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Saving Haaretz from closure


The start of This World
Uri Avnery Social activist
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At that same time a man named Uri Kesari worked at Haaretz and he also had a magazine called HaOlam HaZeh which was established in 1937, and in early 1948 he changed the name from Nine PM to HaOlam HaZeh. And it was such a nice magazine, not political, all sorts of journalists of the 'establishment' wrote for it, and was quite a light read. Since Uri Kesari was born in Israel, which was very rare at that time especially among journalists, he used spoken Hebrew which was very different from all of the other newspapers that were written in classic 'Polish' Hebrew. And I liked that. One day Uri Kesari asked Schocken to 'lend' me to him one day a week so that I could help him with the work - the technical aspect of putting out a weekly. I had experience with that, as I said, because I had done that work with the weekly The Society many years before. So once a week I went to the office of HaOlam Hazeh on Lilienblum Street, two rooms, and helped to put out HaOlam Hazeh, to prepare the paper for printing and read through the proofs. Back to Haaretz, just as I started to get fed up working at Haaretz. Being a respected journalist with a very good salary, but not doing anything and not publishing anything, was making me quite bored.

That was when 1948: A Soldier's Tale – the Bloody Road to Jerusalem came out with this tremendous impact. One day Uri Kesari decided he was tired of [HaOlam HaZeh]. He didn't want to publish the weekly any more especially since it was sunk in debt. And he offered the magazine for sale to Schocken and to Carlebach, who was then the Editor of Maariv. I heard about it and I said, 'Why not offer it me?' Then he said: 'Willingly'. But I had no money. As a wounded IDF veteran with 10% disability, I received increased discharge compensation, 500 liras, I think, which was a lot of money at that time. And I managed to raise a loan of another 1000 or 500, and Shalom Cohen promised another 1000, despite the fact that he never actually paid. I went to the two largest debtors of HaOlam HaZeh, the one who did the printing blocks (photographs were still printed with blocks) and the distributor, and said: 'Each of you invest 2000 liras, deduct it from the debt, and we'll purchase it together, four people', and that's how it went.


באותו זמן עבד ב"הארץ" אדם בשם אורי קיסרי, שגם היה לו שבועון בשם "העולם הזה”, שהוא הקים ב-37' ובראשית 48' הוא החליף את שמו. שמו הקודם היה "תשע בערב" והוא החליף אותו ל"העולם הזה”. וזה היה שבועון כזה נחמד, לא פוליטי, שכתבו בו כל מיני עיתונאים ממסדיים והיה קליל כזה. ומכיוון שאורי קיסרי נולד בארץ, דבר שהיה אז מאוד נדיר, בייחוד בין העיתונאים, הוא הכניס עברית מדוברת, שזה היה מאוד שונה מכל העיתונים שכתבו עברית כזאת פולנית קלאסית. וזה מצא חן בעיניי. ויום אחד אורי קיסרי ביקש משוקן "להלוות" אותי לו יום אחד בשבוע, שאני אעזור לו בעבודה הטכנית של הוצאת השבועון. היה לי בזה ניסיון, כאמור, מפני שפעם עשיתי אותה עבודה בשבועון הזה "החברה" שנים לפני כן. אז פעם בשבוע הלכתי למשרד של "העולם הזה" ברחוב לילינבלום, שני חדרים, ועזרתי להוציא את "העולם הזה": להכין את העיתון לדפוס ולקרוא הגהות ודברים כאלה. חזרה ל"הארץ", בדיוק כשלי התחיל להימאס לעבוד ב"הארץ", להיות עיתונאי מאוד מכובד עם משכורת מאוד טובה, אבל לא לעשות כלום ולא לפרסם שום דבר, התחיל להימאס לי.


ומה גם שאז בדיוק הופיע "בשדות פלשת" עם ההתפוצצות העצומה הזאת. ויום אחד אורי קיסרי החליט שפשוט נמאס לו. לא רוצה להוציא את השבועון יותר, מה גם שהיה שקוע בחובות. והוא הציע את השבועון לקנות לשוקן, לקרליבך, שאז היה עורך “מעריב". ואני שמעתי את זה ואמרתי "למה לא לי?" אז הוא אמר: "ברצון רב". אבל לא היה לי כסף. אני בתור פצוע צה”ל עשרה אחוזים קיבלתי פיצויים מוגדלים, פיצויי שחרור. 500 לירות אני חושב, שזה הרבה כסף. ואני גייסתי בהלוואות עוד אלף, או עוד 500, ושלום כהן הבטיח עוד אלף, למרות שמעולם לא שילם. והלכתי לשני בעלי החוב הגדולים של "העולם הזה”: זה שעשה את הגלופות (אז עוד הדפיסו תמונות בגלופות) והמפיץ, ואמרתי: "תכניסו כל אחד מכם אלפיים שקל, תורידו מהחוב ונקנה יחד, ארבעה אנשים", וכך היה.‏


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: The Society, Maariv, HaOlam HaZeh, Haaretz, This World, Uri Kesari, Shalom Cohen, Ezriel Carlebach

Duration: 4 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017