Encounter 255 – 27.1.2023

On the way we try to guess what will be the effect of the difficult event in Jenin and the reaction from Gaza to the arrival of travelers when in front of the temptation of green nature dotted with red anemones.
We were surprised to see at first sight the car park near Be’eri full of vehicles.
At second glance, the majority are transport vehicles in the service of the army…
On the winding road to the sulfur plant, there are few vehicles, mainly on their way out, as well as a group of cyclists. The Nachbir parking lot is empty, both the sulfur factory area and the “storage” of the chairs… Three chairs were thrown from the ramp and fell apart, and about ten more are in a semi-circle around the remains of a campfire about a hundred meters from the building.
When we finished collecting the chairs, the coffee was already ready and two guests were sitting: friends of Ofek. They have been before. ATV travelers. They stayed a little, didn’t drink or eat and left.
Jalal, who came with six of his children, also stopped out of curiosity, but the shyness of his children made him continue. Was invited in the following days, but replied that Fridays are dedicated to children.
Malki and Bella arrived at the same time as a group of young people who are staying in a kibbutz in the area for a year of service. I open a circle and Malki continues.
Malki: You can dig into a bubble at home or try to influence. Living close to Gaza raises awareness of it, there is more need to know, even if nothing can be done. There are people there who live near me and they are suffering when I can do what I want. The situation is unbearable, Malki adds, and out of desperation, she chooses to come here. If everyone does a little maybe something good will happen.
Shmulik, a communist, has lived here since the mid-1960s. He knows all the upheavals since then. Gaza is a hybrid creature. The Egyptians, the Gazans themselves and Israel, are complicit in the situation there. The fence is massive and hermetically sealed. For some people there, it’s literally a prison. The response from Gaza to yesterday’s events is minor due to the workers going to work. Shmulik tells the young people about the 11 points (settlements established in one night, Yom Kippur 1946 under the noses and against the will of the British), about the sulfur factory and the use of sulfur. Shmulik considers the closure of Gaza an international crime, the exposure to the strength of the Israeli army is intolerable. The area was different and then personal relationships were also formed.
Roy says that Gaza is the biggest prison in the world. A lot of helpless people. Dependent on the State of Israel which restricts them and controlled by Hamas.
Omer says that for her Gaza is a complex. don’t know enough – Want to know.
Lotem sees Gaza as people who were born into a sad reality. In the bubble she lives in, Gaza is considered a burden.
Mika points out that a few days ago she entered Instagram and was interested in Rafah. She didn’t understand anything, but she saw that there was some kind of normality there too. In reality the situation is horrifying. It shouldn’t be like this.
Moshe came to the conclusion that he does not know Gaza that well even though he has lived close to it for many years. Now he is learning about the conflict at the university and realizes how much he doesn’t know… to quote in one sentence, he says, everything is close in this country and the situation is a mirror image. Each group sees the same thing but in reverse. As we were privileged to meet with Gazans in the past, we will be able to increase the circle of meetings today and in the future. For him, precisely the disagreements make the dialogue interesting. Tell your friends to come, he asks the young people.
Dandan thinks that they, in Gaza, are very poor. He doesn’t have enough knowledge. A solution is needed, he says. The people there, got into a situation against their will.
Uri can’t find another word except ghetto. A cruel and violent rule inside. suffocated from the outside. And they have no choice. Watch a podcast about life in Gaza and realize that they are very limited.
Gaia thinks a bit like Omer… doesn’t feel like she knows enough. great sadness Gaza is “different” and not good.
For Noa, the image of “ghetto” comes to mind. But it’s not like the Holocaust. And yet it’s sad because it happens really physically, and with that, far from consciousness. They don’t talk about it at school and it’s sad.
Bella went through the Holocaust and survived. Proud of building the generations it has endured. She didn’t think that the country she built would behave like this to her neighbors. She made a vow as a child that she would never close her eyes in the face of injustice.
Nahshi knew Gaza as a child as a place of infiltrators and hostages. One day his father took him to an observation tower in the kibbutz and he showed him Gaza through binoculars: people riding bicycles and normal lives. Then there was a war and suddenly, Gaza is here. In 2006 – disconnection and again disconnection and distance. When he reached the lighthouse he realized that it was close to us again and only a thin line separated. Sees fields and farmers like him and yet, these are two different worlds. The feeling that something was wrong and wrong grew stronger in him. He does know how we ended up in this situation, but the episodes sharpened for him the injustice and illogicality of the situation. That’s why he comes here. On the way you meet people and meet interesting points of view.
Na’ama: Gaza is something that is mixed with fear, guilt and survival. It is a place that has always been present to her and she grew up with the stories. She didn’t go there because of her father’s ideology and her mother’s fear.
Dan says that he hardly gets to think about Gaza. Now he is in a state of service near it. Sad for them for living in such a reality. But there is a desire on both sides to live well. If Dan is in the army and has to go in, he will go in with all his might. And, it is important to understand more.
Giora – a photographer – came later. There is a plan to come next week with a group of amateur photographers that he is a guide.
This time we were: Meitav, Uri, Jalal (with 6 children), Giora, Malki, Bela, Moshe, Nahshi, Shmulik, Michal, Shelli, Roy, Omer, Lotem, Mika, Dandan, Uri, Gaya, Noa, Na’ama, Oded.
