This time, for a change, our encounter began with art!
Roni brought an album she edited for her partner Ovadia’s birthday, in which his paintings are shown. Impressive. The album passes hands. Then Roni tells us about an encounter of “Another voice”. The message there was that “Nothing is being done…” About Migdalor, too.
Rami is alarmed. He thinks that the seeds sown in Migdalor sometimes get to unexpected places. He talks about an artistic alliance that was created for a joint Palestinian-Israeli project that sprouted from an acquaintance at one of the Migdalor encounters. This brought about an interesting artistic product. Rami met the creators and through him, they thanked Migdalor for being there and making possible the conditions for familiarization and creativity. Rami thinks that things do happen. There is no need to “push” activity by force…
Incidentally, there is talk of concentrating several student films and other creators at a single event. We have the content, and the audience, we only need a producer…
The noise of dirt bikes sounds from the entrance and dies out. I go there to see what’s up. The guys dressed in black take off their helmets and stare at me. I ask if they want some coffee, and they look at each other and… “Why not?” They come in, sit down, Shmulik serves coffee.
Rami says it all in his soft way (after all, black-clad motorcyclists) – he is from Kibbutz Be’eri nearby and was a kid during the 1967 war, with the innocence of a child. He remembers barbed wire that marked a border and women bent down in the field, and missiles in recent years and in his children’s childhood. Now disconnection. A reality which he refuses to accept. That is his Gaza consciousness.
The motorcyclists already get the picture… Before they get the floor, Rami adds that if peace is signed with Morocco and an Emirates prince purchases Betar Jerusalem Football Team, then everything’s possible.
Malki tells them and us that she comes here in order not to forget that people in Gaza are suffering. Our circle produces a different way of thinking that attracts her.
Elishai, one of the cyclists, grew up around here and heard his parents’ stories about the market and the beach at Gaza. He is grateful to us for our activity and wishes to experience Gaza in peace time.
Moshe, the other cyclist, says we surprised him. He is glad to see that there is such a “circle” that talks about Gaza. For him Gaza meant fear and bad things. Now, as an adult, his mind has changed a bit. He believes the world is going to a better place because strange things are happening.
Roni talks about the altered consciousness she acquired when she met Palestinians face-to-face during her farming mission-time in Egypt. It meant getting acquainted with the other side of the conflict. “No partner for peace” is a false slogan, she says, politicians’ slogan. There are partners, and they should be approached. The regime there is difficult and still there are people there who want other things. People are the partners. It’s important to see the people. 50% of Gaza’s population are under the age of 18 and have not met any Israelis. Roni tries to bring about virtual meetings between groups there and here. She sees the essence of the Migdalor and the possibility of shedding light on the people there.
Elishai and Moshe get up to continue their trip, say “Keep going this way” and leave.
Roni tells us of a Palestinian friend who visited the circle in the past. He studies in Israel and for bureaucratic reasons his visa was not renewed and he will have to leave the country in a few hours. In his desperation he tearfully turned to Roni. She got to it immediately! The matter was settled within a few hours. Roni is moved when she tells us about this, and so are we. Roni was helped by the Gisha organization, which looks after the freedom of movement of Palestinians who wish to leave Gaza for different purposes.
Rami calls up the Palestinian, who wishes us a happy Hanukka and says everything’s worked out.
Roni continues to tell us about a group of girls from a pre-military course, who came to meet her for a tour of the moshav. From their style, she realized what they hear at home. Their questions attested to it. But they listened very carefully to Roni’s answers and insights, and after a few days sent her an excited letter of thanks for her activism, her tolerance and her humane and containing attitude.
Shmulik tells about his activity as a youth in leftist organizations.
His anti-Zionism irritated even his peers. Shmulik says that his brother, who has had a glorious military career, complained that his “leftism” damages his military career…
Roni calls Gaza. We speak with Khalil who tells of his wife’s birthday and the original gift he arranged for her, video segments of friends wishing her a happy birthday.
Rami talks with him about Hanukkah light – the light being brought to the area. The smile it raises. Khalil wishes to come to the circle, and Rami makes the circle come to him by giving him a tour of all our faces in the circle, via smart phone.
Malki wishes that we see him come in this entrance, live (she points at the entrance to the sulfur plant).
Hayuta reads out a poem by Nathan Zach (who died recently).
Brian arrives. He comes often, may this continue… Rami asks him to tell what makes him join us. Brian says it gives him a sense of doing and not just talking for the sake of impressing anyone. Here people talk and do honestly, not phony. He tells Shmulik that he differs on his “sense” of Zionism, but it comes from a real place, not fake.
Bella says she was once punished by her father for having gone to celebrate May 1st.
Hayuta tells us about how she got off school for May 1st.
Rami marched in Tel Aviv with a red flag.
Shmulike says he’s a communist and an individualist.
Brian says this is a contradiction… Shmulik gladly agrees.
It’s already 4 p.m. but Patrician and Adi arrive. Agronomists. We stayed to have coffee with them. Rami summarizes about the sulfur plant and about us. They talk of themselves and what Gaza means to them. It’s 4:20, mingling before breaking up, and going home.
Participants this time were Shmulik, Bella, Mari, Hayuta, Roni, Oded, Rami, Malki, Elishai, Moshe, Brian, Patrician, Adi.
Wrote – Oded.
Encounter 143 – December 11, 2020
This time, for a change, our encounter began with art!