Encounter 223 – 17.6.2022

223 meetings. Over 4 years of “lighthouse” every Friday and still in my immediate family there are those who ask me in amazement, “are you sitting this week too?”. what to say? There are gaps to cross.
Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe and I collect Hayuta.
Ronny arrives and Ofek too.
Last week, Ofek preferred the Pride Parade over the “Lighthouse”, can you imagine?
Later Malki and Bella will arrive. Bella celebrated her 84th birthday this week! With energies of a 20-year-old.
Then Hanan also arrived, carrying strawberry jam seasoned with black pepper! Goes well with the homemade bread that Nahshi bake every week for our reunion.
Shortly after three o’clock, Maharan and his youngest son (out of four), ten-year-old Malek, arrived.
Random hikers were not interested in the sulfur plant this week, except for a family who passed by us and the man who was driving the vehicle refused on behalf of everyone to stop for coffee.
The coffee, by the way, continues to be brewed by Shmulik who resolutely dispossessed Nahshi and inherited his chair in front of the gas(a).
As usual in a situation where “everyone knows everyone”, all that is left is to try to find hot topics from the last week (longing for Rami who always finds an idea to discuss. Also this week, Rami is in the north with his first grandson. Again, congratulations to Rami, Naomi And the family).
At Roni’s initiative, we tried a new telephone connection with Gaza. For moments it came up, we smiled and waved hello but we really had a hard time having a conversation due to the technical limitations.
I recently found a new “guru”, Hillel Cohen, and I am digging for everyone the latest insights I have gleaned from his fascinating book about the Year of 1929.
Roni occasionally tries to respond to attacks (mostly from me but not only) on “Zionism” and claims that with all her understanding of the Palestinian plight, (and there is no one who has do like Roni to worry and address these plight), she still lacks a step or even a clear statement For their part, about the day the conflict will end.
Hanan read and recounts that part of the Gaza coast has been cleansed of pollutants and is worthy of bathing!
Moshe listens and occasionally illuminates in a precise spot a certain element from the general text.
Shmulik made Coffee and tea.
Hayuta in her book of poems, she looks for a song that deserves to be heard collectively. Not found this time.
Nahshi occasionally retires for a cigarette, taking pictures and being cynical.
Ofek answers questions about his impending military service.
Malki comes because here despair is more comfortable.
Bella is optimistic.
Roni took care to bring this time also a fly repellent and whoever is exposed, spreads.
Everything is run in Shanti until Maharan comes. Maharan’s lecture this time focuses on the historical connection between the al-Huzail tribe and the State of Israel and why it is emotionally difficult for them to be fighters against the plunder of their land by the state, having already given up tens of thousands of dunams since the establishment of the state.
Mahran’s speech brings us to four o’clock.
Survived to tell: Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe, Hayuta, Hanan, Roni, Malki, Bella, Maharan, Malek, Ofek, Oded.
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 222 – 10.6.2022

We had previously been to a meeting of “Road to Recovery” volunteers at Kibbutz Alumim. From there, Avi continued with us, so that even 3 hours of “circle” will not be enough to tell about all the activities for acquaintance, rapprochement, completion, education and reconciliation in which he is involved.
Roni told about the continuation of our friends work in Gaza and we almost managed to talk to one of the leaders. We will try again soon.
Rami called and excitedly announced that his first grandchild had been born! We got excited and congratulated.
Before leaving early for another happy event, Oded recounted an experience from one of the last shuttles as part of “Road to Recovery“, when he gathered patients from the Erez checkpoint and was surprised to see several families going out together in festive “Western” attire. He was surprised by the fact that such a natural sight is astonishing in our hallucinatory reality.
Jaber expanded on women’s clothing and cover drivers in the Strip and said that in recent years there has been some relief in enforcing the religious dress code, especially in the residential neighborhoods of major cities.
Dina, who has repeatedly said that everyone should do what they can to promote the good, said that she has returned from volunteering with Ukrainian refugees in Moldova and that she is soon going on a similar project in Poland.
We were this time: Roni, Oded, Shmulik, Avi, Dina, Malki, Jaber and Nahshi.
Wrote: Nahshi