Written by: Oded.

Encounter 254 – 20.1.2023

Apparently, stormy days, winter in full swing, demonstrations in the face of political/legal/social chaos, crazy communication, a sense of the end. in fact, everything is “for now”. The winter days are warm, the demonstrations are only on the weekend and the chaos is brewing and will be served in February. Communication? The majority say that they no longer connect to the frequency…
and us? Here we are an island of stability. We position ourselves every Friday like a cuckoo clock that Gaza appears in the window and announces our disgrace and the disgrace of the world. Here There is actually a feeling of no end. Positively and negatively. Positively, because we are here every Friday and negatively, because the human anomaly occurring in Gaza has no end.
A lot of people arrived today. The list below will reflect maybe a fifth of the actual participants.
At first we were Nahshi, Moshe, Shmulik, Mark and myself, then a couple from the area arrived and at two o’clock about 40 travelers flocked to their guide and microphone. They were sure that we were some kind of surprise that the guide had prepared for them. At the same time Malki, Rami, Mirale, Uzi, Deganit, Bella, Ovadia and Roni also arrived! Yes yes our friends Roni took a cane, Ovadia and a matching chair and came back to be with us after (so and so) a long time.
The guide told the group (from the Avshalom Institute) about sulfur and history, I told about us and Rami continued and talked about history, about grandparents, Rotenberg and Tel Hai (respectively) childhood near the border fence and about hope. The group was intrigued and wanted to sit more, they had many more questions, but the guide… they left.
The immediate family remained and Rami feels that the situation “requires” Gaza awareness.
Nahshi told about his friend who is a documentary filmmaker. Yesterday they met for coffee. In 2005, the friend made a film about Gaza with Haim Yavin. They were interviewing some leaders and Chaim Yavin wanted to go talk to people in the market. The security guards were stressed. Chaim Yavin calmed down and said they would introduce themselves as a German TV crew (he knows German). The security guards agreed. They went to the market and all the merchants said “Oh, Chaim Yavin has arrived!”.
Bella doesn’t know how much is known about us. The silence scares her. I don’t know how to predict our future. I always think about them. I take care for them like I take care for us.
Moshe says that his concern is no longer focused only on our space. Now, the country is in danger. The dominant language is violence. It is tangible and sharp, something existential, really physical. What is happening now is not temporary. A struggle is needed.
Mirale wants to maintain her mental health and therefore does not watch/listen to the media, “a bit playing the ostrich” according to her. She is aware and talks about the absurdity of the surrounding pastoralism compared to the reality in the territories.
Roni thinks that sometimes it might be better to disconnect, but she can’t, she is constantly interacting with people and needs to know. To ease the mental burden a little, she focuses on knowledge about Gaza. Mainly with the help of her friends there. updating Who left Gaza and moved to the big world and who stayed. She feels she has to help them. There are many changes. Laborers are coming out and this is a big change for the better in Gaza and it is also expressed quietly here. She gets a lot of requests for help getting out. She met with the director of the border terminal in Erez and found there a great willingness to help. She is in contact with a Dutch psychologist who enters Gaza and meets with psychologists and sociologists for workshops and support.
Ovadia says that Gaza reminds him how unwise we are. In the past he walked there alone in many places and was treated with great respect. What is happening today is because of us because we did not understand what was happening there and spoiled it for several generations. When some whispering embers appeared we could put them out before they started a big fire and we did the opposite, we lit them instead of putting them out. A sense of greatness and arrogance brought us to the current situation. We would free them from the burden of Egypt. Here we can still demonstrate against evil and crime. There are those who suppress such demonstrations.
Daganit says she doesn’t know Gaza like we do. She is here because of Rami and it moves her to support the idea. She is not one who often goes to demonstrations, to say the least. And if she was at a demonstration and in the pouring rain, that means all the summers are over! I really relate to the things said here. I remember that as a child she rode a bicycle in Gaza and it was fun.
Uzi precedes and says that he is very happy to come and see Rami enthusiastic and lecturing – a sign that he is healthy! Also happy to see Roni and Ovadia. Read last week the book “The Conspiracy Against America” written by Philip Roth. Didn’t know the book. A dystopia, a novel that simulates an alternate history of America with Charles Lindbergh supposedly defeating Roosevelt in the 1940 election. Lindbergh was a glorified pilot, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, Nazi sympathizer. In the book there are Jews who (supposedly) collaborate with him and he has plans to “treat” the Jews. In the book there is a description of a reality that is similar to what is happening around us today.
Malki ponders aloud and asks what has changed in her since she came here the first time. Is her look different? “No” she says, this place gave expression to the feeling she came with. Sometimes it’s nice to be an ostrich. But if there were no demonstrations and everyone would continue as usual? The demonstration gives a feeling that many people think like her, it gives hope even if nothing changes and Gaza continues to be a great despair. Our place gives her strength.
Shmulik says that what he can do in the personal sphere, he does. From conversations with a friend from Gaza, he knows that the situation there is dire. Today’s peace is thanks to those who pass and work. Things need to be resolved.
Suddenly, about 15 curious young people peek out from all the openings. They are invited for coffee (even though it is already a quarter to four). They came from Tarabin near Gvaot Bar. Some are shy, some accept the offer of coffee. Rami tries to get them to talk about Gaza. Only a Abed is willing to say that his mother is from there and that he has a family there, but he himself has no connection. A little more talk about (lack of) employment opportunities in their settlement.
