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Genesis of the Likud Party


Opposing camps in my living room
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Had I met Arik [Ariel Sharon] before? I think not, not seriously at any rate. Arik took up permanent residence in this room, and at the newspaper there was war between Reno Sror and Eli Tabor. The truth is that it helped me to overcome the crisis of not being voted into the Knesset, because I was soon completely immersed in this war of the Generals. I thought that there had been an injustice − that Reno Sror was right and that an injustice had been done to Gorodish and I was on his side, but I also gave publicity to Arik. And Gorodish came. This chair was always in that corner and he would sit down. He always had a small gun like this on his belt, small. And he had a beautiful secretary, unusually beautiful, and he brought her. She was his assistant. He would bring her, so there was him, the gun and the secretary.

They would sit here for hours and hours demanding the revocation of the dismissal, a revision, a repeat commission. And they let Reno Sror write articles, first one and then another and another, because of this matter. At the same time Arik Sharon sat here saying the opposite. And of course, he was much more impressive than Gorodish, with Uri Dan and Eli Tabor as his servant. There were battles within the paper, at the meetings of the editorial board, between these two. Arik and I developed a very close bond. For Arik it was important. HaOlam HaZeh was important for him. He wanted HaOlam HaZeh to protect and promote him. Anyway, Arik was living in Rehovot, we visited several times. Amos Kenan held an exhibition in his house. And then he moved from the apartment in Rehovot to his farm. It was the war of the Generals and it was a turbulent time.

I also really liked Dado, David Elazar.  I liked him even more than before since the period when he was a general. And so I was actually more or less neutral in the war of the Generals, although, in fact, all of them were sooner or later dismissed.

האם אני הכרתי את אריק קודם? נדמה לי שלא, לא ברצינות על כל פנים. אריק ישב פה ישיבת קבע בחדר הזה, ובמערכת הייתה המלחמה בין רינו צרור ואלי תבור. והאמת שזה עזר לי להתגבר על המשבר של אי-הבחירה לכנסת, מפני שהייתי מייד שקוע לגמרי במלחמה הזאת של הגנרלים. אני חשבתי שנעשה עוול, שרינו צרור צודק שנעשה עוול לגורודיש וצידדתי בצד שלו, אבל גם נתתי פרסום לאריק. ובא גורודיש. הכיסא הזה היה תמיד בפינה הזאת והוא התיישב. תמיד היה לו אקדח קטן ככה על החגורה, קטן. והייתה לו מזכירה יפהפייה, יופי לא רגיל והוא הביא אותה. היא הייתה נושאת הכלים שלו. הוא הביא אותה, אז היה הוא, האקדח והמזכירה.

ישבו פה שעות על-גבי שעות, ודרשנו לבטל את ההדחה, לעשות רביזיה, לעשות ועדה חוזרת. ונתנו לרינו צרור לכתוב מאמרים, עוד אחד ועוד אחד ועוד אחד, בזכות הדבר הזה. ובאותו הזמן ישב פה אריק שרון, שאמר את ההיפך. וכמובן היה מרשים הרבה יותר מגורודיש, עם אורי דן ואלי תבור בתור משרת שלו. והיו מלחמות במערכת, בישיבות המערכת בין השניים האלה. ונוצר יחס מאוד קרוב בין אריק וביני. בשביל אריק זה היה חשוב. "העולם הזה" היה חשוב בשבילו. הוא רצה שהעולם הזה יגן עליו ויקדם אותו.

על כל פנים אריק גר אז ברחובות, ביקרנו אצלו לא אחת. עמוס קינן עשה תערוכה בבית שלו. ואח"כ הוא עבר מהדירה ברחובות לחווה שלו. זו הייתה מלחמת הגנרלים, הייתה תקופה סוערת. אני גם מאוד חיבבתי את דדו, דוד אלעזר הרמטכ״ל במלחמת יום הכיפורים שהתפטר מתפקידו בעקבות דו״ח ועדת אגרנט]. מאוד חיבבתי אותו עוד מקודם, עוד מהתקופה שהוא היה אלוף. וככה אני בעצם הייתי פחות או יותר נייטרלי במלחמת האלופים האלה שלמעשה הודחו כולם, מי מאוחר יותר מי מוקדם יותר.

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, Rehovot, Knesset, Ariel Sharon, Reno Sror, Shmuel ‘Gorodish’ Gonen, Eli Tabor, Uri Dan, David 'Dado' Elazar, Amos Kenan

Duration: 4 minutes, 39 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017