Encounter 211 – 25.3.2022

After some stormy weather days, the sun in Be’eri shines but the hikers are not. We told ourselves we would be few this time.
But, the circle has its own gravity and it was like this:
We sat Ofek, Mark, Roni, Shmulik and Nahshi, listened to Maya, which came with Roni, hearing her interesting story:
She recently lived in the US, set up and ran a project called “Bead for Peace” a series of creative workshops that bring together Jewish and Muslim women and develop a bond of understanding and tolerance around the bead weaving.
Maya showed us some of the works of her late husband Mori who was an artist and published in the Jerusalem Post works and articles about peace and life in harmony with nature, which sound very relevant today.
Meanwhile, a trio arrived from Modi’in – a mother, daughter and son who were looking for a sulfur factory and found stories about Gaza. They sat fascinated and said that they do not know much about Gaza but are excited to meet such a group. The son said that in his work (medical research) he gets to collaborate with quite a few Arab doctors and friendships are formed between them.
While we are talking about the shocking murder in Be’er Sheva and the horrific reactions in the Israeli media after it, just before Bella, Dina and Malki came from Gvulot – an excited family arrives from the unrecognized beduin village of Alsara. Grandmother, father (physiotherapist who treats people in the Negev region), mother (who was a teacher and is now studying nursing), three cute little children and two other nephews. Despite the difficult atmosphere of the last few days – they decided to come and get to know the people living next to Gaza. Returned from strawberry picking at Yesha and were surprised to find us here. While the children explore the environment, they manage to tell a little about life in an unrecognized village and how to deal with extremism and hatred. Before we parted they invited everyone to be a guest on the family hospitality project “Khan Alsara”.
In the meantime, Limor also arrived and we managed to do one more round about Gaza, inclouding short phone talk to our friend.
before the rain washed everything away and expelled us a little before the planning.
We were this time: Roni, Maya, Ofek, Shmulik, Mark, Nahshi, Bella, Dina, Malki, Rami, Limor, the family from Modi’in and the family from Alsara.
Wrote: Nahshi.

Encounter 210 – 18.3.2022

In the beginning, the country was in chaos, after last week the braces of the table disappeared, today the legs are also missing and a few more chairs have disappeared.
But the wind of the lighthouse hovers over the surface of the site, and there is light. And Nahshi said, Let there be coffee, and he will distinguish between coffee and tea. And Shmulik saw that it was good and blessed a pretzel.
And then Ofek shall grow, a righteous man from Mabu’ym, and with him a stringed instrument, and this is the psalm (lyrics by Shmulik, melody of Ofek):
“In front of the wall of the west wall
Facing the holy ark
Standing a child carrying his eyes
And will not know the secrets of the wall… “
And while the melody and the coffee (first round) Roni appeared with pastries.
Meeting 210 of the lighthouse set a world record, not in the number of hikers who visited the place, but in the number of times the “circle” was opened:
With a group of students from Ben Gurion University,
And a kind couple from Hod Hasharon,
And families of Yoshivya,
And between rounds, between tea and coffee, Ofek (who will celebrate 18 this week) informed us about his placement in the IDF, and promised to continue with us every Friday and bring the lighthouse massege to the consciousness of many young people.
Ah! There was another exciting moment: Roni’s phone rang and we expected the sound of the brothers across the fence, but the British did not install an antenna in the sulfur factory and we did not hear a word…
And for anyone who cares about keeping the lighthouse doctrine: We managed to get home just in time for Shabbat. Next week will be easier because of the Daylight saving time.
Blessing of Ramadan Karim, in the hope of peace and brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, Ukraine, and all over the world.
We were this time: Roni, Ofek, Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe and hikers as above.
Wrote: Moshe.
Fill in the blanks: Nahshi, who also managed to photograph, make coffee and improvise a table.