There was also Amos who was walking with his grandchildren and said that at the age of five and a half he went down with another boy older than him to the bottom of the well in the sulfur factory! 51 meters!
He added that the current appearance of the building was caused by the departure of the British when anyone who could get their hands on something of value and sell it, did so.
At a rough estimate there were 60-70 people at the lighthouse today
Who was? A very, very partial list: Mirale, Roni, Ovadia, Daganit, Uzi, Malki, Shmulik, Rami, Oded, Nahshi, Bela, Moshe, Mark, Salman, Abed.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 253 – 13.1.2023

A week ago a lot of people came and we felt that we are at the beginning of a wonderful friendship with the migration season of the people in the Be’eri reserve. Even today, a beautiful day without rain, the area is covered with green. Here and there begins some red marks of flowers. However, despite the promise contained in the above description, many travelers in the area are not predicted.
Those who did come (to walk) were Lital and Eyal who were captured by Nahshi’s charismatic invitation and came for coffee and teasing.
Lital has memories. She was born in a kibbutz on the Gaza border. She remembers the 1967 war, 3 days in the shelter. Father is a cotton man and was also involved in the security field. She was 7 years old. Someone from the kibbutz was killed at the very beginning. The Kibutz organized the children to prepare a reception for soldiers returning from the battles in Sinai. Convoys of buses arrived, but with Egyptian prisoners – there were no Israeli soldiers. She cried because she was waiting for soldiers and not prisoners. Father said that’s how it is in war, there are prisoners, nothing will be done to them and they will return home. Then workers began to arrive and people began to travel in Gaza. Lital remembers being overwhelmed by the friendly reception they received in Gaza. I remember the pots alley and Ali Monter. In her military service she came again to Ali Monter and remembered. Now she lives in Tel Aviv and everything is far away, the childhood, the memories, Gaza too. We do not know what is happening with those who worked for us, I only know that they were not allowed to return to work. Today she went for a walk with her brother in the area and suddenly realized that “she can be seen from there” and maybe it is a bit dangerous. (This is how it is when you get too used to Tel Aviv). People live here and people live there, she concludes and asks, how will all this end? She wants to ask us if we are actively doing something in the area? How can you influence? Who cares?
Eyal says that for him Gaza is… “I don’t want to define it”. He knows it well, he is Lital’s older brother and still lives in the kibbutz where they were born. Claims that he is so radical to the left that he reached Ben Gvir. (Lital is horrified. “Don’t write it” she says). Eyal says that he helped someone from the Gaza village hang a joint photo exhibition of her and artists from Gaza and we all remember that Batya (the photographer) sat in a circle with us and told about the exhibition, small world. After that, Eyal turns to Kai (we’ll get to know him soon) and tells him that he hosted two guests from Norway and took them to the “Black Arrow” to look over Gaza and also emphasized to them that only from here can you see and understand what Gaza really is and that you don’t have to believe the “brainwashing” that the Palestinians do to the Europeans in the media abroad.
Kai has been in Israel for several years, a musician plays double bass, lives in Jerusalem and trying to become an Israeli citizen (his father is Israeli). Kai was born in the USA, grew up and lived in Norway, until he came to study and play in Israel. Kai says that Gaza is an interesting place. But more interesting is the ability of people in Israel to ignore their neighbors. He himself lives in Abu Tor – a mixed neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Rami calls and the conversation with Kai is cut off, unfortunately non-renewable
Rami wishes a happy new year and hopes for new beginnings. He wants to have coffee with us. The conversation with him is also blurring until it is disconnected.
Hayuta feels that Lital’s questions were not answered. She tells Lital that she herself did not come here with a plan to change anything, she has no ambitions to influence, just to add her little toothpick to the fire of hope.
Nahshi continues the line of Hayuta and says that he came here to keep himself from changing and to remind himself that close to him are people who are suffering. He has no idea what the solution will be. If there is any contribution to the hospitality of people here, it is to make it clear that there are people there and here. They are indeed led by a powerful body (“soon with us” he says) but still, people are people and they have rights and desires to exercise.
Lital works at the Haaretz Museum and organized a tour for the workers committee. They arrived at Alumim and the people were a bit in shock from the proximity to the border. Until then, they didn’t really understand the situation of being near Gaza.
4 young women and men pass, two+two. They try to slip away and continue, but Nahshi’s charisma and Shmulik’s promise to go through the production line for tea instead of coffee sat them down. They want to know the history of the place and I tell. At the end of the historical description, I tie in the theme of the “Lighthouse” and ask them to share with us “What is Gaza for them?”. silence. After a few seconds one mumbles that he has no interest in politics. Neither do we, I say, only humans. He says he also saw someone taking pictures of them and he asks not to publish. Well, says Nahshi, I deleted. They are suspicious and refuse to even say their names, except that they are from Jerusalem. But the tea is served, so one of them opens with a short speech and this is what I managed to write down:
give me peace get peace I considered coming to live in the south. Is it worth it for me to come and live in the south? If it’s quiet, sure, but leaving the house every time when something happens? Do not want. I don’t deal with politics. I have friends of all religions and I have visited Arab friends in their homes, but if you come to stab me I will cut off contact. Israel is attacked by Gaza and that’s where politics starts and it’s none of my business. Obviously, as people, they suffer, but we have no solution.
