Encounter 180 – 27.8.2021

Shmulik Nahshi and I. Chairs, coffee, pine shade. Radir arrives with Jaber.
We are talking about MK Said al-Harumi, who died of a heart attack this week. Radir, who knew him best from all of us, tells about him and his activities, as well as the masses who came to the funeral.
Then came Vivian and Malki. Vivian was this morning at the “Black Arrow” site in front of Gaza, at a meeting of “Women Wage Peace” with Hadar Goldin’s parents who are demanding his return from Hamas in Gaza. “I had a hard time,” Vivian says of the encounter in the black arrow.
Last to arrive today were Nomika and Yael.
A call from Gaza to Radir’s phone: Radir asks about the contributions to the purchase of school bags. Schooling in the Gaza Strip began in mid-August but even if the schoolbags arrive now it is still fine. For those who do not have a schoolbag at the beginning of the year, they improvised something for the time being, so the schoolbags that will be donated can help. Some of the schoolbags will be donated to a girls’ school, a particularly poor school. Hamas tried to delegitimize one of the activists and it is important for him to show that he continues to act for everyone. To a question asked during the conversation he answers that there are corona vaccines in Gaza and the population cooperates and gets vaccinated (he was vaccinated for the first time 10 days ago). It is important to him that the children who receive the files and their parents know that this is a donation from Israelis. It is also important for him to know that he is still in the field and continues to take care of social issues that everyone needs. He is interested in spending some of the money donated, right now. It is important to him that the donors know that he is using the money for the purpose for which it was intended. Not that he needs permission or anything from the donors, but it is very important to him that we become a kind of partner … Many people in Gaza cooperate with Israelis in various fields. He is actually perceived as a collaborator and for that he is fighting against Hamas. He says that he receives strength from our support and it is important to him that we work together and listen to his requests. He keeps to himself and knows what is good for him. Radir’s mobile goes from one to another and everyone says something to him… in his plans to tour Israel and Egypt and return more strongly to Gaza. “We have known each other for many years,” he says, “and we will continue to work together.”
Finally, Yael is sitting with us today for the first time and it requires a “proper circle” …
Jaber introduces himself and then says that most of the public does not know about the unrecognized villages so he gives a brief explanation. He goes on to say that still, compared to Gaza, the condition of the unrecognized villages is much better …
Radir talks about her roles in the Wadi Atir project, empowering women and various social organizations. She remembers a meeting in 1998 in Gaza. That was the last time she was there. It was a workshop with more Arabs from the region and the world. For Radir, as an Israeli Arab, it is important to be the bridge to reconciliation between the peoples.
Vivian also presents her full range of activities over the years in attempts to bridge and bring the peoples together.
Malki “Apologies” that she is less active than the others here… the circle keeps her from being disconnected … Gaza is a deep and black pit. The change must happen. You have to act, you can’t be complacent.
Shmulik Emphasizes the determination and perseverance of having our meetings. The struggle will lead to change. He’s sure it’s going to happen. Doing his best here in our “lighthouse”, supporting one family from the village of Hizma, helping with olive harvest and other activities in the present as he did in the past and will continue in the future.
Nomika thinks that Shmulik is too optimistic and that the change will not happen in his and her shift …
Yael says that what our generation wanted and hoped for did not really happen … She was born in a settlement that was evacuated in 1948 from Gush Etzion. The trauma caused her great fear even just of hearing the Arabic language … While working in the Ministry of Education she became acquainted with Arab teachers and There she began her journey of acquaintance with the narratives and with the people. Met good and very interesting people. When she retired, she decided to volunteer at the bilingual school in Be’ersheba. She once read an interview with Zubin Mehta and through the interview became acquainted with “the Road to Recovery” and joined the patient transportation. Today, Yael is making efforts to learn Arabic. Gaza for her is a shocking thing. Pity for the situation of the Israeli Arabs, the feelings towards Gaza are much more difficult. Yael is quite desperate. She does not understand how we see hope here (everyone is trying to encourage her …).
Nahshi recalled that at the time of signing the Oslo Accords he worked in a mango plantation of his kibutz and closed a mango sale deal to a Gazan trader with whom he and his family had good relations. So that the Oslo Accords would not be torpedoed because of some terrorist attack, the Gaza Strip was closed. The mango, meanwhile, has ripened on the trees … an agreement has been reached with the trader that Nahshi and his team will pick and deliver the fruit to him at the Erez checkpoint. While transporting the fruit containers at the checkpoint, the broadcast of the signing ceremony began. thay all stop the work, listen to the broadcast and drink coffee together … Nahshi expects that one day all this evil will end and maybe it will happen faster than expected. Meetings like ours are important so that we are ready when peace breaks out …
We were this time: Jaber, Nahshi, Radir, Vivian, Malki, Shmulik, Nomika, Yael, Oded.
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 179 – 20.8.2021

