Uri Avnery – Naked girls in, Ben-Gurion out (64/315)

Uri Avnery – Naked girls in, Ben-Gurion out (64/315)


In terms of content, I had a clear worldview: it was anti-Ben-Gurion in all respects. It is not that I was opposed to this or that issue, but I had in mind an entirely different country, I was opposed to the country that Ben-Gurion envisaged in all aspects, in its entirety. I was opposed to Ben-Gurion’s policies on: peace with the Arabs; the attitude towards Arabs in Israel, which soon became an ethnic problem; the problem of corruption. As far as I was concerned, it was all one thing. I wanted a different country, secular, progressive Mine was not just a minority opinion – it was a tiny minority, marginal – and I was faced with the problem of how to put out a newspaper with mass circulation, which proclaimed views diametrically opposed to those of the nation. It was impossible and I can prove that this was impossible. And my solution was naked girls. Not naked at the beginning. At first they were more or less clothed. Schematically, the first half of the paper covered political, social matters, problems of the state and society, but the other half was gossip, parties, scandals and all these things, things that no other newspaper in the country touched. Would a newspaper publish anything about a divorce? Certainly not! Did they ever think about it? ‘Davar’? ‘Haaretz’? ‘HaBoker’? Nowadays people call me every few days saying, ‘Do you remember? In 1954, ‘HaOlam HaZeh’ published the Daniel Pe’er affair’. Daniel Pe’er I happen to remember, I hardly remember any of the rest. Why did they come to me? Because there was no other source. ‘HaOlam HaZeh’ was the only newspaper in the country for decades reporting on things that happen in Israeli society. I had several goals: first – to enable a regular person to read the newspaper, despite the fact that he did not like its opinions. Second – to imbue a spirit of optimism, because that was the easy part to be entertaining, amusing, light despite the fact that the political portion could be very depressing. And it turned out that this was the winning formula, and the newspaper had a good circulation. It was never large, but a reasonable enough distribution which enabled the newspaper to exist.

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