Encounter 209 – 11.3.2022

Since the outbreak of anemone blossoms and the waves of hikers who visited the reserve (and of course the sulfur plant site), we have witnessed extensive use of the chairs we have brought in favor of the “circle”. This in itself is not problematic, also leaving the chairs scattered inside the factory space is not problematic… The “problem” begins when we have to collect those who are taken and left far away. Herds of sheep were also brought in during this period to lick the green grass before it would turn yellow and dry up (and there would be combustible material in the fires). The loving shepherds take the chairs under a tree and sit with the herd. Then they “forget” to return the chairs. This time, in addition to all this, the braces of the table disappeared and only the “legs” were left… We searched and searched but in vain (at least we collected dirt during the scans).
So we arranged the refreshments on four chairs. We did not have high expectations on this cold rainy day.
As usual in the last three months, Ofek comes first. Shmulik and I collect Hayuta and come and Roni arrives too.
After we finished collecting chairs in the area, we sat down with coffee and talked about this and that and the world immersed in its wars.
When Amit, Ido and Rossana arrived, we opened a circle.
Later, Mark, Nomika, Rami and Naomi will join, and just before the final, a group of 40 Jerusalem retirees.
Amit recounts a visit to Gaza in 1998 with Meron Benvenisti and General Nasser Yosef to promote the idea of a binational state. A call from Arafat to Nasser Yusuf took him out of the meeting and it ended in nothing. Amit remembers the people in Gaza better and warmer than the people in the West Bank. They have an “internal heat,” she says. Wrong decisions in the management of the conflict and especially in the decision to hold elections in Gaza and the West Bank at 2006 have, in her opinion, led to an escalation. There were those who said that the Palestinians are unfamiliar with the democratic system and that it is too sharp a transition in the process of running such a scattered community and without real territory and rule. There were elections anyway and Hamas received permission to participate even though it did not accept the Oslo Accords.
Ronny talked about the conference we held at Sderot last week. She got excited at the conference and kept thinking about it even after that. Suddenly the Palestinian Jewish connection seems very natural and true. It was so normal! Yes you can get along and you can feel normal.
As usual, she talked to Rami this week. He is waiting to meet with us. In the meantime he met with others.
Mark, when he came to Israel 40 years ago, was first and foremost engaged in “placing” himself in Israel. From the moment he arrived he settled in this area. He then began to engage in socio-political activity. Driven more by feelings and less by information. “We live in a time of very tough politics,” he states. There is no empathy so it is difficult for him to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is hard for him to get excited about good deeds here and there because the despair is great. Regarding Gaza – he has lived by her side since arriving in Israel. His children, who were born here, will not return to live here, in this area. They also have a hard time hearing him speak out against Zionism. In the last five years he can already clearly say that he is not a Zionist. It’s hard for him to say his opinion inside the house, not wanting to hear it. Now that everything is quiet, it is easy to forget the fact that the silence is tense. He has reading problems and therefore has difficulty acquiring information and communication is unreliable. He has a hard time with the fact that the world is excited about Ukrainian refugees and not African or Middle Eastern refugees.
Rossana, coming from the center. She has not had any contact with Gazans in the past. In general, Gaza is a painful wound, and when a part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts. As long as there are people under our occupation and control, it hurts with us too. Pain is not always treated and that is why she came here today, to the “lighthouse”. Not a Zionist and did not served the army. She has an activist past. Did an alternate service. She had an unsuccessful attempt with a group of people, Jews and Arabs, to build a life together. Traveled to Tamera (Portugal) to learn about how to do it right. They returned to Israel, lived together and were supposed to move to a farm in the south, but the group disbanded. She had a Palestinian partner who returned to Portugal for Tamera, he does not want to be here. Currently less active in peace and more in the climate crisis. Feels she has no enemies and she is not afraid. Do not want to be an occupier even with that means maybe she is not from this nation.
Ido comes here and admits to his shame that he came because of what is happening in Europe. Ramy once said in our circle that the greater the darkness, the brighter the light of the lighthouse. Ido should see the darkness in his eyes. At the conference he sat and listened with tears in his eyes. Was excited to hear people who are able to see evil and face it. Met Rossana in Portugal. Ido is a second and third generation Holocaust survivor and lives in a sense of disaster all the time. He wants to live a normal life, it’s a daily struggle for him. Come here to connect. Looking at Gaza and trying to get into their shoes, hearing evidence. Under a tyrannical regime, even democracy fails to function. We have some rest from Netanyahu’s rule of darkness, they do not have it with Hamas.
Hayuta sympathizes with Rossana’s words about the pain in the body. That is why our democracy is sick. She lives here mainly to strengthen her life and give them meaning.
Ofek says “Gaza is curiosity.” To him, Gaza is a box of cookies on a high shelf and he, the little boy, wants cookies but can not come. When he hears in a circle the “old men” tell of the experience of getting to know the Gaza of yesteryear he is jealous. “It’s not fair,” he says, “that you won and I did not.”
Nomika connects to Mark’s pessimism. She, too, like Roni, witnessed the euphoria that prevailed at the conference. Brotherhood and solidarity. Needless to say (I am allowed …) that Nomika was the main organizer and leader of the conference! Unfortunately, due to high translation costs, the conference “spoke” Hebrew only. Next time we will get better. Glad the “Desert Stars” arrived and also a bus with women from Eilabun. Jaber was also amazing in what he said and in helping during the conference. Nomika is in other groups and is exposed to difficult and oppressive daily information about the events of the occupation.
She wants to read a song by Yehuda Amichai, “The third song is about Dickie”, but a tour guide with 40 Jerusalem pensioners appears in the doorway. Since it’s a quarter to four and the cold is starting to bother me, Ramy signals for me to “take” the team. The guide (Zohar) gathers the group and tells them something like “We do have a plan, but we came across an interesting phenomenon of a group of residents here and we should listen to them. Please encourage.”
I explain the factory and its history, the buildings next to it and continue with an explanation of the “lighthouse”, the idea and the deed. Answers questions and the guide concludes and invites everyone back to the bus. We also fold equipment and disperse.
It should be noted the role of Shmulik who successfully filled Nahshi’s place in the preparation of coffee and tea.
We were: Roni, Shmulik, Hayuta, Oded, Ofek, Mark, Nomika, Ido, Amit, Rossana, Rami, Naomi, Zohar and the 40 pensioners.
Photographer: Ofek. Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 208 – 4.3.2022

