Encounter 220 – 27.5.2022

We came, we sat, we waited. Nahshi and Shmulik talked to Yusuf from Gaza on his cell phone, Hayuta perused a book of songs by Yotam Reuveni and occasionally shared a song that she found interesting and I went to collect chairs from among the trees.
So I also came to see the olive tree planted about 4 years ago, after one of our first encounters, by hopeful participants – its condition as the state of our hope: a thin trunk, no leaves, almost dead-dry and from below protrude a few green leaves that do not develop. When he dares to develop a little, a war round or fire comes and returns him to a state of survival. Even we who used to water him at the end of every session, are already letting him fight alone.
At a quarter to three, 4 private cars stopped in front of the sulfur plant. Out of them came about ten hikers and listened to an explanation. As usual in the procedure, we invited them for coffee. At the end of the explanation five of them arrived and for a moment a young Bedouin guy who passed quietly, tempted to drink coffee, sat down and continued to pass. Then another guy on an off-road bike also stopped next to us who hesitantly joined the circle and tried to dodge before speaking, without success.
As usual, in Rami’s absence, I obey the movement order (Shmulik’s movement with the hand that means, start before they run away) and burst into explanation about us. Trying to sound as logical and considered as possible (after all, you see in the eyes of the guests that their basic premise is, what is this hallucination?). I have a feeling that as time goes on in the reality of the area, the guests sitting with us by chance, (i.e., did not plan to get to the “lighthouse” but just for a walk) present more and more mainstream opinions that today is drifting strongly to the right. Therefore, it is difficult to sound “logical and considerate” in presenting the rationale of the “lighthouse”. I’m still trying, until I’ll dismissed in a blessed coup.
After me, Hayuta speaks: she occasionally comes to strengthen and feel human. Presents herself as less idealistic than “these doodes” (a circumferential hand movement in our direction). Comes less with political consciousness and more to strengthen the human spirit.
Nahshi as his custom opens and says that Gaza is neighbors, friends from the past and there is a telephone connection. Now, he says, when people go out to work, it gives hope to friends in Gaza as well. Tells about someone from Gaza who came to his kibutz as a child to work and after a break of several years, returned to work as a grandfather to his grandchildren. The man works in the kibutz even though he is exposed to small harassments by the local patriots. The “lighthouse” is the connection, in terms of Nahshi, with people who suffer there even on a daily basis and especially during periods of war rounds. He understands well the meaning of untreated trauma as happens in the Gaza Strip. Came to remind himself that there are peace-seekers like us and the last decades is an anomaly. Do not want it to be a model for the future.
Bluma asks Nahshi if he wants to influence the situation and answers herself – she can not influence the situation, if she talks about Gaza, people will think, what does she want from our lives. Gaza could be Singapore of the Middle East, she says. We take care of them and she sees convoys of trucks bringing things to Gaza. We do and try, but they have no answers. The seniors there live in villas and have bank accounts abroad and are very wealthy. Why do they not raise themselves? Do not see a desire in them to improve the situation.
Tzila says that there is no place in the world that receives like the Palestinians help from the world. They even have UNRWA – an aid organization specific to them. They do not want to lift themselves up. For her Gaza is a curse.
For Shmulik (the guest), Gaza is memories. Remember trips and shopping on the way to friends in the “Yamit” settlements. Did not feel like an occupier. Did not roam like an arrogant man in their streets. Shmulik sees no remedy for the situation. Their economic situation does not contribute to resolving the conflict, although we do not act correctly either.
Ehud says Gaza will never be Singapore because that is where hatred rules by force. Most of the residents are poor. Whoever wants peace and tries to act, will not last long.
Ze’evik thinks that Gaza is a terrible tragedy and a complete lack of understanding of the Jews what is happening in the area and what needs to be done. It is impossible to look at Gaza in isolation from other regimes in the region. We have not been able to help and understand. They are unable to change because this is the Middle Eastern Muslim culture. In Rahat (he lives near) there is no day without shots. We Jews have not been educated to change our view to the West anymore. We did not invest in education and development and did not understand their situation. Everything that happens in the Negev is part of the story that the State of Israel has not been able to understand. Our chances of survival are declining. Extremes like the parade of flags and they response, do not contribute. If we do not understand, on both sides, the situation, nothing will improve. Violence within their society is part of a culture. Our only chance and theirs is the rule of women! Women need to lead!
Shmulik (ours) as his custom opens with “I am a communist.” Believes that the abnormal situation needs to change. A prison of over 2 million people must explode sometime. The processes on each side are processes of extremism. Although he sees trucks passing through Gaza, he says “the handful will not replete the lion”. Literacy in Gaza is among the highest in the Arab world and it can contribute to the advancement of understanding. He calls his sitting in the “lighthouse” a conscientious laundry. That’s the least he can do.
Gideon, the man and the bicycle, says that according to the findings, Gaza was Jewish during the time of Alexander Yanai. It is not clear to him why there are those in the country who express compromising positions. He gives examples of our great contribution to the lives of Palestinians (I did not have time to list them all) after the 1967 war. For example, a threefold decrease in infant mortality, building universities and more. All that has changed because of some extremists there. The situation after 1967 was ideal for both sides but not slapped, mostly by the other side. He said, got on his bike and continued on his way.
Then we dispersed.
Participants: Hayuta, Bluma, Tzila, Gideon, Ehud, Shmulik, Nahshi, Shmulik, Ze’evik, Oded and a young man who just drank coffee and did not say his name.
Wrote: Oded.