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Congratulations, Abdel Nasser


Gamal Abdel Nasser
Uri Avnery Social activist
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I did not like this war. I really didn't. Firstly, I liked Nasser. I have just written an article about this now, 45 years since his death. I loved Nasser. Loved is perhaps an exaggeration – I liked him. Why did I like him? For several reasons. I met him during the war. I've always said that we met up close, but we were not introduced properly. Why? I told earlier about the story of Hill 105 when we ran over the Egyptians in the trenches. Nasser was the commander there, he was a major. Because it was night, it is absolutely obvious that we were as near to each other as we are now, only it was at night. When I was wounded at Tel al-Manshiyya, the outpost that I served at, its commander was Gamal Abdel Nasser. So all through the war we were somehow close to each other. When Nasser came to power, I thought – and there was good reason to think this – that this was a great opportunity to make peace: a new generation, a new generation of Arabs, very national, free of the past. And I had a very good reason to think there was a chance.

המלחמה הזאת לא מצאה חן בעיניי. מאוד-מאוד לא. אל״ף, אני אהבתי את נאסר. אני בדיוק כותב היום מאמר על זה: 45 שנים למותו של נאסר. אני אהבתי את נאסר. "אהבתי" אולי זה מוגזם, חיבבתי אותו. למה חיבבתי אותו? מכמה סיבות. אל״ף, פגשתי אותו במלחמה. תמיד אמרתי: "נפגשנו מקרוב, אבל לא הוצגנו כראוי”. למה? אני סיפרתי קודם על הסיפור הזה של גבעה 105 שאנחנו דרסנו את המצרים בשוחות. נאסר היה המפקד במקום, הוא היה רב-סרן. מכיוון שזה היה בלילה, ברור לחלוטין שהיינו באותה קירבה שאנחנו יושבים עכשיו רק שזה היה בלילה. כשאני נפצעתי בתל אל מנשייה, העמדה הזאת שירתה עלי, המפקד שלה היה גמאל עבד אל נאסר. אז כל המלחמה היינו איכשהו קרובים זה לזה. לא, אבל ברצינות. כשנאסר הגיע לשלטון, אני חשבתי, והיה לי יסוד לחשוב, שזו הזדמנות גדולה מאוד לעשות שלום: דור חדש, דור ערבי חדש, לאומי מאוד, חופשי מהעבר. והייתה לי סיבה מאוד קרובה לחשוב שיש סיכוי.‏


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: Gamal Abdel Nasser

Duration: 2 minutes

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017