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How I met the future chief of the general staff


A first class troublemaker
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Then they decided that too many squad commanders had been killed; they needed extra squad commanders and they appealed to all of the squadrons. Each squadron had to set aside two or three soldiers for the brigade's squad commander course in Kfar Menahem. That was the way to get rid of troublemakers, and I was a first-class troublemaker. Because after those battles at Negba, when the second ceasefire began, we were sure that they would let us travel to Tel Aviv for a vacation and they didn't. They said, 'Now we're going to practice'.

We were terribly annoyed and I organized a petition. We heard that in the north they were putting together a new regiment like Samson's Foxes but bigger. Samson's Foxes was considered a success so the army adopted this method. For the sake of historical accuracy, a unit called Animals of the Negev of the Negev Brigade had preceded us. We heard that a whole regiment like us was being organized, and I had them all sign a petition requesting a transfer to that regiment. I submitted it to the office of the regiment commander, who said, 'This is rebellion, we don't accept petitions from soldiers. Every soldier should write an individual application'. Then, the entire squadron sat and copied the petition I had written, and we submitted a large pile of them.

ואז החליטו שנהרגו יותר מדי מ”כים, צריכים מ”כים. ופנו לכל הפלוגות. כל פלוגה הייתה צריכה להפריש שניים-שלושה חיילים לקורס מ"כים של החטיבה בכפר מנחם. זו הדרך להיפטר מעושי צרות. ואני הייתי עושה צרות ממדרגה ראשונה. מפני שאחרי הקרבות האלה של נגבה, כשהתחילה ההפוגה השנייה, היינו בטוחים שיתנו לנו לנסוע לתל אביב לחופשה ולא נתנו לנו. אמרו 'עכשיו הולכים להתאמן.‏'

נורא נורא התרגזנו ואני ארגנתי עצומה. שמענו שבצפון עושים גדוד חדש כמו "שועלי שמשון”. יותר גדול. "שועלי שמשון" היה נחשב להצלחה, אז צה"ל קיבל את השיטה הזאת. למען האמת ההיסטורית קדמה לנו יחידה שנקראה "חיות הנגב" של חטיבת הנגב. שמענו שמתארגן גדוד שלם כמונו, ואז החתמתי את כולם על עצומה: "מבקשים העברה לגדוד ההוא". מגישים את זה למשרד של המג"ד, המג"ד אומר 'זו מרידה, לא מקבלים עצומות של חיילים, כל חייל צריך לכתוב בקשה לחוד'. אז ישבה כל הפלוגה העתיקה ואת העצומה שניסחתי והגשנו ערימה שלמה.‏



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: squad commander, petition, transfer, rebellion

Duration: 2 minutes, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017