It may be possible to detect an increasing trend of spreading the gospel of the lighthouse and the consciousness. Because even today and for several weeks now, arriving at the meeting at the lighthouse is like a rising spring.
This time, the pioneers holding Ofek and I lined up at the lighthouse.
At the same time, words and voices were said at a conference of “Bringing Peace Back to the Discourse” that took place in the community of Ibim – where Oded and Jaber spoke about our Lighthouse. Here is a link to a selection of excerpts from the conference.
So we prepared the circle and the table
And we waited…
And we waited…
And we called to passers-by who passed us pedaling and wandering,
Finally some came and wanted to stay with us for a while – 3 pedal families from the north to whom Ofek explained our essence and even guided them on the hidden attractions – for example a well 51 meters deep!
Itzik from Usha was more deeply interested, and when the rest flocked to peek at the well, he stayed to ask questions. On the value of caring for others in particular. He said, Quoted: “My world is as narrow as an ant’s world” His acquaintance with Gaza is from the 1970’s and from the aspect of the reserve service there only. After they left, Itzik from Be’eri and two from Nir Akiva arrived. Itzik said he heard stories from people from Be’eri who were in Gaza and were in daily friendships with the Gazans. To him it sounded like a fantasy. They – the Gazans under a regime that does them harm. Shani said that as a child she had a Gaza escort who would accompany her to kindergarten and school.
Then Ramy appeared in a storm in his white car as a knight’s horse, with reinforcements of ashes, kettles, and spoons that helped withstand the onslaught of the influx that followed.
Noa Galili from “Gisha”, Roni, Malki, and also Limor, Dina and Hanan joined in with reinforcements for the rapprochement. Close up starred a marvelous dish in his taste made by Hanan to boast, leaves to enrich the tea brought by Dina and more.
With his familiar skill, Rami created the framework of the discourse (here is a link to his words) which therefore allowed Noa Galili to represent the Gisha organization. Here is a link to her words.
Thanks to Rami’s experienced skill, it was possible to “stream” the many groups of participants in order to make room for those who came after, and in order for the Gaza consciousness to form and permeate comfortably.
Of course, under the constraint of multiple participants and their stressful schedules, a discontinuous cycle of “tasting” of opinions was created and not everyone could be heard.
So the experienced team worked together to advance the issue: Hanan opened circles and told the story of the lighthouse group, Rami added and then led on to an illustrated tutorial about the lighthouse and Roni presented the groups with the stories and her work as an example of possible action.
Limor constantly flowed the glasses she cleaned in Sisyphean cycles and Dina willingly assisted like a skilled waitress and directed the requests for coffee, tea or both.
Then finally we were joined by Oded, Moshe and Nahshi who returned from the arena of an enemy conference and recounted experiences.
We finished late because it was so pleasant together that we did not feel like going.
We were: dozens of visitors, including Itamar, Itzik and their families from the north, Itzik from Be’eri, Shani from Nir Akiva, the Ofek group: Omer, Yogev, and Oran. Roni, Rami, Nahshi, Hanan, Limor, Malki, Anat, Uzi, Moshe, Rami’s sister,
Registered in collaboration with Ofek, Mary.