Special encounter – 29.11.2022

Through Nomika’s mediation, girls from the Tzali Preparatory School from Ein Tsurim, religious girls before conscription, came to us today in the early afternoon. We were part of their more extensive tour in the south and they came to us after a visit to Kibbutz Sufa. Nahshi brewed coffee and herbal tea. Rami donated chairs from his warehouse and moved them to the area, Julia and Maharan joined and I dug the opening with explanations about us, about the “lighthouse”, about the area, etc. (we know, we know).
After that, Julia spoke about the importance of each party’s recognition of the other, followed by Maharan (who came straight from his lawyer office, wearing a 3-piece suit and matching tie).
Shmulik and Nahshi joined the round with the girls and spoke in turn.
What then did the girls talk about? About “what is Gaza for them” of course, because that was our request.
And what did they say? Well, the majority chose answers that ranged from one to seven words. Here is what I managed to write down:
Gaza is something remote and scary
The word “Gaza” in itself causes fear
War, crime, bad things
Terror but also lack of choice
Remembering Gush Katif, disengagement, something that was taken from us, operations, poverty, a fence
Fear, enemies
War and fear
War and fear and hatred
Mutual injustice
All kinds of operations
Gaza is entering to the unknown
remembers in “cast lead” her man was almost killed. Big question mark, dead end, no solution
A lack of trust that hurts both parties
There are people living in Gaza who want to hurt me just because of my Jewishness
A problem without a solution
Bilateral impotence, no solution. I pity the Gazans who have nowhere to run
A complex situation. Heartache for the soldiers and residents. Also a little about the Gazans, a lot of misunderstanding
The words, coping, sacrifice, courage, understanding and hope come to mind
What does each side educate the children, does it love people, responsibility?
Fear and nightmares
The first thought in the context of Gaza is fear and sorrow for our soldiers and citizens
The kidnapped soldiers who did not receive a proper burial.
Heartache, fear and reluctance from the existing situation
The hope for peace following the expulsion from Gush Katif and the great suffering that come after.
I don’t feel sorry for those who live there but for those of us who suffer
Frustration and sorrow also regarding those there who live in poverty
Gaza reminds her of stories of her father who went there to the market and to the sea. Today it is anger and pain
Enemies, wars and frustration
Anger and frustration
I didn’t manage to write everything down, I didn’t necessarily hear every word (they speak weakly and I’m profoundly deaf).
I did not add here the wise and scholarly things voiced by my honorable colleagues, (the influence of Advocate Maharan) Shmulik, Nahshi, Julia and Maharan. After all, it’s a mid-week summary and I have a life too…
We were – Julia, Maharan, Shmulik, Nahshi, Oded
Transportation – Rami (go), Dagan (return)
Blessings – Moshe, Malki, Dina, Ye’ela, Limor, Hayuta, Eric, Roni, Nomika
Written by: Oded

Encounter 246 – 25.11.2022

We moved, we returned to the winter residence. Gather in the center of the sulfur factory building.
Seven men are sitting and discussing what happens to them after the first of November. The discussion leads to the question, “Why are we sitting here?” We decide to discuss it in a circular order as has been the custom at our “Lighthouse” for 4 years and 8 months.
Rami guides.
Moshe, who is honored to be the first in the round, admits that he is still a little shocked. He says that perhaps the others in the circle do not take, like him, seriously, the title that Ben Gvir receives in the position of Minister of “National Security”. Moshe, who has already experienced Argentina in the seventies, takes the addition of “national” seriously and anxiously. It is difficult for him with the movement of the (Jewish?) people to such a bad place. All the humanism of Agnon and Buber was erased. He has a suffocating feeling.
Nahshi says that he has nothing to add, but Rami doesn’t give up and Nahshi adds and adds! His first reaction after the election results was “Okay, we’ll manage in our corner, adapt, and let them screw up the business.” But maybe on second thought, he says, a state should be established elsewhere. Nahshi doesn’t feel comfortable just because his life is good. Interacting with people and feeling part of something bigger, gives a better feeling. Today his feeling is that he has nothing more to contribute at the state level. At the regional level closest to it (Gaza region) there is perhaps something to contribute, even if we are not at the center of public interest and the relationship with Gaza is local. The meetings here give him the opportunity to do something small that may have a little impact. Hope the Gaza issue will change. Perhaps, over time their current suffering will be eased with the processes of change in the region. As part of his dreams, he wants to establish a state in Gaza separate from Israel and also to live in it, but this will crowd Gaza even more… He has hope and faith in a better future for Gaza, but at the moment, he has no levers to hang his optimism on.
