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Naked girls in, Ben-Gurion out


My book brings me fame
Uri Avnery Social activist
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I have already mentioned that in the meantime 1948: A Soldier's Tale – the Bloody Road to Jerusalem had appeared and was selling like crazy. I mean, it was a war book, and there simply was no other book about the war because all the books written about the war had been by 'military' writers sitting in HQ behind the front line. Nobody had written about the war and none of the authors had been a soldier. So there was simply no holiday, wedding or bar mitzvah without there being three or four copies of 1948: A Soldier's Tale on the gift table. It was crazy. One result was that suddenly I became one of the most popular people in the country. Before the war I said that In the Struggle had aroused tremendous anger. That was forgotten. Suddenly, just as people invite generals to parties, they were inviting me to parties. And wherever I went I was greeted, so it was really in my favour. A weekly magazine with a new editor for HaOlam HaZeh: me.

We started to work, to put out a weekly. The journalistic format that I had in mind was of Time magazine which was very popular. Time magazine. The weekly Life magazine, a photographic magazine, which was also very popular. I added all sorts of things from other newspapers. Paris Match and Der Speigel were not known in Israel, I believe and I put together the format of a new type of newspaper. This was a new format with a completely different journalistic language. Simple. No slang. Slang only as part of a direct quotation; all the rest in simple and correct Hebrew. Amnon Dankner, who later developed a hatred for me, said at the time that HaOlam HaZeh was written in 'lean and athletic Hebrew', I believe.

כבר סיפרתי שהופיע בינתיים "בשדות פלשת”, שלא רק הייתה לו מכירה משוגעת, הייתי אומר, זה היה הספר של המלחמה, פשוט לא היה ספר אחר של המלחמה. מפני שכל הספרים שנכתבו על המלחמה, נכתבו על ידי סופרים צבאיים במרכאות, שישבו במטות בעורף. אף אחד לא כתב על המלחמה. אף אחד לא היה חייל. אז פשוט לא היה חג, בר מצווה או חתונה או משהו כזה, שלא היו על שולחן המתנות שלושה-ארבעה עותקים של "בשדות פלשת”. זה היה משוגע. אחת התוצאות הייתה שפתאום הפכתי לאחד האנשים הכי פופולאריים במדינה. לפני המלחמה אמרתי ש"במאבק" עורר רוגז עצום. נשכח. ופתאום כמו שהזמינו אלופים למסיבות, הזמינו אותי למסיבות. ואיפה שלא הלכתי, ברכות וכו' וכו' וכו’. אז זה עמד לזכותי. שבועון בעריכה חדשה של "העולם הזה", שלי. התחלנו לעבוד, לעשות שבועון. המתכונת שהייתה לי בראש, המתכונת העיתונאית הייתה של Time Magazine שאז היה מאוד פופולארי, השבועון “טיים". השבועון "לייף", שבועון צילומים, שגם היה מאוד פופולארי. הוספתי עוד כל מיני דברים מעיתונים אחרים – פארי מאץ' הצרפתי, דר שפיגל עוד לא היה מוכר בארץ אני חושב - וחיברתי מתכונת של עיתון מסוג חדש. וזאת הייתה המתכונת העיתונאית עם שפה עיתונאית לגמרי אחרת. פשוטה. לא סלנג. סלנג רק בציטוט ישיר, כל השאר עברית פשוטה וקורקטית. אמנון דנקנר, שלימים הפך לשונא שלי, אמר אז ש"העולם הזה" כתוב בעברית רזה ואתלטית, נדמה לי, משהו כזה.‏


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: 1984: A Soldiers' Tale – the Bloody Road to Jerusalem, In the Struggle, Time, HaOlam HaZeh, Life, Amnon Dankner

Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017