One of the boys also briefly and quickly says the following (not before his friends emphasize that he is a bereaved brother):
I don’t trust them. I will not turn my back on them because they will stick a knife in me. They killed my friend’s father when he went to the market. Give them a finger and they will want the whole hand. Terrorism in Gaza. Don’t trust them.
After these things they get up and go – they have to return to Jerusalem before Shabbat.
Mahran, who arrived in the meantime and listened to the conversation, says that his instinct says that “the two” are policemen and that is why they were so reserved and that his instinct is not wrong. Maybe.
For me, in any case, a feeling of discomfort from this quartet remained for a while, a feeling that continued even after they left.
We were: Hayuta, Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe, Kai, Oded, Lital, Eyal, Maor, Mir, Mahran, 4 Jerusalemites who did not want to say their names.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 252 – 6.1.2023

First meeting of the new year. A guided group descends from private vehicles, watches us from the high level and glides towards the well. I “ambush” them there and invite them to the circle.
They listen and settle down. I’m cutting history short (I hope it’s “short”, at least I’m trying). From me to the left, where Itzik is sitting.
Itzik recalled that he used to cross Gaza on the coastal road, where he had clients. Gaza seemed to him like a big refugee camp.
Esther: Gaza is a miss. The money that goes there is directed less to the well-being of the residents and more to the well-being of Hamas.
Tal is impressed by the overcrowding and poverty and also tells about a carpenter from Gaza, very professional, who made him furniture for the house.
Dina was during her military service at a near base. At that time, Gaza was open and she spent most of her time in Yamit and Gaza.
Orly says that Gaza is overcrowding and poverty that hostile factors have taken over. A place of waste.
Amotz also uses the word “missing” to describe the feeling about Gaza (the word will come up again and again later on). He had Gazan employees in the past.
Orit remembers a visit to Khan Yunis, she was not afraid. Could have been good, miss.
Isabel: Her father served for many years in Gaza. She had friends there. Now that’s a miss.
Sefi was an operations officer. He has a lot of memories from Gaza. I managed to write down that he remembers children who sell sabers and refugees that we are responsible for part of their emissions. In his opinion, there is nothing to do with their ideology.
Fabian remembers spending Saturdays in Gaza. Lived and Served in the army then in Yamit. Gaza is a cursed place for her. Her three sons were there in the military service. From 2014 it is a different and distant place.
Avi remembers Abu Hatira’s fish restaurant on the beach. His first bicycle was bought for him in Gaza.
Nirit says that when she was a child she went with a family friend, a military man, to visit Gaza. They went in a Mercedes and he had a gun in the car. They went into all the sweets shops in Jiblia.
Ronit’s daughter served in the army in Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom. The majority there, in Gaza, want peace. She wants to be optimistic and quietly adds, “If we have a country left.”
Roni led delegations of donors to visit the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council. She was very impressed by the principal of the school who worked hard to educate the students not to hate. She think of children on both sides who during the “rounds” are looking for an immediate hiding place.
Oded also connects with the statement of miss. He see no hope. The younger generations do not know either side. Mainly there, there are more and more people who want revenge.
Udi says Gaza is a tragedy. He knows Jews, descendants of Jews from Gaza. Extremists navigate politics and control and these are the results. They are held captive by a gang. Udi hopes we are not in the same direction.
Yotam (the group’s guide) spent a lot of time in Gaza. It almost cost him his life. A friend of his from the army was killed and since then he keeps in touch with the friend’s mother. The mother lives in a Kibutz near Rahat and has a good relationship with a family from Rahat, one of whose daughters married someone from Gaza who has been avoiding visiting his family for many years. During the couple’s visit to her home, their little son saw pictures of the fallen son and promised the mother that when he grows up, he will buy tanks and planes and take revenge on whoever killed her son.
Yehuda thinks that Gaza is a wasted potential for both sides, but we have no choice and they have to be flexible.
Orli says that Gaza is a “great sorrow”. The uninvolved population is held captive by Hamas. They are brought up to see us as enemies. Hopefully one day we will think the other way around and instead of shelling, we will choose to improve their lives. Maybe it will help a life together.
Avi was in Gaza for the first time in 1967 after the war. He was a boy who was walking with his father. Gaza is the essence of the conflict and life in Israel. There should be hope but it’s hard to see the light.
Danny was in Gaza for the first time at the age of 17. They made a bicycle trip from the north to the settlement of the maritime zone south of the Gaza Strip. In the past he supported the evacuation but today he thinks it should have been part of an agreement to resolve the conflict. Today, the parties can no longer do anything. You can sit in the “Lighthouse” and talk about, but there is nothing to do and it’s a shame.
Tali said that her father was also in Gaza and so was her son. Tali was an officer in the Yamit evacuation, a difficult experience. She see in this place a soured paradise because of those pulling the strings. She is also connected to Gaza through her journalistic work. She spent quite a few times of violence here, was a participant in personal conversations with Gazans in which they told her their tragedy and also a lot of aggression and anger. There is a lot of missing here. There may be a desire to improve, but also helplessness and it’s depressing.
