Encounter 215 – 22.4.2022

Beneath the eucalyptus tree, which overlooks the plant to the south, sits a couple on “our” chairs. Two pairs of bicycles on the trash can. Nahshi immediately invites for coffee. Enter, arrange a circle and in the process arrive two more cyclists, a father and his 15-year-old son. So it turns out that even before coffee, there is already a “circle”.
Eldor was an army officer and served in the area and this is one perspective he has on Gaza, through the military binoculars and rifle barrel. His second point of view, more compassionate – The situation there is one of helplessness. They gathered there because no one wanted to receive them. There is disregard for Gaza because it is not anyone’s problem.
Louisa comes from Colombia. She speaks English and Spanish and luckily we have Moshe, a native of Argentina who will translate for us and her. Louisa is studying psychology. Colombia has a constant state of internal war because of which other conflicts and external issues are pushed aside. The school has a loose reference to our conflict, but in her opinion it is on a religious rather than a political background.
Segev (15) says that as long as there is no escalation and warming in front of the “Strip”, he does not think about Gaza. If there is warming should respond but not too hard. He knows life there is hard but does not think about it
Honen, Segev’s father, says he has had a long “affair” with Gaza since he was a teenager and visited Khan Yunis. A traumatic visit at the sight of deep poverty. In the army he did a lot with Gaza. In 2014 he was in the area but did not “enter”. Two years ago during the balloon era he was also in “employment.” He has a dream that one day he will return to Gaza and see a different picture from the poor one. His family maintains contact with workers who worked with his father. Dreaming of another reality where he is sitting on the beach in Gaza. Remember them as “wonderful people.”
Shmulik knows Gaza from before. Traveled a lot to the sea and was in contact with workers, a family of Bedouin who were thrown into Gaza in 1953. The border then was a furrow and then a one-wire fence. They worked with him in the barn for many years. Were part of the fabric of life in his place. Knew them from a young age until they became grandparents. These days, a TV show about Israelis evacuation from Sinai at 1982 has been broadcast. Shmulik understands their pain but is also angry at the disregard for the fact that in order to make room for them in an area called the “Yamit region”, hundreds of local farmers who grew vegetables in growing pits were expelled and their growth pits were covered. The cover and deportation that Smulik saw with his own eyes. He says that a state of hopelessness does not lead to a good place, so it is good that workers have recently been allowed to go out to work and earn a living.
Cyclists rush back to Be’eri because the bikes are rented and need to be returned on time.
Rami and Rotem (his son) arrive. Since at the moment the circle contains only “constants” and I know that Rami has arrived for a short time, I ask him to share with us more of his knowledge of our space. Rami chooses to tell about plans he took part in the wake of the Oslo Accords. Plans to develop ties with the Palestinians as part of the agreement. Plans that were “born” following the Oslo Accords and also perished with them.
I will summarize:
In the Oslo Accords, we built a plan for regional cooperation between Israel and the Gaza Strip. They did not talk about “returning territories” but developed models such as the “safe passage” between Gaza and the West Bank, for example. There was a plan for an open canal that included a two-lane road and a train, with passages above it. A second less popular program, was a safe passage as a bridge – an overpass.
There were talks of renewing the railway line through the Erez crossing to Egypt.
A diplomatic crossing into the Gaza Strip was planned in the “Black Arrow” area, near Mefalsim.
The Karni crossing was supposed to be a huge terminal for goods that had even been built, and then dismantled and blown up in 2010.
A huge water reservoir for agriculture in Gaza was planned on the channel of the Besor River, after the Gazans claimed that the Israeli reservoirs along the river deprive them of water for agriculture.
Near Kissufim, on both sides of the border, a large hospital was designed, mainly for maternity.
Near Sufa, a reservoir of aggregates was designed to be transported in long conveyors to the other side, with a magnetic scan that detects metals, so that no weapons would be transferred to them. The planning was not carried out.
Today there is a goods crossing at the Kerem Shalom crossing. It was designed for passenger passage only, also because of the proximity to the airport in Dahania. An airport that has since been bombed and plowed. (Due Diligence: I fantasized about flights from there to Sinai and Europe. Oded.)
These were the plans in the mid-90s of the last century.
Rami and Rotem travel. Tzafrir and Ayala arrive and we continue “circle” after my explanatory remarks.
Moshe shares the feeling of some of us. We are neighbors and my good is related to the good of my neighbors and vice versa. Moshe does not like the term “Gaza Envelope”. This area has value and history. He is afraid like everyone else of the rounds of violence, but at the same time thinks of the Gazans as well.
Ofek came because here he first heard talk in human terms about Gaza. Keeps coming for the same reason.
Omer came for the same reasons that Ofek came. Before getting to know the Lighthouse, he had mostly heard talk of violence in the context of Gaza.
Tzafrir says that Gaza is a very, very difficult sight to face Israel. Familiar with Gaza from other periods. We and the Strip is a vicious circle of a lot of pain. Later, after hearing more people in the circle, Tzafrir said that he suddenly understands the meaning of the question “what is Gaza for you” – suddenly Gaza arouses new thinking in him.
Ayala said that in the kibbutz where she was born and raised, there was a worker from Gaza named Hassona who “managed” all the maintenance on the kibbutz. Her father had a very good relationship with him. Ayala says that during the “rounds” in front of Gaza, she felt real physical pain. Feels “bad” in the sense of state acts being done (also) in her name. It saddens her that something in her was blocked for this pain after more and more rounds.
Jaber recounts the meaning of life in an unrecognized village and also the recognition that there are even those who suffer more. Gaza for him is a common neighbor, space and language. In Gaza, he used to be at sea and sit in restaurants. Jaber is taking a mentoring course. Adds from the knowledge he has acquired about the area in which we are. The factory was established on the plot of Nimer al-Wahidi, he says. A British officer saw sulfur after the First World War, but it was not until the 1930s that land was acquired for the establishment through the mediation of a-Shawa, the mayor of Gaza and its wealth. The plant ceased to operate shortly after the Second World War.
Hanan came because of the kites. Almost 3 years ago there was a kite event and Hanan, who loves and builds kites came because he was upset that the kite was used for inappropriate purposes. On that visit he met us and the rest is history. Later, Hanan created the kite that is placed in the background, inspired by a photograph in which a girl in Gaza is seen painting on a star-shaped wooden board. Hanan loves the conversations on the various topics that they respect, interest and preserve the hope for something good. Gaza is a painful place in our being, he says. We sometimes feel and sometimes ignore. Hanan says that Roni’s operation, during which a piano was transferred for a young man studying music, is a symbol for him. On the one hand a noble act and on the other an inconceivable reality of poverty symbolized by only 2 pianos within a population of over 2 million people. He comes to the “lighthouse” also because in the structure of the circular discourse there is no arguing. Everyone says their opinion without interruption and people come out with a conversational experience.
Mary came following Hanan’s blog. She is here because of the friendliness and listening that is very rare in our places. Gaza is a complexity that attracts it.
Nahshi was born and raised here while it was still possible to meet and meet Gazans. Came to maintain a spark of possibility that would be different. Remember that these are people on both sides who are harmed and disturbed by this situation. He always comes out of here with new insights and a kind of therapy.
We were this time: Eldor, Louisa, Honen, Segev, Hanan, Moshe, Ofek, Omer, Oded, Jaber, Mary, Nahshi, Shmulik, Rami, Rotem, Tzafrir, Ayala.
Wrote: Oded