Shmulik says that there is definitely a reason as well as a result for our sitting here. Personally he will do what is in his power to do. Whether it’s helping with olive harvest, sitting at the lighthouse, donating to the Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) or helping people privately. In the general dimension, the more extreme the polarization, the more chance there is of an uprising. This is true throughout all social changes in history. This can happen with the help of external intervention (an asteroid in the case of the dinosaurs) Or wars. The polarization will lead to action. On a personal level, he says, he is doing things morally right.
I (Oded), who since my retirement often read and flaunt my new knowledge of old phenomena, cite two examples of how the combination of the emergence of a charismatic leader connected to the elite, into a polarized (class) situation caused powerful change processes. The first – Moses who grew up in the bosom of the Egiptian government and created a process of people’s migration (mass migration) that changed the reality of that people. The second – Theodore Herzl who, like Moses, also belonged to a local political elite and created a powerful process (whose results, for better or for worse, we still experience today). The context for the discussion is that the class polarization is deepening and the appearance of a charismatic leader (perhaps like Ben Gvir but the other way around) can cause a process of change. Shmulik throws aside that Hitler was also such a leader and I agree with him.
Rami cites as an example two events from the last few days. One is the incident of the stabbing to death of a man because he warned another person for crossing the crosswalk with his motorcycle at a red light and stabbed him and the second incident, a few days earlier when he and Naomi were returning at night from the north. They were driving on the highway and heavy truck drivers rioted on the road. Rami remembers that when he was younger, in his role as an Inspector with policing power, he used to stop drivers and warn them about dangerous driving or littering. Today he doesn’t anymore, he doesn’t dare. He prefers to ignore or stay away.
This week, Rami had to deal with a problem in his house. He contact a contractor. Two workers arrived, One from Ashkelon and one from Hebron. The balance of power quickly became clear. Talks started. Rami asked the Hebron man about his home and life and realized that the man was intelligent and learned. The Ashkelon man said there are no arguments between them and the Arab understands his place. Drink coffee and the conversation continued. The Ashkelon told the Hebronites that his daughter (of the Hebronites) had to learn Hebrew in order to survive in the region. Rami could claim that Arabic is important in order to survive in the space, but today’s Rami “does not encourage conflicts”. He also avoided going to certain places out of fear. Both in his home and anywhere in the country he feels unprotected and not at home. For him, he is ready to live anywhere in the world. The state distanced itself from him to the point of feeling of not belonging. He does not have a community with which it is possible to create change. In his work, he is involved in large initiatives and thinks that it may no longer be worth doing them in Israel. The West Bank and Gaza will not change in terms of status and maybe they, the world and we, will get used to it.
Mark says that the easiest thing is to say that he came here to meet friends. Mark arrived in Israel at an old age and did not have the opportunity to form friendships in settings that Israelis, the natives, are familiar with (school, army). The stage we reached, he says, was expected. The change was linear and not surprising in light of the last 20 years. His arrival here, in Israel, also required him to (mentally) join the Jewish people and not just change his place of residence. Realized that the Jews in Israel see themselves as a “light to the Gentiles.” He thought that he would not have to think about Judaism because it is normal, Judaism is the reality. Abroad, one had to make an effort to be Jewish and even mark oneself outwardly. Over the years, one began to wonder if this was the nation that survived and recovered from the near annihilation of the Holocaust? Mark does not wave flags, but if the new government begins to treat the Bedouins (for example), he will join the protests even if it puts him at risk himself. If a large part of the democratic population reacts, he will also join in. The blacks in America were not supported by the whites but continued the uprising. He will support.