Mark raised his children at a time when they were riding the bus to school and there were shelling. The children were trained in survival instructions. Today his children live in Tel Aviv and do not want to start their families here. There is a lot of food for thought not only for this region, but for the whole country. The conversations here, at the “Lighthouse”, challenge Mark’s most basic values and his civic duties. The place helps him think.
Uzi is frustrated like everyone else with what is happening and what is not happening. Want to influence in some way and bring hearts together. Tells about the release of pigeon to freedom project that he conceived and continues to promote (physical flying and virtual flying). He hopes that the very act of releasing the pigeon from captivity will bring a message of bringing hearts together. He also added an electronic sign that would name each pigeon release, and display the number of participants. To illustrate, Uzi brought a pigeon in a small cage, and it was released to the applause of the spectators and the ticking of the cameras.
The group left and we were left alone. Shmulik tells about the meeting with the “Be’er Ora” preparatory school that took place on Monday in Nir Yitzhak. I say that my impression is that they know almost nothing about Gaza, and worse, Gaza is of no interest to them. At the meeting, they were a little pushed to talk out of necessity and to comment, but not out of desire.
Ilan says that young people have a lot of stimuli and there are many other areas that do not interest them, not only Gaza.
Vivian says that the reluctance to know about Gaza does not depend on age.
Mahran says that teenagers are interested in Messi and Ronaldo and the smartphone. This is where an internal Israeli political debate is developing about the new government’s moves. It is true that among the circle’s members today there are representatives of the variety of opinions in the Israeli empirical space, but no opinion is surprising in its originality and therefore, due to the length of the summary, we will skip it.
Family is coming: They came from the north for the weekend in the south which is starting to bloom.
Uri also comes.
Mark explains about us and starts another round.
Moshe: The circle is always open to guests. We want to listen. Listening to people from Gaza and beyond. People ask us, “Are there also people like you on the other side”? Yes, says Moshe, we (and others) establish contact and conduct dialogue whenever possible. It is also a component of his desire to be here at the lighthouse.
Eitan thinks that even if Hanin Zoebi becomes Prime Minister, nothing will change. Israel’s military capabilities are insane and the Palestinians have no ability to do anything to us for another century. Therefore, the attacks they carry out do not advance them and only strengthen the Israeli right. The only chance for them to change, is to come and ask for peace.
Carmel, a student in the 8th grade, is surprised when it is suddenly her turn to speak. I don’t understand anything about the subject, she says, at school they don’t deal with the subject.
Moran does not look at the same level as Eitan. On a daily basis she doesn’t think about Gaza, it makes her sad. Her son will be serving there soon. A political solution is not in sight. Against the background of her son’s service, which is approaching operational activity, she decided to learn more about the conflict.
A colleague, a soldier, is finishing a route soon. “I don’t have anything smart to say,” he says. In the army he trains for war and thinks to do it well. If there is a situation where he enters Gaza, he is almost certain that he will not spare any means when he encounters the enemy, but I wish it would not happen and he would not have to deal with such a situation.
Ran is a 12th grade student. He says that people are not interested in the news. He knows that there in Gaza people live in hardship and poverty. When he was in the 11th grade, he remembers that they learned in class about deportation during the War of Independence.
Uri understands Ran and feels the same way.
Mahran, perhaps in response to what he said to Eitan, says that the situation is serious and the world is very pragmatic and fast. Everyone has abilities. We are exposed to the changes that will happen around us. Where there is occupation there is resistance. He has an Israeli Jewish friend whose son is a soldier and he is anxious like everyone else.
Vivian told about a meeting she organized between Israeli and Palestinian women’s groups. The Palestinians were shocked when they heard the Israelis talking about peace. She tells Eitan that it features the side that tightens the plunger and she wants to open it. He does talk about absolute Israeli military superiority, but they, with balloons and kites, disrupted our lives and will do so as long as we occupy. Once, when it was still possible, Vivian took her children to meet her partners in Gaza and they “discovered” to their surprise, they were human beings and not enemies.
Mark tells about his son who served in the Armored Corps and because he was under pressure did not participate in one of the wars here in the region. He wishes his fellow soldier to take good care of himself and adds that the situation is very bad for the Israelis and it is terrible what happened to them. People should know what we do he says, every child should learn about it at school. We de facto control the territories and administer apartheid systems. He, Mark, is not ready to be a citizen of a country that runs its life in this way. Even if it is in the name of our security, we need to initiate the change, mainly for ourselves. We don’t have another hundred years. The people who grow up here will think that it is normal to live in such a country. This will be a reason for a big war.
Uri disagrees, overwhelmingly, with what Mark said. To his delight he discovered that there are Zionist Arabs who want to participate in Jewish life here and vote for Netanyahu. In the end, he says, 99% of the residents of the State of Israel are united in striving for the same thing and there is a desire for peace. Even language in the circle has differences of opinion. Everyone should join the army and be together. In relation to Canada, our situation is bad and in relation to Syria, our situation is good, he concludes.
And these are our names: Itzik, Esther, Tal, Dina, Orli, Amotz, Isabel, Sefi, Orit, Fabian, Avi, Nirit, Ronit, Roni, Oded, Udi, Yotam, Yehuda, Orli, Avi, Danny, Tali, Eitan, Moran, Amit, Ran, Carmel, Uri, Vivian, Mark, Shmulik, Mary, Ilan, Moshe, Nahshi, Itzik, Uzi, Mahran, Oded.
