Another Friday. Shmulik, Moshe, Oded, Roni and Nachshi who also brought his puppies Yefet and Nina. All three left after an hour or so. There are four of us left. Roni told the stories of our friends in Gaza. The human spirit, it turns out, aspires not only for freedom, love and hope, it also weaves into these lofty aspirations, twisted and surprising telenovelas. Then we talked… The framework of speech is always related to conflict through history, fear, literature, cinema, encounters, true or false information and more. Just when we wanted to disperse, arrived… no one came and we dispersed. This time we were: Moshe, Roni, Shmulik, Oded, Nachshi (+ Nina and Yefet) Written by: Oded
This time Ofek came to our circle. He went out for the weekend plus a holiday. Hayuta, Shmulik, Mark, Nahshi and I also arrived. Mr. Haruvi arrived and the conversation got a twist. Doubt in earnest, doubt in jest, Rami demanded the “ceremony”, that is, a round of speech to the consciousness of Gaza. Since we have already heard hundreds of times the “minds” of various kinds, the ones that each of us usually says in the ears of occasional guests, it became possible to expand the reference to Gaza in new ways. It started with Ofek who told how he found an opportunity to tell a “civilian” fact about Gaza precisely in a place that is the most “closed” to listen to such facts. Mark pointed out the barriers hindering the initiatives we have started to roll out and their current state. I raised a question that concerns me from time to time, are those who demand the regional good aware of the need to give up their privileged status when it comes to the use of resources? Resources that are currently given to them in huge excess at the expense of those whose use is prevented? Rami addressed my question, calling it “self-flagellation” and also explained his position on the matter. He also claimed that already at the age of 18 he announced that he was ready to share the assets of his settlement with the neighbors. Shmulik said that he is currently focused on “Project Yusuf” and his brothers. Yusuf is already here and working and his brothers Shmulik is still trying to bring as well. Nahshi said in connection with the “distribution of resources” that I brought up, that he indeed remembers that Rami came back and talked about his willingness to share his property with his neighbors and that Shamulik is a communist so that the distribution of wealth is inherent in his ideological teaching. Hayuta said that in her opinion she is the least “Gazatian” of all of us and chose to address the question of “resources” through the criticism of the treatment of equation as a social value. She asked rhetorically why we brilliantly carry great universal egalitarian values (man, women, resources, etc.) but give them up in our immediate environment (kibbutz, community, nation). Mark also asked to address the “resources” issue. Mark is active in climate and environmental issues and brought us some fascinating (and alarming!) facts about the global use of natural resources. After that, an interesting discussion on the subject developed, although unfortunately there was too much in the personal direction (“You do beautiful things with your abilities”) and less in the public direction of the distribution of resources. The discussion was so interesting that even at a quarter to four, Shmulik worked on making another pot of coffee. This time we were: Shmulik, Nahshi, Hayuta, Ofek, Mark, Oded, Rami. Written by: Oded
After we picked figs, we got organized and drank our first coffee, Ofek has arrived! He told about the difficulties in the army and said that to his surprise he is not the only one in the department who understands that the world is a little more complex than the clichés in the media. Ofek rode to the horizon and again we remained few, but not for long: Three motorcycles approach and even stop and even sit down. So we open a circle: Oded describes the lighthouse and also tells about the sulfur factory. Moshe defines what is happening here as a circle more than a group. Hayuta comes to support and encourage good people and wants to hear about the guests. Shmulik makes coffee. Nahashi comes regularly mainly because it is the best coffee in the area. He learns something from every guest here. In order to get out of the situation of wars, separation and violence, something needs to be done. We need to give expression to the simple people who are looking for a good life. The leadership on both sides is responsible for the situation. We are sitting here to bring together a solution for living together. Gaza can be paradise. Omri: 31-year-old from our area. It is terrible and the situation continues. He works and lives as if there are no missiles, just lives. Yonatan: grew up in the area and even served in the Erez Crossing. I know the situation. Both sides cause the situation to continue. Poor Gaza residents, they are in prison. We, when we feel bad, can leave – they can’t. Served in the unit that issues permits. Too bad it’s like that. On the one hand it is our government and on the other hand the organizations there, especially the small ones that are agitating. They don’t have much choice for someone to treat them. Reuven: From the area too. live his life. When there are missiles he goes for cover. The situation doesn’t bother him that much. Lives for himself. Maybe it’s egotistical, but he really doesn’t care about the whole situation. Neither with us nor with them. The three continued to ride and promised to return when there will be green around. This time we were: Shmulik, Hayuta, Moshe, Oded, Nahshi, Ofek, Omri, Yonatan and Reuven. Written by: Oded Completed: Nahshi
It’s Friday, we gather again. Like last week’s meeting, the main conversation focuses on what we did this week, what this week did for us and what is planned for the future. We have already told you about the WhatsApp group that Mark started, where you can discuss ideas and also follow the performance. This week more friends joined that group. Hearing aids have fallen to the wayside at the moment. There is a professional medical process here. The request for fundraising for this matter is very unfocused and difficult to implement. The current direction is to focus on raising money for shoes for students in schools. This Wednesday 7/9 we will go to meet Liora in Jerusalem to understand if we can help and support the music and dance projects she is doing in collaboration with colleagues from Gaza. I hope we can arrange a meeting in Sinai. Awaiting answers from Rami regarding partners. To ensure the success of the tasks, we need bureaucratic processes that we have not dealt with before and this is progressing slowly. Today, in honor of the completion of the main medical procedure for his (former) illness, Mr. Harovi appeared at Lighthouse himself! Driving his “fire brigade” truck with a friend by his side who goes by the name of Noam. Before them came Hanan, before him also Malki and Bela, and before Mark, Shmulik Nahshi and Moshe (who came after returning a friend from Gaza who works in Israel to the Erez terminal). And before everyone else, I arrived! Rami also had a part in the “Lighthouse” today with the help of the phone. So we were this time: Nahshi, Shmulik, Moshe, Oded, Mark, Bela, Malki, Hanan, Rami, Noam, Rami. Written by: Oded
Since the meeting in Nueiba, continuous contact has been maintained with Rami (mainly by Nahshi) and in the framework of it thoughts and initiatives related to the needs of our neighbors and our abilities are raised. This was the main point of conversation in our “Lighthouse” weekly meeting. The noticeable absence of the passers-by leaves us scanning the intersection “below” with our eyes and straining our ears for any engine-like noise. in vain There are no guests, there are us. In the middle of last week we had a Zoom meeting. At the end of the meeting, Mark created a WhatsApp group whose purpose is to coordinate the various initiatives. The group is mainly conducted in English so that everyone can understand each other (in English! As if I don’t have enough challenges at my age). Those who are interested can join. The initiatives put forward are:
Children’s hearing aids (courtesy of the boomers in the “Rounds” and in between)
Shoes for school children
Support for the movement work and the joint projects that Liora leads to (currently we are talking about a trip to Jerusalem on Wednesday 9/7 to see some of the work)
Helping one of the group of young people in Gaza to establish a business of perfumes and cosmetics for women.
