Encounter 229 – 31.7.2022

The first hour of the circle held today at the Gaza Awareness Lighthouse, near the abandoned sulfur plant in the Be’eri Reserve, I spent this hour in vipasana – silence and introspection.
After an hour Ofek arrived, finally someone to communicate with. As I looked inward and kept silent I discovered that when I am alone I am right in everything I say.
As mentioned, Ofek has arrived. He was in Poland and Germany with two friends. During part of the trip, they visited the extermination camps under the guidance of a Polish, Hebrew-speaking guide. During the trip, Ofek received a message that his enlistment in the army had been brought forward and therefore he would join its ranks in 10 days (from today). He asked me if I would accept him into the circle if he will came in the army uniform.
In contrast to the first hour of silence, this second hour passed in an almost continuous lecture that Ofek had to listen to. He was content with only a small question here and there intended to fuel my lecture. It turns out that I am not only right when I am alone and silent, also when I speak alone and not alone.
Around three o’clock Ofir also arrived (full disclosure, she is my daughter). We talked a bit about Ofek’s upcoming recruitment, Gaza was in the background, it’s there all the time. We came up with a hypothetical thought that Ofek, in his position in the army, would end up in Gaza and meet one of them.
At a quarter past three Maharan called and checked if it was still “worth” coming. He arrived about twenty minutes later. Maharan as Maharan. We stayed until twenty past four.
By the way, in addition to silences and lectures, I also made the coffee and drank it
So this time we were: Ofek, Ofir, Maharan, Oded.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 228 – 22.7.2022

Summer, fewer participants, more sabra fruits for each participant.
We also wanted to bring figs. not yet ripe. A matter of two weeks and the figs will also be hosted in the circle.
In the meantime there are three of us: Shmulik, Moshe and me.
Shmulik says Jaber has been gone for a long time, just stating a fact.
We talk about the affairs of the day, what was written in the newspaper, said on the radio, shared on the networks, seen on television, read in a book.
Jaber is coming.
Ronnie and Vivian too.
Jaber heving difficulties with the course of tour guides in which he participates. Bedouin-Arab-Israeli, you have to memorize and study in a course of guidance that was designed by Zionist Jews/Israelis. He doubts whether he will pass the certification tests.
Vivian places the emergence of a new party at the center of the discussion. At this point the party exists only on WhatsApp. Its initiatives are being tested for scope and feasibility. Roni says she immediately left the noisy WhatsApp group and moved to the quiet group. Moshe and Jaber are (still) not connected and Shmulik is making coffee and he doesn’t have “this device” either. Vivian and I are in the louder group.
I claim that in my opinion such a political party had to arise. There are many civil society groups with similar ideas and they should be united into political power.
Vivian is afraid that this will harm the existing parties and that the left will once again split into pieces.
Shmulik and Moshe say that even on the right there are quarrels.
Shmulik also says that dealing only with the issue of Arab-Jews will not promote a political group.
I also added that I read somewhere that when there are violent conflicts on an ethnic basis, everyone comes together on their ethnic side even if they think the arguments of the opposing ethnic side are right .
Shmulik dismisses “nonsense” and says he supports universal justice.
This is how the discussion continues, sometimes we listen, sometimes we divide and sometimes we unwittingly divide into smaller discussion groups (the large group that contains all of us is 6). This is what a gathering of well-wishers looks like.
Meanwhile, Rami is resting at home and sees in the WhatsApp picture of the invitation that there are sabra fruits on the table. This is his favorite fruit, he texts.
We spent the end of the meeting together with a box of sabra fruits at his house in Be’eri. There for the first time, in today’s circle, the name “Gaza” came up when Rami said “Hello, what is Gaza to you”?
We laughed, we sat, we drank cold water (to remove the coffee’s bitterness) and Rami gave a detailed account of his illness, its rise and fall.
This time we were: Roni, Vivian, Jaber, Moshe, Shmulik, Oded, Rami.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 227 – 15.7.2022

