Lighthouse 104 – March 13, 2020

About 10 days ago cooking gas tanks exploded at a bakery in Nuseirat refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip. The bakery shares a wall with a building block factory belonging to a family some of whose sons used to work at Kibbutz Nir Yitzchak in the past. Nine people were killed on the spot and several dozens wounded and burned to several degrees of severity. By today the number of deaths has risen to 17. The bakery and the factory are totally ruined.
In our circle we spoke with Ibrahim whose brother Saoud is hospitalized in Gaza, suffering burns over 50% of his body. Ibrahim was very moved to speak with our Shmulik. They used to work together in the cowshed and longingly reminisced about their shared breakfasts on the dung heap… He excitedly asked about many people he remembered from that time in the kibbutz and shared memories with Nahshi, who had contacted the family after the disaster. They are trying to recover and accompany Saoud and the other wounded to full recovery and rehabilitation. The conversation was moving and in spite of the tragedy, filled with warmth and pure, simple human feelings of brotherhood.
We were four from Nir Yitzchak today – Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe Rosen and myself. We had no high expectations. The weather was stormy. We settled down and informed people we were here…
After a short while Mary arrived, with her umbrella and short sleeves… We made small talk and the rain surprised us with its direction.
We retreated to the closed room while three young ladies crossed our path. We turned on our aging charms and offered coffee… Apparently hot coffee on a cold rainy day and the company of four aging men and a retired Ministry of Health woman employee did the trick:
All three girls – Danielle, Daniel and Achinoam – joined the circle. Two of them live nearby and the third in the center of the country.
The circle was joined by Mustafa, father of Wafat, the shepherdess who sat with us for a while last week, armed with hot tea while her sister stayed with the grazing sheep.
Our talk with the girls was fascinating, especially – I think – because of the gaps and differences in our awareness of the Gaza Strip and in relation to the greater space that surrounds our presence in this land. It was also interesting to listen to their talk, the words in which each generation chooses to express its views and opinions. In conclusion, nine people sat in the circle, plus a friend from Gaza on the phone – the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, and the Coronavirus pandemic was (almost) not mentioned for three hours!
Four o’clock. We disperse in pouring rain.