The sheep congregated in groups in the shade of the few eucalyptus trees between which are sunny areas.

We are in the shade of the pines in our own circle… Hayuta, Shmulik, Nahshi and I arrived a little late (yes, we are trying to pinpoint the time 13:00…) after stopping on the way next to a fig tree laden with fruit.

Soon Rami also arrived and later Malki and Hanan. The first to retire were the sheep who in typical silence disappeared at some point in the circle and forgot to take with them the old “Ford” tractor and the water tank attached to it (in general, the idea of walking around with a sweater in this heat can confuse anyone).

In the circle in the shadow of the pines we continued to bring up topics on the agenda and teach ourselves a little more.
Hayuta, as her blessed custom, read a poem she chose to bring to the circle.
We also learned that Ramy really understands (also) tourism and hotels buisness and explained to us his doctrine on the subject.
From Hanan we learned that the urban kibbutz in which he lives in is a one-time creation with an expiration date…

On the subject of Gaza, (for which we convened…), I brought Ronit Marzen‘s article “The Guggenheim Museum between Gaza and it’s Envelope” (Haaretz, 8/18/21): In the article, Ronit raised and justified the idea of ​​building an art museum at the “seam” between Gaza and Israel. She says in the article that the Guggenheim Museum in the city of Bilbao, the capital of the Basque Country in Spain, has contributed greatly to calming the spirits in the conflict between the Spanish government and the Basques. Here is a quote from the article, “The time has come to look for a solution in the cultural space that allows soft power to be used where the hard military power has failed.” It seems to me that this is what we do, no?
We also talked about Rami’s request to participate in donations to the bags project for students in Gaza. A project he is leading with his fellow members of the organization. The project is in progress and you can still join and contribute.
That is, in moments like this when no one is traveling in the area, it is important that we’ll be strong between one and four every Friday…

We were: Shmulik, Nahshi, Hayuta, Rami, Oded, Malki, Hanan.

Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 178 – 13.8.2021

Today, in the circle we sat with the Nabataeans, the Byzantines, the Romans, the Arabs, the Ottomans, the English, human kingdoms, one god and multiplicity of gods. Most of them spoke from Rami’s throat, some were represented by Shmulik and sometimes Rami’s Byzantines argued with those of Shmulik.

I completed the cycle by listening, coffee rounds and hallucinatory musings on the motives that create the human urge to act. As the discerning among us have already noticed, amidst thousands of years of history and entire peoples for their equipment hosted in the circle, we were also three present humans: Shmulik, Rami and I. Like the history that was present with us in its spirit, there were with us in their spirit who’s instinctively remembered on Friday between one and four in the “lighthouse”. Three hours passed like lightning and shook the intellect like thunder, even in the middle of summer… the summary can be long and tedious and to be honest, mostly invented… because I did not record as summary customs during the “circle”. Therefore, I will be content with what has been written so far.

So Today, Friday, Shmulik, Rami and I were here.

Another thing: Shmulik, Hayuta, Nahshi and I met last Sunday, August 8, at the “Lighthouse”, with about 80 youths from the KKL-JNF patrol circles. Guys aged 17-18 from around the country and with them their slightly older instructors. We divided them into two circles with Shmulik leading the conversation in one circle and I in the other. In the middle of both, Nahshi serves rounds of coffee.

