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Historic handshake at the award ceremony


Winning awards
Uri Avnery Social activist
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הפרסים. אני קיבלתי בחיי תשעה או 11 פרסים. המיוחד בהם הוא שכולם, או כמעט כולם, ניתנו לי בחו"ל. כמובן שלא קיבלתי ולא אקבל פרס ישראל, כמובן שאני לא אקבל נגיד "יקיר תל אביב", למרות שאני גר פה 80 שנה. עם זה השלמתי מזמן מפני שפרס, מה זה פרס? פרס זה דבר שהמשטר הקיים נותן אותו לנאמניו. לפעמים, למען הרושם, גם נותנים למתנגד, אבל רק אחרי שנפלו לו כל השיניים. אז זה ברור לי שאני לא אקבל ולא צריך לקבל. אני יודע? כשישעיהו ליבוביץ' קיבל. קמה צעקה כזאת שהוא ויתר עליו. ואני קיבלתי פרס ליבוביץ'. הפרס האחד הבאמת חשוב זה דבר שנקרא "פרס נובל האלטרנטיבי" שזה דבר מאוד יוקרתי. הוא לא נקרא כך, באופן רשמי הוא נקרא "פרס החיים הנכונים”. התחיל בזה אציל שוודי בעל שם גרמני, שהיה לו אוסף בולים בינלאומי חשוב, מכר את האוסף בסכום עתק והקים את הפרס הזה. והפרס הזה ניתן כל שנה לשלושה-ארבעה אנשים בעולם שעושים דברים שמקדמים את האנושות ואני קיבלתי אותו ב-2001. לא לבד, עם רחל אבנרי ועם "גוש שלום", שלושתנו ביחד. וזה היה טקס כמו שרואים בסרטים עם אנשים במדים ועם נגנים, ממש ממש חגיגי. ונסענו לשוודיה בחורף, נסע אתנו צוות סרטים שהסריט את זה וזה הכי יוקרתי. אח"כ קיבלתי כמה פרסים גרמניים. קיבלתי פרס ע"ש סופר גרמני שאני מאוד מאוד הערצתי אותו, אריך מריה רמרק, שכתב כמה ספרים, אבל ספר אחד שהוא עזר לעצב את התודעה שלי ושל הרבה אנשים אחרים שנקרא "במערב אין כל חדש", על חיילים במלחמת העולם הראשונה, שהשפיע עלי לא מעט. אני קראתי אותו בין "בשדות פלשת" לבין "הצד השני של המטבע" ואני חושב שהוא השפיע על "הצד השני של המטבע”. ספר מאוד מאוד חשוב מבחינה אנטי-מלחמתית. והמיוחד בטקס הזה היה משהו ממש ממש מיוחד, לא, סליחה, אני חוזר בי. היינו בשוודיה, קיבלנו את הפרס, היה קור כלבים, נהניתי מאוד בשוודיה.‏

The awards. During my life I have received nine or maybe eleven awards. The special thing about them is that all of them, or almost all of them, were given to me abroad. Of course I have not received, nor will I ever receive, the Israel Prize. I will never, for instance, be a 'Worthy Citizen of Tel Aviv', even though I have lived here for 80 years. Still, I've resigned myself to this business about an award… what is an award? This is an award that the existing regime gives to those who are loyal to it. Sometimes, for the sake of making an impression, it is also given to an opponent, but only after his demise. So it is obvious to me that I will never be awarded a prize and nor do I need to receive one. When Yeshayahu Leibowitz was awarded the Israel Prize such an outcry arose that he refused to accept it. I was awarded the Leibovitz Prize. The one prize that is really important is what is called the 'alternative Nobel Prize' which is a very prestigious thing. It is not called that officially – officially it is called the Right Livelihood Award. A Swedish nobleman with a German name started it. He had an important international stamp collection which he sold for a huge sum and established this award. The award is granted annually to three or four people in the world who do things for the good of humanity, and I received it in 2001. Not I alone but with Rachel Avnery and Gush Shalom − the three of us together. It was a ceremony like one sees in the movies with people in uniform and with musicians - really, really festive. We went to Sweden in winter, a film crew who was filming it went with us and it was very prestigious. Afterwards I received several German awards. I was awarded a prize honouring a German writer whom I very much admire – the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize. Remarque wrote several books, but the book that helped to shape awareness for me and for many other people is All Quiet on the Western Front about soldiers in World War I, which made a considerable impact on me. I read it between writing Be`sdot Pleshet and The Other Side of the Coin.  I think it influenced The Other Side of the Coin. The book makes a very important anti-war statement. And what was very special about the ceremony was something really, really special. No, sorry, I take it back. We were in Sweden, we got the award, it was terribly cold. I really enjoyed Sweden.

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: The Israel Prize, Right Livelihood Award, Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize, All Quiet on the Western Front

Duration: 4 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017