Encounter 217 – 6.5.2022

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan fasting. Tuesday evening, the eve of Remembrance Day. Wednesday Memorial Day. In the evening, on the eve of Independence Day. Thursday, Independence Day. Thursday night, three more victims in an insatiable conflict.
This is the “cargo” we brought to the lighthouse today.
Ronny is shocked by what Sinwar said. We saw the results in Elad, she says. Then she told about someone she had known closely in Gaza. She says they have, there in Gaza, a strong sense that something terrible is going to happen.
Mary also refers to Sinwar and says he always says the same things in different versions. This is indeed shocking, but not surprising.
Vivian says the world sees an unbalanced picture. She too, like Roni, is going through a difficult day and thought that coming to “Lighthouse” would be a bit relaxing.
Rami has spent a lot of time at home because of his illness and has time to keep up with attempts to link the events on the Temple Mount to threats from Gaza. A friend who visited him asked him: Suppose now that the residents of Gaza have complete freedom and they can move wherever they want, is there a connection of culture and heritage with the Palestinians in the West Bank? The question embarrassed him. If Gaza was emptied in 1917 of all its inhabitants by the Ottomans, and most of its inhabitants today are refugees or descendants of refugees from 1948, do they have a rooted affinity for Gaza or will they leave it for the most part as soon as they are allowed to? We, says Rami, talk a lot here about historic Gaza, Gaza which has been an important city throughout history. Are those who are now there, not in it mainly because they were caught up in it by force of war events and were actually imprisoned in it out of necessity? How many of them will choose Gaza as their place of residence if they are allowed complete freedom? To reinforce his words he mentions the Gazans who were or still are, in touch with us. Everyone, in one way or another, chose to leave Gaza and live somewhere else in the world.
In response to Rami’s remarks, Shmulik recounts a visit by Palestinian poet / writer / journalist Rimonda Twill to his Locality many years ago. She said her connection to Gaza is close. She has family there (she lives in Ramallah). Shmulik argues that this is a common trend among us to create two separate entities between the two territories. This is a clear political trend. Shmulik’s attitude to Gaza is an attitude of the here and now. History is in the background only. The question of how many will want to stay in Gaza if released is irrelevant.
After Shmulik I spoke. I argued that “the land belongs to us” should be changed to “we belong to the land.” Man is temporary and the earth is eternal. The same person who sanctifies the land on which his house is located, will die when his time comes (and is swallowed up by the land) and the land will belong to someone else. The “eternal” (earth), can contain the “temporary” (man). Temporary, can not contain the eternal. I “confess” that on the eve of Independence Day I have been at home, alone, for many years. This is no longer my holiday. I say I can not argue with emotional arguments. I may be missing the “patriotic gene”.
Malki, after we celebrated her birthday and raised a glass, hears my words and says we are in a pessimistic mood. She looks ahead and sees no ways to change. In the context of Independence Day, she has pride in what is being done here in the country, but there are also things that need to change. Malki looks around and there is no way to change. Religion, in her opinion, leads to irrational places that she has no way of dealing with. One should try to go other ways, but there is no one to lead. Today there is a demographic situation between the river and the sea where there are more “non-Jews” than Jews. We will be a minority. Two states for two peoples will not work if each party still continues to hope and dream that everything will be his. From the first day she came to the Lighthouse, she said she was in a constant state of despair. Despair that stems from the fact that even in the future, for the future, the conflict continues.
Moshe says that looking at facts also comes from emotion. He loves Independence Day but regrets the deportation. He prefers the name “War of the Commies” over “War of Independence.” In his view, that war is divided into two, one against the local Arabs and the other against the invasion of Arab armies. An invasion designed to eliminate our presence here. Our victory stemmed from our just feeling. Moshe emphasizes the invasion of the Arab armies and less the “Nakba”. The invaders did not fight out of affinity for the land and were therefore defeated. Extremism here and in Arab countries is religious and Moshe would like the conflict to become national again.
Ofek says he has no idea what the solution is, he just promises that he will continue to treat every person with respect as he is a person.
Tal thinks like Ofek … Tal goes to a pre-military preparatory school and aims for military service. He would like us to come and talk in his preparatory or they would come here. Tal does not think in terms of protecting land, it is important for him to protect people. The unit he aspires to be in fights rocket launchers. All his life he hears alarms and experiences missiles so he is glad he will have the opportunity to fight against their launchers. Against people and not necessarily for the land.
Mary volunteers at the Hashomer Hahadash organization and meets people of all shades. She’s there five years. She briefly explains about the organization. On the subject of “land,” she says, the sense of belonging is the engine for many things like nationality, religion and in general. Maybe because people are like a herd. The earth is an anchor for people to feel a sense of belonging.
Vivian upholds the Supreme Court ruling regarding the villages (shepherd communities) in the southern Hebron Mountains, from Safer Yatta. It’s another nail in our coffin. Another hopeless nail of the conflict. In today’s world, it’s hard to base a conversation on facts.
Roni adds that within the media reports it is difficult to objectively understand the background to the events. Only those who search can see things happening outside the mainstream. It does not justify, God forbid, violence and murder, but there are important nuances that are catalysts and one should look for them to understand the background.
Bella says she has no other country. Here the Jews were gathered from suffering. She does not want children, regardless of religion or nationality, to go through what she went through. There were times when life here was better, she says. We do not do to others what they have done to us.
Ilan has been to the lighthouse several times. Until now, just listen. It is difficult for him with the self-flagellation of the Jewish people. He does not bow his head at the siren and stands upright with the Bedouin and Ethiopians with whom he works. His difficulty is in mediating the situation to his children. He has no questions about his presence here. The human race has always been a herd. Currently without a shepherd. He had the “right” to be beyond the fence, where he acted contrary to the education by which he grew up. The Lebanon War was a “clear” war, to protect the northern settlements. Objective and understandable goal, there were no dilemmas. In Gaza it is not clear. Although he did not keep family or friends in the north (Ilan was born and raised in a kibutz near Gaza), he was clear about what to do. The key word is “management”. We have no management! It’s not that there are “two sides” here, there is simply no management! He reads from a letter sent by his mother Mirhaleh, who also often comes to the “lighthouse.” The song she sent is by Muhammad Darwish.
Rami “closes” the circle. Heard of a Bedouin segment: if we want to get to something we need to create a straight line there. I, says the Bedouin, one hand on the reins and one hand on the plow. If I get out of concentration, the plow will make a curved line on its own. In conclusion, one should mark a horizon and concentrate on it. It may require parting from the “correct ” and the “proper”. A new discourse needs to be produced.
We were: Bella, Vivian, Roni, Mary, Tal, Ofek, Moshe, Malki, Nahshi, Shmulik, Oded, Rami, Ilan, Ziv, Keren, Golan.
Wrote: Oded