Encounter 2019 – 20.5.2022

Jeff arrived, he had not been at the lighthouse for almost 3 years. He does not know Ofek and Moshe who have recently been coming regularly. Keren also arrived, for the first time. She came with her mother Neta – a good woman we all know. In order for everyone to get to know, we started a “circle”.
I start. No need to explain about the “lighthouse”, we all know. I present a non-optimistic point of view, the reality is harsh. The good part for me is my ability to bring personal resources (mostly time and money) to drip my drop into the sea of reality which is huge and difficult.
Roni makes sure to concentrate on her actions and not deal with “what they do”. For her, a person is a person and when he suffers he needs help. It’s getting harder and harder. She recalls what Professor Leibowitz said and wrote after the 1967 war, accurately predicting the future, that is, our present today. 35 years ago, she met the Qatari ambassador in Egypt. He wanted to see a picture from Israel. She showed him a picture of children in an anemone field. He asked her if she was okay with what was happening in Israel. She told him it was hurting her what was happening. And that was 35 years ago.
Mark returned from Cyprus, the family celebrated his birthday. They had a culinary tour with an Israeli woman who has lived there for 10 years. Visited a man with a carob orchard who produces 7 liters of carob syrup every day. Meet more people who live simple lives and produce from what the land gives. Remembering our situation, he asked himself why we have such a complicated life when we can live simply. Yet he lives here. Can not get rid of it. Sees cops beating mourners carrying a coffin for burial. At another funeral, the cemetery is attacked. The Minister in charge, from the Labor Party. It does not give him rest. Feeling helpless. If there are elections, it will be worse. He can not be optimistic. Thinks that if he had been a Palestinian, he would probably have had to resort to violence. In his opinion we are close to another round of violence
Nahshi shares in despair and frustration when he sees the people and the country flying down the slope. People he meets on a daily basis, people he appreciates in many areas, are completely different from him in looking at the anomaly of the occupation. Most Israelis not only think this is the current state of affairs, they are also unwilling to give the alternative a chance. But Nahshi is also optimistic: Still, there are few people who see the situation like him. There are also members in Gaza who maintain contact and a desire for normalcy. Now everyone is happy with the Palestinians’ departure for work. They are highly valued in the workplace. In his opinion, there is no situation that will forever remain such a bad situation. That must change. There will be more difficulties, but by logic this must change. Prefers to stay on the side of optimism and here, in “Lighthouse”, this is one of the places where he feels hope.
Moses had an interesting morning. He wanted to know what the temperature would be today and checked on Google. He went on to check with the neighbors and “discovered” the names of the settlements on the other side of the fence in front of his plece. On Google Map they are so close. A small step for Moshe, a big step for knowing the environment! He tells another anecdote from the last week: At the entrance to the university there was an Arab guy in front of him who took him 7 minutes to enter! Moshe was not asked anything and he entered immediately. The examiner was a Bedouin.
Before Ofek speaks, Jeff asks him to tell how he got here and why he decided to keep coming.
Ofek recounts: He traveled with friends and was invited for coffee. Wanted to decline the invitation, but his friend was intrigued. The circle that day was discounted by Mark. It was winter and there were also Shmulik and Hayuta. In subsequent meetings he said he kept coming because such a discourse he had not heard until now. In the environment in which he lives, Gaza is not talked about like that.
Jeff speaks English spiced with biblical proverbs in Hebrew. It is difficult for me to translate for myself and write at the same time. He talks a lot and in summary you have about 20% of the things he said: every time he comes here he learns something new. Today he learned that there are man-eating flies. Learn a lot here. He plans to be president of the United States in 6 years and says that in his coronation speech he will quote things he learned here at the Lighthouse. Roni with her ability to love neighbors despite suffering makes her a “rabbi” to him. He does not forget the first time he was here. There was a conversation with people in Gaza and there were people here who were very surprised that it happened. He met an Israeli who took part in one of the wars. He shook his hand and said “thank you for continuing my fight”. Jeff speaks with great love of Radir. He calls her “my twin”. Her values are the same as his.
Keren makes a pre- military service for the community. Instead of military service she will do national service. Part of the decision not to serve in the military is health and part is ideological.
Neta recalls the first meeting here: Passover week 2018. More than 4 years ago. She does not come every Friday and tries not to sink into despair and hold on to hope. No one expected the wall in Berlin to collapse. Hope we will all be here to see the change.
Suddenly my family arrives. My daughter, her partner and three grandchildren. Also their uncle Ori (who is also Shmulik’s son). They “float” around the circle but do not sit. Only Ori sits for a few moments and listens. When they decide to continue the trip, Ori asks to say something to the circle. He says he heard Jeff talk about a seed of hope. Ori says that the seed of hope sown here gives a reason for a better life to young people. Maybe he’ll come again.
Rami is coming
Roni talks about an initiative to create a program for the adoption of children in Gaza by outsiders, providing help in various fields. It’s a bit problematic to do it directly in front of someone in Israel because of the difficulty in transferring money, but it’s possible if it’s someone in the US. She checks.
Roni talks almost daily to a psychologist from the Trauma Center in Gaza, he is desperate!
Rami asks perhaps the solution is to allow Gaza residents who want it, migration to other places in the world. Why be bold and unidentified? It is better to be a refugee with the identity of the receiving country. They should be allowed to be open to the big world and choose a place to live there. Rami thinks Gaza is an illusion. A realistic horizon must be allowed, and in a situation in which Gaza is facing the world, its people must not be deceived. If you have a dream for another life and you are blocked in where you are, you can fulfill the dream in a place that allows.
Jeff says there is a Greek proverb that says a healthy society is formed when an old man plants a tree when he knows he will not be able to enjoy it. Jeff brings the corresponding phrase in the Mishna – “It is not upon you to finish the work.” Jeff’s dream is to live in an Israel where Radir Hani is her prime minister! From Roni he learned to love the enemies, and from Rami he learned that if you build a wall, you build it within your heart as well.
Rami says that he is not in favor of the idea that Radir will be only the prime minister of Israel, but the prime minister of all this place and all its inhabitants.
Although Radir was not here today, people think of her and Jeff and Rami also have plans for her.
Who did come today: Roni, Rami, Nahshi, Moshe, Ofek, Jeff, Mark, Keren, Neta, Oded and for a few moments also my family (Na’ama, Ilan, Gal, Amir, Shaked and Ori).
Wrote: Oded.