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Two separate wars


Ben-Gurion announces the establishment of the State of Israel
Uri Avnery Social activist
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ב-14 במאי, או 15 במאי, מתי זה היה? אני חושב שזה 14 במאי. היינו במחנה שלנו בחולדה, מישהו צועק: "בואו מהר… חדר אוכל… בן גוריון מכריז על המדינה!" אז רצנו לחדר אוכל. באופן יוצא מן הכלל לכבוד המאורע הרשו לנו להיכנס לחדר האוכל "הקדוש" של חולדה. ושמענו את הנאום של בן גוריון, שממש לא עניין אותנו. וכל האירוע נראה לנו מגוחך ומיותר: "מה העסקנים שם מתעסקים ונואמים נאומים והקרב אם תהיה מדינה או לא תהיה מדינה יוכרע פה, אצלנו, בכל הארץ”. אבל בכל זאת הייתי סקרן על דבר אחד, ממש ממש סקרן: איך יקראו למדינה הזאת? וברגע שהוא אמר "המדינה היהודית, היא מדינת ישראל" יופי. שמענו. יצאתי משם. בחוץ נפגשתי באיזה מפקד מחלקה של גדוד של חן, שהוא האח של בחורה שעבדה אצלי ב"בעלי התעשייה" והייתה חברה טובה שלי. והתחבקנו והתנשקנו ואמרנו שלום, ויותר לא ראיתי אותו, מפני שהוא נהרג כעבור איזה יומיים-שלושה. ואנחנו קיבלנו את המשימה לכבוש כפר שנקרא אל כובאב. אל כובאב היום נקרא משמר איילון. בכביש הישן לירושלים, כשעוברים מיפו לרמלה, אחרי רמלה, הכביש עושה מין עיקול כזה ושמה נמצא המקום. התכוננו לקרב גדול, אבל כשאנחנו הגענו, הכפר היה כבר ריק וכבשנו כפר ריק, אחרי כל ההכנות הגדולות. בלילה שמענו המצרים חדרו לארץ, פלשו לארץ. המילה "פלשו" שנכנסה למילון היא מאוד מטעה, מפני שהמצרים אף פעם לא פלשו לשטח שנקבע למדינת ישראל. הם נשארו בשטח שנקבע למדינה הערבית, אבל זה ככה טושטש. האמת, שגם לא ידענו אם המצרים יעצרו, איפה הם יעצרו. על כל פנים בבוקר הביאו אותנו בשיירה לתל נוף. כל הגדוד שלנו התמקם בתל נוף והחלה מלחמה אחרת.‏

On May 14 or May 15, when was it? I think it was May 14. We were in our camp in Hulda and someone shouted: 'Come quickly… the dining room… Ben-Gurion is announcing that Israel has become a state'.  So we ran to the dining room. As an exception to the rule, for this occasion, they let us go into the 'sacred' dining room at Hulda and we heard the speech made by Ben-Gurion, which really did not interest us. The entire event appeared to us to be absurd and unnecessary: 'What are the politicians there doing and making speeches about while the fight about whether there will be a state or not will be decided here, with us, all over the country?' But still I was curious about one thing – really, really curious: how will they name this country? And once he said, 'The Jewish State, the State of Israel' – good. We heard it. I left. Outside, I met a platoon commander from Chen's battalion, he was the brother of a lady who worked with me at the Industrialists Association, and she was a good friend of mine. We hugged and we kissed and said hello, and I never saw him again because he was killed a couple of days later. We were given the mission of conquering a village called Al-Qubab.  Al-Qubab is now called Mishmar Ayalon. On the old road to Jerusalem where you go from Jaffa to Ramla, after Ramla the road makes a kind of turn and that is where it is located. We were prepared for a big fight, but when we arrived, the village was already empty and so we occupied an empty village after all of our major preparations. At night we heard that Egyptians had infiltrated the Israeli border, invaded Israel. The word 'invaded' that made its way into the dictionary is very misleading because the Egyptians never 'invaded' an area that had been defined as part of the State of Israel. They stayed in an area that had been defined as part of the Arab state, but it was all rather vague. The truth is that we did not know if the Egyptians would stop, or where they would stop. Anyway, in the morning they brought us by convoy to Tel Nof. Our whole battalion settled in Tel Nof and another war started.

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: Hulda, State of Israel, Ramla, Al-Qubab, Mishmar Ayalon, Tel Nof, David Ben-Gurion

Duration: 3 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017