Encounter 201 – 21.1.2022

Winter peak, penetrating cold and lying sun. On the way to the sulfur plant, we stop to photograph flowering anemones. Nahshi edits the photo for the invitation to the “Lighthouse”. Then he will also make coffee.
Ofek is already here, the chairs and table have already been arranged before he arrived, it is not clear by whom … even two garbage bags were left.
Ofek is interested and I took him on a tour: I showed him the caption in the parking lot, the private parking lot of the British commander, the tennis court, the olive tree brought by the Tibetan nun along with the seeds of peace on the guru’s mission, and finally we returned to the factory building.
Mark, Roni, Shmulik and Nahshi are already sitting in the circle. First news arrives about what is happening in the village of Burin. Jewish activists who came to plant olive trees together with the local Palestinians are attacked by masked men descending from the top of the mountain. A discussion begins in the circle. I bring some insights (interpretations? …) from the past about the roots of the present conflict and the debate focuses on whether a past discussion is relevant or whether we should direct the energy to a future solution.
During the discussion, Mary, and Dina and Malki, and Omer and Yogev arrived.
But the circle begins with a real procedure when Tal and Hagar arrive, two innocent hikers who came because of the trip and stayed because of the coffee. I introduce us to them and try to moderate their astonishment. After all, one can understand that encountering a phenomenon like ours is a bit surprising and strange.
Mary speaks: she came for the first time in an attempt to understand the complexity of the inter-communal problem in our region, and kept coming because of the respectful and interesting discourse.
Roni has known Palestinians since she was in Egypt. It’s easy to hate something abstract. There are partners, she says, a lot. Need to get to know and create encounters and platforms for human connection. Women and men from Gaza are neighbors and friends. Her tireless connections and humanitarian activities, sometimes bring success and sometimes pain and disappointment.
Ofek is the last one whos “captured”. He is still a high school student and he keeps coming because he has not yet formed opinions. What he hears here he has not heard anywhere else, certainly not in his hometown. Today, after several consecutive times, he can finally say what Gaza is for him: On the one hand, he has the image that all of Gaza is a Hamas outpost that is being bombed, but at the same time, Gaza for him is a kind of legend …
Dina was born in Alexandria and came to Israel at the age of a few months. In her adulthood she worked for someone who was the Military Governor of Gaza and later the governor of Nablus. In her opinion, Gaza should be on the agenda all the time and everyone should work all the time in order to raise awareness in Gaza. She does it all the time and not just in the “Lighthouse.”
Nahshi was born, raised and still lives near Gaza. For him, Gaza is people he knew. Huge potential that if it were otherwise would change the harsh reality. Coming here is the least he does for a change in reality.
Tal, who came with Hagar, says that on the way they “discovered” that they were approaching Gaza and there was some concern. She lives in Jerusalem whose complexity is not simple and she is more aware of it. Gaza is something distant …
Hagar, also from Jerusalem. She served in Military Intelligence and went out to “deal” with Gaza. It’s a heartache. Do not know what to do with it.
Yogev has been coming in a row for quite some time. Still a high school student and still listening … At this point, he still has no opinion on Gaza …
