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Conquering the first Arab village


Convoy to Jerusalem
Uri Avnery Social activist
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לקחו אותנו באוטו אספקה ונסענו לחולדה. בחולדה הקמנו מחנה. מה שנקרא, האוהלים הקטנים, מחוץ לתחום הישוב, מפני שהישוב לא הרשה לנו להיכנס, בוודאי לא להיכנס לחדר האוכל. היו כל מיני קיבוצים אז, סימפטיים ולא סימפטיים, וחולדה רשומה אצלי כקיבוץ מאוד לא סימפטי. אז נתנו לנו את הג'וב הראשון, והוא להביא שיירה לירושלים. ירושלים כבר הייתה מנותקת פחות או יותר. והיו צריכים לעבור את שער הגיא, באב אל וואד, כדי להגיע לירושלים. אז הייתה שיירה, 130 משאיות, ענקית, ואותנו חילקו בין המשאיות. יש תמונה של זה. רובינגר, לגמרי במקרה, צילם אותנו בכניסה לירושלים, ורואים אותי. ואז נסענו. נסענו, נסענו, נסענו, עברנו מול שטח אויב, עוין על כל פנים, בלטרון. לטרון הייתה בידי האנגלים עוד. זה היה הכל באפריל, זאת אומרת חודש לפני שהאנגלים עזבו סופית. אז לטרון היה בידי האנגלים. עברנו בשקט. אחר-כך עברנו בשער הגיא. לא של היום, של אז. היה פחד אלוהים. משני הצדדים הגבעות הגבוהות עם הכפרים הערביים למעלה. הגענו לירושלים. זו השיירה האחרונה שהגיעה בשלום לירושלים בכביש הישן. בפסח זה היה. ולמרות פסח, כל היהודים החרדים רצו לקראתנו. זה היה בשבת. ואיזו צהלה ושמחה, קשה לתאר. זהו, והגענו הביתה משם בחזרה לחולדה. לא קרה לנו שום דבר רע, חוץ מההרוג ההוא. והשיירה הבאה כבר נתקענו.

They took us to the supply vehicle and we went to Hulda. At Hulda we set up camp. That's what we called the small tents outside the boundaries of the settlement because the settlement did not allow us to enter, certainly not to go into the dining room. There were all kinds of kibbutzim at that time, some were sympathetic and some were not, and in my records Hulda went down as being a very unsympathetic kibbutz. So they gave us the first job and that was to lead a convoy to Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been cut off, more or less, and we had to go through Sha'ar HaGai, Bab al-Wad in order to reach it. There was a huge convoy of 130 trucks, and we were divided between the trucks. There is a picture of it. Rubinger, quite by chance, photographed us at the entrance to Jerusalem and you can see me in the photograph. Then we drove. We drove and drove and drove and drove. We passed by enemy territory, hostility etched on every face at Latrun. Latrun was still in British hands. This all happened in April, in other words, a month before the British finally left. So Latrun was in the hands of the British. We passed quietly. Then we passed by Sha'ar HaGai, not Sha'ar HaGai of today but of then. That was truly terrifying. On both sides there were high hills with Arab villages at the top. We reached Jerusalem. That was the last convoy to safely reach Jerusalem on the old road. It was at Passover and despite the fact that it was Passover, all of the Orthodox Jews ran towards us. It was on the Sabbath. And what rejoicing, it is hard to describe. That's it, we returned 'home' from there, back to Hulda. Nothing bad happened to us except for that one casualty. But with the next convoy we got stuck.

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: kibbutz Hulda, Jerusalem, Latrun, Sha’ar HaGai, David Rubinger

Duration: 2 minutes, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017