Encounter 276 – 9.6.2023

The growl of the engine heralded a large vehicle parked in the square above us.
A few people enter.
There are free chairs, there is an invitation for coffee, there is curiosity.
The guide invites them to continue towards the well. “There are bees”, we warn. Another reason to sit down and not continue to the well…
Shmulik hurries with a teapot on the gas. I begin to tell who we are. The guide stops me, “That sounds interesting, I’ll go call those who stayed on the bus.”
At the end, about 30 travelers, aged 55 plus, sit with us – a group from Haifa area. They travel all weekend and sleep in Gvulot.
During my explanation Rami also arrives.
As usual, I tell about us and to emphasize my personal connection with Gaza, I tell that I transport patients in the “Road to Recovery” association. This provokes anger in one of the female travelers, “charity begins at home” she slaps me. I assure her that she will get her own right to speak, but she stands up defiantly and walks back to the bus. I pass the right to speak to a guy named Gidi.
Gidi says that Gaza is a bloody demographic problem. You need to understand the Arab mentality. We are meant to live on our sword. There are good people among us who care about the society in which they live. Barak offered Arafat 93 percent and he said in a closed call that he would not agree to even 100 percent, because he needs the struggle to continue.
Nahshi begins to speak. Someone else from the group also expresses some anger at the things that are said. Even the promise that it will soon be his turn to speak does not calm him down. Other voices from the group try to calm him down but in vain, he also angrily goes to the bus. At this point, the guide stops the meeting, “But”, he says, “Rami was my guide in the geography of Israel studies, let’s hear him and then we’ll go”
Rami recently returned from the Biennale in Venice where he participated in the presentation of a joint project with Jordan on water issues. Next to them was a Palestinian pavilion with a map of the Nakba. Rami introduced himself as Israeli and the manager of the Palestinian pavilion said “You are Palestinian”. The parents of the Palestinian pavilion manager were born in Jaffa. Rami showed him the old Be’eri area on the map, the sulfur factory and marked where the Abu Mualik family lived “I’m from there” he says to the Palestinian. Had excellent relations with Abu Mualik, until he was deported to Gaza in 1948. The Palestinian said: You expelled Abu Mualik. Rami said “I’m not arguing about facts, I’m expressing sorrow” and adds that he respects the narrative. Today, Rami is engaged in regional joint planning. The climatic and environmental problems are common to all. The entire space behaves according to different codes according to its rulers, including Gaza. Today everything is going on with anger, everyone is in post-trauma. In today’s behavior we are not getting to a good place. We need to think in combination of regional forces. Rami learned in life not to make assumptions, you have to look at reality. The assumption that there is no one to talk to is incorrect. We see how easy it is to start a war. Sometimes a small landing, like the meeting here at the lighthouse, can open a different way of thinking.
After the group leaves, a conversation develops between us about how to present things given that the environmental conditions do not facilitate patience.
Perhaps there is no value at all to sitting here if the weather conditions do not allow comfortable conversation and listening.
Perhaps we should speak much more briefly and when a large group comes, leave room for more people to express themselves.
To notice that the listeners understand that we are “the lighthouse” and even if some of us are partners in other ventures (like Other voice, Road to recovery, etc.) – we, in this place and time, are the lighthouse and nothing else.
Interesting and important discussion. It would be easier for me personally if others also introduce and guide the circle in the future.
We were: Nahshi, Shmulik, Rami, Moshe, Oded and about 30 other travelers
Written by: Oded