we are back! That is, we reconnected between the head (the “lighthouse”) and the body (the sulfur plant in the Be’eri Reserve). Last week the body went out of its way and lay down on pillows and rugs, in Nuweiba – Sinai, or rather, “Musa Camp” on the Red Sea coast. The return on spending in Sinai came in the form of Gal and Hedi. We’ll get to them soon, it’s just said that the connection was made when Gal and her family also spent time at “Musa Camp”.
Hedi teaches theater at a high school in Hamburg, Germany. a school whose vast majority of its students are Muslims. It came as part of a joint drama project with the theater department at Sha’ar Hanegev High School. Hedi’s parents came from Tunisia and he was born in Germany. He speaks Arabic, English and German. In the community around him live mostly Germans of Arab descent. He loves the collaboration with Gal and Lahav (the founder of the project in Sha’ar Hanegev). Hedi’s mother asked him how it was that from all over the world, he chose to cooperate with Israelis? The corona halted the project a bit. For him, Gaza is the legitimacy that every person deserves for freedom, a reasonable life and fair opportunities.
Gal is a drama and dance teacher at Sha’ar Hanegev High School and leads the relationship with Hedi and his school. Her partner here in Israel, Lahav, has in the past collaborated between high school students in the Sha’ar Hanegev and high school students in Gaza through Rami (whom Gal met with us at Nuweiba Beach).
Gaza for her is a big question. When she was young, she used to walk by the fence with a friend and look out over the “beyond the fence.” She says that when there are war “rounds”, the kibbutzniks migrate to “refuge kibbutzim” far from the fence and the students from Sderot stay at home in the shelters. It is they, who are experiencing the bombings, thinking of those in Gaza who have no protection.
I (Oded), this time I brought an insight I learned in Hillel Cohen’s book “The Year Zero 1929”. After the events of 1929 and about 250 dead on both sides, the British, the rulers of the land, 29 “rioters” were sentenced to death by hanging. 26 Arabs and 3 Jews. In the time leading up to the execution of the sentence, voices (uncoordinated!) Began to rise on both sides calling on the British to pardon the convicts. At the end of the process, “only” 3 Arabs were hanged and the rest were sentenced to prison.
Hayuta appreciates Gal and Hedi’s joint activities. Came mainly to encourage the members of the circle. Tells about A.B. Yehoshua – the first Israeli writer to bring up the conflict in Israeli literature and also proposed a solution. She feels it is difficult for her to act but is encouraged by his books. Presents and tells about his book “In front of the forests”.
Now it’s Moshe’s turn to speak and he says this: I can speak Hebrew and Gal will translate my words into English so that Hedi can understand, but since I also speak Yiddish, I can speak Yiddish because it is similar to German, you decide. Needless to say, for the first time in the history of the lighthouse, a Gaza consciousness was heard in Yiddish. Since there was no one to translate for me, Moshe sent me a summary of his remarks:
“We chose to sit here, almost on the border, because the history of this place is a symbol of coexistence. If it was possible a century ago, then maybe it is possible even today” in Yiddish it sounds even better.
Nahshi have friends in Gaza. He is in touch with them even these days. Nahshi comes every Friday to preserve the memory and hope that the situation can and should change. That’s the little thing he can do. Those who sit with us, surely get something from the circle and that is a good reason to keep coming.