Encounter 221 – 3.6.2022

I do not have a brilliant introduction, so I’ll go straight to the spokespersons
A Chinese couple studying in Israel are sitting with us. We will get to them later, but it requires carving English words.
I jumble in spoiled English, explain about us and answer the research question – what is Gaza for me. I also answer: neighbors, suffering, desire to act, etc. – all the things I usually say and have become an unwelcome routine.
After Ofek speaks Eglish and briefly vigorously: Gaza for ofek is a place where people live. He can sit down to eat a watermelon (we brought a first watermelon of the season…) and feel free. He wants it for them too. So simple, so true.
Moshe says that the events that are happening here, parades of various kinds (also in universities) are legal and legitimate actions, including the hoisting of the Palestinian flag. Demonstrating against him is pretty stupid. Moshe saw the demonstration that took place at Ben-Gurion University. The “students” who demonstrated against the Palestinians first flag were for the most part young children wearing kippahs who came from outside. Feels unpleasant towards the Israeli-Palestinian students. The purpose was to cause discomfort to the Palestinians. The overall picture is difficult and complicated and it is difficult to separate the components of the complex. This should also provoke thought about Gaza.
Bella passed the age of 80 and saw many things in her life, Good and bad. Gaza is like a POW camp where the people cannot change their lives. Maybe we’re actually captives too, she muses.
For Malki, Gaza is a black pit and despair. Malki, like the rest of us, wants a common space. A normal life for everyone. There they have no life like ours. They have no light at the end of the tunnel and it is discouraging and has no solutions. Came here to be encouraged. The situation is neither good nor improving. It’s not just Gaza. As Moshe said, it is big and complicated.
Nahshi was born in the neighborhood of Gaza and lives next door to this day. There are also opportunities in Gaza, he says, that with good relations can benefit everyone. Beach, market shopping and commercial life. Now instead we have hostility and missiles. Nahshi prefer to see that there is a horizon. The situation must be better, he says. Our life here is a fact and we need to be prepared for the change that will come. He is sure that change will come, in a pleasant or painful way. The substitute is a war scenario. Came here because of the coffee and friends. Know that in Gaza they know about us and appreciate it.
For Shmulik, human rights in Israel and abroad should exist and he works for this. It is important for him to come and listen to the opinions of others. Hoping for better times and committing to making the most of it
David comes from China. He is a student, here in Israel. An archeology, history and Bible student. In China the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is what is presented in the media. Because of his stay here he is more interested and also took a tour along the border with a guide who was a civilian security guard. Did not know and did not plan to reach the circle. After hearing us he think that we are doing an important educational action. They had lectures on how Gaza has deteriorated. People in Gaza are like all the other people in the world. Hamas makes them live badly. There must be an opportunity for change. There is a physical barrier but the internet allows Contact: See profile of a young woman in Gaza who does not talk about war but about love and a good life.
Yanan is a student at the Hebrew University. I have known Yanan for about 5 years because she volunteered in our Kibutz. I told her a long time ago about the “lighthouse” and today, on her way to celebrate “Shavuot” with us, she decided to stop in our circle. Yanan says that she has’nt experienced missels alarm with all the accompanying effects that result from it. what is interesting to her is the fact that after Whatever we absorb from Hamas, there are still people who hope for normalcy with them. Her point of view is more liberal and open.
Bella asks what is happening that the country is constantly in decline ?
Rami says that the country is not going down – but going in a different direction: in the direction that it is going, it is in great advanced – national, nationalist, a large majority driven by faith. Admittedly, the struggle for the Land of Israel has not been decided but “they” are very advanced. Rami also adds that Oded thinks we are a silent majority, but he, Rami, thinks we are a stupid minority.
We were this time: Rami, Bella, Malki, David, Yanan, Ofek, Nahshi, Shmulik, Oded, Moshe.
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 220 – 27.5.2022

We came, we sat, we waited. Nahshi and Shmulik talked to Yusuf from Gaza on his cell phone, Hayuta perused a book of songs by Yotam Reuveni and occasionally shared a song that she found interesting and I went to collect chairs from among the trees.
So I also came to see the olive tree planted about 4 years ago, after one of our first encounters, by hopeful participants – its condition as the state of our hope: a thin trunk, no leaves, almost dead-dry and from below protrude a few green leaves that do not develop. When he dares to develop a little, a war round or fire comes and returns him to a state of survival. Even we who used to water him at the end of every session, are already letting him fight alone.
At a quarter to three, 4 private cars stopped in front of the sulfur plant. Out of them came about ten hikers and listened to an explanation. As usual in the procedure, we invited them for coffee. At the end of the explanation five of them arrived and for a moment a young Bedouin guy who passed quietly, tempted to drink coffee, sat down and continued to pass. Then another guy on an off-road bike also stopped next to us who hesitantly joined the circle and tried to dodge before speaking, without success.
As usual, in Rami’s absence, I obey the movement order (Shmulik’s movement with the hand that means, start before they run away) and burst into explanation about us. Trying to sound as logical and considered as possible (after all, you see in the eyes of the guests that their basic premise is, what is this hallucination?). I have a feeling that as time goes on in the reality of the area, the guests sitting with us by chance, (i.e., did not plan to get to the “lighthouse” but just for a walk) present more and more mainstream opinions that today is drifting strongly to the right. Therefore, it is difficult to sound “logical and considerate” in presenting the rationale of the “lighthouse”. I’m still trying, until I’ll dismissed in a blessed coup.
After me, Hayuta speaks: she occasionally comes to strengthen and feel human. Presents herself as less idealistic than “these doodes” (a circumferential hand movement in our direction). Comes less with political consciousness and more to strengthen the human spirit.
Nahshi as his custom opens and says that Gaza is neighbors, friends from the past and there is a telephone connection. Now, he says, when people go out to work, it gives hope to friends in Gaza as well. Tells about someone from Gaza who came to his kibutz as a child to work and after a break of several years, returned to work as a grandfather to his grandchildren. The man works in the kibutz even though he is exposed to small harassments by the local patriots. The “lighthouse” is the connection, in terms of Nahshi, with people who suffer there even on a daily basis and especially during periods of war rounds. He understands well the meaning of untreated trauma as happens in the Gaza Strip. Came to remind himself that there are peace-seekers like us and the last decades is an anomaly. Do not want it to be a model for the future.
Bluma asks Nahshi if he wants to influence the situation and answers herself – she can not influence the situation, if she talks about Gaza, people will think, what does she want from our lives. Gaza could be Singapore of the Middle East, she says. We take care of them and she sees convoys of trucks bringing things to Gaza. We do and try, but they have no answers. The seniors there live in villas and have bank accounts abroad and are very wealthy. Why do they not raise themselves? Do not see a desire in them to improve the situation.
Tzila says that there is no place in the world that receives like the Palestinians help from the world. They even have UNRWA – an aid organization specific to them. They do not want to lift themselves up. For her Gaza is a curse.
For Shmulik (the guest), Gaza is memories. Remember trips and shopping on the way to friends in the “Yamit” settlements. Did not feel like an occupier. Did not roam like an arrogant man in their streets. Shmulik sees no remedy for the situation. Their economic situation does not contribute to resolving the conflict, although we do not act correctly either.
Ehud says Gaza will never be Singapore because that is where hatred rules by force. Most of the residents are poor. Whoever wants peace and tries to act, will not last long.
Ze’evik thinks that Gaza is a terrible tragedy and a complete lack of understanding of the Jews what is happening in the area and what needs to be done. It is impossible to look at Gaza in isolation from other regimes in the region. We have not been able to help and understand. They are unable to change because this is the Middle Eastern Muslim culture. In Rahat (he lives near) there is no day without shots. We Jews have not been educated to change our view to the West anymore. We did not invest in education and development and did not understand their situation. Everything that happens in the Negev is part of the story that the State of Israel has not been able to understand. Our chances of survival are declining. Extremes like the parade of flags and they response, do not contribute. If we do not understand, on both sides, the situation, nothing will improve. Violence within their society is part of a culture. Our only chance and theirs is the rule of women! Women need to lead!
Shmulik (ours) as his custom opens with “I am a communist.” Believes that the abnormal situation needs to change. A prison of over 2 million people must explode sometime. The processes on each side are processes of extremism. Although he sees trucks passing through Gaza, he says “the handful will not replete the lion”. Literacy in Gaza is among the highest in the Arab world and it can contribute to the advancement of understanding. He calls his sitting in the “lighthouse” a conscientious laundry. That’s the least he can do.
Gideon, the man and the bicycle, says that according to the findings, Gaza was Jewish during the time of Alexander Yanai. It is not clear to him why there are those in the country who express compromising positions. He gives examples of our great contribution to the lives of Palestinians (I did not have time to list them all) after the 1967 war. For example, a threefold decrease in infant mortality, building universities and more. All that has changed because of some extremists there. The situation after 1967 was ideal for both sides but not slapped, mostly by the other side. He said, got on his bike and continued on his way.
Then we dispersed.
Participants: Hayuta, Bluma, Tzila, Gideon, Ehud, Shmulik, Nahshi, Shmulik, Ze’evik, Oded and a young man who just drank coffee and did not say his name.
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 2019 – 20.5.2022

