We started the “circle” today with Atef and Ahmed who passed, stopped, drank coffee and
hurried on. Therefore, they remained in the summary only in their first names without us
knowing (and summarizing …) their Gaza consciousness.
They were followed by Arnon and Hilik (a woman) who announced that Uzi and Malki were
on their way and since Roni also announced that she was on her way we waited with the
meanwhile Rami told about his insights from a short trip to Greece, which took place this
week. The trip was, admittedly, in matters of tourism, but Ramy was occupied by the
insights of Irad Malkin who diagnoses a kind of common identity he calls “Mediterranean
identity”, a kind of resemblance between the inhabitants of the Mediterranean shores and
through this view, from sea to land, seeks to understand conflicts On the land among its
inhabitants (oops, hope this is what Rami meant …)
Through Malkin’s thesis, Rami realizes that we are constantly preoccupied with identity.
After returning from Greece, he discovered that the stories of his “our father Abraham”
were a bit shaky. Gaza for him, today, is a large and important port in the history of the
Mediterranean, a port he reaches on a Phoenician or Egyptian ship.
Mark is currently taking a writing course. The instructor bases the course on the teachings of
Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jew who perished in the Holocaust and left diaries. Mark reads to us
what he wrote (in English). As a person living in space he is sensitive to the voices, the voice
of history, the prayers for peace, the voices of war, the rhetoric of politicians and the
mourning of the common man. He experiences the clash of narratives and the relentless
propaganda. In the ground remained the ruins of civilizations from the past. And the
pleasant evening breeze coming from the sea brings the sounds of the present, prayers,
shots and music. From a distance the sounds mix. But the dominant voice is the voice of 2
million people trying to live a normal life inside a ghetto! Sometimes, someone is killed not
far away, near the fence of the ghetto, and sometimes someone dies or is injured while
defending or trying to gain a homeland.
Dina says that Gaza is part of life in the area. It does not depend on our will … It can be
ignored but Gaza is present. Dina finds herself talking a lot about Gaza and the “lighthouse.”
Gaza should always be kept aware, and flooded whenever possible. Gazans deserve to live
as human beings. Who like us knows what it is like to be in their situation …
Roni tells of a group that came to hear the story of someone who lives near Gaza. But Gaza
also lives next door … it focuses mainly on the story of the Palestinians. In meetings she
holds at the settlement with groups, she talks about the history of getting to know Gazans
(including an agricultural mission in Egypt) and talks about her difficulty in convincing people
of her belief in the right of both peoples to live in a non-violent space. To convince other
people, she also needs partners in Gaza. She talks about them and says that there are a lot
of people in Gaza who know that there are Israelis who want a peaceful solution, but in Gaza
they want us to hear and understand them as well. Dreaming of herself in her own funeral
and in her dream, all the friends from Gaza want to come to accompany her …
Arnon remembers from his childhood a blind Druze who used to come to his house in Haifa
and sell fruit. Already as a child he knew how to distinguish between a Druze and an Arab.
First Memory from Gaza, as a soldier navigating the orchards in Khan Yunis. He once
survived a grenade thrown at the vehicle he was driving. Arnon was a partner in the “Basel
Project”: developing the ability to quickly control the departure and return of tens of
thousands of people in crossings in a short time. The second intifada interrupted the
implementation of the project. Today he is concerned about Gaza. He distinguishes between
the Arabs of Israel and the Arabs in the territories. He has no answer to many problems.
They are human beings first and foremost and that is how it should be seen. The relationship
that existed in the past, after the 1967 war was seemingly quiet, but was actually a “horse
and rider” relationship.
Uzi reached the borders in 1965. He remembers the period in the area before the 1967 war
and the period after it as “we would walk around Gaza alone and without weapons” … Gaza
is for him today “deep sadness and a constant feeling of missing out”. We are the winners
and the strongest and we must find answers.
For Nahshi Gaza it is neighbors and friends, especially in recent years after years of
forgetfulness and repression. The area could be much better. The situation today is
unbearable. Nahshi is looking for a way not to stay passive. Here, in our Lighthouse, it fills
some of that. Awareness of the situation should be disseminated.
Shmulik Is in contact with Palestinians mainly on a personal level. On the collective side, he
says, we need to find a solution to the area. It is a landscape of his homeland and he belongs
here. It does not preclude the belonging of a person who has lived here to return. This is
land of two nations that can find a solution. He remember that once came to the circle a
father and children from Alfei Menashe, listened, played, drank coffee and drove. After a
few months they came back to see if we were still here … Shmulik would continue to come
looking for a solution through the circle …
Hilik Lived for a short time in her youth not far from here. In her area of residence today,
they have good relations with the surrounding Arabs. Joint trips and conversations about the
existence of coexistence. Gaza for her is a lot of pain. A desire for the people there to live a
normal life. Also hopes for change in relation to the Arabs within the Israel.
For Malki, Gaza was not a familiar space until she came to live in the area. Most of her life
was spent far away from here. She served in the area for a while in the army … When she
moved here, her view of Gaza sharpened. Her freedom in the face of their non-freedom is
very jarring. We talk about their suffering and then return to our comfortable life. There it’s
a prison … for Malki to come here is a kind of help to hertself as well. In talking about the
situation, it is difficult for her to argue with the arguments based on religion. The arguments
presented in the “statement” from God and therefore they can not be challenged or
contemplated, frustrate her. Everyone wants to live and can be good to everyone. The
religious section blocks without giving rational reasons.
Rami raises for an open discussion the question that ended the previous session, how do we
Roni claims that the Gazans know we are here, it is important to them and therefore
important to us. Rami says that the “schoolbag project” influenced more than the 500
children who received the bags … Their families knew that the schoolbags came from
donations from Israelis and thus the information about well-wishers Israelis reaches
thousands of people in Gaza. We help him help the children in Gaza. Hamas also sees the
positive in its social activity.
Mark thinks that one should continue to hold the “light” here and if one needs a slightly
different organization one can raise it.
In general, the majority opinion is in favor of continuing, with ideas to reach more audiences
by other and additional means …
We were: Ahmad, Atef, Rami, Uzi, Dina, Malki, Roni, Mark, Arnon, Hilik, Nahshi, Shmulik,