Encounter 250 – 23.12.2022

Shmulik, Moshe, Hayuta and myself arrived and we stayed for about an hour and a half. Hayuta and I walked around the space trying to locate mobile chairs. At about half past two, a group of young women from the area arrived. A youth guide from a kibbutz in the area and with them 4 of their trainees, all graduates of the regional school. I mention the matter of the school because they immediately recognized me as “the one who taught street theater at school” and Shmulik as “the one who prepares potato chips”… (we both actually worked at the regional elementary school, until the outbreak of the Coronavirus).
The group sat down, treated themselves to coffee and bit into the yeast cakes they had brought with them. Although they live in the area, they had not heard of the “Lighthouse” so I explained about us. I tried to bring as much historical factual information as possible from the knowledge that we have accumulated over the years.
In my understanding, the unconsciousness that Jewish Israelis go through, the size of the education and media systems in Israel, in everything related to the indigenous people to the Palestinians, leaves the reference to the Palestinians to the realm of emotion only. That is why it is important to me to emphasize to the facts.
Moshe said that we are surprised anew every time people sit with us. We are open to listening to every opinion, he says and adds that he has an optimistic side that believes it is possible to have an impact.
Rotem deals with youth guidance. He says that Gaza is here, near his house. This situation, in his opinion, cannot continue. Need for solution. But a solution does not serve the leaders on both sides and therefore the situation does not improve.
Matan, one of the campers, says that Gaza is pressure. Gaza is such a fear.
Shani, instructor. She watched over Gaza in her military service. The first sentence that comes out of her mouth, “I love Gaza very much.” According to her, this is something that developed as a result of her military activity. Everyday she connected to their routine. farmers. come with the same working clothes… simple people. I “meet” with them every day and accompanied their lives for almost two years. You also see schools, children. It is clear who the enemies are and when… Hamas often thwarts activity against Israel, but this is also in accordance with its interests… the activity is routine, automatic, with almost no feelings involved. She really wants to visit the places she has been looking at. There were some demonstrations in front of the fence, but no shooting from our side. Hamas is everywhere, even if the majority does not support it, it is very embedded in the population.
Ma’ayan (camper)- Gaza is the enemy, that’s what he was taught all his life. It was not important for him, not even now, to challenge or reflect on this assertion…
Shmulik strongly supports the granting of work permits in Israel. He himself is involved in the employment of Gazans in Israel. It brings some calm in Gaza. There is no livelihood in Gaza and work relieves the stress a little. Our listening here to the different voices is also to create listening and connection with Gaza. We try as much as we can to help. My role as a person, Shmulik says, is to make it clear that life is not a newspaper headline. In reality, the personal connection between people leads to much more meaningful understandings and connections.
This week Hayuta dealt with David Grossman and the award he received. In a speech on the occasion of his victory, he declared himself a man of peace. The speech had a wide echo in the world. Grossman says that every effort should be made for peace. He quoted from Etty Hilsum’s book “The disrupted life” (Hayuta brought the book with her). Telling young people who Etty Hilsum was. She seeks to show a way from Hilsum’s teaching, that a relationship between people is important for creating reconciliation and understanding.
Yam (camper), asks Hayuta if she thinks that opening the fence in front of Gaza is realistic. In his opinion, opening the fence will cause them to come and kill us.
Rotem says that right now they have nothing to lose, so the direction is terrorism. It is important to give work to lower the motivation for terrorism. Make them understand that there are other options.
Shmulik says that the Gazans are between a rock and a hard place, nobody wants them. Not Israel, not Egypt and even the West Bank, seemingly among their own people, there is indifference towards them. The ability to trade and communicate outside of Gaza gives a perspective to a different life. A lot of Qatari money is reassuring too.
Yam repeats and tells Shmulik that he does not dispute that they want to live and deserve life, but they want it “at your expense”.
I summarize the discussion with the things I learned from Hillel Cohen’s book (facts, yes…) “Year Zero 1929”: After the disturbances in 1929, the British prosecuted those who they believed caused the outbreak. 29 of them (26 Arabs and 3 Jews) were sentenced to death by hanging. Without any reconciliation between them, the Arabs turned separately and the Jews separately to the British government and asked to pardon them all! The main argument in front of her, which, as mentioned, was not compatible, was that life together would slowly return to the normality in which it was conducted before and the executions would arouse renewed enmity. The British considered and begged for prison alternatives 26 of 29 The convicts. 3 (Arabs) were executed. By 1935 none of them remained in prison.
That’s it for today. The rain is already here and so is the cold.
We were: Moshe, Hayuta, Shmulik, Oded, Rotem, Shani, Matan, Ma’ayan, Yam and another one who walked around all the time with his dog and did not sit down with us.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 249 – 16.12.2022