Jeff arrived, he had not been at the lighthouse for almost 3 years. He does not know Ofek and Moshe who have recently been coming regularly. Keren also arrived, for the first time. She came with her mother Neta – a good woman we all know. In order for everyone to get to know, we started a “circle”.
I start. No need to explain about the “lighthouse”, we all know. I present a non-optimistic point of view, the reality is harsh. The good part for me is my ability to bring personal resources (mostly time and money) to drip my drop into the sea of reality which is huge and difficult.
Roni makes sure to concentrate on her actions and not deal with “what they do”. For her, a person is a person and when he suffers he needs help. It’s getting harder and harder. She recalls what Professor Leibowitz said and wrote after the 1967 war, accurately predicting the future, that is, our present today. 35 years ago, she met the Qatari ambassador in Egypt. He wanted to see a picture from Israel. She showed him a picture of children in an anemone field. He asked her if she was okay with what was happening in Israel. She told him it was hurting her what was happening. And that was 35 years ago.
Mark returned from Cyprus, the family celebrated his birthday. They had a culinary tour with an Israeli woman who has lived there for 10 years. Visited a man with a carob orchard who produces 7 liters of carob syrup every day. Meet more people who live simple lives and produce from what the land gives. Remembering our situation, he asked himself why we have such a complicated life when we can live simply. Yet he lives here. Can not get rid of it. Sees cops beating mourners carrying a coffin for burial. At another funeral, the cemetery is attacked. The Minister in charge, from the Labor Party. It does not give him rest. Feeling helpless. If there are elections, it will be worse. He can not be optimistic. Thinks that if he had been a Palestinian, he would probably have had to resort to violence. In his opinion we are close to another round of violence
Nahshi shares in despair and frustration when he sees the people and the country flying down the slope. People he meets on a daily basis, people he appreciates in many areas, are completely different from him in looking at the anomaly of the occupation. Most Israelis not only think this is the current state of affairs, they are also unwilling to give the alternative a chance. But Nahshi is also optimistic: Still, there are few people who see the situation like him. There are also members in Gaza who maintain contact and a desire for normalcy. Now everyone is happy with the Palestinians’ departure for work. They are highly valued in the workplace. In his opinion, there is no situation that will forever remain such a bad situation. That must change. There will be more difficulties, but by logic this must change. Prefers to stay on the side of optimism and here, in “Lighthouse”, this is one of the places where he feels hope.
Moses had an interesting morning. He wanted to know what the temperature would be today and checked on Google. He went on to check with the neighbors and “discovered” the names of the settlements on the other side of the fence in front of his plece. On Google Map they are so close. A small step for Moshe, a big step for knowing the environment! He tells another anecdote from the last week: At the entrance to the university there was an Arab guy in front of him who took him 7 minutes to enter! Moshe was not asked anything and he entered immediately. The examiner was a Bedouin.
Before Ofek speaks, Jeff asks him to tell how he got here and why he decided to keep coming.
Ofek recounts: He traveled with friends and was invited for coffee. Wanted to decline the invitation, but his friend was intrigued. The circle that day was discounted by Mark. It was winter and there were also Shmulik and Hayuta. In subsequent meetings he said he kept coming because such a discourse he had not heard until now. In the environment in which he lives, Gaza is not talked about like that.
Jeff speaks English spiced with biblical proverbs in Hebrew. It is difficult for me to translate for myself and write at the same time. He talks a lot and in summary you have about 20% of the things he said: every time he comes here he learns something new. Today he learned that there are man-eating flies. Learn a lot here. He plans to be president of the United States in 6 years and says that in his coronation speech he will quote things he learned here at the Lighthouse. Roni with her ability to love neighbors despite suffering makes her a “rabbi” to him. He does not forget the first time he was here. There was a conversation with people in Gaza and there were people here who were very surprised that it happened. He met an Israeli who took part in one of the wars. He shook his hand and said “thank you for continuing my fight”. Jeff speaks with great love of Radir. He calls her “my twin”. Her values are the same as his.
Keren makes a pre- military service for the community. Instead of military service she will do national service. Part of the decision not to serve in the military is health and part is ideological.
Neta recalls the first meeting here: Passover week 2018. More than 4 years ago. She does not come every Friday and tries not to sink into despair and hold on to hope. No one expected the wall in Berlin to collapse. Hope we will all be here to see the change.
Suddenly my family arrives. My daughter, her partner and three grandchildren. Also their uncle Ori (who is also Shmulik’s son). They “float” around the circle but do not sit. Only Ori sits for a few moments and listens. When they decide to continue the trip, Ori asks to say something to the circle. He says he heard Jeff talk about a seed of hope. Ori says that the seed of hope sown here gives a reason for a better life to young people. Maybe he’ll come again.
Rami is coming
Roni talks about an initiative to create a program for the adoption of children in Gaza by outsiders, providing help in various fields. It’s a bit problematic to do it directly in front of someone in Israel because of the difficulty in transferring money, but it’s possible if it’s someone in the US. She checks.
Roni talks almost daily to a psychologist from the Trauma Center in Gaza, he is desperate!
Rami asks perhaps the solution is to allow Gaza residents who want it, migration to other places in the world. Why be bold and unidentified? It is better to be a refugee with the identity of the receiving country. They should be allowed to be open to the big world and choose a place to live there. Rami thinks Gaza is an illusion. A realistic horizon must be allowed, and in a situation in which Gaza is facing the world, its people must not be deceived. If you have a dream for another life and you are blocked in where you are, you can fulfill the dream in a place that allows.
Jeff says there is a Greek proverb that says a healthy society is formed when an old man plants a tree when he knows he will not be able to enjoy it. Jeff brings the corresponding phrase in the Mishna – “It is not upon you to finish the work.” Jeff’s dream is to live in an Israel where Radir Hani is her prime minister! From Roni he learned to love the enemies, and from Rami he learned that if you build a wall, you build it within your heart as well.
Rami says that he is not in favor of the idea that Radir will be only the prime minister of Israel, but the prime minister of all this place and all its inhabitants.
Although Radir was not here today, people think of her and Jeff and Rami also have plans for her.
Who did come today: Roni, Rami, Nahshi, Moshe, Ofek, Jeff, Mark, Keren, Neta, Oded and for a few moments also my family (Na’ama, Ilan, Gal, Amir, Shaked and Ori).
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 218 – 13.5.2022

