Encounter 128 – August 28, 2020

Following last week’s meeting during which we spent the last hour ‘working’ with Etty Hillesum’s cards, a conversation develops about ‘literature about civil matters under Nazi rule’.
Hayuta tells us about the book The Sky in Me that combines about 8 notebooks of the writer’s diaries.
Sholti tells us about The White Rose (the name of the underground which students at Munich University founded, and whose ‘warfare’ was the distribution of leaflets resisting the Nazi regime). Sholti also tells us about Yanina Altman who wrote the book, about his meetings with Yanina herself and their joint attempt to consolidate a way in which to ‘train’ people to be the just of this world… Naturally, we also spoke about Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada.
All this leads us to ‘open’ the circle.
Rami says there are ‘sounds and scents of war’. A complex situation.
Roni brings us up to date about our friends in Gaza. Things that were supposed to take place are being delayed. Especially because of the spreading pandemic and lockdown. There are those who want us to raise our voices, but others who wish us to continue in a less visible manner. She speaks about the boy for whom a piano was transferred, and his father forbade him to play, the boy made a film in favor of contact with Israelis, and participated with us in one of the Zoom meetings. Roni complains about the ‘reaction’ cycle on both sides.
Ghadir lists her identities and summarizes them saying ‘I’m from wherever you want me to be, from the whole world’… She too has spoken with a friend in Gaza who is very concerned about Covid-19. She was moved by a video (which she has sent abroad) in which a physician in Gaza sings to a Covid-19 patient while treating him. She asks how the Israelis can be humane towards Lebanon and still ignore Gaza… People should be told very loudly that “something terrible is happening here!” Ghadir also stands with Ethiopian mothers who demonstrate opposite police stations, protesting the treatment of Ethiopians.
Jaber says that in spite of Corona being everyone’s enemy, wars between people continue, we have forgotten humanity in the name of hatred. It is important to be human in all senses of the word, this will melt animosity. He is somewhat frustrated but is not losing hope. Times are hard since the death of his sister.
Shuloti has been trying to affect reality for years now, and if it is hard at least he finds consolation saying that ‘reality has not managed to change me’… Sometimes he thinks he should go elsewhere, but understands that this would perhaps alleviate his problems but not others’. There is a voice inside him that calls him to persist, and he knows he is paying a price. Three months ago they held an event for Gaza on Zoom – at the port of Akko, the port of Jaffa and various artists. Fishermen took part, riding their boats with banners supporting Gaza, speeches were held and artists read out and played their works. Sholti does not delude himself about the effect of such an event, but people who took part did do something there for themselves. He calls upon people to continue to act in the spirit of such protest. He spoke about a fellow named Rotem Levine and a group that makes films about shared civil existence, in Hebrew and Arabic, and distributes them. He also tells us about a group of educators that is active. A group of lawyers was supposed to hold a workshop in Akabah (Jordan) but didn’t do it because of the Corona lockdown there. Sholti invited Rami to workshops that he and his partner hold in Akabah, following his acquaintance with Rami in the circle.
Shmulik emphasizes the persistence of the circle that has reached the other side, and is appreciated there. Our ongoing presence here affects us and the situation in general.
Hayuta was moved to know we held an activity with Etty Hillesum’s cards. She was moved by Ghadir bringing the idea and the cards, and by Hillesum whose book she had read. She reads us several lines from the book. She thinks the book is a must read for all humans.
Ghadir takes out a Hillesum card every day and takes its message into her daily life. She reads out today’s card… Rami asks her to do it in Arabic as well and she does.
Zohar has just come from Bethlehem. For the past eight years she has been very active in the Free Gaza flotillas, and quotes a phrase she heard wherein hope and despair are not opposites. “The opposite of hope and despair is activity”. She has come to the circle for the first time, fresh off the boat to Gaza from which she has been taken off. She has been living in Spain for the past 15 years and trying to reach Gaza. One must do something meaningful as Israelis, and for that force needs to be exercised from the outside. The experience from the circle is that ‘it is good but not enough’… One just cannot continue life as usual. The flotillas are stuck now because of the Corona pandemic.
Mark feels that he has been a stranger here at this time. The activity of Rebellion Extinction has been attracting him more and more and it is depressing too… The organizer of that movement (in jail right now) says that one must reach total desperation in order for some action to begin. The rebellion has been running forward and forgetting specific goals. 23 tycoons hold on to half of the world’s capital, and 10% of the world’s richest people hold on to 95% of that capital. It is depressing and Mark does not see any candle flickering in the wind.
Salah connected to the circle and enjoys listening to the others.
Zohar’s friend from Bethlehem has sent word, and Ghadir reads the Arabic and translates for us. I asked her to translate and distribute… Towards the end I remind people that Sukkoth is around the corner, and we should repeat some concentrated hospitality as we had last year. Opinions, ideas, some emotions, and our time is up.
Energy flowed in the circle thanks to Hayuta, Zohar, Mark, Rami, Roni, Ghadir, Jaber, Sholti, Shmulik, Oded, Salah.
Wrote: Oded