A piece by Yachad’s Amos Schonfield and Maya Ilany in The Jewish News
August 20, 2018
The main theme of Avnery’s life, the idea of the pioneering spirit, is more impressive when we look back. He lived out his Zionist ideals throughout the 1930s and 40s and fought to realise what became State of Israel. He was among the earliest proponents of justice and peace, calling for a political settlement to the Israeli occupation in 1967. Whether it was losing a place in the pantheon of Israel’s founding generation or losing a place in his own mother’s will, Avnery’s personal sacrifices for bringing his vision to life were not insignificant. Always shunning a quiet retirement, the way it was clear Avnery was gravely ill was because he didn’t write his usual column in the Jerusalem Post.
Losing this great, selfless pioneer, we wonder who the inheritor of Avnery’s mantle will be. On one side, we have those taking great strides in pioneering a new Israel, the Start Up Nation of Sodastream and Waze. On the other side, we have those making personal sacrifices in pursuit of just causes, but without the foresight and vision to build something in the way Avnery did. It may take years for the next bold new thinkers to materialise, and they may forever be too far ahead of the curve for us to notice and appreciate them, but the lesson of Uri Avnery is that their influence will be far reaching and long lasting.