Until guests arrive, Roni shares with us information she has accumulated over the past week. About those who want to enter Gaza, about those outside and those inside Gaza.
Uzi (and his dog Jimmy) and Itzik arrive. We opened a “circle”.
I begin by explaining about us and continue by referring to the “exploration” question that asks for a response from everyone who sits with us in our “Lighthouse” (after he/she has introduced himself/ herself, sipped coffee and tasted something) – “What is Gaza to you”?
For Uzi, Gaza is a frustration. He grew up close to the border with Gaza and remembers, as a child, trips he made to the border. There was a canal along the border and there was a UN hut. He would sit with his feet in the canal and exchange food with the Arab shepherds on the other side. The fires of the past few years frustrated him and brought creative ideas. He wanted, for example, to raise an inscription of fire in front of Gaza in which the word “peace” burns and even started collecting the materials for it. The concept expanded into the idea of lighting fire inscriptions along the border every month! For various reasons, the initiative remained only an idea. Today, Uzi is a retiree who is looking for people to help him carry out his ideas. Uzi is awake at night and sleeps during the day (by choice). From this, he created night meetings next to the “Black Arrow” monument, in front of Gaza. A cafe where people whose sleep wanders come. Now he has an idea of breeding pigeons. Virtual pigeons and real pigeons. For this purpose he built a Dovecote. An internet sign will display the cumulative number of pigeons that are being flown virtually (anyone can connect from anywhere in the world and fly a pigeon) and twice a month there will be actual pigeon flown. The counter will be displayed on a huge screen in the Bedouin settlement of Segev Shalom, where Uzi is active in other areas. Uzi has friends in Gaza and the situation Very frustrating for him. He maintains his friendships with them.
Nomika tells about the “bazar” project she set up in Sderot (every object/ clothing that the first hand kneads and passes to the second hand). Nomika tells about the dynamics created around the “Bazar”. Since job seekers started leaving Gaza in large numbers, many of them come to Sderot and work under difficult employment conditions. They are desperate and ready for any job in any condition, without any insurance. They come to the bazar every day and interesting interactions are created between a variety of people from Israel (who also come there), from all kinds, with the workers from Gaza. In the beginning there was problematic behavior (violent, rude, sexist) but little by little the situation is changing. There was also fear and racism. In the last three months, a special process began to emerge, a kind of parliament, talks and inclusion of each other. It is of course very complex and still very fragile, but Nomika recognizes new options for interaction, and thinks that this could be of interest to the “Lighthouse” as well, for example, dialogue with Gazans, who are not Rami.
And if we’ve already talked about Rami, here he is in front of us in zoom (as usual when switching to English, a burnt smell rises from the smoke that burns my brain and the summary pronounces “jumps” translation.)
Rami introduces himself to those in the circle who are getting to know him for the first time. Emphasizes the hope for ties with Israelis. Want to create a new generation that will communicate, on both sides. that will create mutual reconciliation and understanding. Unfortunately, there are no opportunities for physical relationships. Many Gazans want to leave it. look for a future elsewhere. Those in Gaza wish for hope but have nothing to do to promote it. Want to raise money for projects for the people. “We are not giving up” he says. Want to change the hard opinions that each side has about the other side. Tells about the history of meetings with Israelis that took place through him. He and his friends have done many demonstrations in the past against Hamas and are quite well known in Gaza, even now that some of them are outside it. What concerns Israel, the USA and Egypt is only who will rule after Abbas.
Then, in Zoom, Muhammad ascends. He is also outside Gaza. Muhammad was also active together with Rami and was previously arrested by Hamas. He is currently in a country in Europe where, he says, there are many human rights organizations but they care more about the refugees within it and less about the violation of human rights globally.
Shmulik works and pushes for the employment of Arab laborers who come to Israel and look for work. They have a great fear that they will lose their permits if they engage in something other than work. They live in substandard conditions and work in very difficult conditions. It is difficult to mobilize help for them systematically. Only on personal initiative.
Amir from Kfar Menachem arrived to deliver Meretz’s materials to Nahshi in preparation for the elections. Fell in the charm of the place (and Shmulik’s coffee) and promised to return.
Itzik, who was born in a kibbutz close to Gaza and today lives in Sderot, begins his words by saying “although not all Arabs are terrorists, most terrorists are Arabs”. Itzik deals in security training. He says that his mother, in 1954, was afraid to leave the kibbutz and go to the maternity hospital to give birth to him. As a child he sat on a sand hill in 1967 and saw the bombing of Gaza by our planes. He says that he is not so comfortable saying here in the circle, but nevertheless says that “with 2 neutron bombs we would solve all the problems in Gaza”. Then he will make a reservation and say that it was said in jest and not as a course of action. He referred to the number of residents in Gaza (I quoted the number 2.2 million in my words), he claimed that in his opinion the number is decreasing and not increasing, mainly because many leave for Egypt and about 20% of them do not return and also many women marry men from outside Gaza. In his opinion, the real number does not exceed one and a half million people in the Gaza Strip. In general, the demography is in favor of Israel and the opposite is a fake. He added that anyone who tries to do something for peace is in favor of it. He has friends from all religions and we have many more enemies around.
Uzi says it’s nice that the lighthouse exists and it’s a shame it’s not famous enough. will continue to get interested in our actions and interest us in his actions.
Mark will update the Facebook site from now on. Mark also says that Gaza is where he raised his children. During his son’s bar mitzvah, there was a helicopter flying overhead the whole time and it was very disturbing. When they came back from his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah (which took place far from the conflict line), a rocket fell in Kfar Aza and Jimmy was killed. His children do not want to return to live in the area. Over the years, he has learned a lot here from interesting people who came to the circle (Mark is one of the first of the lighthouse).
Roni says she listens to everyone’s opinion. Listening is the important thing here. But we do talk here about projects and try to do them as well.
Mark says that the “lighthouse” is the collection of opinions of the women who arrive that day. There is no “opinion of the lighthouse”.
We were this time: Roni, Itzik, Nahshi, Mark, Oded, Shmulik, Uzi (with Jimmy the dog), Nomika, Amir, Rami, Muhammad, Uzi, Malki, Samdar, Uri (last 6 in Zoom).
Written by: Oded