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.

Encounter 213 – 8.4.2022

To the place where light is lit, one can navigate hope” Rami once said, defining the meaning of the “lighthouse for the Gaza consciousness.”
Today we came to “turn on a light” with a heavy feeling. The air around us is compressed in a communicative language, in Hebrew. A hegemonic communication that defines the other languages and divides them into dedicated “drawers”. We heard about the political chaos that met with violence between communal and nationalist, and hatred that erupted from all sides everywhere in a language we understand well. No wonder we were enveloped in melancholy.
This is what Roni wrote it in the WhatsApp she sent before she came: “Dear friends, with a heavy heart and a lot of pain, I’ll come today to our lighthouse from which only comes out, even today, the light from which hope can be navigated. In the words of the poet ❤️”.
There are almost no travelers.
In light of all of the above, we gathered today as well as every Friday. The changeable weather brought us back into the building.
Shmulik, Ofek, Roni, Mark, Malki, Oded and in the last half hour also Maharan who claims that the late arrival time is due to the constraints of Ramadan.
Shmulik made coffee.
We talked about different essences. On Judaism, on climate, on the usefulness of wanting to bring about change (can a fly change the trajectory of a nervous elephant?), On Zionism, national rights and also on Gaza, mainly through the information that Roni brings.
Also on resolving the conflict in a Confederate way (the “A Land for All” movement holds a series of Zoom meetings). Mahran also had a short time to review thousands of years of political and historical processes. There is a surprising and interesting originality in his point of view.
We continue to accompany Rami and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.
We were this time: Roni, Maharan, Malki, Ofek, Shmulik, Mark, Oded.
Photographer: Ofek.
Reporter: Oded.

Encounter 212 – 1.4.2022

On the way, Nahshi and I argued, is it already warm and justified enough to move to our summer place, or still continue to congregate inside the building. It was decided for the summer. Pleasant in the shade under the pine trees, the wind is also light and caressing. The “warehouse” of chairs, the one that stores chairs for the summer, has undergone a change. The jamb collapsed! Blocks of stone blocked the entrance. The chairs were not damaged, even for the rusty ones in between.
Ofek, as usual, is already waiting. We introduced him to the summer residence. He came with the guitar. Later he will compose and play to the lyrics of Shmulik, a song about Shmulik’s communist aunt who was cut off from the family in the 1930s. Shmulik was not today (on a trip) to be impressed by the melody and performance, but his sister Hayuta was to get excited in his name as well. The audience also included Nahshi, Moshe and me.
Before and after the song we talked about the last days in the surface and media. There were insights from a television interview with Shaul Arieli and Gideon Levy’s articles in Haaretz.
And what about Gaza?
There was not much to say this week, but the very recurring gathering every week for more than four years is also a statement.
Then Limor arrived armed with a camera and we are already six.
A vehicle passed and its passengers stopped for a moment. They are from Kibbutz Alumim and no, they will not stay for coffee, they are hiking and Shabbat is approaching. But one of them said “You’re the lighthouse right?” We said right and they continued on their way.
At quarter past three Maharan arrived. We immediately pounced on him with (coffee and …) questions about last week in his vicinity. “Look,” he said, “the Arabs were afraid of the Jews and the Jews were afraid of the Arabs, so the malls was deserted.” A kind of economic insight from a seemingly religious community confrontation. Maharan then said that he tried to go on the air on Channel 14 (a “Heritage” channel lol) to tell them “the truth”, but they Ignored him. If so, said Limor, we’ll do a panel simulation now! Maharan was given 2 minutes to tell the “panel” the truth as it is in his opinion. Opinion of a human being, a lawyer, a Bedouin, a Muslim, a native and a resident of the city of Rahat. After the speech was over, Mahran faced “nasty” remarks from the panel that rained down on him. He convinced us, not the panel that remained right.
That is for this week. of course, we send a blessing of recovery to Rami.
We were – Nahshi, Moshe, Hayuta, Ofek, Maharan, Limor, Oded and also Roni, on the phone.
Wrote – Oded.

