Encounter 268 – 28.4.2023

Malki came with Racheli, a childhood friend (who had already been once before), Racheli quickly internalized the spirit of the “Lighthouse”, recognized two suspicious characters as walking in the area of the well, went “hunting” and returned with Neta and Lee.
Come on circle…
Maharan said that he loved spending his childhood in Gaza with his father and with the local exotic experiences (market, sea, food, etc.). During one of the visits, he saw soldiers standing civilians facing the wall with their legs apart and searching them. To his question, his father replied that Gaza had changed. He continued to come to Gaza even in his adulthood and already knew how to notice the changes in himself. Today, he says, nobody wants Hamas, but they are afraid. In his opinion, going to work in Israel improved the economic situation a little and therefore there is peace. Israel invests more in the West Bank because there are Israelis there and neglects Gaza. They are conducted separately from the West Bank and a sort of “Gaza state” was created.
Malki says that living close to Gaza increases awareness (compared to living far away). She doesn’t have much to do but came so as not to run away from reality. Some do more than her. She focuses on the lighthouse. Gaza is a great despair.
Racheli comes from Tel Aviv. As a child, I vaguely remember Gaza. As a student she visited Gaza only once. Gaza today is a big ghetto.
Shmulik renewed the relationship with Gaza by renewing the relationship with Yusuf and his family. Once, when he was a dairy farmer, Yusuf, then a boy, came to the dairy with his father. Today they are both grandparents to their grandchildren. After many years of disconnection, Yusuf received a work permit in Israel and the relationship was renewed. Shmulik remembers that when he himself arrived in the region, in the mid-sixties of the last century, as a young man, after finishing high school, he sometimes went to the border of the Gaza Strip, met with UN soldiers and traded cigarettes. Back then the border was a single barbed wire, today the border is a fence high above the ground, a concrete wall Under the earth and the UN is busy with other countries. Shmulik used to travel with a friend from a kibbutz as he had friends in Rafah and Khan Yunis. After the Oslo Accords, there was a feeling for a moment that peace would break out, but the moment passed and peace is over. In Gaza, people live under limitations that we do not experience.
Moshe says that especially in this week of the Holocaust remembrance and independence, we hear a lot of sirens and loudspeakers. That second before the announcement on the loudspeaker, when he starts to act but still nothing has been said, that second makes him shiver. When he checked the reason, he realized that the second of this pause reminded him of the second before the “red color” alarm. After each operation, the children are checked to see that everything is fine. Moshe thinks that the adults are also hurt, it’s just that it has become the “normal”. He asks rhetorically, how did such a generation grow up in Gaza where they are completely exposed both physically and mentally/ therapeutically? While we are sitting here, in the “Lighthouse”, a group is sitting in Gaza with whom we are in contact. We have hope that one day we will meet and we gain strength from the knowledge that we are a Lighthouse for them.
Neta does not remember Gaza from before the war period. From her young age, she only remembers alarms. Today, more than 10 years after she was released from the army, she still serves in the reserves, her main occupation in the reserves is the protection of the residents. There, in Gaza, she says, there is a small group that is degenerating the area into violence. Unfortunately, she does not see a solution in Gaza, until both sides make a switch in their minds. She lives in a settlement very close to Gaza and among them you hear the “Iron Dome” first and only after that an alarm. When this happens, she already knows that she will be called to the reserves.
Lee lives in the center of the country. For her, Gaza is only stories from her father. According to him, it was a place of entertainment, sea and market. If you wanted to impress a girl you would take her to Gaza. While renovating a family site, they met a worker from Gaza who told about the horror of life under Hamas rule. Lee rarely talks about politics because “in our society everyone thinks they are the most righteous in the world.”
Mary spoke and so did I. But our words can also be read in previous summaries…
This time we were: Maharan, Malki, Mary, Racheli, Shmulik, Moshe, Neta, Lee, Oded. Roni was with us from afar.
Written by: Oded