Mahran says that last Friday he joined the demonstration of the Jewish blacks in Be’er Sheva against their deportation. Loves minority struggles. Not long ago he went to visit a friend in Ra’anana. The friend wrote a book about the Bedouins and mentioned Mahran. The friend spoke of their friendship that would always exist and gave him a copy of the book. Mahran says that we are in the era of the second Israel. I see the hatred in the settlers. The left was silenced, we were defeated. The Arab right (RA’AM) was also defeated. They were silenced. They will work to intensify the hatred in the country. “He” will increase the hatred. The hatred will increase in the south as well. Mahran, perhaps in response to the fear that Rami spoke of, thinks that there is security in the Bedouin settlements. Regarding human rights, Mahran Claims that Arab society is not on the right side and does not yet deserve to wave this flag. Demography, according to him, they won, but the Arabs also did not come out to vote when the left needed them. They entered into apathy caused by the many “beats” they receive from all sides. The classic Bedouin, according to him, Shuts himself down, shy and doesn’t want to intervene. There are fanatics on both sides as in a mirror image. What is there to harm the Bedouin who are also at the bottom. But it is possible that this time the Bedouin will not be silent. In this government “Cahana was right”. The defeat was caused, perhaps, because we fell asleep, perhaps because we were Both the Arabs and the Jews on the left are indifferent.
The coffee is flowing in rounds and we still have some time left. Rami asks the circle “Is a fratricidal war possible”?
Mahran says that we are in transition from democracy to a dictatorship that will lead to a military revolution also with the support of the Arabs. The revolution is designed to restore the tie. Mahran will join the revolution.
Moshe does not expect a civil war to break out in the near future. I do expect that the hatred and violence will intensify. The change we see today is violent and chaotic, not necessarily a fratricidal war. In Argentina there was a military coup, but here it is different. The oppression will be slow and continuous and the citizen alone will understand the spirit of the times. To protect himself and his environment, he will adapt.
Nahshi does not see a scenario of internal war. The people look at what is close to them and are less busy raising their heads for a wider view. That is why they will not rise up but sink in themselves. More and more Israelis will move to other parts of the world. The army will begin to disintegrate little by little. Our sons will not serve for long in an army that does things the opposite of what they learned at home. If there is a non-violent struggle, he participates in it, but he stays away from the events. The country is not ours anymore.
Shmulik remembers that when Cahana arrived in Israel he was in the minority and his party was thrown out of the Knesset. Now his people are in the Knesset and the government. The meeting between us here is not only to drink coffee, it is also to do activities. Every day Shamulik breaks the law and does it knowingly.
I (again Oded) think that people like me will have to make even more difficult decisions. The Palestinians, who are the suffering part of the region, will have their suffering deepen. I have the option of sacrificing my money, my time and my body to alleviate their suffering or to keep these assets and decide that I am protected by my privileges. The confusion will get worse as the gap between the sufferers and the privileged widens. I am again quoting Hillel Cohen, who claims in his book “The Zero Year 1929”, that when there is security tension, each individual gathers under his ethnic affiliation, regardless of his objective position regarding the causes of the conflict. Since I estimate that violence will break out, I want to believe that I will go more with my human justice And not with my ethnic identification.
Rami says he will adapt to the situation. will not endanger himself and his livelihood. Now, he says, it’s theirs. He didn’t like the change in his kibbutz either, but when it happened, he told his children, it’s yours. He himself will not preserve anything. The Bengvirs are legitimate and have won justice and it is theirs. He will only decide about his place, whether here or somewhere else.
Mark claims that there will be no struggle of communities. There will be people who will struggle. The fight has already been decided. Fortunately for the Jewish people, it is divided between Israel and the world. If we was all here, a fratricidal war might have broken out. His children will probably move abroad. There won’t be a violent war and there won’t be a non-violent struggle either. But if there is a clear injustice, and there is an action against it that has a chance of succeeding, he will join.
Mahran comments that the Bedouin who ran over a student in Be’er Sheva this week voted for Likud in the elections (if that makes it any easier for anyone). Mahran comes from the “Ashkenazi” view. Will continue to fight for the country that was. Yes, he says, there will be a civil war here. The Arabs will not join it, but he himself will join the Ashkenazim.
Finishing up.
We are just notifying our many readers that this coming Tuesday 11/29 afternoon we will be hosting a group of religious girls from “Tzali” Preparatory at the Lighthouse. You are all invited.
This time we were: Shmulik, Rami, Mahran, Nahshi, Mark, Moshe, Oded.
Written by: Oded.