Shmulik says that for him Gaza is a hope that one day there will be a change. The fence will fall and we will live in cooperation with our neighbors.
Malki loves to come here to meet. Here think positive and give hope. But her thoughts, when she is with herself, are gloomy about Gaza. There is some hope here.
Bella says that if we already speak Yiddish, she also has something to say in this language. She tell’s about the chronicle of Bella’s life (born 1938!). She love to get here. Dreaming that the day will come when we can drink coffee with the neighbors. Yesterday she moved close to the fence and thought that here it was happening, they were literally within touching and talking range.
Rami opens and says that space is open and contains us all. He never felt separated from his neighbors. As a child, he and his friends went to the border and there was no fence, only barbed wire. They went through it (and came back to tell). The refugees who returned to take things are remembered by him. They were called “Faday’yn”. Need to do re-vision, re-thinking and maybe go back to the old thinking of a common space. From the beginning, his idea was not just a lighthouse, such a general one, but a lighthouse for the Gaza consciousness. To strive for the existence of a continuous consciousness. Rami is convinced that a great relationship can be created here. Since he got sick, he has been getting a lot of calls from those demanding his safety and many of the callers are asking him if he will come to the lighthouse on Friday. This is proof, he says, that the lighthouse is in the minds of many people even if they do not come physically. Rami thinks that one day we will wake up in the morning and understand that this reality must change, there is no other option. For him it is existential. The current situation is an accident. He compares the condition to his medical condition. It happened and it will be fixed. And all with the help of true love given and received.
Uzi tells about the history of Kibbutz Gvulot. A kibbutz that settled without violence and without taking someone else’s land. Uzi’s birth certificate is written in English because he was born in 1947 in Palestine. He reached Gvulot in 1965. He remembers Gaza from the years before the 1967 war. He also remembers life in Gaza afterwards. Life was more normal. He now feels deep sorrow and a missed opportunity for Gaza. Missing out on both sides. Comes often to the lighthouse, every few weeks. Uzi is optimistic. We have a commitment here but not only we will make the change it more depends on leadership. there’s hope.
Roni is jealous of us that we met Rami in Nuweiba. She was in Crete at the time but at heart with us. She then talks about her relationship with Fatma who participated in Zoom last week. As usual her words are always linked to Gaza through her involvement in the lives of the people there.
Then the conversation continued to roll and we mostly listened to Gal and Hedi. Both recounted the reactions that came mainly from the boys’ parents to their joint activities and mainly due to the exchange of delegations that took place between them. After all, it is not easy for parents of children from the Sha’ar Hanegev to accept their children’s contact with German Muslim boys in Germany, and for parents of Muslim boys it is difficult to get in touch with Israeli Jewish youth in Israel. What’s more, Germany, the country that is more than any other country, deals with the memory of the Holocaust and presents the Holocaust to the Jews in the school curricula. Even in schools where there are a lot of Muslims. An interesting confrontation worth hearing firsthand.
We were this time: Rami, Roni, Hedi, Gal, Uzi, Oded, Moshe, Nahshi, Shmulik, Malki, Bella, Hayuta.
Wrote: Oded