Omer says that today he has nothing to say, a sentence that he repeats every week …
Shmulik, introduces himself as a communist “I am enveloping Gaza,” he says. “I have a daughter in Netiv Ha’asara, I have a son in Kfar Aza, I have a sister in Nir Oz, and I, another son and another daughter live in Nir Itzhak” A real siege. Anyone who watches from here from where we are currently sitting, sees Al Bureij, he says. Collaboration can be fruitful. We have partners for hopes beyond the fence. The “lighthouse”, for Shmulik, is a “conscientious laundry.” The ability to influence is very poor. You have to listen to them. The “circle” is an attention circle that lasts almost 4 years.
Mark started arriving during the return marches (end of March 2018, in fact from the beginning of the “lighthouse”) … Mark is not a native of the country. Even abroad, before he immigrated, he thought he would come to a kibbutz, for some reason … He read abroad about members of Kerem Shalom who help in Gaza to build houses for Gazans and he liked it. In the end, he actually arrived to Kibbutz Gvulot and not to Kerem Shalom, but since then, Gaza has been in his head. His thoughts thanks to his South African background (his father was born in South Africa) and the awareness of the apartheid regime there, are directed to the poor of the region. Injustice everywhere discourages him. Doing symbolic steps is what is left. It’s almost “therapeutic” for him to come and be here. Active in “Extinction Rebellion” and working to “save the world” …
The first time Malki arrived (somewhere in 2019) she was initially excited about the place … then she was impressed by the company of people who sit together and learn something new every week and she keeps coming (almost) every week. This is also the place for her, to remind herself every week of Gaza and its misery. It’s still discouraging. Our lives are good and next to us are people with no horizon and no hope. Reminds us that we talked a lot about the importance of being present here. Even if it does not work in the foreseeable future, it will probably not hurt. The people here are doing more things. The meeting gives strength.
After everyone had spoken, Malki mentioned the question that Omer raised a week ago (a question from a questionnaire he had to fill out as a pre-military preparatory exam) regarding leaving the country in exchange for another, stable and safe place to live. She asked Omer if his presence and the things he was exposed to here in the “lighthouse” influenced his answer … Omer extended his answer and said “no” …
Shmulik, who responded to the question, used the term “homeland landscape.” Malki asks him if the “landscape of his homeland” could be elsewhere. Shmulik says he was born and lives and is in a certain setting and that is his home. A house that is not abandoned either for his own safety. He has no intention of substituting for an ideal utopia either!
Mark says he has been in the country half his life. It was not in his plans to come. But decided to come check … from the first night, he knew he had to stay here. It is irrational and has no explanation. He was looking for a place to live in Israel, from which no Palestinians had been deported. He has a problem with his son’s decision to live in Germany. Every left-wing Jew should be here to stand up to Messianism.
We then returned to the debate as to whether to discuss the past or focus on the future. Meanwhile time has passed, the cold has penetrated and the future at home looks warmer.
We were: Mark, Omer, Yogev, Shmulik, Oded, Mary, Malki, Roni, Ofek, Dina, Nahshi, Tal, Hagar.
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 200! 🎈🎈14.1.2022