Encounter 245 – 18.11.2022

The first guests to arrive were Orit (my sister) and Oren. Both were born at Moshe’s, Nahshi and mine kibutz. At this stage there is no need for a circle of acquaintances, so the conversation turns to the history of the region and the space where we live and work.
When Uzi and Aryeh arrived, we started a circle. And as is our custom, I begin by explaining about us and our “Lighthouse”.
Uzi says he “still wonders about us” (coming for the third time already), he appreciates our persistence. When he heard about the fire in Gaza last night, in which 22 people died, he called friends in Gaza to go see for themselves and tell him. Uzi runs a kind of night meeting in a cafe in the “Black Arrow” park. He was looking for an outlet for the frustration he felt because of the situation, and this caused him to leave the house and establish the night meeting. Today a dovecote is already there and next week pigeons will nest. It’s all part of the idea of the release of the pigeons that we already wrote about in previous summaries. As a pensioner he has time, he has ideas and plans.
Aryeh worked with at-risk youth. He managed the community center and education in Shaar HaNegev and moved to the same position in Segev Shalom. He established a conservatory, a nursery and more there. He says that together with the staff there, they do a lot of activities with at-risk youth. Preparatory students from Sde Boker also come to work with him. It works well beyond expectations. Aryeh came to our Lighthouse because Uzi told him. He has a dream for a project – a peace tent inside Segev Shalom where the issues of the day and peace will be discussed. Also there, in Segev Shalom as in Gaza, the median age is 18. Of the workforce over the age of 18, 60 percent are unemployed According to Aryeh, the intersection of Route 232 with the Gaza Strip is the axis of suffering for both sides. He still serve the army reserves and during a round of violence he helps guide the forces in the area. The residents on both sides are a game tool over which they do not have control. This is a situation that has been forced upon us. A difficult situation for both the parties.
Uzi really wants to add to Aryeh’s work. The moderator protests and asks to keep the rules, but Uzi says that if he waits, he will forget what he wants to say and gets permission. He says that he visited the community center that Arya manages. Segev Shalom is a place far from civilization, but the community center is amazing and he had to say that even though it violates the rules of the circle.
Moshe does not like to define himself and points out that he has many definitions (Zionist, socialist, kibbutznik, Israeli, etc.). A week ago he was traveling with a friend from Gaza who works in a kibbutz, the friend returned to Gaza for the weekend and they drove him to the Erez checkpoint. In the car, the friend showed him pictures of his children and grandchildren and Moshe was moved. It is important for Moshe to tell why we are sitting here: the sulfur plant was built and operated by Jewish workers and Arabs and is evidence of a shared life.
Nahshi comes because it’s something he can do. Something is wrong and improper in the reality we live in. The past is glorious and the future is also glorious in his opinion, but the present is discouraging. From the fields touching the fence you can see the neighbors but you can’t reach them, there is a fence. He felt futility in the cycles of violence that create hatred. It will end sometime. It may take years but he knows it will happen. Nahshi is happy for the opportunity to come and hold the “Lighthouse”. Every time he comes back from here, he blesses that it exists.
Malki arrived at the lighthouse close to the start of the activity and “lighted up”. She has been here ever since. The proximity of her current residence to Gaza makes her more involved. She comes from desperation. But here it is a kind of escape. Gaza is a great despair. We sit here and do what we want and they are locked up. She was in Segev Shalom in the last election when she volunteered to drive women to the polls. Gather and wait at the “Sustainability Center” in Segev Shalom. She didn’t know the place before and was surprised to see that it was more of an urban settlement than a rural one.
Bela arrived in the area in 1956. All her life she advocated coexistence. When she lived with her family in Ramla (before she came here) everyone around them spoke Yiddish, including the Arabs. When she was in the army and her core members were taken to Bedouin evacuation activities, Bella wondered why this violence. Sometimes she is really desperate. She came because of Malki and found here a friend who understands her and understands the situation as she does. In the past she was in Gaza and sat in cafes. Sometimes she is asked if sitting at the lighthouse, drinking coffee and talking about Gaza, can help in anything. She replies that sitting at home and doing nothing will probably not help. Maybe the lighthouse does.