Encounter 226 – 8.7.2022

Nuweiba – where we sat and wept when we remembered Zion (and Zionism).
There Rami sat with us, so we made a circle. For the first time, the “lighthouse” came out of the normal comfort zone and moved to a more comfortable area. Not only did we sit and cry, we were also served cups of coffee and watermelon slices. Like in a lighthouse but here for a change, Shmulik’s hand was not over (coffee) and the mission was successfully performed by Omar, a particularly kind Egyptian who was born in Giza and came to work at Musa Camp, which is the name of the beach where we stayed.
Rami arrived in Sinai before us and was hosted at another beach. He came to meet us here when we arrived, on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday joined us. The meeting was of course particularly exciting.
Rami spoke first in a “circle” held this time in Zoom.
For Rami this is the first time he has been physically present at the Lighthouse with us. He says the situation is very bad there in Gaza and there are many suicides. No employment, no livelihood and no hope. The meeting here is part of an attempt to create connections between people who are willing to help. Rami says it’s hard to act alone and needs a team. He sees the “lighthouse” as such a group. Without personal interests. We need to work together for the great cause. So maybe we’re here to make plans for the future, maybe we’ll meet again in a broader context. It may even be here in Nuweiba. We will invite people from Gaza, the West Bank, Egypt and Israel. The meeting here with Shmulik, Nachshon and Oded gives him a lot of hope and strength.
Rami talked about Gaza and we talked about Rami. Beyond the usual things each of the three of us says and repeats every week, we mostly emphasized our excitement from meeting him.
After us, Ariel from Ramat Gan spoke. Ariel came to the meeting today thanks to his acquaintance with Rami and he also met a few months ago with Rami in Sinai. When asked what Gaza is for him, Ariel replied that Gaza for him is almost exclusively Rami. He greatly appreciates Rami’s work and teachings. Ariel is a musician and filmmaker. He says that Rami’s activities with the young people in Gaza deserve a documentary he plans to make.
Moshe says that he too is excited to see us, his friends from the kibbutz and the “lighthouse” meet face to face with Rami. This, he says, emphasizes the doctrine of Rami Haruvi, which eliminates fences between people. Maybe we will win our generation and maybe only the generation of our grandchildren, that there will be no fence and the connection will be direct.
Limor says that as a child who grew up near Ashkelon, she had contact with Gaza. She too has a dream of seeing Gaza open to the world. She works in Sderot with people who have experienced trauma. In her work she feels sympathy for the suffering of her patients but she also does not forget that for 20 years Gaza is closed and the mind suffers. There is a sense that people are discouraged from dealing with a force stronger than themselves. The meeting with Rami adds hope. And yet when Limor thought it was necessary to invite more people to zoom in, she went through her contacts and realized that 99% of them would not connect. But she wants to end on a positive note and says that despite everything, it is possible, a change can be made.
Fatma, originally from Shuja’iya in Gaza. Her house was destroyed in 2014 by Israeli bombings. Fatma moved to the West Bank and recently married and had a son. She speaks to us in Arabic and her husband sitting next to her translates into English. Fatma does not have a West Bank resident certificate. She has difficulty moving from city to city because of the military checkpoints seeking a certificate. Her father, who lives in Gaza, recently left a hospital, an elderly and sick man, and she can not visit him because they will not let her return home. Muhammad, her husband, says they can not spend the holidays because of the checkpoints. To visit the Strip and so did their baby son .If you visit the Strip, it could leave the baby without his mother. Fatma also had to stop her undergraduate studies (criminology, if I understood correctly) because as a result of the marriage she moved to a different city from the one where she studied and… checkpoints. Saying that it is our mission to enable the mobility of the family as a family, Muhammad adds that this is a broad phenomenon and not unique only to Fatma.
Anna was born in Israel and grew up in Canada. Currently in Bat Yam. Came to zoom through Rami. It’s a little difficult for her to answer about Gaza, naturally it’s a complex matter. It’s great to see such a conversation as we’re having it right now, she says. This seems perfectly normal. Ariel’s initiative for a documentary about Rami’s group seems to her to be a great idea that can also help raise funds.
Malki happy to be a part of this special meeting today. She says everything has already been said and she has nothing to renew. Our capabilities to operate, are quite limited. We try to persevere and hope. To play, listen and converse, it is still possible.
After a round of talking by all, we continued the conversation and Rami emphasized his commitment to continue to act and link joint initiatives on a variety of topics as he has done in the past. There is more power to joint initiatives that come from the people who experience the suffering. The content of the initiatives will be determined by those who initiate them, he sees his role mainly as a connecting person. Nahshi cited as an example the meeting between Rami and Gal, a drama teacher at Sha’ar Hanegev High School, who is also with us here at Sinai. She told Rami that her teaching partner was part of a project of virtual youth meetings between them and Gaza youth, and Rami pulled out the cellphone and showed her videos from the project. She arrived after the project was stopped (Covid) and did not know Rami at the time, and here they meet here in Nuweiba!
At the end we wished a happy holiday to the Muslims among us for whom the day begins Eid al-Adha. Eid Said!
Here is a link to the recording of the meeting
In Nuweiba Egypt – Shmulik, Rami, Nahshi, Oded.
In Israel – Ariel, Limor, Anna, Moshe, Malki.
In Palestine – Fatma and Muhammad
Wrote: Oded

Encounter 225 – 1.7.2022

This week’s summary is very similar to last week’s. The differences are subtle.
Four participants this week compared to five last week. The conversation with Rami was longer and more communicative (technically).
There was no watermelon and bread on the table. The rest was similar to the same.
We talked about events that made headlines this week, a little about the history of the conflict and lamented about the “ignorance screen” behind which most of the residents of the area choose to hide. The resemblance to last week (and those before it) was of course also in the great interest that arose from the words of the presences.
Next week, true to what is currently emerging, the orchestra is on vacation, for the first time in 224 weeks:
The tenors in Sinai (duet with the bass from Gaza), the conductor in Crete, the viola in Scotland, the guitarist in Poland (or Germany), the composer is a new Grandfather. The rest of the partnership for harmony in the shade of the pines, in the “lighthouse” on the Sulfur Factory site, are invited to improvise as much as they please.
We will try to organize a concert from Sinai. As usual on Friday between one and four. We’ll try.
We were this time: Roni, Shmulik, Moshe, Oded.
Wrote: Oded