First came Hayuta, Nahshi, Arieh with his daughter from Nir-Itzhak and Ofek from Mabuim, met with a group of Rahat residents who settled around a fire in the middle of the building.
Then came Roni and Mary.
The coffee was immediately judged by Nahshi and he continued to serve in the best tradition hot tea and boiling coffee throughout the session.
The Rahat group did not connect. They seem to have avoided connecting to the invitation to join the circle. Listen to what was said from the side, perhaps out of doubt, shyness, suspicion, and I felt that the cloud of unrest in the Negev was thickening. But maybe these are just my thoughts … in any case it was noticeable that they did not feel comfortable.
When they saw that the “masses” gathering, they left a dim fire and went on their way.
We revived the fire that warmed us well.
Ofek promised that Yogev and Omer would arrive later and indeed it was.
Roni talked about the thought that acquaintance making the other close, accessible. Tells about meetings with young groups, including a group of the Preparatory School for Empowerment for Young Leadership, who came to her for the enrichment path. Jewish and Arab Israelis. At the end of the meeting with them, the group said goodbye to Roni and continued to gather at the Moshav club. Some time later, the group’s instructor sent a WhatsApp to Roni – a greeting from our Gazan friend. It turns out that during the activity at the club they had a conversation with him, during which the connection between him and Roni became clear.
Ofek says that the Gaza of the past, about which his parents and grandparents, one of the founders of Kibbutz Sa’ad, told him, is for him a distant memory that does not exist and is not understood and it causes a feeling of missing out.
Then a young man from the Yavneh came from Kibbutz Sa’ad with his 4 children. Hayuta introduced the theme of the circle. The guy told of a random encounter he had years ago with a Palestinian worker who was on his way back to his family in Khan Yunis and whom he took a ride to the border crossing and since then there has been a regular connection between them. And so he got to know the reality of life across the border in a continuous way to this day.
Malki has arrived.
We talked on the phone with our Gazan friend who told us about the continuation of the activity and the spread of the good news of the activity. He comforted us that we who are in the lighthouse are not alone!
And we talked to him again a few minutes later when Ramy arrived and the excitement was great.
Hanan arrived with the promised surprise: wine and spices that were soon cooked together and poured into trophies in honor of the lighthouse group’s 200th meeting. 200 weeks according to my account is close to 4 years…
Oded and Shmulik returned from planting olive trees in the West Bank. Excited and uplifted, they told about the empowering experience and honored those gathered at the knapsack.
Hayuta noted that the encounter is rioting. And we agreed that sometimes it’s not so bad.
Malki told about the inspiration she has from the meeting at the lighthouse.
Ramy returned the discourse on consciousness to the concept of love that he had been trying to define for some time. Love which he says is a concept not of the emotion but of some kind of combination of things.
Love is a way of life, it is a choice. His choice in Gaza consciously and the choice to come to the lighthouse and the choice to be conscious, it is out of love as a way of life and decision that there is the other’s existence and that there are people that reality is cruel to, in his thought of them in his love for them, in fact he makes love Of the other.
The discourse focused on the topic raised by Omer. He posed a question from the screenings for the pre-military preparatory school in which he participates: Will you agree or not to leave the Land of Israel on some utopian island in front of the State of California in order to resolve the conflict over the land?
We made a round of reasoned answers divided between the majority that ruled out leaving and the minority that owed.
Nahshi indicates his love and connection to his place of residence and that Shmulik reinforces the fact that man is a landscape model of his homeland. Oded mentions the statement that the land does not belong to us but we belong to the land And indicates A trending question.
Malki points to the unreality and realism of the question.
Hayuta indicates that apart from the sanctity of human life everything else is mundane. But she feels that she has a conscientious obligation to her pioneer father and her partner who fought in the Israeli wars.
Shmulik from Be’eri arrived with his grandson to check if the embers were kept in the “lighthouse”. Say hello and wish peace and keep going.
Ofek stated that he does not want to run away from the problems but wants to solve them.
Hanan explained that the question upset him because in essence it is whether it is possible to destroy and abandon what we did in order to allow and rebuild well. It is an idealization of destruction as a way of thinking about the world. Hanan also points to the trend of the question. And for a lack of understanding and internalization of important and significant historical processes and none of which answers the question.
Roni thinks she actually went through the process of moving from her place of residence when the “Yamit” setlements evacuated to a new place in the belief that it was the right thing to do for a better future.
It was argued that this question was a question of provocation / manipulation.
Rami said that during the peace talks with Egypt he was willing to leave Be’eri for another place but to be within the area in order to give the Palestinians more space. And he wants to learn to get along with the neighbors. And the question that has arisen sits on a utopian plane. For him the land should not be divided.
Shmulik notes that he has a deep sense of belonging to his homeland and the place where he lives.
Arieh said he does not expect his problems to be solved by changing geographical location.
Omer noted that the majority in the preparatory said they were ready to move to the utopian island. He himself answered similarly to Shmulik.
Rami returns Gaza for discussion. Claims that Gaza has never been in any country but has been “ping pong ball”.
Another question was whether the struggle for a foothold in the Land of Israel was worth all the casualties of the Israeli wars.
Oded talks about Wikipedia and the debate that developed in the Haaretz newspaper about the “dictatorship of Wikipedia”. According to him, a situation has arisen where there are values that have become taboo and should not be discussed and considered. And there are paving places in all sorts of places.
The meeting was very frenetic this time and took place most of the time with more and more people joining the circle and basically without any control or circular order.
We were: Shmulik, Rami, Rami, Nahshi, Roni, Hayuta, Oded, Ofek, Omer, Yogev, Malki, Hanan, Arie and Elia, the guy from Yavne and his children, Mary who also rote this time to the best of her ability.