Then, in the car, on the way home, Nahshi said we need to formulate a procedure to form a circle with those who are in a hurry to continue on their way. Nahshi meant three women who came to walk in the sulfur factory and we, as was our custom, invited them to join. They did join in and settle down, but “on thorns.” On the one hand they were in a hurry to get to the center and prepare for Friday dinner with their families and on the other hand we were intrigued by the “phenomenon” of the strange circle they encountered. I introduced us and Roni told about her humanitarian activities for the boys and girls of the Gaza area. We then asked them to tell what Gaza is for them and their speech was very uncomfortable (regardless of content) because of the “thorns”.
Usually, the orderly speech in a circle creates a unique image for each session. We give space and time to guests to understand the rules. When it’s your turn to speak, it is already after you have had time to internalize the form in which the personal opinion is cast, any opinion, whatever it may be.
My feeling from the conversation with the three women, was of a miss. We could not make them realize that this was not an eccentric bunch, and they, out of time pressure, said the immediate clichés that came to mind just to please the circle. I guess that was also Nahshi’s feeling.
So what was said anyway: I, as mentioned, presented to them the background to our meeting at “Lighthouse” and what brought me personally, to act within its framework.
Roni recounted how born her the curiosity to know the narrative of the other people. About her many contacts with people in Gaza and her actions to help, support and give hope. Mostly out of pure humanity of concern for those who suffer from the ravages of fate and perhaps also out of a desire to present other faces of the nation to which she belongs. Her remarks aroused great appreciation among the three women.
For Lisa, Gaza is an unresolved hatred. Unilateral hatred, from them to us. They hate us. Her views were once at the political center of Israel. The son who served in the Border Guard changed his mind more to the right when he would describe to her what was happening to him in military service.
Dafna: Loves to travel. Rides with her husband on a motorcycle with a group of motorcyclists. This is how she became acquainted with the sulfur plant. Today she brought her friends (by car) with her. There are 2 million poor people in Gaza, she says. We have good intentions, but reality decides otherwise. They are not like us. When someone dies on our side, it’s the end of the world. With them when someone dies, his father stands, praising his son and preaching to die. With us it will never be like this.
Carmit served in the army in the area. Close to the strip and inside it. Familiar with the area. Nothing to say, she says, there, people suffer.
The three of them spoke briefly and got up to go.
They listened to Jaber standing half-turned in the direction of the vehicle. He introduced himself (a Bedouin from an “unrecognized” village) and told them that in his work as a bus driver, he had worked for a long time in the city from which they came, and he knows it well. Jaber talks about the difficult life in the unrecognized village and his decision to come into the circle because there are those who suffer even more.
The three women left.
Maharan says that “Gaza will explode in front of us.” The future does not bode well for him. There is a rapprochement between Russia and Hamas and the weapons that will be released from Ukraine will reach Gaza. The situation in the area is getting worse. Journalists are killed. The popular talk on the street, bad. This government is worse for Gaza than the previous one. The calm in Gaza does not bode well and the West Bank is boiling.
Yogev and Tal are friends of Ofek, he comes every week and they are occasional. Ofek surprises Yogev and asks him to present “his Gaza.”
Yogev releases a short sentence, “I like to listen. It’s good to listen to the opinions of others”
Ofek speaks. He builds a logical line. Gaza is a place where there are people. People are born equal. The conclusion – everyone deserves equal conditions. Gaza is near here, close to his home and therefore, says Ofek, their living conditions should be equal to his.
Maharan again takes the floor. This time the message is more optimistic. He met with a Gazan who is happy to be here and work. In Ramadan he returned to Gaza and felt suffocated. Returned to Israel and does not want to spend a day without a livelihood. According to Maharan, this government did the right thing by opening up the possibility of work for workers from Gaza. The economy is a crucial factor in people’s sense of calm. Once there is a good economic situation national respect is less dominant.
Ofek sang a song he composed to the words of Limor, Nahshi’s partner. He also accompanied the song with a guitar playing.

