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My Orthodox grandmother

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A political wedding present
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בין שאר המתנות לחתונה, הם קיבלו עץ מהקרן הקיימת. היו תעודות כאלה, ש:"נטעו על שמכם עץ”. זה מוכיח שאבי היה ציוני בשלב מאוד מוקדם. אני קצת חושד בו שהוא היה ציוני מפני שאבא שלי היה איש של דווקא. הוא אהב להיות, לעשות דברים שהם דווקא, שהם מרגיזים את האחרים והם לא שגרתיים. ולהיות ציוני בגרמניה לפני מלחמת העולם הראשונה זה היה דבר מאוד חריג. מאוד. אני מתאר לי שזה כמו שזה כמו שמאלן קיצוני כאן אצלנו בימינו (בישראל). מאוד חריג מחוץ לקהילה.‏

Among the other wedding presents they received a tree through Keren Kayemet [Jewish National Fund]. There were certificates, saying, 'A tree has been planted in your name'. This indicates that my father was a Zionist very early on. I rather suspect that my father was a Zionist because he did things out of spite – he liked to do things just because it would annoy others, and because they were nonconformist. Being a Zionist in Germany before World War I was something very unusual. Very. I imagine it's the same as being an extreme leftist here [in Israel], in our times – very unusual and in opposition to the community.

Born in 1923, Uri Avnery is 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 is 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: wedding present, Jewish National Fund, Zionist

Duration: 1 minute, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017