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