק הן, היא הצטיירה כאשה ממש רעה. בן גוריון אמר עליה בשלב כלשהו שהדבר היחידי שגולדה מצטיינת בו זה לשנוא. והנה היא הגיעה לראשות הממשלה וקרה דבר מאוד-מאוד מוזר: היו אז משאלי פופולאריות, משאלי דעת קהל והיא הייתה אני לא יודע, משהו בסביבות 10% נדמה לי, והיא קפצה ל-80% תוך כמה שבועות! זאת הייתה תופעת טבע פשוט, הפופולאריות שלה זינקה. היה לה כישרון. לדעתי היא הייתה אשה די טיפשה, בגדול. היה לה כישרון להגיד דברים פשוטים לגמרי שכבשו את הציבור, את ההמונים. זה שאבא אבן אמר עליה פעם שיש לה 200 מילים והיא משתמשת ב-100, או 100 מילים ומשתמשת ב-50, משהו כזה, זה לא רק שלא הפריע לה כי אם להיפך. הציבור הזדהה אתה מפני שהיא דיברה בפשטות הכי פשוטה שאפשר, בעברית הכי פרימיטיבית, במבטא מאוד לא נעים, אמריקאי כזה לא נעים, אבל גם אנגלית היא דיברה במבטא יהודי כזה לא נעים. והיא כבשה את הקהל. לא היה מה לעשות, זה היה ממש תופעת טבע.

Well, Golda became the Prime Minister and something strange happened, something very strange. Golda was extremely unpopular, everyone despised her. She was Secretary General of Mapai and was opposed to the appointment of Moshe Dayan as Defence Minister before the Six Day War and the 'Women of Windsor' cursed her, and not only they. She was portrayed as a really bad woman. Ben-Gurion said about her at some point that the only thing that Golda excels at is hate. And here she became Prime Minister and something very, very strange happened. At the time there were popular referendums, opinion polls and her rating was – I don't know – somewhere around 10%, it seems to me, but it jumped to 80% in a few weeks! It was simply a natural phenomenon, her popularity soared. She had talent. In my opinion she was a rather stupid woman, hugely so. She had a talent for saying simple things which completely conquered the public, the masses. Abba Eban once said about her that she had 200 words and uses 100, or 100 words and uses 50, and not only did it not bother her, but quite the opposite. The public identified with her because she spoke simply, as simply as possible, in the most primitive Hebrew, with a very unpleasant accent, a disagreeable American accent, but also English she spoke with an unpleasant Jewish accent. She captured her audience. There was nothing to do – she was just a natural phenomenon.

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: Mapai, Six Day War, Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion, Abba Eban, Moshe Dayan

Duration: 3 minutes, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017