‘Don’t be scared of the truth’

Israeli poet Haim Gouri (photo credit: CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP)
Israeli poet Haim Gouri
(photo credit: CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP)
“You shouldn’t be scared of the truth. It can turn from a weak point to a strength. It emphasizes dedication to democratic principles,” Haim Gouri said back in 1992, during a wide-ranging interview with The Jerusalem Post’s Liat Collins.
Then 69, Gouri expounded on how the Yom Kippur War marked a welcome turning point in how the Israeli media related to the stories they covered.
“In the 1950s and 1960s, journalists knew the truth about different matters like the Lavon Affair, but they preferred to keep quiet. They abided by the raison d’etat and were loyal to the policies of the government. After and even during the Yom Kippur War, this changed...
journalists stopped being keepers of secrets.”
Being responsible, Gouri said, means accurately reflecting the situation as it is, neither sensationalizing nor downplaying it.
“The Six Day War united the country territorially but divided it ideologically. People see this, just as a child knows when his parents argue. That is why getting accurate information is so important.
“A paper such as the Jerusalem Post, which also talks to the Diaspora, has to be particularly objective. It must reflect the shadow and the light, the arguments and the unity,” he said.
Regarding the complexion of the country, Gouri revealed what made him the beloved poet of Israel.
“We are a people of ups and downs, euphoria and pathos, pride and pique,” he said. “Everything about us is drastic... every day there is a sudden sunrise and an equally dramatic sunset, but there is no twilight.”