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Working for the Histadrut


Becoming a journalist
Uri Avnery Social activist
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I worked for a lawyer until the age of 19 or so. I began to write. All my life I wanted to write. It was quite obvious from the beginning that I wanted to be a journalist, a writer. While I was still working for the lawyer I started writing. I wrote several articles for HaBoker. HaBoker was then the foremost daily newspaper, and they published some of my articles. But at the same time a monthly or bi-monthly journal called HaChevra appeared in Tel Aviv, published by a doctor named Dr Weinschel, Yaacov Weinschel. It was a right wing intellectual newspaper. At that time I was still a member of HaEtzel or maybe it was already a little after that, but I was still associated with that sector. And once I brought him an article, he immediately took me on, he said: 'I'm looking for an employee, a technical editor for the bi-weekly. Do you want to come to me?' I jumped at the opportunity, of course. I said goodbye to the law firm. It was clear that I had no desire to be a lawyer or anything like that, despite the fact that I have a legal mind. I understand law. It helped me later in the Knesset a great deal. I started working for this newspaper, HaChevra, a biweekly magazine. There I wrote and did copy-editing and typesetting. I learned the profession of journalism from a technical aspect: printing, proofreading and all that stuff. And I started to write articles. The first articles were frantically right-wing, but slowly they became more moderate. And as I mentioned, at some point I went over to the camp of the Land of Israel workers, after writing several articles on kibbutzim for this right-wing newspaper. That's how I slowly started. I wanted to be perceived as a journalist no matter what, so I worked there.

אני עבדתי אצל עורך הדין עד גיל 19 בערך. התחלתי לכתוב. כל החיים שלי רציתי לכתוב. זה היה מובן מאליו מהתחלה שאני רוצה להיות עיתונאי, איש כותב. עוד כשעבדתי אצל עורך הדין, התחלתי לכתוב. כתבתי ב"הבוקר" כמה מאמרים. "הבוקר" היה אז העיתון היומי המוביל, ופרסמו כמה מאמרים שלי. אבל בו-זמנית הופיע בתל אביב איזה ירחון או דו-ירחון שנקרא “החברה", שהוצא על ידי רופא בשם ד"ר ויינשל, יעקב ויינשל. זה היה עיתון אינטלקטואלי ימני. ואז עוד הייתי באצ”ל. או כבר קצת אחרי אולי, אבל עוד הייתי שייך לאזור הזה. ופעם הבאתי לו מאמר, הוא ישר לקח אותי, אמר: "אני מחפש עובד, עורך טכני של הדו-שבועון, אתה רוצה לבוא אלי?" קפצתי על זה, כמובן. אמרתי שלום למשרד עורכי הדין. היה לי ברור שאין לי שום חשק להיות עורך דין או משהו כזה, למרות שיש לי מוח משפטי. אני מבין משפטים. זה עזר לי אחר כך בכנסת מאוד. התחלתי לעבוד בעיתון הזה, “החברה". דו-שבועון כזה. ירחון. כתבתי שם וערכתי שם עריכת שפה, עריכת-דפוס. למדתי את המקצוע העיתונאי מהבחינה הטכנית: דפוס, הגהה וכל הדברים האלה. והתחלתי לכתוב מאמרים. המאמרים הראשונים היו ימניים מטורפים, אבל לאט-לאט זה התמתן. וכאמור, באיזשהו שלב אני עברתי למחנה של ארץ ישראל העובדת, אחרי שכתבתי כמה מאמרים על קיבוצים בעיתון הזה, הימני. ככה אני לאט-לאט נכנסתי. אני רציתי להיראות כעיתונאי ויהי מה, אז עבדתי שם.‏

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: HaBoker, HaChevra, Etzel, kibbutzim, Yaacov Weinschel

Duration: 3 minutes, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017