Encounter 214 – 15.4.2022

Mid-Ramadan, the eve of Passover. Traveling alone to the “lighthouse”.
Muslims fast at home or in shopping malls, Jews gather in the family circle, get ready for the holiday. I drive on the narrow road to our “lighthouse”, between the soft hills, in complete silence. It’s the closest to actually seeing silence physically! I’ll probably be alone, on the eve of a holiday … I’ll sit for a while, have a coffee and offer Rami a little emergence from his illness and sit with me, so we’re both alone in the silence.
Here comes Mark. Drink coffee. Trying to clarify things we talked about last week. Things that got up a bit of an argument and Roni addressed them on WhatsApp which she sent in groups alongside Happy holiday wishes.
Ofek comes. Wearing a supermarket shirt. Because of the holiday he stayed up late working at the branch. He unfolds the subtle way in which the military tries to force him into combat service because of the profile and despite his reluctance.
Comes Maharan and the conversation “flies” to history and cross-religious myths.
A familiar Toyota slides downhill to the development of the structure. There is probably a telepathic coordination between me and Rami.
Neta, Mirale and Rami join. “Just to say hello.” An hour passed exciting. Rami tells us about his physical and spiritual condition. “As Jaber always starts his words” Rami opens and compares himself to Jaber who always starts and tells about the unrecognized villages, “but” compared to Gaza their situation is reasonable … Rami gets up in the morning with a strong sense of “special day”. With such a feeling one should be in the “lighthouse.”
A month passed by him from “Hell.” Stopped treatment for rethinking, recovered a bit, and now has a different direction. This morning, Khaled, a man his age from Gaza who had worked in Be’eri for many years, called him. Rami felt a sense of brotherhood to him. Khaled called to greet Passover. Now Rami is here, at the Lighthouse. Even ready to sip coffee, a drop. Then he asks to do a round of congratulations …
Ofek welcomes the “lighthouse” that has opened up new directions of thinking. He is sure that when faced with challenging situations (in military service?), The things he has absorbed here will help him maintain a proper balance.
Maharan joins in and mentions the “lighthouse” as a place that allows one to express oneself freely even on things that are difficult to hear.
Mark is in his own private circle of thought that is influenced by climatic predictions, definitions of “belonging” and conflict with Jewish-Israeli-Zionist nationalism. More than once, through his thinking and conclusions, they have created a conflict in the “circle”, but today he welcomes the project. Rami smiles.
Mirale (Rami’s mother) and Neta (his sister) mark the project well and of course wish Rami a complete recovery.
I tell Rami that I am missing in the circle with his breadth of knowledge and with his thinking originality. And I note that The Lighthouse has helped me focus on the historical search for the roots of the conflict. I told him that for me, the comparison of his state of health to the state of distress of the Gazans, takes place on the plane of “suffering that you can see but not feel.” Situations that require inconceivable mental strengths for those who (fortunately) have not experienced them.
Rami, Neta and Mirale left. The energies went down a bit and after another round of coffee, we also drove on a road that was now a little less quiet because I continued the conversation with myself.

