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Arranging to meet Yasser Arafat


My complex relationship with Ariel Sharon
Uri Avnery Social activist
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אולי אני אחזור כאן, שאחרי מלחמת יום הכיפורים, שבא אלי אריק שרון כאן, לדירה הזאת, והתווכחנו על המלחמה מפני שהייתה מלחמת הגנרלים. ואריק שרון, שמאוד העריך את ההשפעה של "העולם הזה" רצה לשכנע אותי לתמוך בצד שלו, בעוד שגורודיש, שגם האמין בכוח של "העולם הזה" בא הנה וישב באותו מקום עם האקדח הקטן שלו ועם המזכירה היפהפייה שלו ורצה שנתמוך בצד שלו. והיחסים ביני ובין אריק שרון, שאז כבר לא היה ב”ליכוד", היו די טובים. אני לא אומר הייתה ידידות, מפני שרחל התנגדה לזה בכל תוקף. רחל לא סבלה אותו, למרות שיש תמונה היסטורית שהוא מאכיל אותה בכפית לפה. וביקרנו אותו בביתו ברחובות, ליד מכון ויצמן, ואח"כ כשהוא עבר לחווה. והיו יחסים. הוא נתן לי הרבה חומר, היה מקור טוב של "העולם הזה”. ומאוד היה מרוצה שבחרנו בו כ"איש השנה" וכתבנו מה שכתבנו, וגם לילי. היה פעם שבאנו לבקר אותו בחווה, במקום להביא אותי לסלון, הוא הכניס אותי למטבח. הוא אומר: "דברו בינתיים עם לילי”. ואז הסתבר שבסלון ישבה משלחת גדולה של מתנחלים עם פורת וכל זה והוא הלך מפה לשם. היה כמעט סוריאליסטי. היינו די מיודדים אפשר לומר. אבל זה כבר סיפרתי שהוא נתן לי מפה איך לכבוש את אירן וכל הדברים האלה. כאשר הוא פלש ללבנון היחסים בינינו התנתקו באחת, כמו שאומרים, והפכו לאיבה גלויה.‏

Maybe I'll mention here that after the Yom Kippur War, Sharon came to me here, to this apartment, and we argued about the war because it was the War of the Generals. Arik Sharon, who really appreciated the influence that HaOlam HaZeh had, wanted to persuade me to support him, while Gorodish − who also believed in the power that HaOlam HaZeh wielded − came here and sat in the same place with his small gun and his beautiful secretary and wanted us to support his side. My relationship with Sharon, who had already left Likud, was quite good. I'm not saying there was a friendship, because Rachel opposed it vehemently. Rachel could not stand him, even though there is a historic picture where he is spoon-feeding her. We visited him at his home in Rehovot, near the Weizmann Institute, and then later when he moved to the farm. We developed a relationship. He gave me a lot of stuff, he was a good source for HaOlam HaZeh. And he was very pleased that we chose him as Man of the Year and we wrote what we wrote, and Lily too. There was a time that we came to visit him on the farm, and instead of bringing me into the living-room, he took me into the kitchen. He said: 'In the meantime they can speak with Lily'. It turned out that there was a large delegation of settlers sitting in the living room with Porat, and he went back and forth [between the kitchen and the living room]. It was almost surreal. I suppose you could say that we were friends. But I've already spoken about how he had given me a map showing how to conquer Iran and all that stuff. When he invaded Lebanon the relationship, our relationship, was severed immediately, and became hostile.

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, Ariel Sharon

Duration: 3 minutes, 1 second

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017