And we also talked about Zionism and flags, about the distribution of resources, about the territory of a kibbutz and its desecration, Jaber told about his experiences as a Muslim in a travel guide course. Hanan brewed dead jam and black pepper (brought a jar) and the covert fight between Shmulik and Nahshi over the coffee was made visible (this time Shmulik’s hand was on top).
We were this time: Roni, Jaber, Nahshi, Moshe, Shmulik, Maharan, Hanan, Yogev, Tal, Ofek, Malki, Dafna, Carmit, Lisa, Oded.
Wrote: Oded.

Encounter 217 – 6.5.2022

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan fasting. Tuesday evening, the eve of Remembrance Day. Wednesday Memorial Day. In the evening, on the eve of Independence Day. Thursday, Independence Day. Thursday night, three more victims in an insatiable conflict.
This is the “cargo” we brought to the lighthouse today.
Ronny is shocked by what Sinwar said. We saw the results in Elad, she says. Then she told about someone she had known closely in Gaza. She says they have, there in Gaza, a strong sense that something terrible is going to happen.
Mary also refers to Sinwar and says he always says the same things in different versions. This is indeed shocking, but not surprising.
Vivian says the world sees an unbalanced picture. She too, like Roni, is going through a difficult day and thought that coming to “Lighthouse” would be a bit relaxing.
Rami has spent a lot of time at home because of his illness and has time to keep up with attempts to link the events on the Temple Mount to threats from Gaza. A friend who visited him asked him: Suppose now that the residents of Gaza have complete freedom and they can move wherever they want, is there a connection of culture and heritage with the Palestinians in the West Bank? The question embarrassed him. If Gaza was emptied in 1917 of all its inhabitants by the Ottomans, and most of its inhabitants today are refugees or descendants of refugees from 1948, do they have a rooted affinity for Gaza or will they leave it for the most part as soon as they are allowed to? We, says Rami, talk a lot here about historic Gaza, Gaza which has been an important city throughout history. Are those who are now there, not in it mainly because they were caught up in it by force of war events and were actually imprisoned in it out of necessity? How many of them will choose Gaza as their place of residence if they are allowed complete freedom? To reinforce his words he mentions the Gazans who were or still are, in touch with us. Everyone, in one way or another, chose to leave Gaza and live somewhere else in the world.
In response to Rami’s remarks, Shmulik recounts a visit by Palestinian poet / writer / journalist Rimonda Twill to his Locality many years ago. She said her connection to Gaza is close. She has family there (she lives in Ramallah). Shmulik argues that this is a common trend among us to create two separate entities between the two territories. This is a clear political trend. Shmulik’s attitude to Gaza is an attitude of the here and now. History is in the background only. The question of how many will want to stay in Gaza if released is irrelevant.
After Shmulik I spoke. I argued that “the land belongs to us” should be changed to “we belong to the land.” Man is temporary and the earth is eternal. The same person who sanctifies the land on which his house is located, will die when his time comes (and is swallowed up by the land) and the land will belong to someone else. The “eternal” (earth), can contain the “temporary” (man). Temporary, can not contain the eternal. I “confess” that on the eve of Independence Day I have been at home, alone, for many years. This is no longer my holiday. I say I can not argue with emotional arguments. I may be missing the “patriotic gene”.
Malki, after we celebrated her birthday and raised a glass, hears my words and says we are in a pessimistic mood. She looks ahead and sees no ways to change. In the context of Independence Day, she has pride in what is being done here in the country, but there are also things that need to change. Malki looks around and there is no way to change. Religion, in her opinion, leads to irrational places that she has no way of dealing with. One should try to go other ways, but there is no one to lead. Today there is a demographic situation between the river and the sea where there are more “non-Jews” than Jews. We will be a minority. Two states for two peoples will not work if each party still continues to hope and dream that everything will be his. From the first day she came to the Lighthouse, she said she was in a constant state of despair. Despair that stems from the fact that even in the future, for the future, the conflict continues.
Moshe says that looking at facts also comes from emotion. He loves Independence Day but regrets the deportation. He prefers the name “War of the Commies” over “War of Independence.” In his view, that war is divided into two, one against the local Arabs and the other against the invasion of Arab armies. An invasion designed to eliminate our presence here. Our victory stemmed from our just feeling. Moshe emphasizes the invasion of the Arab armies and less the “Nakba”. The invaders did not fight out of affinity for the land and were therefore defeated. Extremism here and in Arab countries is religious and Moshe would like the conflict to become national again.
Ofek says he has no idea what the solution is, he just promises that he will continue to treat every person with respect as he is a person.
Tal thinks like Ofek … Tal goes to a pre-military preparatory school and aims for military service. He would like us to come and talk in his preparatory or they would come here. Tal does not think in terms of protecting land, it is important for him to protect people. The unit he aspires to be in fights rocket launchers. All his life he hears alarms and experiences missiles so he is glad he will have the opportunity to fight against their launchers. Against people and not necessarily for the land.