Hanan came because of the kites. He was bothered as a kite builder that they use to burn fields. He came to see the phenomenon, met us and has been coming ever since. We are here, he says, to preserve hope. When the opening for change appears, we need people to be ready for it. His life, says Hanan, takes place on the Internet. Tells about Elon Musk breaking up Twitter. Twitter is a place where everyone is, but it’s also a toxic place. Twitter has vicious attacks on distinct population groups. In recent years, a parallel network has been established that allows more freedom of decision. It arose in 2016 and Hanan already knew them in 2017, “Mesodon”. Hanan relates this story to our case through the fact that there were people who prepared for the crisis and prepared an alternative way. Now that Twitter is breaking up there is a replacement, and we are also preparing an alternative way for the day when reconciliation comes. We are the infrastructure for hope here. Hanan tells about us to everyone he meets who wants to hear.
Mary came to this place through Hanan’s blog. Gaza is complexity and Mary is drawn to complexity. Stayed because of the people. We save here an end of a thread that we can connect to the thread opposite.
Ofek is a soldier. He will soon finish his apprenticeship. Came here by chance with friends when they were walking on a rainy day last winter. They were students in the twelfth grade. Since then he came regularly until the draft. Now, because of the military service, he rarely comes. He just returned from an education series in the army. The series dealt with dilemmas: Let’s say, a little girl throws stones at you, and in the background there is a big commotion (“disturbance” in army parlance) what do you do? Yes, these are the dilemmas of the Israel Defense Forces. Gaza is also a dilemma for Ofek, today.
Another round of coffee prepared by Nahshi (Mulik is absent today) and some more mingling and scattering.
This time we were: Oded, Nahshi, Moshe, Orit, Oren, Uzi, Aryeh, Mary, Hanan, Ofek, Malki, Bella.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 244 – 11.11.2022

Friday 11.11. On the way to the lighthouse, Shmulik reminds us that today, in 1918, at 11 o’clock in the morning, the armistice that ended the First World War was announced. Some of the battles that decided the campaign took place in our area. Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives. Another, more deadly war was needed to convince the nations that there was room for peace. The enemies at that time, like France and Germany, are friends and close partners today.
This morning, the road to the lighthouse is a little longer: passing through the Erez checkpoint, a friend from Gaza returns home to his family, after a week of toil across the fence. He knows that returning to work in Israel will involve getting up early in the morning and waiting tiringly at the same checkpoint, but good for him, and good for thousands of other workers, and good for us, the citizens of Israel.
Roni made sure to arrive on time, before Shmulik made the coffee. But the coffee is ready when Lily and Guy from Beer Ganim join.
The circle opens with concern about the threats of the “breakdown clause” and the expressions of hatred of the last week.
The continuation of the conversation stands precisely as a sign of hope: the struggle of women and young people in Iran, cooperation with Gaza, the renewal of the activities of movements in Israel for a sense of peace, cooperation, equality.
Mary and Ilan from Beit Elazari and Maharan from Rahat enrich the conversation with interesting insights and sweets.
If Oded was present – you would get a full reconstruction of the events, but this week he was at a seminar in Jerusalem al-Quds and he is waiting to be picked up at the Be’eri junction.
Thanks to Nahshi who made sure to remember the participants in the circle, it can be noted that Roni, Mary, Ilan, Lily, Guy, Maharan, Shmulik, Nahshi and Moshe enjoyed the winter sun and the beginning of the flowering near the sulfur factory, near the British bunker that was abandoned today, 104 years and five hours ago.
Written by: Moshe.

Encounter 243 – 04.11.2022

The first Friday of the Third Kingdom of Israel. We brought insights and assessments from the sad results of the elections.
Mark decides to bring some order to the circle and volunteers to be the first.
Mark says that in the last week nothing has changed in relation to Gaza. Yesterday they mentioned their existence (alarms in the Eshkol region) and he can understand them, they are trying to mention their existence amidst the general oblivion. Mark says that if he had a wish to do harm, he would go more for fire and less for missiles. But he did not wish and does not want to give them advice.
Malki came to breathe here and be filled with good things. Gaza is close and the desperation in it is great. Came to ask for hope. She met Radir this week when they were driving Bedouin women to the polling stations. The women who came to take part in the transportation made her feel good. There are good people (as well as here at the lighthouse). Malki adds that not placing polling stations in the unrecognized villages is really outrageous.