Written by: Oded.

Encounter 251 – 30.12.2022

Up the road to the “Lighthouse” 3 cars drove ahead of us. Nice, I told Shmulik, there are travelers. In the parking lot we found out that in the cars there were 7 dear women from the “Women Wage Peace” movement who had come with deliberate intent to our Lighthouse. We arranged the chairs in a circle, Shmulik at the tea stand (maybe for the first time since the “Lighthouse” was founded, the tea was prepared before the coffee!) and Rebecca, who has already visited several times, asks me to tell about ourselves “because there are some who still don’t know the Lighthouse” (yes, it’s hard to believe, but it’s a painful fact, there are some who don’t know yet about the “Lighthouse”).
I told, I answered some questions, we discovered mutual acquaintances, from our field of occupation and the fabric of our lives (Because it is the Israeli nature to immediately discover common acquaintances, and we are all in the same circle of active in the matter we are dealing with). When I talked about Rami, Batya, who is both one of the peace-making women and a resident of the area, began to tell about a project that Rami was involved in:
Batya lives close to the fence, and has been photographing the area for many years. Sometimes, she points her camera towards Gaza as well. At some point she had the idea of holding an exhibition of her photographs. She thought that if you were going to present an exhibition that examines one side of the fence, it might be worth combining it with photography enthusiasts from the other side of the fence. Posted on the Internet, and received several responses. Also a response from a Dutch doctor from the organization “Physicians for Human Rights” who occasionally entered Gaza. Contact was made with Rami who interested several local photographers. Some got “cold feet” and did not want to continue the relationship. one remains. Batya will “host” his photographs at the exhibition. They exchanged pictures and Batya says that there are pictures that really complement each other. For example, the same place is photographed by her from the direction of Israel and by him from the direction of Gaza. Batya says that the thought that they are so close and so far – is frustrating. The photographer really wants to go to the exhibition but can’t. The exhibition is voluntarily promoted by a large advertising agency that has joined the project.
In the meantime Mark, Vivian, Malki and Bella joined the circle. Unfortunately, after Batya’s words, the women of peace decided to go on their (long) journey back to their homes in the north. They came to us after they had already frequented the Friday circuit at “Black Arrow”.
We remained the regular and close. Vivian brought up the topic of the meeting that took place in the Misgav Regional Council, which was about taking advantage of the opportunity in the establishment of the new government to create a Jewish settlement in the Galilee, led by the Political right movements and with the participation of representatives of the kibbutz movement and the moshavim movement. The issue was published in an opinion column published by the journalist and writer Odeh Basharat in Haaretz newspaper. Vivian and several other people sent a comment to the paper. We hope it will be published in the coming days. It is possible that a petition will be signed against the move and everyone is invited to sign.
A discussion developed that expanded to other matters that emerge and multiply in the usurping “Zionist” context.
This time we were: Arna, Tamar, Edna, Rivka, Sigal, Batya, Chaya, Vivian, Bella, Malki, Mark, Oded, Shmulik.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 250 – 23.12.2022

Shmulik, Moshe, Hayuta and myself arrived and we stayed for about an hour and a half. Hayuta and I walked around the space trying to locate mobile chairs. At about half past two, a group of young women from the area arrived. A youth guide from a kibbutz in the area and with them 4 of their trainees, all graduates of the regional school. I mention the matter of the school because they immediately recognized me as “the one who taught street theater at school” and Shmulik as “the one who prepares potato chips”… (we both actually worked at the regional elementary school, until the outbreak of the Coronavirus).
The group sat down, treated themselves to coffee and bit into the yeast cakes they had brought with them. Although they live in the area, they had not heard of the “Lighthouse” so I explained about us. I tried to bring as much historical factual information as possible from the knowledge that we have accumulated over the years.
In my understanding, the unconsciousness that Jewish Israelis go through, the size of the education and media systems in Israel, in everything related to the indigenous people to the Palestinians, leaves the reference to the Palestinians to the realm of emotion only. That is why it is important to me to emphasize to the facts.
Moshe said that we are surprised anew every time people sit with us. We are open to listening to every opinion, he says and adds that he has an optimistic side that believes it is possible to have an impact.
Rotem deals with youth guidance. He says that Gaza is here, near his house. This situation, in his opinion, cannot continue. Need for solution. But a solution does not serve the leaders on both sides and therefore the situation does not improve.
Matan, one of the campers, says that Gaza is pressure. Gaza is such a fear.
Shani, instructor. She watched over Gaza in her military service. The first sentence that comes out of her mouth, “I love Gaza very much.” According to her, this is something that developed as a result of her military activity. Everyday she connected to their routine. farmers. come with the same working clothes… simple people. I “meet” with them every day and accompanied their lives for almost two years. You also see schools, children. It is clear who the enemies are and when… Hamas often thwarts activity against Israel, but this is also in accordance with its interests… the activity is routine, automatic, with almost no feelings involved. She really wants to visit the places she has been looking at. There were some demonstrations in front of the fence, but no shooting from our side. Hamas is everywhere, even if the majority does not support it, it is very embedded in the population.
