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Voting for peace with Egypt


Becoming a one-man party for the second time
Uri Avnery Social activist
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עד שבא תורו של מאיר פעיל להתפטר למען סעדיה מרציאנו ומאיר פעיל לא רצה, בשום פנים ואופן לא, זה לא עלה על דעתו. והתחיל להיות משבר גדול. מחנה של"י התפאר במוסריות שלו, בניקיון הכפיים שלו, אז מה זה פתאום דבר כזה? הבטחה שלא הייתה סודית, הבטחה שפירסמנו אותה מראש. לא רצה. וחוץ מהאנשים הכי קרובים שלו כל אנשי של"י אמרו שחייבים למלא את ההתחייבות. ובסוף בקושי-בקושי-בקושי הוא התפטר, רק אחרי שאני אמרתי “אני גם אתפטר",  למרות שלא הייתי חייב, זה לא היה לפי ההסכם. אמרתי: "אני אתפטר אחרי ארבע שנים”. הכנסת הזאת הייתה צריכה לכהן ארבע שנים וחצי בגלל שהיו בחירות מוקדמות, אז היו שנתיים של לובה אליאב, שלוש שנים מאיר פעיל, ואני נכנסתי אחרי שנתיים ולא הייתי אמור להתפטר. אמרתי: "אני אתפטר אחרי שנתיים”. מה גם שהאיש אחרי היה ואליד סאדק, ערבי. אל״ף אני די חיבבתי אותו, הוא היה איש די סימפטי, ובי״ת חשבתי שזה ייראה יפה שאורי אבנרי התפטר לטובת חבר כנסת ערבי. ונכנס מרציאנו ובמשך יום או אולי יומיים היינו בסיעה משותפת, מפני שהדבר הראשון שהוא עשה הוא פרש מהסיעה. הוא רק חיכה, הוא פשוט חיכה ליום שיתפטר, לא השמיע מילה בזמן שהקרב הזה על ההתפטרות. רק נכנס לכנסת ישר פורש. ונשארתי שוב פעם סיעת יחיד. אני מוכרח להודות שדי אהבתי להיות סיעת יחיד. סיעת יחיד אתה לא צריך להתייעץ עם אף אחד, אתה לא צריך לקבל החלטות וכן הלאה. אז הייתי בחזרה סיעת יחיד שלי.‏

Then came the turn of Meir Pa'il to resign in favour of Saadia Marciano, but Meir Pa'il didn't want to, absolutely not, it wasn't a thought he entertained. And a major crisis followed. The Sheli Party was proud of its morality, its integrity, so how could such a thing suddenly happen? A promise which was not a secret, a promise that we had publicised in advance yet he didn't want to keep it. Except for the people in Sheli who were closest to him, all of the other members said he must fulfil his obligation. Eventually, with the greatest difficulty, he resigned just after I'd said that I'd also resign even though I didn't have to, it was not in the agreement. I said: 'I'll resign after four years'. This Knesset was supposed to serve four and-a-half years because there had been early elections, so there were two years with Lova Eliav, three years with Meir Pa'il, and I came in after two years; I was not supposed to resign. I said: 'I will resign after two years'. The person who was to follow me was Walid Sadek, an Arab. Firstly, I quite liked him, he was a quite a pleasant individual, and secondly, I thought it would look good that Uri Avnery had resigned in favour of an Arab member of Knesset. Marciano came in, and for a day or two days we were part of a joint faction, because the first thing he did was he left the faction. He just waited, he simply waited for the day when he would resign; he didn't utter a word during this battle over his resignation. As soon as he came into the Knesset, he resigned straight away. And once again I was left as a one-man faction. I must admit that I quite liked being a single member faction. With a single member faction you don't have to consult with anyone, you don't have to reach decisions jointly and so on. So I was again my own single faction.

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: Sheli Party, Knesset, Meir Pa'il, Saadia Marciano, Walid Sadek Haj Yahia, Aryeh 'Lova' Eliav

Duration: 2 minutes, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017