one by one they gathered at the “lighthouse” this week and talked about Gaza and “the situation”.
Chaim, for example, “lived Gaza” for a long time, troubled, looking for something to do. That’s why he’s here. The pogrom in Hawara made him shed a tear. He compares it to Kristallnacht. His soul is turbulent. Gaza is part of an occupation. In his opinion, in 2023 there should be no place on earth where people will live without hope. We have a responsibility. Gaza is part of the conflict, not “we gave it back and thankfully we got rid of it” but it is part of us.
Hayuta lives close to the Gaza Strip. She sees the neighbors, hears the muezzin and it is part of the landscape regardless of her will or unwillingness. She met a Gaza worker who told about his family. He has 9 children, all grown up. 3 of his daughters are unemployed teachers. Do your best, study, but there is nowhere to move forward.
Shmulik says Yusuf is a friend. Yusuf dreamed for 16 years to return and meet Shmulik and work in Israel. They have no options in Gaza and live on donations. The family was deported in 1948 from Israel. Today they live in Nusirat – Gaza. Shmulik is here out of identification with them. We, here at the Lighthouse, are occasionally rescued by a fund-raising operation, he says.
Ilan says that as of today, the state of the country does not allow to be interested in them, in Gaza, too much. According to him, unlike the West Bank, Gaza should not be at the top of our minds. He no longer has contact with people there. May the Muslims of the world take care of them. Sadat was smarter than Begin and pushed Gaza to us.
Riki remembers Gaza in the 70’s, her family had an engine repair factory and there were workers from Gaza, real friends. She misses this relationship.
Eli tells about friends from Gaza who call to congratulate on the holidays. If the “big ones” don’t have a solution, what will he say? Loved traveling in Gaza and remembers many good things. He has nothing bad to say about them. External influences caused radicalization. In the past he took care of the children of the Gazan family he knew and was in contact with.
Efrat grew up in the Jordan Valley and served in Sinai. A family of “swamp drainers”. She also knows the less good stories, dating back to 1910-20. Arabs were deported to the other side of Jordan even though they had good relations. There is no connection between them today. On a human level, whether it is joy or sadness, she will lend a hand, but the just solution is to help them go and settle in Sinai with the help of Israeli knowledge. Israel left, closed the border and she, Efrat, no longer feels that we have any responsibility. The Egyptians should have given them the Sinai Peninsula, that’s the solution.
Nahshi guess there is no solution and he didn’t come here because of the solution. But such encounters, with different people, is the creation of a reality of consciousness and dialogue. He supports any initiative that will make people understand each other. Prefer to be considered naive and believe that something good can be created. You can find a starting point in conversations here from which you can move forward.
Yaron is a young man. He was there in 2014 “it wasn’t fun”. Heard that the beach in Gaza is wonderful.
Alon, Yaron’s friend. They hurry to continue their trip. He asks us not to think that they are avoiding comment because they think bad things about Gaza. They actually think that what we do here is very impressive.
Eliezer says that most of his years worked in the medical system. He was a department manager in a hospital. Defines himself as “right-wing” and points out that in 1967 a miracle happened and the IDF decided the campaign. Then he and his friends toured Gaza and Arish and he was not particularly impressed. Then he encountered clashes with the Palestinians through the operating rooms. It will take time for conditions to be created for negotiations. It will take time Until both sides understand. Now he is more concerned about what is happening in Israel, even though he is right-wing.
Miki remembers that after 1967 she went with a friend to El Arish and they had a flat tire. It seemed very natural to her that the locals helped them. Begin wanted to transfer Gaza to Egypt and they refused. They knew why. In Tel Aviv she met a charming foreman from Gaza. Suddenly everything stopped. Miki also remembers the redemption period. She too, like Eliezer, is worried about what is happening in Israel. The situation is very difficult. There has to be a political solution. We have our pyromaniacs and they have theirs. She has friends in a kibbutz close to Gaza and she knows the hardships.
Jeff has arrived! The “lighthouse” is his temple. He came quite a bit at the beginning (“in the eighth week”) and has continued to come ever since. His life is conducted between New York, Michigan and Be’ery. In 1967 he was in diapers and in 1973 he was 8 years old. Last Tuesday he participated in a demonstration in Tel Aviv, came to raise his voice: democracy is impossible without equality. Tells about “Stars of Hope” a project he founded with his friends from New York after they were impressed by the support they received after the twin attacks. Their project demonstrates how disaster (the Twin Towers) can be turned into hope (painted stars to raise support for disaster victims). Tells about the joint paintings of Arabs and Jews. They also operated in Gaza when it was still possible. He came to give a hug to his friends who are on the Titanic. Came to check where to look for hope. Previously worked in the USA in the Reagan administration. Knows people who knew Bibi. Two days ago he participated in a demonstration in Tel Aviv and spoke on Orli Bar Lev’s broadcast. Jeff is conservative and a Republican, but thinks that what is happening here, in Israel, is terrible.
Helen, Ornit, Ella, Noa (there were two more that I didn’t catch their names) – a group that has been traveling together for decades and are very excited about what is happening here, but sit for too little time to participate in Gaza consciousness.
Zvi is traveling with 3 small children and accepted our invitation. Gaza is the Land of Israel, he said. We need to return to Gaza because that’s the only way salvation will come. He is 100% certain that we are on the way to return to all the territories of the Land of Israel in order to control them. It is not a negative thing to encourage voluntary migration from Gaza, he adds.
Nitzan grew up and lives in the area. still in the army Gaza was for her, in her childhood, the greatest enemy. When she grew up she started to understand what was going on there and now she doesn’t know what the solution is. We insist on things that prevent a future solution. It intrigues her to try to understand. Right now she is quite embarrassed.
Nitzan’s friend Shai says she doesn’t have that much of an opinion.
Nitzan says that Gaza is not something that is thought about that much. But she got interested and entered the social networks. She saw how people live there. But it confuses her more.
Zvi says that he is looking at the redemption of the people of Israel as it is written in the Torah and it is getting closer. When there will be a temple and a Sanhedrin here, the people of Israel will be able to fulfill their mission, to be a light to the Gentiles. Zvi speaks quietly with eloquence and absolute faith. His words create reactions.
Haim, for example, tells Tzvi that if he wants to annex Gaza he will create a federation.
Zvi says again that he doesn’t understand why they don’t talk openly and clearly about encouraging voluntary immigration. This is a correct and appropriate solution for him. Zvi thinks that the idea of faith and its fulfillment needs effort and perseverance.
This time we were: Haim, Nahshi, Hayuta, Shmulik, Oded, Mark, Ilan, Efrat, Eli, Ricky, Yaron, Alon, Jeff, Vivian, Helen, Ornit, Noa, Ella, two anonymous, Nitzan, Shai Zvi and his three children.
Written by: Oded