Encounter 140 – November 20, 2020

We meet, have coffee, hallah, and make small talk about everyday trivia.
The important things begin to come up when Roni tells us about her Zoom encounter with 11th and 12th graders. They listen most interestedly, she says. It’s rather surprising and thrilling. One teacher asks/says that “I – unlike you – think we’re giving and not getting anything in return”. Roni says, “It’s important how one gives, not just what…” I ask her if facts would not have mattered a bit, and Roni says that dialogue is more important than confrontation, and anyway some facts did sink in and eventually, from every Zoom ‘window’ nearly all students said it really interested them, and even the teacher said to Roni that “she had given him food for thought.”…
Hanan speaks about Uri who joined us last week and challenged the (would be) “consensus” with a different opinion. Hanan thought about what Uri had said on his way home and summarized for himself that we’re here to preserve hope, not to solve the problem. On another matter, Hanan met someone who knows Rami and when he mentioned Rami, his conversant said “Oh, Rami from Migdalor…” For Rami this was proof that Migdalor has more publicity “than we are aware of, in fact”.
Brian arrives. He came as a traveler last week, was invited for coffee and came back today (do not underestimate Nahshi’s coffee-making powers😊).
We do an acquaintance circle so that we all get to know Brian and he gets to know us.
Brian came from the US about 10 years ago, and teaches ‘debate’ in several venues. The Hebrew for this concept is debatable, and Roni tells us that the Hebrew Language Academy set the word ma’amat as the official Hebrew translation of the English ‘debate’.
Afterwards, Malki introduces herself, saying she comes to refresh herself in the company of good people and not forget the condition of our neighbors’ lives.
Jaber emphasizes the problematics of his village Al Zarnouk and says that although he comes from a place that suffers harsh discrimination by the state institutions, he cannot forget that in Gaza suffering and despair are much greater. Here with us he feels good, it calms his spirit.
I say that one of the reasons I come is the fact that those “fence events” began parallel to the founding of our circle. I thought, so I said, that people from the area would arrive with a different mode of thinking and would find listeners for it here in our Migdalor circle. As for the shooting at the Palestinians that took place in those events, I said that “shooting was performed by our moral soldiers”, which had one of the circle participants remark “no to cross lines…”
Anyway we stopped our acquaintance circle because a friend from Gaza just called.
At the moment he is home in Gaza, but plans to get out as soon as he can. He wants to leave as a private person, not as a “representative” of a political or social organization. Jaber speaks with him in Arabic and translates. The friend says that at the moment it is very limited, and politically one must let time do its job. It’s a hard period for him right now. In the past he made his living as a journalist, and can get back to it, but the social activism he had been involved in is now a problem. He is less concerned with himself, and more afraid that his work would be hampered. Nomika asks where he would like to go? He does not mention a specific destination. He just wants to do it at first possible moment. He mentions his will to come back to Gaza stronger (perhaps with an added – citizenship – my own interpretation), perhaps with a different status that is not subject to the regime’s caprices. He is known publicly, and cannot or doesn’t want to become anonymous again. He does not want to be prevented from expressing his opinions or acting for the sake of the community as he believes should be the case. The thought that he is harassed because of his opinions and activity is a source of despair. His family, too, is pressured by its surroundings. He has an idea to enter business with a relative, vis a vis Israel. At some point he suggests that Jaber “keep his place in the circle” because he is sitting with good and honest people (we?)… He says that the “project” he set up is rather strong, and he thinks that his leaving will strengthen it further. Rami tells him we all think about him and let everyone have a round with his cell phone. We all greet him and are greeted.
Rami dwells on Nur with his cell phone, and Jaber tells him that Nur managed not to be drafted into the Israeli army on grounds of conscientious objection. He appreciates this very much. We take leave of our Gazan friend.
Rami asks if there was anything new this week in connection with Gaza. I told him that the coordination with the PA following the change of power in the US has been renewed, and it is helpful for ill patients’ transfer through Israel.
Roni says she heard that the Gazan health authorities have run out of funds to pay for patients going to Israel for treatment, and perhaps they will only get out to hospitals in the West Bank. This is really not good news.
That’s it. There must have been more important things. Whoever can think of any is invited to add them…
Today’s circle included Hana, Brian, Nahshi, Shmulik, Roni, Oded, Jaber, Mari, Nur, Nomika, Malki, Rami 1, Rami 2.
Wrote: Oded