We were this time: Maharan, Mark, Ofek, Rami, Neta, Mirale, Oded.

Encounter 213 – 8.4.2022

To the place where light is lit, one can navigate hope” Rami once said, defining the meaning of the “lighthouse for the Gaza consciousness.”
Today we came to “turn on a light” with a heavy feeling. The air around us is compressed in a communicative language, in Hebrew. A hegemonic communication that defines the other languages and divides them into dedicated “drawers”. We heard about the political chaos that met with violence between communal and nationalist, and hatred that erupted from all sides everywhere in a language we understand well. No wonder we were enveloped in melancholy.
This is what Roni wrote it in the WhatsApp she sent before she came: “Dear friends, with a heavy heart and a lot of pain, I’ll come today to our lighthouse from which only comes out, even today, the light from which hope can be navigated. In the words of the poet ❤️”.
There are almost no travelers.
In light of all of the above, we gathered today as well as every Friday. The changeable weather brought us back into the building.
Shmulik, Ofek, Roni, Mark, Malki, Oded and in the last half hour also Maharan who claims that the late arrival time is due to the constraints of Ramadan.
Shmulik made coffee.
We talked about different essences. On Judaism, on climate, on the usefulness of wanting to bring about change (can a fly change the trajectory of a nervous elephant?), On Zionism, national rights and also on Gaza, mainly through the information that Roni brings.
Also on resolving the conflict in a Confederate way (the “A Land for All” movement holds a series of Zoom meetings). Mahran also had a short time to review thousands of years of political and historical processes. There is a surprising and interesting originality in his point of view.
We continue to accompany Rami and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.
We were this time: Roni, Maharan, Malki, Ofek, Shmulik, Mark, Oded.
Photographer: Ofek.
Reporter: Oded.

Encounter 212 – 1.4.2022

On the way, Nahshi and I argued, is it already warm and justified enough to move to our summer place, or still continue to congregate inside the building. It was decided for the summer. Pleasant in the shade under the pine trees, the wind is also light and caressing. The “warehouse” of chairs, the one that stores chairs for the summer, has undergone a change. The jamb collapsed! Blocks of stone blocked the entrance. The chairs were not damaged, even for the rusty ones in between.
Ofek, as usual, is already waiting. We introduced him to the summer residence. He came with the guitar. Later he will compose and play to the lyrics of Shmulik, a song about Shmulik’s communist aunt who was cut off from the family in the 1930s. Shmulik was not today (on a trip) to be impressed by the melody and performance, but his sister Hayuta was to get excited in his name as well. The audience also included Nahshi, Moshe and me.
Before and after the song we talked about the last days in the surface and media. There were insights from a television interview with Shaul Arieli and Gideon Levy’s articles in Haaretz.
And what about Gaza?
There was not much to say this week, but the very recurring gathering every week for more than four years is also a statement.
Then Limor arrived armed with a camera and we are already six.
A vehicle passed and its passengers stopped for a moment. They are from Kibbutz Alumim and no, they will not stay for coffee, they are hiking and Shabbat is approaching. But one of them said “You’re the lighthouse right?” We said right and they continued on their way.
At quarter past three Maharan arrived. We immediately pounced on him with (coffee and …) questions about last week in his vicinity. “Look,” he said, “the Arabs were afraid of the Jews and the Jews were afraid of the Arabs, so the malls was deserted.” A kind of economic insight from a seemingly religious community confrontation. Maharan then said that he tried to go on the air on Channel 14 (a “Heritage” channel lol) to tell them “the truth”, but they Ignored him. If so, said Limor, we’ll do a panel simulation now! Maharan was given 2 minutes to tell the “panel” the truth as it is in his opinion. Opinion of a human being, a lawyer, a Bedouin, a Muslim, a native and a resident of the city of Rahat. After the speech was over, Mahran faced “nasty” remarks from the panel that rained down on him. He convinced us, not the panel that remained right.
That is for this week. of course, we send a blessing of recovery to Rami.
We were – Nahshi, Moshe, Hayuta, Ofek, Maharan, Limor, Oded and also Roni, on the phone.
Wrote – Oded.