Lighthouse 98 – January 31, 2020

At some point, after we spoke with Rami from Gaza, I looked around the circle:
There were Roni, Shmulik and Hanan, Nahshi and Limor, Mirale, Neta, Mary and Naomi, Julia, Malki, Uzi and Bela, Hayuta, Jaber, Shmulik as well as Rami from Gaza. A community.
After nearly two years and close to one-hundred encounters every Friday, rain or shine, we have become a community. All those who were there today keep the “routine” of the circle. Every week, or once every two or three or four weeks. Coming, supporting, listening and sounding.
In the past ten weeks, the filmmaking students of Sapir College have also become a part of the community. Today we had with us Shani, Naor and Or.
We arrived earlier than usual. We wished to add a creativity corner to the usual circle. A collaboration with “Another Voice”. The idea was to suggest to travelers who come to see nature’s wonders and arrive at the sulfur plant to draw on paper sheets or on stars (“Hope Stars”, a project by Jeff of New York where people draw or write a message of hope to communities suffering from a natural disaster or war or any other disaster, and Jeff and his people pass it to them). We wanted to hand up the drawings or stars on a wall inside the plant.
The weather didn’t really cooperate and a cold wind was blowing. Few travelers arrived, and even less children. Those who arrived didn’t stay for long and proceeded on their way. Anyway, they had a cuppa or at least stayed long enough to politely refuse… The creativity corner remained solitary…
Still, Reut and Shai from Jerusalem sat with us and for them we held a proper circle. They too were a bit stressed for time, wishing to return the bikes they had rented. But from the little we heard we understood that especially Shai bears “scars” from the unsolved confrontation in the region (his grandfather was murdered in the “bloodshed bus”, a tourist busload of Israeli tourists attacked in Egypt, commemorated by the memorial sculpture at Yad Mordechai Junction). What about Gaza? Reut and Shai oppose any harm done to innocents, not only in Gaza – anywhere.
Later we spoke with Rami, helped by Jaber as translator. Towards the end of the circle we were joined by Hitam and Walid, wife and son of Jaber who had been hiking around the area while Jaber sat with us. Around 3 p.m. the cold won and our “community” began to disperse. At 3:30 p.m. we folded knowing that if we arrived early, it was no tragedy to leave earlier as well…
Issues raised:
• No one believes in Trump’s peace initiative deal, but it has its advantages such as uniting factions among the Palestinians;
• Leaders on both sides would lay the responsibility at Trump’s door, something that has not happened for years now;
• Organizing for “Darom Adom” (Red South) – we shall try to hold vigils and open our circle on Saturdays as well during the month of February;
• Rami said that if they are issued an entry permit – he and ten of the youngsters with him – they would travel throughout Israel and explain to anyone willing to listen that Gazans too want to live in peace;