Itzik says that he understands reality differently “than you all” (and comments on the use of the plural). 80 percent of the Gazans want peace, he says, and 20 percent make life miserable for us and them. Itzik comes for the second week in a row and explains it by saying that he simply enjoys traveling with a good friend (Uzi) and meeting a nice group. But, he says, it has no scope because we have no control over reality. He tries to remember Golda’s quote and says something like that when they stop putting their children in the front it will be possible to talk.
Shmulik, between brewing one coffee for another (and also tea for the Malki) summarizes his words by mentioning his name, place of residence and gender identity “communist”!
Hayuta reads a song that Shmulik wrote- In honor of his birthday today! Yesterday, she blessed her kibbutz, where they also celebrated their birthday, and proudly noted that in this blessing, she mentioned Gaza! “There are results for the lighthouse”, she says.
Moshe chooses to talk about the elections, which he experienced personally when he sat at the polling station with religious representatives. The insights he has from these long hours together are a topic for another time. In any case, the shared experience was pleasant.
I, as usual, talked too much, so I will only bring one insight from my words. I say that the early Zionists were not religious and were even proud of their new secularity. But they were needed to justify the choice of this land and therefore put forward reasons of a “divine promise” (as Prof. Amnon Raz-Karkotzkin characterized the principle that guided the Zionists: “There is no God, but he promised us the land”). I continue and compare the relationship between Zionism and religion as a symbiosis between a launcher and a missile. The religion (the launcher) was supposed to launch the Zionist missile, but the launch went wrong and to this day they are entangled with each other. The religion has lost its spirituality and has become a political religion and Zionism is stumbling from the bottom to the bottom.
Nahshi also sat on the ballot committee. He did not believe that the results would be so decisive. He finds solace in the fact that Gazans continue to enter and work in Israel, but asks himself how long this will last in the new climate. In Nahshi’s opinion, you need to continue to strengthen the voice that believes it can be different. A place like the “Lighthouse” makes it possible to say this to others. The right thing to do at this time is to get out of the comfortable living room and be active. Moving, going out, that’s what needs to be thought about in the near future.
Uzi Second time around. He certainly finds the “Lighthouse” an interesting project, but he believes in a different, more active way of operating, as evidence, he brings the project that is gradually coming to fruition: this week Dovecote was placed in the Black Arrow. In this way, Gazans will also be able to participate without endangering themselves. Digital pigeon release brings hearts closer and does not endanger them like a shared bicycle journey for example.
Roni appreciates Uzi’s pigeon project and just wants to tell him that a few years ago there was an initiative by the Gazan youth committee to fly pigeons towards Israel. In Osa’s film, “Other Voices” (whose existence Uzi and Itzik hear about for the first time from her), she says that in the last scene, 3 people appear who fly pigeons from Israel, and someone in Gaza is waiting for them. Roni heard Sivan Rahav Meir, who she thinks is a smart woman, who explains that the right wing has become stronger because of the righteous arrogance of the left and the right should beware of that. Roni thinks that sometimes, in the circle, statements are heard that go too far. Out of a desire to do good to the other side, we eliminate the dangers that threaten us. Therefore, Roni says about herself, “In the eyes of the left I am not considered so left and in the eyes of the right I am left”.
The official round is over and Mark announces free speech.
Itzik says that Bibi is blackmailed. It is activated by the influence of the world and is influenced by everyone. In his opinion, the Israeli court should return to its natural dimensions and stop being active. to judge according to the laws enacted by the legislators.
Shmulik says that you have to work at eye level. Everyone must interact with Palestinian partners. Shmulik is not impressed (like many others), by Meretz’s failure to enter the Knesset. They are no longer really relevant to his words. Tells about a trip he took with a guide from Kfar Etzion. Shmulik told him that they both agree that they are in favor of a state from the sea to the Jordan but Shmulik thinks that all humans should be equal citizens in this country and the guide thinks otherwise.
Itzik agrees that there should be a binational state, but we should be the ones who decide on it.
Malki says that when religion leads it is very difficult to argue and find a logical way.
And there was also Mary who arrived after the end of the round, and also Liora who shared with us, through the wonders of the “Zoom” in her blessed activity.
That’s it, I didn’t wrote anymore.
This time we were: Mark, Malki, Itzik, Shmulik, Moshe, Oded, Nahshi, Uzi, Mary, Roni, Hayuta, Liora.
Written by: Oded