Anyone who has recently listened to the way Shmulik and I express ourselves on the JNF issue in the context of the role it played (and still plays) in the Israeli-Zionist conflict with the Palestinians, could have feared the virgin consciousness of young people who had to sit on bare ground and listen to JNF oppressors like us. Well, remove fear from your heart.

We told about the “lighthouse”, about the history of the area, about Gaza, about the English and the Turks, about farmers and soldiers, about one engineer who smelled sulfur, about Rami and Rami and the one and only Roni… We toured inside the factory building, outside for the letters RAF and on the tennis court.

We were asked about our feelings as residents of the area at the sight of the burned fields, our opinion on resolving the difficult situation in Gaza and our opinion about the future in the context of the conflict. An hour and a half in which, I at least, “poured” the information I had accumulated, especially in the three and a half years of “Lighthouse”! (Well, also some knowledge of a pensioner born in the country and the region).

Even after the instructors repeatedly asked to gather the youth back on the buses, small groups continued to gather around us to ask something, say something, know more, gather more insight, clarification and also say thank you.
It was Sunday and we were Hayuta, Shmulik, Nahshi and I.

Wrote: Oded

Encounter 177 – 6.8.2021

On our way to the “lighthouse” we stopped at a lush fig tree. The fig trees are right here, in the immediate vicinity, outstretched and plucked. The figs have joined the Sabers bowl, also “made” by the nearby area as well as some of the inhabitants of the circle. Today Arie arrived for the first time in our circle, so we made it “properly” … I presented the circumstances that led to the initiative and the idea that has been leading it for almost three and a half years.
After Dina spoke. It matters to Dina what happens because she lives in the area. It is not acceptable for her to ignore the situation of the neighbors. Everyone is supposed to do the least they can to make things happen. Do not sit idly by. Since she is part of the circle she tells it everywhere. Each is a link in a chain. Need faith and perseverance and do not despair. No big things will happen here but …
Radir reads a song written by David Peretz, “There is a place within me.” The song, she says, represents her way. Israeli Palestinians have an important role to play in bridging. Connecting to Gazan companies and friends is extremely important. Feels like a family here and tells things she does not dare say elsewhere. Sometimes things are said in a circle that are difficult for her to hear. Radir cares for future generations. Education on both sides is very important. It is important that each side sees on the other side its humanity and not the negative.
Shmulik agrees with every word said so far. Believes in historical processes. Forgiveness and perfection have already been created in the past between peoples who hated and therefore the solution will reach us as well.
Malki loves to come here. Only 6 years in the area and a half of this time she also came here, to the “lighthouse” … from the first moment “sucked” … Gaza is a great despair and life next to it is conducted in two different worlds. Even if it is difficult to help, she at least wants to understand and be aware. It is possible to live our good lives and not look at the neighbors, but it is difficult for her, it is difficult to think that there is suffering there. It hurts. It’s good for her to share with people who see people the way she sees. It is difficult for her with the religion whose value system depends on the divine commandment. She can not respond to it rationally and it scares her.
Jaber lives in an unrecognized settlement in the State of Israel. A bit far from Gaza, but feels in the Gaza area … There is a lot of injustice in the country, even in his place of residence. Among the neighbors in Gaza, suffering is much more present. Jaber says that the suffering in Gaza brings him here, to our lighthouse, to sit with people who see people like him eye to eye. He came for his friends and family in Gaza.
Nahshi. Send this week, in the WhatsApp group, an article about three educated Gazan women from the village of Hiza’a in the “Gaza Strip” who did not find a livelihood in their field of study and decided to become farmers. Today they grow organic vegetables and sell them in the Gaza strip. It happens really close to us and Nahshi gets excited. He wrote to them and said how much he appreciates and admires their initiative. Nahshi is always looking for the good and the compromiser in life. And happy to discover such initiatives. The future is good and positive, he said.
Arie came because Nahshi told him about the project. His intense consciousness is not clear to him. At the moment, he is busy making peace with himself … he grew up in Kibbutz and they always talked to him about sharing and equality. Hopefully there will be leaders here who will push for speech. Gaza is a riddle. He reads and hears. Was never there. Human beings like him live there. Believes they want peace and quiet. They have a sea and he envies them for it … remembers very little from his childhood about Gaza. Because of the contradictory things he hears it is difficult for him to form an opinion. Maybe from here, from the “circle”, peace will grow …
Ramy arrived in the last hour after a night of revelry at his son’s wedding. When he greeted at the wedding, he talked about the transition from individual to together. On the power of the “together.” Choose the path of love, but together. And you loved your neighbor as yourself, and maybe just “and you loved” … This morning when he woke up he remembered the end of the wedding ceremony, breaking a glass. Usually the customs of the religion conflict with its inner truth. Yesterday it seemed right to him, breaking the glass symbolizes for him the broken and incomplete things that need to be healed. For him, on the weight of “If I forget you Jerusalem”, he says “If I forget you Gaza” … When he got up in the afternoon (fizzy at the wedding until four in the morning …) his feet carried him here to a place he would not give up. We live in abundance and against this background Gaza should be mentioned. This is the circle for him today, “If I forget you …”
Radir responded to what Malki said (“She has a hard time with religion” …) and told about her encounters with clerics of all religions and the search for the common and unifying. I said that I understand Malki’s difficulty and I also find it difficult to argue with arguments that rely on the words of God… A discussion has developed on the subject. Can religion mediate and bridge or is it a divisive factor. Of course with the nuances in between … until the clock struck four and we parted each one on its way.

