Encounter 272 – 26.5.2023

We are sitting, the breeze is caressing with the aroma of coffee.
After about an hour, when we had already calculated the end of the circle backwards, the first miracle happened, Jaber arrives! The hug with me is natural and expected, as above with Moshe, but with Shmulik?! Anyone who hasn’t been there and seen it with me, will have a hard time even imagining. Jaber, armed with a bag of baked goods, a bag of za’atar, a vial with olive oil and a pinch of salt, organizes plates with a health mixture.
More breeze, more coffee, and a traveling family appears on the top of the hill – second miracle!
Instead of being a guest in some kibbutz with caravans of agricultural implements and white maidens leaping from among the yellowing wheat, couples with guys as above and children with baskets on their heads. It turns out that there are those who actually chose to travel.
Yuval Orna and their children, Ofek and Adam, like to travel on the weekends precisely in places that few people, if any, would choose to travel to.
I begin by explaining about us, continue with “What is Gaza to me” and point out that my presence here, in our “Lighthouse” is influenced by a television docu that I watched in the past in which there is a reference to a population that lives an almost undisturbed life while in its neighborhood, other people suffer for a long time (the docu talks about those who lived in the neighborhood of the concentration camps in Europe during the Second World War and continued their normal lives).
Yuval says he has no specific connection to Gaza (he did not serve in it or near it in the army). He thinks the situation inside is difficult. The parallel I made when I presented my rationale is difficult for him. He compares the Hamas rule in Gaza to dictators in Africa. The aid programs are not successful because the government is not interested in change and profits from the situation. You can complain about the Israelis, but you should also honestly say that their attempt at democracy did not succeed and not because of Israel. I once read a book by an economist, whose name I don’t remember, who said that those who live off of someone else’s backwardness will not really try to solve the problems.
Orna, curious to go in and see with her own eyes the situation there. It pains her to see the pictures from there that are broadcast on TV, especially during the rounds of violence. Very very curious to see Gaza.
Shmulik, born in Ramat Gan, came to the area in a group and lived here since the 1960s. His family is scattered around the Gaza Strip, a daughter in Netiv Ha’asara, a son in Kfar Gaza, a sister in Nir Oz, and he and another daughter and son live in Nir Itzhak. In times of war one does not leave home, he also says (an answer to Orna’s question “What did he do in the last conflict”). In his professional life he also met workers from Gaza and remained in contact with them. When the physical contact was severed he sent money and now helps in hiring a laborer from there. At the time, Aric Sharon created a complete dependence of the Gazan economy on Israel. Today we are separated by modern fences. Tells about Physicians for Human Rights doctors, who visited the circle almost 5 years ago and told about the difficult situation in Gaza’s hospitals. Until about a year ago, Gaza was closed and isolated and there was great despair. Since they opened the suffocating lockdown and allowed the workers to go to work, the situation has improved a bit. Enmity and tensions are building up there and one day everything will explode and flood us. When he understood the situation he also decided to be active.
Jaber talks about “El Zarnouk”, his unrecognized settlement, and emphasizes that compared to Gaza, their situation is excellent. Whoever ignores what is happening there is burying his head in the sand. Every time we hurt the “responsibles” and new ones arise. In the economic aspect, Jaber says, the foreign workers in Israel (from Thailand, Philippines ect.) take the money out of the country, while the Gazans, on whom Israel’s economy was based until about 30 years ago, used the money inside Israel. The situation bothers him. In his eyes, the state is like a father, an abusive father. There cannot be a situation where there is nothing to eat and we are thriving. This difference between the opportunities each side has is outrageous. Wants to be a part of the lighthouse even though he is at work on Fridays (driver in “Egged”).
Moshe says that in the last operation (the use of the word “operation” does not please him), he saw how we, the adults, also suffer. Today is a holiday, the sense of danger is constantly hovering above, present. On the other side, they suffer much more. There is a film about the children in Gaza, Moshe recommends watching. This is a reality that is hard to digest. Most of the population in Gaza are refugees from 1948. This affects the collective and personal level. We try to contact people in Gaza and this sometimes happens despite “dangerous conditions of conversation”. It is difficult but also optimistic.
Yuval says that he is himself, not paying a price (doesn’t live close to Gaza) and therefore he feels that the weight of his words is weaker. Basically, he says, he is a leftist. In his opinion everyone deserves a fair life but in the West there is a lot of hypocrisy, if tribes are slaughtering each other in Africa I don’t get involved because it’s not my conflict. A person should demand humanity from himself, but he also has the right to demand it from the other side. The western standard is only about itself.
The holiday is about to begin and I make sure to finish on time. Just before the end, Maharan and his son Malek also arrive. They are on their way to watch with us the Shavuot ceremony in Nir Itzhak. Jaber and the traveling family are also invited, but decide to stick to the prearranged plans.
This time we were: Shmulik, Moshe, Jaber, Oded, Orna, Yuval (Ofek and Adam, their sons, wandered the site), Maharan and Malek.
Written by: Oded