Ma’ayan (camper)- Gaza is the enemy, that’s what he was taught all his life. It was not important for him, not even now, to challenge or reflect on this assertion…
Shmulik strongly supports the granting of work permits in Israel. He himself is involved in the employment of Gazans in Israel. It brings some calm in Gaza. There is no livelihood in Gaza and work relieves the stress a little. Our listening here to the different voices is also to create listening and connection with Gaza. We try as much as we can to help. My role as a person, Shmulik says, is to make it clear that life is not a newspaper headline. In reality, the personal connection between people leads to much more meaningful understandings and connections.
This week Hayuta dealt with David Grossman and the award he received. In a speech on the occasion of his victory, he declared himself a man of peace. The speech had a wide echo in the world. Grossman says that every effort should be made for peace. He quoted from Etty Hilsum’s book “The disrupted life” (Hayuta brought the book with her). Telling young people who Etty Hilsum was. She seeks to show a way from Hilsum’s teaching, that a relationship between people is important for creating reconciliation and understanding.
Yam (camper), asks Hayuta if she thinks that opening the fence in front of Gaza is realistic. In his opinion, opening the fence will cause them to come and kill us.
Rotem says that right now they have nothing to lose, so the direction is terrorism. It is important to give work to lower the motivation for terrorism. Make them understand that there are other options.
Shmulik says that the Gazans are between a rock and a hard place, nobody wants them. Not Israel, not Egypt and even the West Bank, seemingly among their own people, there is indifference towards them. The ability to trade and communicate outside of Gaza gives a perspective to a different life. A lot of Qatari money is reassuring too.
Yam repeats and tells Shmulik that he does not dispute that they want to live and deserve life, but they want it “at your expense”.
I summarize the discussion with the things I learned from Hillel Cohen’s book (facts, yes…) “Year Zero 1929”: After the disturbances in 1929, the British prosecuted those who they believed caused the outbreak. 29 of them (26 Arabs and 3 Jews) were sentenced to death by hanging. Without any reconciliation between them, the Arabs turned separately and the Jews separately to the British government and asked to pardon them all! The main argument in front of her, which, as mentioned, was not compatible, was that life together would slowly return to the normality in which it was conducted before and the executions would arouse renewed enmity. The British considered and begged for prison alternatives 26 of 29 The convicts. 3 (Arabs) were executed. By 1935 none of them remained in prison.
That’s it for today. The rain is already here and so is the cold.
We were: Moshe, Hayuta, Shmulik, Oded, Rotem, Shani, Matan, Ma’ayan, Yam and another one who walked around all the time with his dog and did not sit down with us.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 249 – 16.12.2022

Mary flew the lighthouse kite and two first guests ask what the star means. Tzachi came to us from Netivot. Golan is a resident of Moshav Shova.
Shmulik pours the first coffee, opens a circle and tells about the place, about the history of the old factory, including a rich description of the cavalry battle during the British occupation one hundred and five years ago. From there he skips to our time.
Golan and Tzachi add details about the space but emphasize that the belief in peace, equality and partnership in Shmuel’s words is far from their view. Nevertheless, they promise to return and part amicably. Mary, Mahran, Malki, Dina and Hanan join in a conversation of a more intimate nature because now the participants are the loyalists of the lighthouse, the “owners” according to the political language prevalent today…
Oded comes from a conference of “all citizens – al Moatiniha” party and updates on the discussions to establish a federation of equality as a basis for a new political partnership.
Rami enters, receives the blessing of those present and a cup of coffee. Rami shares with us his feelings regarding the transformations in Israel, in the immediate area and in his kibbutz. Rami’s words place another direction in the circle: the question of identity, personal and possibly also collective, in this world, in this time.
At four in the afternoon, a quarter of an hour before Shabbat begins, we fold the table that is falling apart (there is no whole from a broken heart, as above a broken table) and wish a happy Holiday of Lights, that the clouds of anger and darkness will disappear, in our days, at this time.
We were: Mary, Shmulik, Mahran, Malki, Dina, Hanan, Oded, Rami, Golan, Tzachi, Moshe.
Wrote: Moshe

Encounter 248 – 9.12.2022

Little by little, from week to week, more travelers are passing through the sulfur plant in preparation for the peak that will occur during “Southern Red”. Some of them went right through our circle and politely refused our invitation for coffee and friendly company for conversation. Only one couple asked if we would be there next week as well, today is already a little late for them because of the approaching Shabbat.
We were left alone.
The talk was about old age and recovery, until Jaber arrived.
Jaber was not long ago, so we held a circle of hugs (“only the empty chairs didn’t get up to hug me” he said). Then he was asked about his situation in the Travel Guide course. From the hesitation before he answered, we understood. Still he said a few things. He recalled that when he started the course, Shmulik told him, “They will fail you”. So while Jaber is getting close to the exams and is still in the course, he feels very well the difficulty of being an Israeli-Palestinian Arab who has to learn and explain the Jewish narrative only while ignoring and negating another narrative.
A discussion began in the circle. The sub-discourse dealt with the right claimed by the residents of the country, both these and those, for their possession of the space. The over-discourse sailed on talking about Zionism, about secondary and main currents in religions, about emotion, about truth and myth, and also about the question of whether Jaber should prepare for the tests as a “Jew” after passing a guide according to the best of his knowledge, or stick to the truth and the “non-academic” knowledge of His, even if it will result in failing the exams.