Shmulik, Malki, Jaber, Radir, Rami, Dina, Oded, Nahshi, Arie.

Wrote: Oded

Encounter 176 -30.7.2021

As usual and as expected in this hot season, people rarely hike, certainly in the hot south. The meeting at our “Lighthouse” continues in its usual format and hopes for voices that will refresh the discourse. Today Racheli “refreshed”. She came with Malki. For the first time with us, and her curiosity about the sulfur plant, earned her and us a historical review by Ramy, about the history of the project and the space in which it resides. Of course, the lighthouse keepers have heard these things many times, but Ramy always adds details and creates renewed interest. Most of the conversation took place between Rami and me when Rami greets on the one hand my “eagerness” to expand knowledge in the history of the communities that live and struggle on the area and on the other hand Rami claims, I “choose truth” on the one hand and bring myself to “extremism” on the other. In the concept of “self-hatred” God forbidden… I argue that the “objective” approach, which holds that “both sides are guilty” or “subjective truth”, frees the claimant from significant criticism of the actions of the community to which he belongs and the attempt to present an impartial judgment in all of us is impossible. Values ​​are cast by which we judge human behavior.
Shmulik makes coffee and occasionally contributes his mind from a few meters away and decades of engaging in the regional / community conflict, and Hayut says we are all products of “indoctrination” that we absorb from the moment we are born…
Hanan arrives and follows. Malki and Racheli. For the last hour, Maharan is also joining. Hanan is practical and initiates a “circle” when he is the first speaker. He tells Racheli mainly about the essence of the “lighthouse” that was used and implemented by Rami about three and a half years ago as a response to his internal distress (of Rami…) and was joined by other residents from the Gaza area (this is the opportunity to wish Roni, who joined Rami from the beginning, complete healing and fast return to “service”). Hanan added in the context of Gaza, which this week caught sight of an article about two detention camps from Gaza set up in the early 1970s, in Sinai, to which individuals and families who were not well received by the sovereign were exiled.
Shmulik, as usual, describes himself as a “communist.” He is well aware of the fact that such a definition creates different contexts in each and every one. He is a resident of the area who hopes that life will change…
For Hayuta, Gaza is something she experiences as she walks the fields of her kibutz. Sees the houses beyond the fence and hears the muezzin calling. Says that the education she received at her parents’ home was humanistic and human-loving.
Racheli says that Gaza is a “terrible ghetto.” She feels helpless in her ability to help and when she thinks of the people there she “drowns in shame”. Can’t clear her conscience. Connected to the “bordergone” website. From her place of residence she does not see Gaza but Gaza for its sufferings, very present in her life.
Malki came so as not to disengage. Her persistence in being present at the Lighthouse is also intended to maintain emotion towards Gaza. Today Gaza is despair. The most optimistic thought is about what Gaza could be when she’ll allowed to live free…
Now Ramy. It begins with the effect of expanding the circle of consciousness, on expanding the circle of participants (and vice versa…) and seeks to listen to the area. In the context of Gaza, he speaks of two concepts, “curiosity” and “passion.” Born in front of Gaza and has been drawn out since childhood. Remembering himself wandering in nature. In his adulthood he was also a nature teacher and tour guide. He constantly added knowledge about history and the people who lived here. It took him a while to realize that parts of his story were missing. The rounds of violence are traumatic for him and that is what led him to sit here in the sulfur factory and invite friends to listen