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A run-in with the Moscow police


Head-hunted by Robert Maxwell’s team
Uri Avnery Social activist
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כשאני הפסקתי את עבודתי ב"העולם הזה" הציעו לי שתי הצעות: אחת של עיתון "הארץ" ואחת של עיתון "מעריב". מצד "הארץ" בא הנה עמוס שוקן ועוד שניים מהעוזרים שלו והם למעשה הציעו שאני אחזור ל”הארץ". "אחזור" מפני שהייתי שם פעם, 40 שנה לפני כן, לעסוק באותו הדבר, לכתוב מאמרים. זה היה מאוד מפתה מפני שאני יש לי יחס מיוחד ל"הארץ", אני חושב שזה עיתון חשוב. היה לי הרבה פחות יחס ל"מעריב", למרות שב"מעריב" הייתה מהפיכה, מקסוול קנה אותו. דב יודקובסקי, שכל חייו ערך את "ידיעות אחרונות" ושנא את "מעריב" עבר ל"מעריב", הפך לעורך מטעם מקסוול. ויודקובסקי היה לו כישרון אחד עצום, הוא לא היה עיתונאי בכלל, אבל היה לו כישרון עצום לשחד אנשים, להציע להם הצעות שאי-אפשר לסרב. כך הוא לקח את מיטב כתבי "העולם הזה" במשך השנים. ועכשיו הוא עשה את זה אתי והציע לי הצעה שאי-אפשר היה לסרב לה. הוא אמר: "עשה סיור בארצות האקס-קומוניסטיות במזרח אירופה, בארצות שזה עתה השתחררו מהקומוניזם, כתוב על זה מאמרים ב'מעריב' ובסוף יופיע ספר בהוצאות 'כתר'", שגם הייתה שייכת למקסוול. מי יכול לסרב להצעה כזאת?‏

When I stopped working at HaOlam HaZeh I received two proposals: one from the newspaper Haaretz and one from the newspaper Maariv.  Amos Schocken came here on behalf of Haaretz, with two of his assistants, and they actually offered to take me back at Haaretz, to come back because I was there once, 40 years ago, to do the same thing − to write articles. It was very tempting because I have special respect for Haaretz; I think it's an important newspaper. I had a lot less regard for Maariv, despite the fact that it was undergoing a revolution − Maxwell had purchased it. Dov Yudkovsky − who all of his life had been the editor of Yediot Ahronot and hated Maariv − had moved to Maariv and became the editor representing Maxwell. Yudkovsky had one great talent: although he was no journalist, he had an enormous talent for bribing people, making them offers they could not refuse. In this way he had poached the best writers from HaOlam Hazeh over the years. Now he was doing the same with me, and he made me an offer that it was impossible for me to refuse. He said: 'Go on a tour of the ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe, the countries which have only just been liberated from communism, and write articles about what you see for Maariv and at the end you will have a book published by Keter, which belonged to Maxwell. Who could refuse an offer like that?

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, MaAriv, Haaretz, Dov Yudkovksy

Duration: 2 minutes, 52 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 26 June 2017