Mary flew the lighthouse kite and two first guests ask what the star means. Tzachi came to us from Netivot. Golan is a resident of Moshav Shova.
Shmulik pours the first coffee, opens a circle and tells about the place, about the history of the old factory, including a rich description of the cavalry battle during the British occupation one hundred and five years ago. From there he skips to our time.
Golan and Tzachi add details about the space but emphasize that the belief in peace, equality and partnership in Shmuel’s words is far from their view. Nevertheless, they promise to return and part amicably. Mary, Mahran, Malki, Dina and Hanan join in a conversation of a more intimate nature because now the participants are the loyalists of the lighthouse, the “owners” according to the political language prevalent today…
Oded comes from a conference of “all citizens – al Moatiniha” party and updates on the discussions to establish a federation of equality as a basis for a new political partnership.
Rami enters, receives the blessing of those present and a cup of coffee. Rami shares with us his feelings regarding the transformations in Israel, in the immediate area and in his kibbutz. Rami’s words place another direction in the circle: the question of identity, personal and possibly also collective, in this world, in this time.
At four in the afternoon, a quarter of an hour before Shabbat begins, we fold the table that is falling apart (there is no whole from a broken heart, as above a broken table) and wish a happy Holiday of Lights, that the clouds of anger and darkness will disappear, in our days, at this time.
We were: Mary, Shmulik, Mahran, Malki, Dina, Hanan, Oded, Rami, Golan, Tzachi, Moshe.
Wrote: Moshe

Encounter 248 – 9.12.2022

Little by little, from week to week, more travelers are passing through the sulfur plant in preparation for the peak that will occur during “Southern Red”. Some of them went right through our circle and politely refused our invitation for coffee and friendly company for conversation. Only one couple asked if we would be there next week as well, today is already a little late for them because of the approaching Shabbat.
We were left alone.
The talk was about old age and recovery, until Jaber arrived.
Jaber was not long ago, so we held a circle of hugs (“only the empty chairs didn’t get up to hug me” he said). Then he was asked about his situation in the Travel Guide course. From the hesitation before he answered, we understood. Still he said a few things. He recalled that when he started the course, Shmulik told him, “They will fail you”. So while Jaber is getting close to the exams and is still in the course, he feels very well the difficulty of being an Israeli-Palestinian Arab who has to learn and explain the Jewish narrative only while ignoring and negating another narrative.
A discussion began in the circle. The sub-discourse dealt with the right claimed by the residents of the country, both these and those, for their possession of the space. The over-discourse sailed on talking about Zionism, about secondary and main currents in religions, about emotion, about truth and myth, and also about the question of whether Jaber should prepare for the tests as a “Jew” after passing a guide according to the best of his knowledge, or stick to the truth and the “non-academic” knowledge of His, even if it will result in failing the exams.
It was interesting, educational and… sweet! Sweet thanks to the Lin family’s decision to lower the sugar level in their home. A decision that earned us chocolate muffins and cookies brought by Mary.
As mentioned, the conversation worthy of a summary began only when Jaber arrived and since he felt that he had not yet exhausted the spirit of the “Lighthouse” in its entirety, Jaber remained to reflect on things in the parking lot, next to the car, with a fragrant hookah.
We were cold, it was a quarter past four and as our friend Jeff says from Rabbi Tarfon, “You do not have to finish the job and you are not free to withdraw from it ” (imagine that in an American accent). We went on to other crafts.
This time we were: Moshe, Malki, Bela, Mary, Hayuta, Jaber, Uzi, Nahshi, Oded.
Written by: Oded

Encounter 247 – 2.12.2022

The news heralded racism and robbery. We changed the radio station, first to Nablus Broadcasting and later to the Voice of Music, but the mood did not improve.
However, before we arrived at the lighthouse, we (Shmulik, Nahshi and Moshe) were treated to a Druze lafa with Labne.
The sky cleared and a pleasant sun illuminated our “winter residence”.
Shmulik just put the pot on the fire and the first circle has already opened with Abdal, Mahmoud and Farid, all three of the Tarabin tribe. First there was an explanation by Shmulik about the place and the meeting.
Farid told about his mother who came from Gaza, so we talked about the space, about neighbors near and far, about fears and hopes.
Roni called to inform about two German teachers making their way to the lighthouse:
Kristin and Brigitte came to us from the Bethlehem area. One teaches today and one in the past, at a school in the town of Beit Jala, and they shared with us their concern about the state of health in Gaza: there is a film documenting the hardships of cancer patients who need treatment. This time we preferred to skip the Yiddish and Nahshi managed to summarize, in English, the history of the sulfur plant.
Mark, also in English, completed the picture with an update on the current situation and his feelings.
We said goodbye to the visitors from Tarabin and Beit Jala and started another circle, with Limor, who was present at the weekly meeting of the “Hadar formation” for the return of the captives and the missing in the “Black Arrow” and with Mary, who contributed both insights into the complexity of the situation in the area and the fruits of her trees: delicious pecans.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, the evening wind blows, the hour of blessing and closing.
Writing: Moshe.
Documentation: Nahshi.