and talk. As a tour guide, he told about the factory in the historical context of the State of Israel. When he expanded the boundaries of his consciousness, he had already told about the enterprise in a spatial, historical, human context. Gaza is a place with the most impressive human story in human history. Gaza is a big story. Gaza is a meeting point that also has an opportunity. Tells about his grandfather who was an Ottoman, English and Israeli citizen in one lifetime! We, says Ramy, are in “fault time”… we can fix… It will happen when we are ready and mean it. He tells about the history of the structure of the sulfur plant, its establishment, operation and end. The population in Gaza changed very intensively, the Ottomans emptied it completely before the confrontation with the British and scattered its 45,000 inhabitants throughout the Ottoman Empire and the British returned residents to it after its conquest. Gaza was a meeting city, a transit city. Both in ancient history and to this day. A point in the space between the inhabited area and the nomadic area. The sulfur plant operated for perhaps five years. It was “born” following the First World War. The British camped here for a year and developed the area. There was a road to Cairo, there was a water line coming from the Nile! This is where the Ottoman rule ended. The British came with artisans. The geologist Williams smells the sulphur and discovered it close to the ground and pushed for the establishment of the plant. Sulfur is a sought-after commodity mainly for the rubber industry that was very popular before the invention of plastic… The British set up various factories in Palestine. here also. The space is exposed to trees and shade and in the center is a huge factory. Construction managers came from Gaza (Rashd A. Shawa). The British in thirty years created a huge revolution in the development of the region. The factory stopped working because of the German threat. Fearing a German invasion from Egypt, the British fortified the area with 15 huge army camps. Rami skips back to World War I: Only after the conquest of Beersheba and the collapse of the Ottoman defensive line, which also included Gaza, did the British feel secure in their control of the area and Balfour publishes his declaration of a national home for Jews in Palestine. The British return a population to Gaza. This is also the first “Negev” area that Zionism is beginning to settle. In 1946 the space is inhabited by agricultural farms and the factory strikes a whole mourning. Be’eri were integrated as another farm. The war of 1948 finds the area quite developed with roads and army and agricultural camps. The residents of the area called themselves Gazans (did not call themselves “Palestinians”). At the end of the war, the Egyptian army is gathered in Gaza and a buffer is stretched. Some wanted to move to the Egyptian side, some were deported there by the Israelis and some remained. The “Gaza Strip” was created. The Egyptians hold the Strip. The deportees were “stuck” in Gaza.

They thought they would return to their homes. In the meantime they are inhabited by the military camps evacuated by the British. There is no connection between Israel and the Gaza Strip between ’48 and ’67. The Strip has no way out and the population is increasing. According to Rami, the reality requires looking at Gaza not by finding “other” culprits, but by understanding that we are all to blame and to solve the problem we must understand that the Strip is small and unable to hold on. The dismantling of the borders will create initiatives for the industrial development of the region.
Maharan, who arrived during Rami’s “lecture,” says that in 1953 Nasser brought an Egyptian population to Gaza. Maharan says that the accent does not change and he knows how to identify Egypt among the Gazans…
Rami concludes by saying that along with the difficult conditions in which the Gazans live, there is, unfortunately, a loss of hope.

We were this time: Hayuta, Malki, Racheli, Shmulik, Rami, Maharan, Hanan, Oded.

Wrote: Oded.