Mary volunteers at the Hashomer Hahadash organization and meets people of all shades. She’s there five years. She briefly explains about the organization. On the subject of “land,” she says, the sense of belonging is the engine for many things like nationality, religion and in general. Maybe because people are like a herd. The earth is an anchor for people to feel a sense of belonging.
Vivian upholds the Supreme Court ruling regarding the villages (shepherd communities) in the southern Hebron Mountains, from Safer Yatta. It’s another nail in our coffin. Another hopeless nail of the conflict. In today’s world, it’s hard to base a conversation on facts.
Roni adds that within the media reports it is difficult to objectively understand the background to the events. Only those who search can see things happening outside the mainstream. It does not justify, God forbid, violence and murder, but there are important nuances that are catalysts and one should look for them to understand the background.
Bella says she has no other country. Here the Jews were gathered from suffering. She does not want children, regardless of religion or nationality, to go through what she went through. There were times when life here was better, she says. We do not do to others what they have done to us.
Ilan has been to the lighthouse several times. Until now, just listen. It is difficult for him with the self-flagellation of the Jewish people. He does not bow his head at the siren and stands upright with the Bedouin and Ethiopians with whom he works. His difficulty is in mediating the situation to his children. He has no questions about his presence here. The human race has always been a herd. Currently without a shepherd. He had the “right” to be beyond the fence, where he acted contrary to the education by which he grew up. The Lebanon War was a “clear” war, to protect the northern settlements. Objective and understandable goal, there were no dilemmas. In Gaza it is not clear. Although he did not keep family or friends in the north (Ilan was born and raised in a kibutz near Gaza), he was clear about what to do. The key word is “management”. We have no management! It’s not that there are “two sides” here, there is simply no management! He reads from a letter sent by his mother Mirhaleh, who also often comes to the “lighthouse.” The song she sent is by Muhammad Darwish.
Rami “closes” the circle. Heard of a Bedouin segment: if we want to get to something we need to create a straight line there. I, says the Bedouin, one hand on the reins and one hand on the plow. If I get out of concentration, the plow will make a curved line on its own. In conclusion, one should mark a horizon and concentrate on it. It may require parting from the “correct ” and the “proper”. A new discourse needs to be produced.
We were: Bella, Vivian, Roni, Mary, Tal, Ofek, Moshe, Malki, Nahshi, Shmulik, Oded, Rami, Ilan, Ziv, Keren, Golan.
Wrote: Oded

Encounter 216 – 29.4.2022

On the way to the sulfur factory (Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe), we thought of placing the table on the hill, under a tree. In the distance we saw a loving couple, we parted and smiled with a look, and went down, to our drinking stone.
Nahshi began preparations for the coffee, and the ideological discussion heated up with the coffee, around the question of how to cook it. Lucky that Ofek arrived and made sure to hang the peace kite. And with the completion of the set and the preparation of the coffee, Roni joined.
Will we win guests today, after “Night-al-Qader”?
The pair of lovers on the hill finished their work and were invited to join our forces but politely refused (perhaps angrily at the fact that we had disturbed their loneliness).
Suddenly, crowds of hikers flocked to us: the joy of their arrival mingled with fear of a shortage of benches and mugs, but the lighthouse vision transcended any distress.
It was a battalion of travelers, most of them from Ashdod and the southern region, led by a guide named Shlomi. Due to their (lack of) time, most critics were unable to answer the question “What is Gaza for me?” But the spirit of things reflected a mixture of longing for the days when some of those present walked the strip, and feared another “round” of fire.
Meanwhile, the round, the good round, resumed: Shmulik served coffee and reiterated everyone’s right to self-determination. In his case: a communist-individualist.
Roni told about the personal bond that was forged between her and residents across the fence, about the possibility of helping people who want to work, about understanding and friendship in times of hostility and anger.
Mark arrived and Shmulik dedicated a song to him, ahead of his upcoming birthday.
Malki, Bella, Dina and her brother Yossi, and later Limor, Maharan and Arieh, also enriched the circle with songs, flowers, references to Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as interesting insights into the place of Gaza and the difficulty of creating other communication between the two sides of the fence.
Speaking of communication, a moment of joy: Roni managed to connect us with our Gazan friend.
When it was Ofek’s turn, he chose to sing another piece by Shmulik that Ofek composed and garnered applause.
All of those moments of sadness and joy was watched by Avi, a docu-filmmaker who documented the meeting and also took care to challenge the circle with poignant questions.
We were: Shmulik, Ofek, Roni, Mark, Malki, Dina, Yossi, Limor, Maharan, Avi, Arie, Nahshi, Moshe.
Wrote: Moshe, helped by Nahshi, who also made coffee (until he was fired by Shmulik), completed his bread and made an observation from the smoking area.
Photographed by: Nahshi, Limor and Avi.