Encounter 211 – 25.3.2022

After some stormy weather days, the sun in Be’eri shines but the hikers are not. We told ourselves we would be few this time.
But, the circle has its own gravity and it was like this:
We sat Ofek, Mark, Roni, Shmulik and Nahshi, listened to Maya, which came with Roni, hearing her interesting story:
She recently lived in the US, set up and ran a project called “Bead for Peace” a series of creative workshops that bring together Jewish and Muslim women and develop a bond of understanding and tolerance around the bead weaving.
Maya showed us some of the works of her late husband Mori who was an artist and published in the Jerusalem Post works and articles about peace and life in harmony with nature, which sound very relevant today.
Meanwhile, a trio arrived from Modi’in – a mother, daughter and son who were looking for a sulfur factory and found stories about Gaza. They sat fascinated and said that they do not know much about Gaza but are excited to meet such a group. The son said that in his work (medical research) he gets to collaborate with quite a few Arab doctors and friendships are formed between them.
While we are talking about the shocking murder in Be’er Sheva and the horrific reactions in the Israeli media after it, just before Bella, Dina and Malki came from Gvulot – an excited family arrives from the unrecognized beduin village of Alsara. Grandmother, father (physiotherapist who treats people in the Negev region), mother (who was a teacher and is now studying nursing), three cute little children and two other nephews. Despite the difficult atmosphere of the last few days – they decided to come and get to know the people living next to Gaza. Returned from strawberry picking at Yesha and were surprised to find us here. While the children explore the environment, they manage to tell a little about life in an unrecognized village and how to deal with extremism and hatred. Before we parted they invited everyone to be a guest on the family hospitality project “Khan Alsara”.
In the meantime, Limor also arrived and we managed to do one more round about Gaza, inclouding short phone talk to our friend.
before the rain washed everything away and expelled us a little before the planning.
We were this time: Roni, Maya, Ofek, Shmulik, Mark, Nahshi, Bella, Dina, Malki, Rami, Limor, the family from Modi’in and the family from Alsara.
Wrote: Nahshi.

Encounter 210 – 18.3.2022

In the beginning, the country was in chaos, after last week the braces of the table disappeared, today the legs are also missing and a few more chairs have disappeared.
But the wind of the lighthouse hovers over the surface of the site, and there is light. And Nahshi said, Let there be coffee, and he will distinguish between coffee and tea. And Shmulik saw that it was good and blessed a pretzel.
And then Ofek shall grow, a righteous man from Mabu’ym, and with him a stringed instrument, and this is the psalm (lyrics by Shmulik, melody of Ofek):
“In front of the wall of the west wall
Facing the holy ark
Standing a child carrying his eyes
And will not know the secrets of the wall… “
And while the melody and the coffee (first round) Roni appeared with pastries.
Meeting 210 of the lighthouse set a world record, not in the number of hikers who visited the place, but in the number of times the “circle” was opened:
With a group of students from Ben Gurion University,
And a kind couple from Hod Hasharon,
And families of Yoshivya,
And between rounds, between tea and coffee, Ofek (who will celebrate 18 this week) informed us about his placement in the IDF, and promised to continue with us every Friday and bring the lighthouse massege to the consciousness of many young people.
Ah! There was another exciting moment: Roni’s phone rang and we expected the sound of the brothers across the fence, but the British did not install an antenna in the sulfur factory and we did not hear a word…
And for anyone who cares about keeping the lighthouse doctrine: We managed to get home just in time for Shabbat. Next week will be easier because of the Daylight saving time.
Blessing of Ramadan Karim, in the hope of peace and brotherhood in the Gaza Strip, Ukraine, and all over the world.
We were this time: Roni, Ofek, Shmulik, Nahshi, Moshe and hikers as above.
Wrote: Moshe.
Fill in the blanks: Nahshi, who also managed to photograph, make coffee and improvise a table.