It was interesting, educational and… sweet! Sweet thanks to the Lin family’s decision to lower the sugar level in their home. A decision that earned us chocolate muffins and cookies brought by Mary.
As mentioned, the conversation worthy of a summary began only when Jaber arrived and since he felt that he had not yet exhausted the spirit of the “Lighthouse” in its entirety, Jaber remained to reflect on things in the parking lot, next to the car, with a fragrant hookah.
We were cold, it was a quarter past four and as our friend Jeff says from Rabbi Tarfon, “You do not have to finish the job and you are not free to withdraw from it ” (imagine that in an American accent). We went on to other crafts.
This time we were: Moshe, Malki, Bela, Mary, Hayuta, Jaber, Uzi, Nahshi, Oded.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 247 – 2.12.2022

The news heralded racism and robbery. We changed the radio station, first to Nablus Broadcasting and later to the Voice of Music, but the mood did not improve.
However, before we arrived at the lighthouse, we (Shmulik, Nahshi and Moshe) were treated to a Druze lafa with Labne.
The sky cleared and a pleasant sun illuminated our “winter residence”.
Shmulik just put the pot on the fire and the first circle has already opened with Abdal, Mahmoud and Farid, all three of the Tarabin tribe. First there was an explanation by Shmulik about the place and the meeting.
Farid told about his mother who came from Gaza, so we talked about the space, about neighbors near and far, about fears and hopes.
Roni called to inform about two German teachers making their way to the lighthouse:
Kristin and Brigitte came to us from the Bethlehem area. One teaches today and one in the past, at a school in the town of Beit Jala, and they shared with us their concern about the state of health in Gaza: there is a film documenting the hardships of cancer patients who need treatment. This time we preferred to skip the Yiddish and Nahshi managed to summarize, in English, the history of the sulfur plant.
Mark, also in English, completed the picture with an update on the current situation and his feelings.
We said goodbye to the visitors from Tarabin and Beit Jala and started another circle, with Limor, who was present at the weekly meeting of the “Hadar formation” for the return of the captives and the missing in the “Black Arrow” and with Mary, who contributed both insights into the complexity of the situation in the area and the fruits of her trees: delicious pecans.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, the evening wind blows, the hour of blessing and closing.
Writing: Moshe.
Documentation: Nahshi.

Special encounter – 29.11.2022

Through Nomika’s mediation, girls from the Tzali Preparatory School from Ein Tsurim, religious girls before conscription, came to us today in the early afternoon. We were part of their more extensive tour in the south and they came to us after a visit to Kibbutz Sufa. Nahshi brewed coffee and herbal tea. Rami donated chairs from his warehouse and moved them to the area, Julia and Maharan joined and I dug the opening with explanations about us, about the “lighthouse”, about the area, etc. (we know, we know).
After that, Julia spoke about the importance of each party’s recognition of the other, followed by Maharan (who came straight from his lawyer office, wearing a 3-piece suit and matching tie).
Shmulik and Nahshi joined the round with the girls and spoke in turn.
What then did the girls talk about? About “what is Gaza for them” of course, because that was our request.
And what did they say? Well, the majority chose answers that ranged from one to seven words. Here is what I managed to write down:
Gaza is something remote and scary
The word “Gaza” in itself causes fear
Terrorism
War, crime, bad things
Terror but also lack of choice
Remembering Gush Katif, disengagement, something that was taken from us, operations, poverty, a fence
Fear, enemies
War and fear
War and fear and hatred
Mutual injustice
All kinds of operations
Gaza is entering to the unknown
remembers in “cast lead” her man was almost killed. Big question mark, dead end, no solution
A lack of trust that hurts both parties
There are people living in Gaza who want to hurt me just because of my Jewishness
A problem without a solution
Bilateral impotence, no solution. I pity the Gazans who have nowhere to run
A complex situation. Heartache for the soldiers and residents. Also a little about the Gazans, a lot of misunderstanding
The words, coping, sacrifice, courage, understanding and hope come to mind
What does each side educate the children, does it love people, responsibility?
Fear and nightmares
The first thought in the context of Gaza is fear and sorrow for our soldiers and citizens
The kidnapped soldiers who did not receive a proper burial.
Heartache, fear and reluctance from the existing situation
The hope for peace following the expulsion from Gush Katif and the great suffering that come after.
I don’t feel sorry for those who live there but for those of us who suffer
Frustration and sorrow also regarding those there who live in poverty
Gaza reminds her of stories of her father who went there to the market and to the sea. Today it is anger and pain
Helplessness
Enemies, wars and frustration
Anger and frustration
I didn’t manage to write everything down, I didn’t necessarily hear every word (they speak weakly and I’m profoundly deaf).
I did not add here the wise and scholarly things voiced by my honorable colleagues, (the influence of Advocate Maharan) Shmulik, Nahshi, Julia and Maharan. After all, it’s a mid-week summary and I have a life too…
We were – Julia, Maharan, Shmulik, Nahshi, Oded
Transportation – Rami (go), Dagan (return)
Blessings – Moshe, Malki, Dina, Ye’ela, Limor, Hayuta, Eric, Roni, Nomika
Written by: Oded