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Touring the battlefronts with a TV crew


Reporting on the Yom Kippur War
Uri Avnery Social activist
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That's how [the journalist] separated himself from the huge crowd and we started to cover the war on television. First, we went to the refugee camp in Nablus, Balata with Raymonda Tawil. We didn't talk about Raymonda Tawil? God! Write down Raymonda Tawil. Raymonda Tawil lived in Nablus and I asked her to accompany us and we all went to the Balata refugee camp to ask the people there, the Arab public, what they thought of the war. We wrote a nice article about it. I was very well received by the way, despite everything, the war, and all of them were, of course, anti-Israel, but I was well received. The crew was very impressed that they had received me so nicely. I remember we were walking down Hagai Street in Jerusalem and from all the Arab stores a voice could be heard, and the Germans asked me whose voice it was. I said, 'That is the voice of Sadat, Sadat is speaking'. They said, 'How can this be? It cannot be that in the middle of a war the leader of the enemy is speaking on all the radios'. For the German mind this was unbelievable. And then they said, 'Let's go to the southern front'. What was I doing on the southern front? I went to look for Arik, Ariel Sharon.

I came to the headquarters of Arik Sharon, I forgot the name of it, Arik was not there, Arik had already advanced to the [Suez] Canal. So we are pursuing Arik along a route that I think was called Tartour, Tartour route, which leads down to the Canal. It was completely blocked. Every road was full of military vehicles of all types, all mixed up, and we were trying to get around and move towards the Canal, and some 10 km from the Canal we encountered the shelling and we saw that from here on it was a war zone. We were fired on so we lay down in the sand, which was very pleasant. My cameraman was with me and he filmed it all. Agur, if you remember him, he was an old man.

ככה הוא התנתק מהלהקה הגדולה והתחלנו לסקר את המלחמה בטלוויזיה. קודם כל הלכנו למחנה הפליטים בשכם, בלאטה, עם ריימונדה טאוויל. לא דיברנו על ריימונדה טאוויל? אלוהים! תרשמי "ריימונדה טאוויל". ריימונדה טאוויל גרה אז בשכם וביקשתי ממנה להילוות אלינו והלכנו כולנו למחנה הפליטים בלאטה לשאול את הציבור מה הם חושבים על המלחמה, הציבור הערבי. עשינו כתבה יפה על זה. קיבלו אותי מאוד יפה אגב, בכל זאת, מלחמה, וכולם היו כמובן נגד ישראל, ואותי קיבלו יפה. והצוות מאוד התרשם מזה שקיבלו אותי כל כך יפה. אני זוכר שהלכנו ברחוב הגיא בירושלים ומכל החנויות בקע קול ערבי, והגרמנים שאלו אותי איזה קול זה? אמרתי: "זה הקול של סאדאת, סאדאת נואם". הם אמרו: "איך זה יכול להיות? זה לא יכול להיות שבאמצע מלחמה המנהיג של האויב בוקע מכל מכשירי הרדיו”. למוח הגרמני זה היה בלתי נתפס. ואז אמרנו: "בואו נלך לחזית הדרום”. מה אני עושה בחזית הדרום? אני הולך לחפש את אריק, אריק שרון. אני בא למפקדה של אריק שרון, שכחתי את השם, אריק איננו, אריק כבר מתקדם לתעלה. אז אנחנו רודפים אחרי אריק, בציר שאני חושב קראו לו “טרטור”, "ציר טרטור", שיורד ישר לתעלה. סתום לחלוטין. כל הציר מלא רכב צבאי מכל הסוגים, הכל מעורבב, ואנחנו מנסים לעקוף ומתקדמים לתעלה, ואיזה 10 ק"מ מהתעלה בערך נתקלנו בהפגזה וראינו שמכאן והלאה זה איזור מלחמה. הפגיזו אותנו אז נשכבנו בחולות, היה מאוד נעים. היה אתי צלם שלי שצילם את כל זה. אגור אם את זוכרת אותו, הוא היה קשיש.


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: Nablus, Jerusalem, Suez Canal, Raymonda Tawil, Anwar Sadat, Ariel Sharon

Duration: 3 minutes, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017