Encounter 240 -14.10.2022

These days Ose Oyamendan’s film ” Aswat-Acherim” (Other Voices) is being screened in Tel aviv and Jerusalem Cinematheques. Ose and Ito (his partner) and their other friends came to us today to the lighthouse.
Rami also arrived and he leads the circle.
Rami opens with an explanation of the “Lighthouse”. There are guests from America, so the circuit is conducted in English (something that causes the writer of the summary severe vertigo).
Rami says that we see ourselves in our area as one community and not “us and them”. It’s a home for everyone. We don’t ignore the conflict and what it implies, but in the circle we try to accommodate. Not defined politically. Focus on the relationship between people. Presents the lighthouse as an idea that stems from the phrase “to a place where a light is lit, hope can be steered”.
Uzi was born in 1947 (the period of the British Mandate) his birth certificate is written in English. “I’m Palestinian” he says. Indicates the fact that Kibbutz Gvulot was established without the need for occupation. He arrived to Gvulot in 1965. He remembers contacts and good relations with Gaza after 1967. In the last thirty years, he says, something unfortunate has happened – a loss on both sides. But our side is the stronger one and therefore has the responsibility for the solution. Uzi comes to the circle, according to him, rarely. But he is part of the idea. This week he was at the screening of Ose’s film at Jerusalem and was impressed.
For Roni Gaza it means friends and people who need her help. Roni has learned a lot over the years and understands that it is a home for both parties. Blaming each other is easy, but you have to think about how you live together and that is her motivation for action.
Ito lives with Ose in California. Gaza is an example of how politics interferes and divides. We are all human, she says.
Ose thanks everyone for coming to experience the project with him, the documentary film “Aswat-Acherim “. Osa had previously visited the lighthouse several times. The challenge for him is to give hope. In Gaza, the challenge is to literally “push” the people to hope. He wants to share with the people the hope in him.
For Mary, the situation in front of Gaza is not easy. This complexity intrigues her. We sit here and wait for the Messiah of peace and justice.
Malki wants to continue the line of thought of “hope”, because the opposite is despair. She sees no immediate solution. Maybe the young people will get to live a different life. Her life is good and she came here to remind herself that there is another life, people there are suffering. and hope for the best,
Dina says that Kibbutz Gvulot is part of the shared space with Gaza. You should always think positively to see what can be done to improve, for example small steps like coming here. Doing her best to be active and promote her cause.
Vivian says that for her Gaza is mostly a tragedy. She has been to Gaza many times in the past, as part of her activities in various organizations. Since 2007 it has become dangerous to operate physically inside Gaza. She moved to activity in Ramallah. But the Palestinians there feel they are different from the Gazans and this made it difficult for her.
Cassie was born in America and grew up in Israel. The roots of her family go back to the first Aliya, to Zichron Ya’akov. Appreciate the work of Roni and Ose. Maybe something we can share is hope. She met Ose, was impressed and worked with him on the distribution of the film.
Niv did not know where Gaza was for most of his life. Today he, together with Cassie, are partners in promoting the film. In the past, he heard a lot of talk about peace when he traveled around the country. Now the “peace” is almost no longer heard. There is a small group here, at the lighthouse, that what they are trying to do is indeed difficult, but we have to do what our heart tells us.
Eric is a Jew from New York who did not care that much about the conflict in our region until he met Ose at the university 30 years ago. An African-American, Catholic student who opened his eyes. Through their joint work, he got to know people on both sides of the barrier and got closer to the project matter-of-factly and emotionally. It really moves him that people sit here at the lighthouse every week, believing and discussing a common future for the two peoples in this country.
I had a little trouble understanding Lauren. What I (maybe) understood, is that she has been here in Israel for a week, following the movie, she is from New York but lives in California and they categorize you according to where you come from.
Mark says that every time he walks around this area, he thinks about all the people who once lived there and are now missing from the landscape. They are as refugees on the other side of the fence without the ability to return to the home or village of their parents or grandparents. He also thinks about the Israeli Arabs who recently come less often, their presence in the circle is essential and they are missing. In addition, he thinks of other people whose absence is very noticeable. People who take their worries one step further, don’t “hope” that it will be alright, but get up and work to make it alright, like Martin Luther King. He wants to take advantage of the presence of African Americans in the circle so that they tell us their personal experiences about the question of when not to be satisfied with just talking about hope, but to get up and be active. To produce civil change through direct and non-violent action. The left in Israel is much more passive than the right.
For Bela, Gaza is neighbors near and far. Close, but can’t reach us and we can’t reach them. therefore also far away. You find a feeling of power here in the lighthouse. Living between hope and despair. Visited Kibbutz Kerem Shalom this week. There is a wall separating it from the Gaza Strip. A wall where you can peek at the neighbors. This gave her a bad feeling and she asked God to break down the walls between us.
Ruti lives close to Gaza and sees it from the window. From her residence she hears a lot of war noises. Sometimes it’s scary to walk around the kibbutz. For her, they are not only neighbors, they are also suffering human beings. I don’t agree with many things said here, some are too naive.
17 year-old Mikey will soon enlist in the army. Gaza for him is suffering as he hears. Life there is not good under Hamas rule. It’s hard to help even if you want to. Heard a lot about the issue and also heard ideas for a solution. The people here see Gaza every day. During operations there are bombs and sounds of war. Those who live in the center think it is everyday.
Shmulik says that he is currently focusing on only one Gazan. Yusuf is his name. Helps him look for and find a job, makes sure he receives a salary as he deserves, takes care of transportation and also lodges him in his home. This is his contribution, to one person from Gaza.
I didn’t quite understand the things I said in English, so Mary translated and sent it to me to add to the summary. Here they are for you: For Oded, Gaza is a mirror that reflects shame, guilt and rage. The lie he grew up with since he was born 69 years ago. A lie denial and concealment. In recent years he has been researching the situation and the conflict, but finds that it distances him from other Israeli people who do not want to know. Therefore knowing more does not help. Just takes away from people and family.
Rami concludes and asks what “hope” means and replies that it is something you strive for and hope for. Every morning we get up and hope for the best. Tells about his grandfather’s passport that came from Russia in 1892. The grandfather was an Ottoman and later a British citizen. was an exporter of agricultural produce from Palestine throughout the empire. He was allowed to go anywhere in space. Rami is happy that in his life he was able to visit Egypt and Jordan, and hopes in his days to get stamps in his passport from Syria, Iraq and more.
This time we were: Ruti, Mary, Mark, Oded, Shmulik, Rami, Mikey, Bella, Dina, Malki, Uzi, Ose, Ito, Eric, Roni, Vivian, Cassie, Niv, Lauren.
Written by: Oded
Photografed by: Malki and Mary.