Encounter 207 – 25.2.2022

Usually, in the summaries I write, I try to quote a statement from everyone who participates in the “circle”. not today. Today many guests came to the “lighthouse”, probably 50 or so…
A group of hikers arrived who were led by a current tour guide known as “Yoram”, but in the past, in his military service, was called “Sherman”. Sherman and I (“Bachar” as I was called then) were in the army together 50 years ago. Today Sherman led a group of about 25 hikers to our “lighthouse”.
At the same time, we celebrated Ronny’s birthday today. In honor of the lighthouse’s first lady’s birthday, her family members came and friends from the area also came. Of course, everyone knows that if you want to “catch” Roni on Friday, you have to get to the “lighthouse”, While a birthday ceremony was being held for Roni and Shmulik dedicated a song by him, I gave the group of travelers a tour and an explanation (all I learned from Rami) about the factory and its surroundings. At the end of the tour we got in and joined the circle. There I continued to tell about the “lighthouse.”
We started a “circle” and Roni told about the moment when she realized that she was not alone here… that there would be another community of people, another people who also claim their rights and space. She came to this insight while she was with her family on her husband’s agricultural mission in Egypt, after the outbreak of peace…
There, in Cairo, she met a Palestinian family through the friendship formed between her daughter, who was 6 at the time, and the Palestinian girl. Unlike in children, the acquaintance between the parents was not easy, but when the “boycott” wall was broken and ties were formed, she realized that people belong to their place of birth. In time, she read, heard, became interested and expanded her consciousness about the other people, the Palestinian people. She understood the immense power of dialogue as a force that thaws hostility and brings people closer together. “How many times can you go in with your head against the wall and not look for a detour,” says Roni in the context of more and more rounds of violence in the area. “No I am the one who dreams” she says, dreamers are those on both sides who think the other side can be hidden. The more she knows, the more she realizes that there is someone to talk to.
We then tried to start an orderly “circle”, but the group leaders wanted to continue the trip. A kind of “rebellion” began in the group, there were those for whom it was important to stay and express themselves. The group stayed a little longer. Most of the group and a large part of the other guests did not speak so the list of names that will appear at the end of the summary will be very partial.
Amit very much appreciates Roni’s words, but needs to know the reality. Amit works at the Technion and was on a team that tried to persuade the Ministry of Defense to open a floating port in Gaza. Be nice, they will have a port, they will not be nice, we will harness the port to the ship and drag it to Ashdod… he think such meetings are a nice thing, but “should be realistic”, with all due respect to citizens’ dialogue initiatives, the arrangements are made by governments.
Hannah thinks dialogue is important and what politicians do is for their survival needs.
Smadar says people want to live and need to get to a point where they have good reasons to keep what they have in life.
Nimrod works at the Technion. There are many Arab colleagues at the Technion. In recent years there has been an interesting development of collaborations between Arab and Jewish students. Global problems, he says, are not solved in personal discourse but only through leaders.
Amos works at a bank. A few years ago they merged with an Arab bank. He is under the impression that the Arabs who work for them want a solution, but thinks like Nimrod that the leaders are solving the big problems.
Hagar was much involved in joint activities. Agrees that the solution should come from “above”. But it’s important that we break through the barrier by dialogue, like what we do here at Lighthouse. Increase meetings and joint activities. Hagar did a workshop in Jisr a-Zarqa and someone told her that he suddenly found out that there were nice Jews…
Sefi told about the conference we are holding next week and he intends to come to it. Sefi tells about an association he founded, “Sipur-Hikaya“, An organization that aims to expose as many Israelis to the Palestinian narrative as possible and as many Palestinians as possible to the Jewish-Israeli narrative. A mass of pressure from citizens needs to be created. Make leaders step out of their comfort zone that is not changing anything. If the leaders initiate any change and the move does not succeed, their political careers will be damaged. That’s why they prefer to do a lot of nothing. Lateral pressure from below can spur them into action.
Afterwards, the group members got up to continue on their way, but since some of them still had questions and a desire to express themselves, small standing groups were formed on the way out. In the midst of all this mingling, those present gradually dispersed until around three-thirty, only the “regulars” remained. We took advantage of the time left to talk about our assessments, of the “lighthouse” for the conference. Meanwhile, Rami called Ronnie to wish her a happy birthday and of course we were happy to meet him even if only on Skype.
This is for today. The list of participants will include all those I have identified by name, and will therefore be very partial: Shmulik, Roni, Ofek, Omer, Mary, Ovadia, Michal, Mirhaleh, Neta, Ilan, Rami, Sefi, Amos, Amit, Hagar, Hanna, Nimrod, Yoram, Oded.
Wrote: Oded.