Encounter 215 – 22.4.2022

Beneath the eucalyptus tree, which overlooks the plant to the south, sits a couple on “our” chairs. Two pairs of bicycles on the trash can. Nahshi immediately invites for coffee. Enter, arrange a circle and in the process arrive two more cyclists, a father and his 15-year-old son. So it turns out that even before coffee, there is already a “circle”.
Eldor was an army officer and served in the area and this is one perspective he has on Gaza, through the military binoculars and rifle barrel. His second point of view, more compassionate – The situation there is one of helplessness. They gathered there because no one wanted to receive them. There is disregard for Gaza because it is not anyone’s problem.
Louisa comes from Colombia. She speaks English and Spanish and luckily we have Moshe, a native of Argentina who will translate for us and her. Louisa is studying psychology. Colombia has a constant state of internal war because of which other conflicts and external issues are pushed aside. The school has a loose reference to our conflict, but in her opinion it is on a religious rather than a political background.
Segev (15) says that as long as there is no escalation and warming in front of the “Strip”, he does not think about Gaza. If there is warming should respond but not too hard. He knows life there is hard but does not think about it
Honen, Segev’s father, says he has had a long “affair” with Gaza since he was a teenager and visited Khan Yunis. A traumatic visit at the sight of deep poverty. In the army he did a lot with Gaza. In 2014 he was in the area but did not “enter”. Two years ago during the balloon era he was also in “employment.” He has a dream that one day he will return to Gaza and see a different picture from the poor one. His family maintains contact with workers who worked with his father. Dreaming of another reality where he is sitting on the beach in Gaza. Remember them as “wonderful people.”
Shmulik knows Gaza from before. Traveled a lot to the sea and was in contact with workers, a family of Bedouin who were thrown into Gaza in 1953. The border then was a furrow and then a one-wire fence. They worked with him in the barn for many years. Were part of the fabric of life in his place. Knew them from a young age until they became grandparents. These days, a TV show about Israelis evacuation from Sinai at 1982 has been broadcast. Shmulik understands their pain but is also angry at the disregard for the fact that in order to make room for them in an area called the “Yamit region”, hundreds of local farmers who grew vegetables in growing pits were expelled and their growth pits were covered. The cover and deportation that Smulik saw with his own eyes. He says that a state of hopelessness does not lead to a good place, so it is good that workers have recently been allowed to go out to work and earn a living.
Cyclists rush back to Be’eri because the bikes are rented and need to be returned on time.
Rami and Rotem (his son) arrive. Since at the moment the circle contains only “constants” and I know that Rami has arrived for a short time, I ask him to share with us more of his knowledge of our space. Rami chooses to tell about plans he took part in the wake of the Oslo Accords. Plans to develop ties with the Palestinians as part of the agreement. Plans that were “born” following the Oslo Accords and also perished with them.
I will summarize:
In the Oslo Accords, we built a plan for regional cooperation between Israel and the Gaza Strip. They did not talk about “returning territories” but developed models such as the “safe passage” between Gaza and the West Bank, for example. There was a plan for an open canal that included a two-lane road and a train, with passages above it. A second less popular program, was a safe passage as a bridge – an overpass.
There were talks of renewing the railway line through the Erez crossing to Egypt.
A diplomatic crossing into the Gaza Strip was planned in the “Black Arrow” area, near Mefalsim.
The Karni crossing was supposed to be a huge terminal for goods that had even been built, and then dismantled and blown up in 2010.
A huge water reservoir for agriculture in Gaza was planned on the channel of the Besor River, after the Gazans claimed that the Israeli reservoirs along the river deprive them of water for agriculture.
Near Kissufim, on both sides of the border, a large hospital was designed, mainly for maternity.
Near Sufa, a reservoir of aggregates was designed to be transported in long conveyors to the other side, with a magnetic scan that detects metals, so that no weapons would be transferred to them. The planning was not carried out.
Today there is a goods crossing at the Kerem Shalom crossing. It was designed for passenger passage only, also because of the proximity to the airport in Dahania. An airport that has since been bombed and plowed. (Due Diligence: I fantasized about flights from there to Sinai and Europe. Oded.)
These were the plans in the mid-90s of the last century.
Rami and Rotem travel. Tzafrir and Ayala arrive and we continue “circle” after my explanatory remarks.
Moshe shares the feeling of some of us. We are neighbors and my good is related to the good of my neighbors and vice versa. Moshe does not like the term “Gaza Envelope”. This area has value and history. He is afraid like everyone else of the rounds of violence, but at the same time thinks of the Gazans as well.
Ofek came because here he first heard talk in human terms about Gaza. Keeps coming for the same reason.
Omer came for the same reasons that Ofek came. Before getting to know the Lighthouse, he had mostly heard talk of violence in the context of Gaza.
Tzafrir says that Gaza is a very, very difficult sight to face Israel. Familiar with Gaza from other periods. We and the Strip is a vicious circle of a lot of pain. Later, after hearing more people in the circle, Tzafrir said that he suddenly understands the meaning of the question “what is Gaza for you” – suddenly Gaza arouses new thinking in him.
Ayala said that in the kibbutz where she was born and raised, there was a worker from Gaza named Hassona who “managed” all the maintenance on the kibbutz. Her father had a very good relationship with him. Ayala says that during the “rounds” in front of Gaza, she felt real physical pain. Feels “bad” in the sense of state acts being done (also) in her name. It saddens her that something in her was blocked for this pain after more and more rounds.
Jaber recounts the meaning of life in an unrecognized village and also the recognition that there are even those who suffer more. Gaza for him is a common neighbor, space and language. In Gaza, he used to be at sea and sit in restaurants. Jaber is taking a mentoring course. Adds from the knowledge he has acquired about the area in which we are. The factory was established on the plot of Nimer al-Wahidi, he says. A British officer saw sulfur after the First World War, but it was not until the 1930s that land was acquired for the establishment through the mediation of a-Shawa, the mayor of Gaza and its wealth. The plant ceased to operate shortly after the Second World War.
Hanan came because of the kites. Almost 3 years ago there was a kite event and Hanan, who loves and builds kites came because he was upset that the kite was used for inappropriate purposes. On that visit he met us and the rest is history. Later, Hanan created the kite that is placed in the background, inspired by a photograph in which a girl in Gaza is seen painting on a star-shaped wooden board. Hanan loves the conversations on the various topics that they respect, interest and preserve the hope for something good. Gaza is a painful place in our being, he says. We sometimes feel and sometimes ignore. Hanan says that Roni’s operation, during which a piano was transferred for a young man studying music, is a symbol for him. On the one hand a noble act and on the other an inconceivable reality of poverty symbolized by only 2 pianos within a population of over 2 million people. He comes to the “lighthouse” also because in the structure of the circular discourse there is no arguing. Everyone says their opinion without interruption and people come out with a conversational experience.
Mary came following Hanan’s blog. She is here because of the friendliness and listening that is very rare in our places. Gaza is a complexity that attracts it.
Nahshi was born and raised here while it was still possible to meet and meet Gazans. Came to maintain a spark of possibility that would be different. Remember that these are people on both sides who are harmed and disturbed by this situation. He always comes out of here with new insights and a kind of therapy.
We were this time: Eldor, Louisa, Honen, Segev, Hanan, Moshe, Ofek, Omer, Oded, Jaber, Mary, Nahshi, Shmulik, Rami, Rotem, Tzafrir, Ayala.
Wrote: Oded

