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The Alexis Affair


The Lavon Affair: what really happened
Uri Avnery Social activist
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אברי בא לארץ, אסרו אותו במקום באופן חשאי. עשו לו משפט. לא יכלו להוכיח שום דבר על מה שקרה במצרים. האסירים עוד לא חזרו. מה עשו? עשו חיפוש אצלו בבית בחיפה, מצאו נשק וכל מיני מסמכים סודיים. אסרו אותו. עשו לו משפט חשאי בפני השופט הלוי המפורסם, בנימין הלוי, זה שאמר שקסטנר מכר את נשמתו לשטן… זה גם כן דילגתי. קרו יותר מדי דברים… ובכן, עשו לו משפט. המשפט היה חשאי. כמובן לא ידעו אפילו על קיומו, ואברי טען בפני השופט שזה הכל מפוברק. השופט אמר: "למה שיעשו דבר כזה?" אז הוא סיפר לשופט את הסיפור הזה, מה קרה בקהיר. השופט נרעש. הוא היה איש נורא תמים עם עיניים כחולות כאלה גדולות. תמימות טוטאלית. גם לא חכם גדול, כפי שראיתי כשהוא בא לכנסת. וכתב מכתב נרעש לבן גוריון. בן גוריון פתח בחקירה. כל זה הרי קרה כשהוא היה בשדה בוקר. יום אחד מצלצלים פה בדלת ואני שומע קול של ילדה שאומרת: "אורי אבנרי? האמא שלי עומדת למטה באוטו ורוצה לדבר אתך". ירדתי. בפינה פה, במקום חשוך בערב כבר, נמצא אוטו, באוטו יושב אדם נכה רגליים ואשה מאוד שמנה, והיא אומרת: "אני אחותו של אברי, ואני רוצה לספר לך מה קרה באמת ואני רוצה שתפרסם". על לפרסם לא היה מה לדבר, אבל ישבתי אתה באוטו החשוך והיא סיפרה לי את כל הסיפור הזה שסיפרתי לך עכשיו.

Avri came to Israel, they immediately arrested him in secret. They conducted a trial. They could not prove anything about what happened in Egypt. The prisoners had not yet returned. What did they do? They searched his home in Haifa, found weapons and all sorts of secret documents. They arrested him, held a trial in secret before Judge Halevy, the famous Benjamin Halevy who said [Rudolf] Kastner had 'sold his soul to the devil'... I also skipped this. Too many things happened...  Well, they put [Avri] on trial, in secret. Of course they had not even known he existed, and Avri told the judge it was all fabricated. The judge said: 'Why would they do that?' Then he told the judge the story of what had happened in Cairo. The judge was upset. He was a very naïve man with big blue eyes. Totally naïve. Not very clever, as I saw when he came to the Knesset. And he wrote a frantic letter to Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion opened an investigation. All this had happened when he was in Sde Boker. One day there was a ring at the door and I heard a child's voice saying: 'Uri Avnery? My mother is downstairs in the car and she wants to talk to you'. I went down. There in the corner, in the dark evening I found a car and a man with crippled legs was sitting in the car and a very fat woman, and she says: 'I am Avri's sister, and I want to tell you what really happened and I want you to publish it'. Publishing it was not a possibility, but I sat in the car in the dark and she told me the story I just told you. I sat and sat. Meanwhile the Lavon Affair broke. Ben-Gurion demanded that Lavon be dismissed, nobody knew what was going on, no one spoke about it. It was forbidden to say a word about the incident itself.

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: Avri Zeidenberg, Benjamin Halevy, David Ben-Gurion

Duration: 2 minutes, 42 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017