a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The first ceasefire


The first battle against a real army
Uri Avnery Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

My company, which was not yet called Samson's Foxes, was still the B company. It was the only one, but it was still called B company of Battalion 54, was sent in from the direction of the coast in order to attack the Egyptians from the rear, from the coast.

And that was how the troops were dispersed, and we were the furthest away, and we arrived. It was horrible, because it meant walking in the sand. A long walk. And each soldier was carrying not only his equipment, and not just a shovel, but also part of the munitions: ammunition for the mortars and the chains for the machine guns. Now, in every war, I have always hated carrying things. I found a solution: I volunteered to be the company's signal operator. The signalman was a runner.  Not signaling − he was called a runner. This connection was with the radio, running between the Commander and the divisions and the squadrons, and not carrying anything except for a rifle. So in this battle I was the runner. Now, walking on sand and, even more, running on sand is not pleasant, it's very tiring. And we arrived after midnight, very late, we finally reached our exit position, the position of our attack, right behind the Egyptians and we waited for the order to launch the attack. Then came the command: 'Everything is cancelled, there is a ceasefire'. So we went all that way in the sand back to the road, and when we got to the road, they told us: 'Sorry, that was a mistake, there is no ceasefire; the ceasefire will be in three days'.

That's it, so we went to sleep, to attack again the next night. Now when a battalion walks through the sand they leave a lot of footprints, and in the daylight the Egyptians saw these footprints, so the next night they were waiting for us. And we all returned to exactly the same place, according to exactly the same plan without changing it. There is a large pillbox on the road called Ad'Halom and that pillbox was in the hands of the Egyptians. So we went there and there was heavy firing, but not at us for some reason. I was running back and forth. No one shot at me. By the time everyone was ready for the assault, dawn was breaking.  In daylight it is impossible storm an enemy who has weapons, especially as we had almost none. So we walked back again, before it got light. Then it turned out that company A – which was commanded by Aryeh Kotzer, who was kind of a legend − had tried to storm the pillbox, and was really almost entirely wiped out. Lots of dead and wounded. When we reached our starting point, they told us: 'Run there, we need to get our wounded out of there'. So we went there in daylight, under fire, I think, and we took as many of the wounded as we could and as many of the bodies as we could. Among the bodies was our medic, who was the cousin of the doctor who is presently treating me for Crohn's disease. And that's it. We went home. Then came the real ceasefire. So this was our baptism of fire against a real army.

והפלוגה שלי, שעוד לא הייתה שועלי שמשון, הייתה פלוגה בי״ת. הייתה היחידה אבל היא נקראה "פלוגה בי״ת של גדוד 54", נשלחה פנימה בכיוון לחוף כדי לתקוף את המצרים מהגב, מצד הים. וככה הפלוגות התפזרו, ואנחנו היינו הכי רחוקים והגענו. זה היה דבר איום ונורא, מפני שזה היה הליכה בחול. הליכה ארוכה. וכל חייל נשא על גבו לא רק את הציוד שלו, ולא רק את חפירה, כי אם גם חלק מהזווילים, התחמושת של מרגמות ושל השרשראות של המקלעים. עכשיו, אני, בכל המלחמה אני שנאתי לסחוב דברים. מצאתי פתרון: אני התנדבתי להיות הקָשָר של הפלוגה. קשר, זה היה לרוץ. לא קשר, "רץ" זה נקרא. קשר זה היה עם האלחוט. רץ. רץ זה שרץ בין המפקד ובין המחלקות והכיתות, והוא לא סחב כלום, חוץ מרובה. אז אני בקרב הזה הייתי הרץ. עכשיו, ללכת בחול, ועוד יותר לרוץ בחול, זה לא נעים, זה מאוד מעייף. והגענו אחרי חצות, מאוד מאוחר, הגענו סוף סוף לעמדת היציאה שלנו, עמדת ההתקפה שלנו, לגמרי בגב של המצרים וחיכינו לפקודה לפתוח בהתקפה. ואז באה הפקודה: "הכל מבוטל, יש הפסקת אש". אז הלכנו את כל הדרך הזאת בחול בחזרה עד לכביש, וכשהגענו לכביש, אמרו לנו: "סליחה, זו הייתה טעות, אין הפסקת אש, הפסקת האש זה בעוד שלושה ימים”. זהו, אז הלכנו לישון, בשביל לתקוף בלילה הבא עוד פעם. עכשיו, כשגדוד הולך בחול הוא משאיר המון עקבות. והמצרים באור היום ראו את העקבות האלה, אז בלילה הבא הם חיכו לנו. וחזרנו כולם לאותו מקום בדיוק, לפי אותה תכנית בדיוק, לא שינו אותה. יש שמה על הכביש פילבוקס גדול שנקרא "עד הלום", והפילבוקס הזה היה בידי המצרים. אז אנחנו הלכנו לשמה והיו חילופי אש כבדים, אבל לא אלינו, משום מה. ואני רצתי הלוך וחזור. לא ירו עלי. ואז, עד שכולם היו מוכנים להסתערות, התחיל להיות אור יום. באור יום אי-אפשר להסתער על אויב שיש לו נשק, בייחוד שלנו אין כמעט. אז אנחנו הלכנו בחזרה, לפני שיאיר היום. ואז התברר שפלוגה אל״ף בפקודת אריה קוצר, שהיה מין אגדה, פלוגה שניסתה להסתער על הפילבוקס, ממש כמעט הושמדה כולה. המון הרוגים ופצועים. וכשהגענו לנקודת היציאה שלנו, אמרו לנו: "תרוצו לשמה, צריכים להוציא את הפצועים”. אז הלכנו לשמה באור יום, תחת אש אני חושב, והוצאנו את הפצועים כמה שיכולנו וגם את הגוויות כמה שיכולנו. בין הגוויות היה החובש שלנו, שהיה בן-דוד של הרופא שלי הנוכחי למחלת קרוהן. וזהו. הלכנו הביתה. ואז באה הפסקת האש האמיתית. אז זו הייתה טבילת האש שלנו נגד צבא אמיתי.‏

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: Samson’s Foxes, troops, weapons, signalman, ceasefire, Egyptian army, attack

Duration: 5 minutes, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017