Encounter 199 – 7.1.2022

Today, a conference of peace organizations was to be held in Sderot. But, Omicron … and the conference was postponed to March 4. The same omicron did not prevent 17 man and women from gathering at the lighthouse to speak their Gaza consciousness.
Noga says that in her home in the center of the country she lives in denial, like most of the public. Disconnection of consciousness from Gaza. Occasionally when she arrives at the “lighthouse” she receives a literal “Welcome” greeting, both from the lighthouse people and from the Gazan situation present in the circle
Roni notes that like others, she too has gone through the Israeli systems of education and communication with all the “wrapping” they give to the Israeli consciousness. But a mission in Egypt was a turning point. For the first time she met people from the other side. Roni has no doubts about the right to live in the country, but she learned that there is another people here with a history of its own. Roni needs the help of the Palestinians to resolve the conflict, she needs to make sure that more people think like her. She holds cultural meetings and holiday greetings between youth and children on both sides of the fence. She is busy helping people in all kinds of fields and has a real daily connection with people in Gaza. Because she is deeply in touch, she understands how complicated and difficult it is to create normalization.
Shaul Reads a lot about the conflict. The injustices to the Palestinians were done throughout the previous century. But it is possible, in his opinion, to manage the conflict knowing that there will be no peace. In the religion of Islam the Jews can only be “protégés” and since most Muslims are religious and consider this country a sacred Muslim land, there will be no peace. But, he adds, Hudna did. A temporary calm agreement that will allow the next generation to decide whether to extend the calm or return to the struggle.
According to Shmulik, Hudna is a stage through which it is possible to reach one state for both peoples. Shmulik, a trainee of Hashomer Hatzair, underwent a change in thinking. From uncompromising separation (a destructive process in his opinion), to living together. A lot of people he said went through the process like him, both on the right and on the left. Shmulik here because that’s the least he can do for the things he believes in. Hoping for a surprising historic move that will bring peace, like many cases in the past. To reinforce his words he brings examples from conflicts in different parts of the world that one day are over. Need brave politics he finishes.
Keren comes from Tel Aviv and for her Gaza is a place she can not even think of. If she already thinks about the conflict, which is rare, it comes to her mind “Judea and Samaria” … and Gaza is at all something far from consciousness and life. She is (still) at a stage where hearing Arabic makes her afraid.
Arbel is active in a subsidiary of the Fighters for Peace movement. They learned about the conflict in general and do meetings and seminars. She is organizing the upcoming seminar and the topic is “Gaza.” Looking for material and the “lighthouse” seemed to her good material … she had hardly thought of Gaza since her days. Once in the army they were almost sent to “Gaza” (i.e. close to the fence), but that did not happen … Gaza arouses her curiosity because she knows almost nothing about it.
Keren says that when you do not live here in the area, it is easier to ignore …
Nahshi answered and said that here too it is easy to ignore … he went on to say that he was privileged to live in times when the connection with Gaza was daily. Today it is impossible to meet but it is possible to keep in touch. He imagines an open and inviting space, and reveals enormous potential for beauty and collaboration. He reads about interesting agricultural experiments on the other side and as a farmer he understands the difficulties they have in maintaining agriculture.
Mary Comes because of the bunch here and the discourse created. She was looking for that kind of discourse. A “discourse” that knows how to listen to both speakers and what is happening in Gaza.
Hanan builds kites. It bothers him that kites are used as a destructive tool. Came here to see the kite phenomenon up close (about 3 years ago) and connected to the idea of the “lighthouse”. The kite shown in the circle was made according to a photograph of a girl from Gaza who drew on star-shaped plywood and was photographed with her work. The photo was published. Our job is to say, to preserve hope. When it comes true we will be ready to lead the relationship that will be forged.
Gaza for Rami is a lot of times he is asked if he is from there … Recently he travels a lot, as part of his work, between Metula and Eilat. Gaza is a house he returns to. Every week at Lighthouse Hour he feels he is here even if he is not physically here. He has no questions about the house. This is the house! Only at home, feel that you are in it even if you are not in it.
Roni, who as mentioned is in contact with Gaza more than all of us, says that there is a change! The main change is the permit for ten thousand Gazans to go to work in Israel. To get out, she explains, you need approvals from three sources, Hamas, the PA and Israel. Until a few months ago, it was rare to get approval from the three parties, unless you are sick … Financial relief is a change in the situation.
Oran came to hear. For him, Gaza is “Arabs”
Yogev, does not think of Gaza
For Ofek it is a barrier and a fence
And for Omri, Gaza is a pain
Ramy adds. It is important to talk about facts and not about interpretations in the context of Gaza. He has no doubt that wherever we bring Gaza only unilaterally, we are moving away … Gaza has everything but mostly people without horizons. A growing population of people whose horizons are receding and darkness is increasing. This leads them to collapse and react. In and out. Anyone who makes a different voice in Gaza pays a price. We need to talk again about the beauty and hope that exists in Gaza. The day there are enough people to see the other, the change will happen, a change that everyone can call whatever they want. A million people wake up to bad reality and they know no other. In history, people in that situation caused disasters to others, but in the end there is light. In Gaza, he is sure, there will be a change in the near future.
It is already five past four and the cold is penetrating bones. See you next week at the 200th meeting!

We were this time: Hanan, Shaul, Noga, Roni, Rami, Mary, Bella, Keren, Arbel, Nahshi, Malki, Shmulik, Oded, Yogev, Ofek, Omer, Oran, Oded.

Encounter 198- 31.12.2021

We sat Roni, Mary, Shmulik and Nahshi – with the kite and a loaded table.
We waited for travelers, rain and friends from Mabu’im and meanwhile we talked about our friends in Gaza, the planned meeting for next week in Sderot, planting Tu B’Shvat a week later in the West Bank, the education system in Israel and heard Roni’s experiences with young people seeking to learn about life in Gaza.
It was cold (as mentioned – Mary came), instead of rain there was only a slight drizzle and hikers and guests did not visit our circle.
There are also days like this… We enjoyed and expanded our minds.
Shmulik promised that soon there will be a blossom and the hikers will flock and what Shmulik promises always comes true!
Wrote: Nahshi