Encounter 214 – 15.4.2022

Mid-Ramadan, the eve of Passover. Traveling alone to the “lighthouse”.
Muslims fast at home or in shopping malls, Jews gather in the family circle, get ready for the holiday. I drive on the narrow road to our “lighthouse”, between the soft hills, in complete silence. It’s the closest to actually seeing silence physically! I’ll probably be alone, on the eve of a holiday … I’ll sit for a while, have a coffee and offer Rami a little emergence from his illness and sit with me, so we’re both alone in the silence.
Here comes Mark. Drink coffee. Trying to clarify things we talked about last week. Things that got up a bit of an argument and Roni addressed them on WhatsApp which she sent in groups alongside Happy holiday wishes.
Ofek comes. Wearing a supermarket shirt. Because of the holiday he stayed up late working at the branch. He unfolds the subtle way in which the military tries to force him into combat service because of the profile and despite his reluctance.
Comes Maharan and the conversation “flies” to history and cross-religious myths.
A familiar Toyota slides downhill to the development of the structure. There is probably a telepathic coordination between me and Rami.
Neta, Mirale and Rami join. “Just to say hello.” An hour passed exciting. Rami tells us about his physical and spiritual condition. “As Jaber always starts his words” Rami opens and compares himself to Jaber who always starts and tells about the unrecognized villages, “but” compared to Gaza their situation is reasonable … Rami gets up in the morning with a strong sense of “special day”. With such a feeling one should be in the “lighthouse.”
A month passed by him from “Hell.” Stopped treatment for rethinking, recovered a bit, and now has a different direction. This morning, Khaled, a man his age from Gaza who had worked in Be’eri for many years, called him. Rami felt a sense of brotherhood to him. Khaled called to greet Passover. Now Rami is here, at the Lighthouse. Even ready to sip coffee, a drop. Then he asks to do a round of congratulations …
Ofek welcomes the “lighthouse” that has opened up new directions of thinking. He is sure that when faced with challenging situations (in military service?), The things he has absorbed here will help him maintain a proper balance.
Maharan joins in and mentions the “lighthouse” as a place that allows one to express oneself freely even on things that are difficult to hear.
Mark is in his own private circle of thought that is influenced by climatic predictions, definitions of “belonging” and conflict with Jewish-Israeli-Zionist nationalism. More than once, through his thinking and conclusions, they have created a conflict in the “circle”, but today he welcomes the project. Rami smiles.
Mirale (Rami’s mother) and Neta (his sister) mark the project well and of course wish Rami a complete recovery.
I tell Rami that I am missing in the circle with his breadth of knowledge and with his thinking originality. And I note that The Lighthouse has helped me focus on the historical search for the roots of the conflict. I told him that for me, the comparison of his state of health to the state of distress of the Gazans, takes place on the plane of “suffering that you can see but not feel.” Situations that require inconceivable mental strengths for those who (fortunately) have not experienced them.
Rami, Neta and Mirale left. The energies went down a bit and after another round of coffee, we also drove on a road that was now a little less quiet because I continued the conversation with myself.

We were this time: Maharan, Mark, Ofek, Rami, Neta, Mirale, Oded.