Encounter 218 – 13.5.2022

Then, in the car, on the way home, Nahshi said we need to formulate a procedure to form a circle with those who are in a hurry to continue on their way. Nahshi meant three women who came to walk in the sulfur factory and we, as was our custom, invited them to join. They did join in and settle down, but “on thorns.” On the one hand they were in a hurry to get to the center and prepare for Friday dinner with their families and on the other hand we were intrigued by the “phenomenon” of the strange circle they encountered. I introduced us and Roni told about her humanitarian activities for the boys and girls of the Gaza area. We then asked them to tell what Gaza is for them and their speech was very uncomfortable (regardless of content) because of the “thorns”.
Usually, the orderly speech in a circle creates a unique image for each session. We give space and time to guests to understand the rules. When it’s your turn to speak, it is already after you have had time to internalize the form in which the personal opinion is cast, any opinion, whatever it may be.
My feeling from the conversation with the three women, was of a miss. We could not make them realize that this was not an eccentric bunch, and they, out of time pressure, said the immediate clichés that came to mind just to please the circle. I guess that was also Nahshi’s feeling.
So what was said anyway: I, as mentioned, presented to them the background to our meeting at “Lighthouse” and what brought me personally, to act within its framework.
Roni recounted how born her the curiosity to know the narrative of the other people. About her many contacts with people in Gaza and her actions to help, support and give hope. Mostly out of pure humanity of concern for those who suffer from the ravages of fate and perhaps also out of a desire to present other faces of the nation to which she belongs. Her remarks aroused great appreciation among the three women.
For Lisa, Gaza is an unresolved hatred. Unilateral hatred, from them to us. They hate us. Her views were once at the political center of Israel. The son who served in the Border Guard changed his mind more to the right when he would describe to her what was happening to him in military service.
Dafna: Loves to travel. Rides with her husband on a motorcycle with a group of motorcyclists. This is how she became acquainted with the sulfur plant. Today she brought her friends (by car) with her. There are 2 million poor people in Gaza, she says. We have good intentions, but reality decides otherwise. They are not like us. When someone dies on our side, it’s the end of the world. With them when someone dies, his father stands, praising his son and preaching to die. With us it will never be like this.
Carmit served in the army in the area. Close to the strip and inside it. Familiar with the area. Nothing to say, she says, there, people suffer.
The three of them spoke briefly and got up to go.
They listened to Jaber standing half-turned in the direction of the vehicle. He introduced himself (a Bedouin from an “unrecognized” village) and told them that in his work as a bus driver, he had worked for a long time in the city from which they came, and he knows it well. Jaber talks about the difficult life in the unrecognized village and his decision to come into the circle because there are those who suffer even more.
The three women left.
Maharan says that “Gaza will explode in front of us.” The future does not bode well for him. There is a rapprochement between Russia and Hamas and the weapons that will be released from Ukraine will reach Gaza. The situation in the area is getting worse. Journalists are killed. The popular talk on the street, bad. This government is worse for Gaza than the previous one. The calm in Gaza does not bode well and the West Bank is boiling.
Yogev and Tal are friends of Ofek, he comes every week and they are occasional. Ofek surprises Yogev and asks him to present “his Gaza.”
Yogev releases a short sentence, “I like to listen. It’s good to listen to the opinions of others”
Ofek speaks. He builds a logical line. Gaza is a place where there are people. People are born equal. The conclusion – everyone deserves equal conditions. Gaza is near here, close to his home and therefore, says Ofek, their living conditions should be equal to his.
Maharan again takes the floor. This time the message is more optimistic. He met with a Gazan who is happy to be here and work. In Ramadan he returned to Gaza and felt suffocated. Returned to Israel and does not want to spend a day without a livelihood. According to Maharan, this government did the right thing by opening up the possibility of work for workers from Gaza. The economy is a crucial factor in people’s sense of calm. Once there is a good economic situation national respect is less dominant.
Ofek sang a song he composed to the words of Limor, Nahshi’s partner. He also accompanied the song with a guitar playing.

And we also talked about Zionism and flags, about the distribution of resources, about the territory of a kibbutz and its desecration, Jaber told about his experiences as a Muslim in a travel guide course. Hanan brewed dead jam and black pepper (brought a jar) and the covert fight between Shmulik and Nahshi over the coffee was made visible (this time Shmulik’s hand was on top).
We were this time: Roni, Jaber, Nahshi, Moshe, Shmulik, Maharan, Hanan, Yogev, Tal, Ofek, Malki, Dafna, Carmit, Lisa, Oded.
Wrote: Oded.