Encounter 266 – 14.4.2023

Mark suggested a slightly different circuit, “role play”.
Each person in the circle represented a popular opinion in the Israeli public. For example, “it is important to preserve the unity of the people in Israel” or “the Jewish people, wherever they are, should unite” or “two states”, “enough for occupation”, “a state of all its citizens” and more.
A good idea to start an important discussion. The problem for most of us was the difficulty of representing different and even opposite positions to the personal positions.
During the round, Mary arrived with her guest, Vicky, who listened and asked to speak as well.
Vicki is a retired Jewish American doctor. She has visited the country many times in the past. Understands Hebrew quite well but is less sure of her ability to speak. Since she showed interest and a desire to express herself, we decided to stop the role-playing and focus on Gaza. It is important and interesting to hear what an older Jewish woman from Arizona thinks about Gaza. We made a circle, some spoke English and some Hebrew. Most of us said the things we repeat every time, so I won’t mention them in the summary.
The readership can scroll back the summaries and read what Nahshi, Shmulik, Roni, Oded, Mark, Bela and Malki said about Gaza in the past… We repeated the same things today. Not that there are any surprises in what can still be said about Gaza, but there were some new insights from different people and especially in the way Vicky formulated her point of view.
Vicky spoke in English and so that I wouldn’t misunderstand things, I asked Mary to summarize for me in Hebrew. Turned out a bit long.
Vicky says this: in order for peace to come to Gaza, both nations need to work on themselves.
We need to understand the harm we caused by our actions, whether out of true intentions or due to neglect. Acknowledging these things for our neighbor is huge! This is the first step in apologizing. But the next steps are more difficult. Changing our actions and committing to peace is something that should also come from us. If we declare that we are ready for peace, but only declare, then it is a bluff. Being ready for peace also means being vulnerable in a certain way, changing our behavior and attitude to a friendly one. Being vulnerable not from a security perspective but from a relationship perspective.
The Gazans should also have real intentions and act towards us consistently in order for trust to develop. It’s hard to know if it’s possible on a large scale, it’s doubtful. Our cultures are very different. If we do things that shame and hurt the feelings of others then we are not doing our job to build peace. Unfortunately, the people of Gaza are silenced by leadership and religion, which also do not seem to encourage a two-sided solution.
Neighbors need to build trust through actions and continued talk. The current situation cannot lead to a solution, because Gaza will simply remain as it is.
Mahran thinks America should force Israel to make an agreement with Gaza. He calls the USA “the big mother”. If the economy in Gaza is good they will have no reason to fight.
Vicki replies that she has a friend who says that the US is always the source of trouble in the world and has never solved any conflict.
Haim said that like all of us, he will reach heaven one day, meet his mother who will ask if he finished the soup and maybe someone will also ask him what he has done in his life to solve the problem of the largest ghetto in the world that developed near his home (in a settlement near Gaza). In the meantime, he’s clarifying the issue for himself. Come on, this is the fourth time! to the lighthouse
Shmulik says that Gaza should be a state in itself because even the Palestinians in the West Bank do not see the Gazans as brothers and are not really interested in them.
Mahran says that he trusts and believes more in the Palestinians from Gaza than in the Palestinians from the West Bank, such a feeling… He cannot explain it… He said that the Israeli Arabs should stay between Israel and the Palestinians for the time being and not choose a side.

We were: Malki, Vicky, Mary, Haim, Shmulik, Nahshi, Bella, Mark, Mahran, Oded, Roni
Written by: Oded