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Semitic Action


HaOlam HaZeh: the first newspaper to oppose the war
Uri Avnery Social activist
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מלחמת סיני, שישראל פתחה בשותפות עם צרפת ובריטניה, ו"העולם הזה" יצא נגד המלחמה. אני חושב שבפעם הראשונה בכלל בהיסטוריה של ישראל, שבזמן שמתנהלת מלחמה, שעיתון ישראלי יתנגד לה. באמצע המלחמה מטלפן אלי אדם שהכרתי אותו באופן רופף, נתן ילין-מור, שהוא היה המפקד האמיתי של לח"י – לוחמי חירות ישראל, קבוצת שטרן. הוא אמר שהוא רוצה להיפגש אתי. נפגשנו באותו היום בכיכר דיזנגוף, כשעוד הייתה כיכר דיזנגוף, בקפה באום. והוא היה מאוד נרעש. הוא דווקא נרעש מהצד הזה שישראל כרתה ברית עם צרפת ואנגליה, עם שתי מדינות קולוניאליות. "העולם הזה", אני לא יכול להתאפק מלספר, "העולם הזה" פרסם מאמר. היה מקרה במלחמה, מקרה אמיתי, במלחמה ההיא, שטנק ישראלי טעה, טעה במדבר וחיפש את היחידה שלו ולא מצא. פתאום הוא רואה בחושך שיירה של טנקים. נורא שמח. נכנס לתוך השיירה ונוסע. ברגע שזורח השחר, הוא רואה שהוא נמצא בשיירה מצרית. אז הוא פתח באש לשני הצדדים וברח. זה מקרה שהיה, אחד מהקוריוזים של המלחמה. ואמרתי זה בדיוק מה שקרה למדינת ישראל: היא הצטרפה בטעות לשיירה לא נכונה עם אנגליה וצרפת. אז ישבתי עם נתן ילין-מור, אדם מאוד מרשים. אני חושב שקבוצת לח"י הייתה קבוצת הטרור הכי מוצלחת של המאה ה-20׳. והוא היה אדם, בניגוד לחברו יצחק שמיר שהיה אדם קשוח ומוגבל, הוא היה אדם חכם, נבון, עם תפיסה רחבה. והחלטנו להקים תנועה נגד המלחמה. המלחמה נגמרה מהר אבל היוזמה שלנו נשארה והקמנו תנועה. אספנו כל מיני אנשים מסביבנו כמו בועז עברון, עמוס קינן וכל מיני אנשים אחרים, פחות ידועים. והחלטנו לשבת ולבנות ‏תכנית לשינוי טוטאלי של מדינת ישראל בכל התחומים.‏

The Sinai Campaign marked the moment when Israel formed an alliance with France and Britain, and HaOlam HaZeh came out against the war. I think it was the first time ever in the history of Israel that an Israeli newspaper opposed on on-going war. In the middle of it, a man I vaguely knew, Natan Yellin-Mor, who was the real commander of Lehi, Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, also known as the Stern Gang, said he wanted to meet me. We met that same day at Dizengoff Square, when it was still called that, in Cafe Baum. He was very upset. He was actually upset about the fact that Israel had entered into a pact with France and England, with two colonial powers. HaOlam HaZeh, I cannot resist saying, published an article. There was an incident in the war, a real incident in that war, when an Israeli tank went astray in the desert and couldn't find its way back to its unit. Suddenly, they were delighted to see a dark column of tanks. They joined the convoy and drove. As soon as dawn broke, they realized that they were part of an Egyptian convoy. Then they opened fire on both sides and fled. This incident was one of the curiosities of the war. And I said that's exactly what happened to the State of Israel: it accidentally joined the wrong convoy with England and France. So I sat with Nathan Yellin-Mor, a very impressive person. I think that Lehi was the most successful terrorist group of the 20th century. He was a man who, unlike his friend Yitzhak Shamir who was a tough and narrow individual, was smart and intelligent with a broad worldview. And we decided to establish a movement against the war. The war ended quickly but our initiative survived and we created a movement. We gathered all sorts of people around us like Boaz Evron, Amos Kenan and all sorts of other, less well-known people. We decided to sit down and construct a plan to change the State of Israel totally in all aspects.

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: HaOlam HaZeh, Israel, Natan Yellin-Mor, Yitzhak Shamir, Boaz Evron, Amos Kenan

Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017