Lighthouse 93 – December 27, 2019

It was day that seemed to say explicitly, listen kid, don’t try a day like me… Take a good book, a thick blanket, and some Mozart and don’t expose any part of your body to me. But what can we do… We have Gaza on the brain… We go to our Lighthouse encounter.
Shmulik is traveling in Acco, Nahshi is spending time in Tel Aviv, and Rami notifies us that he is a bit ill but will show up… My sister Racheli – here from Toronto to visit our aging mother – joins me.
Our way down to Be’eri is only cloudy. But from there on to our Lighthouse – it’s pouring! At the parking place we see one car from which Shani and Or, the film crew from Sapir, run out, loaded with equipment. They stop and take down their equipment. Shani says she feared that the weather would keep us from showing up. Fat chance… The area where we usually sit is all awash. We deliberate. Rami gets there, decides, and we sit and hope for the best.
There’s coffee, some pastry, and Marie from Beit Elazari arrives. Fourth time already! So we might end up with a fourth regular.
Shani and Or are already in action mode, filming. It’s raining and very very cold… Two youngsters peek at us from above. They are invited to join, sit down, have coffee, and we make our acquaintance rounds. Ayman and Sager from Kseife are travelers. Sager knows the area well. He worked at the landing strip. His family is from Saudi Arabia. His grandfather’s grandfather was looking for good pasture for his flocks and came to the Lakia area. They had never been to Gaza but very much want to visit (if you insist that we say something about Gaza…).
Marie, a retired employee of the Ministry of Health, has time and does what she pleases with it… She is attracted to complicated themes. Gaza is certainly one of them…
Racheli speaks of the effect our father has had on her views, and Rami asks for more information about the elderly man who answers to the title of “our father”.
As we tell his history, the Muezzin tears the pastoral silence. We have been coming here for 21 months every week, and have never experienced such a forceful voice.
The rain stops and the sun shines. We emerge, stand facing Gaza, and listen to the Muezzin. Marie says they are marking 11 years since the outbreak of what Israelis patriotically named “Operation Cast Lead”… That’s right – it all began on December 27, 2008. We Googled it…
A couple arrives from the parking area. We return to the circle. The couple are friends of Malki and Uzi who also show up some minutes later. Hagi and Iris. Hagi manages choirs and various musical projects (including Arab-Jewish joint events), and for him Gaza means memories of market and beach. Iris had been active in movement and dance for many years. Uzi says he was born a year before the Nakba (1948) and came to Kibbutz Gvulot a year before the 1967 occupation. The situation vis-à-vis Gaza causes him to feel loss and a deep sadness for what could be and is not happening. He claims both sides are to blame… Malki feels it is good for her to take part in the Lighthouse circles and wants to believe that things can change.
Rami repeats his explanations about the history of the structure and of the local agriculture that supplied rye to England’s beer breweries. The participants enjoy the amazing tea brought by Radir from the project at Wadi Atir. The halla and yeast-chocolate cake we brought from the Nir Yitzchak bakery are also very successful…
At 4 p.m., when we are almost through, Rami’s brother arrives with many nieces and nephews. They eat pastries and listen to Uncle Rami tell again about the sulfur plant building, this time standing up while I am already folding our chairs.
It was indeed a difficult day weather-wise, but as a take off on Gorodish (Israeli armor corps general) we could say we looked at the stormy weather in the eye and it lowered its gaze… (Gorodish said these words about… death).
Next week as usual. What, won‘t you be there?
Oded

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