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My love of Egypt


Advocating peace opens doors
Uri Avnery Social activist
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ואז חזרתי הביתה וכתבתי מה שכתבתי ואז נסעתי עוד פעם למצרים, לקראת הביקור של בגין במצרים. בגין היה אמור לבוא להיפגש עם סאדאת באיסמעליה אני חושב, ואני נוסע לשם, ל"שרתון", שזה על הנילוס. ובא בגין. אני מתקשר עם המשרד שלו, והוא מזמין אותי ישר להצטרף לפמליה שלו. והעיתונאים, היו שמה עורכי העיתונים שכולם שנאו אותי, אני הרי לא הייתי שייך לציבור העיתונאים המאורגן, והתמרמרו: "מה פתאום הוא מצטרף לבגין?" אז בגין פתח עליהם עיניים ואמר: "מה זאת אומרת? הוא עורך עיתון, הוא דיבר על שלום הרבה שנים, לא ייתכן שאני לא אזמין אותו”. הוא הזמין אותי ומאותו רגע הייתי במשלחת של בגין באיסמעליה. באיסמעליה, על התעלה, בגין נפגש עם סאדאת. העיתונאים עמדו בחוץ וגם אני. ואני רואה בגינה יושב עזר ויצמן עם אדם שהיה מוכר לי באופן רופף מהעיתונות, מפקד חיל האוויר וסגן הנשיא, מובארק. עזר רואה אותי בין כל העדר של העיתונאים,קורא לי-קורא לי, מכניס אותי, מציג אותי בפני המפקד, מובארק. ועזר עם ההומור של עזר אמר: "תכיר בבקשה, זה איש מאוד חשוב בישראל, הוא האופוזיציה הכי קיצונית לממשלה”. וזה יושב, פוקח עיניים ואתה ראית את המוח שלו עובד ולא יכול להבין את זה בכלל, מה זאת אומרת אופוזיציה קיצונית? עזר ויצמן מה הוא היה? שר הבטחון. בכלל, היה מבולבל לחלוטין.‏

Then I went home and I wrote what I wrote, and then I returned to Egypt, before Begin's visit there. Begin was supposed to meet with Sadat in Ismailia, I think, and I went there to the Sheraton which is on the Nile. Begin arrived. I contacted his office, and he immediately invited me to join his entourage. The other journalists… there were newspaper editors who all hated me because after all, I did not belong to the 'organized' press, and they resented it and asked: 'Why is he suddenly joining Begin?' So Begin looked at them and said: 'What do you mean? He's a newspaper editor, he's been speaking of peace for many years; it is inconceivable that I wouldn't invite him'. So he invited me and from that moment on, I was part of Begin's delegation in Ismailia. In Ismailia, at the Canal, Begin met with Sadat. The journalists were standing outside and so was I. And I saw Ezer Weizman sitting in the garden with a person who looked somewhat familiar from news bulletins, the Air Force Commander and Vice President, Hosni Mubarak. Ezer saw me among the throng of journalists, he called to me, brought me over and introduced me to Commander Mubarak. And Ezer, with his special brand of humor said: 'Please meet a very important man in Israel, he is the most extreme opposition to the government'. Mubarak was sitting there, he opened his eyes wide and you could see his brain was working and he could not understand it at all − what do you mean extreme opposition? What was Ezer Weizman? Minister of Defense. He was totally confused.

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: Menachem Begin, Ezer Weizmann, Hosni Mubarak

Duration: 2 minutes, 42 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017