Meeting planning – regional peace conference in Sinai
And for dessert – we were informed that our friend Noa had given birth to a sweet daughter in luck – we sent greetings of love and peace.
On all of these we gathered as is our custom, today at the “Lighthouse”: On our way, we stopped to pick figs right in front of the Bourage refugee camp.
Nahashi and Shmulik shared a trip they took this week to Hizma to take a Palestinian friend who wanted to come to Jerusalem to console the bereaved with a Jewish family. We talked to Rami. Hearing aids are needed for some children. Nahshi has already checked prices in advance – they are expensive or very expensive. Maharan will consult with his friend, an otolaryngologist who occasionally goes to Gaza to help in the hospitals. We will organize accordingly. Rami is working on raising money to buy shoes for the school children at the beginning of the school year. We will arrange a Zoom call this week and of course we will be updated next Friday at the Lighthouse. Rami brought up another friend to the conversation, he is also not in Gaza at the moment. From his place the communication did not succeed. In response to an article published in “Haaretz” about two weeks ago which wondered about the silence of the residents of the area regarding the rounds of violence that are excited over their heads in the morning news – Mark proposes to establish a WhatsApp group where we will formulate responses to events related to the space in which we walk and sign our names and not under any organization. We will pass the wording between us each time until we agree, and then we will decide where to publish. We didn’t talk about Hillel Cohen’s “Year Zero 1929” nor about Miron Benvanishti’s “The White Saber Dream”. We did talked about Assaf Inbari’s “Red Book”. We rattled the tail of the circle at Haruvi’s house in Be’eri. There were also Neta and Naomi. Talk about Bedouin (real, not like Maharan who is Italian at all) developed. Rami said that in his youth he was adventurous and wild, running away from authorities (parents and teachers) and traveling with Be’eri’s tour truck to Sinai. There he would stay with the Bedouins for a few days. We miss Ronnie! Take care, dear woman. This time we were: Shmulik, Moshe, Nahshi, Mark, Maharan, Oded. On the phone, Rami and the other friend, and at Haruvi’s home, Rami, Neta and Naomi were also added to the circle. Written by: Oded
Shmulik and I arrived tired to the meeting at the sulfur factory this week: he did a night activity with the kibbutz children and did not give up morning swimming and walking around the kibbutz, then we both drove a friend from Gaza who got a work permit and today he returned home for the first time, after the operation. I receive a question from some of the readers: Shmulik is tired, but why are you tired? Oh… because I just woke up. Anyway – tired but disciplined – we arrived, got organized and Shamulik made the first coffee. The silence in the physical and virtual space hinted to us that we would sit alone today. We agreed that if no guests arrived we would fold at three o’clock. And in the meantime, made a few calls: Rami doesn’t answer. Our friend Faisal from Hizma says that the authorities have again banned him from entering Israel, and he must pay a condolence visit to the family of a friend, a peace fighter woman, who died yesterday after a serious illness. Ofek writes that everything is fine (after he enlisted in the army this week), he woke up late today and therefore will not come. He has a future. Radir misses us and promises that she will spend the coming weekend in the south. On this occasion, she explains to me that you can only talk to Rami on Facebook. Now I understand why I haven’t been able to reach him in the last few weeks. Now Rami answers: he says that the bombings and the destruction went through the members of his family living in Gaza, in peace. It is getting close to obtaining the official status of an association for the youth committee – which will make it much easier to receive donations and transfer funds to the activity. Fundraising to distribute shoes to students at the beginning of the school year is still on the agenda. We also talked about projects and ideas that continue to unfold and agreed that we would try to schedule a joint Zoom call outside of our regular meeting hours. More coffee, and three o’clock is approaching. We informed Malki that she was debating whether to go in our direction that she’ll better not. And while we are folding – Uri arrives. Then also Vivian with Ose – the filmmaker who made the Documentary “ASWAT ACHERIM -Other Voices” (here is a promo) about the people who hold the human connection between Israelis and Gazans. And even Hanan came. And then finally the cycle began as usual. We talked about the usefulness (yes or no) of another military operation, about left and right, democracy and politics, about friendship and the ability to listen to different opinions, about the dominance of Hamas on Gaza streets, and even heretical reflections regarding the appropriate location for the lighthouse meetings. And only then, a little after 4:00 p.m., we folded up the equipment again and returned home: tired (each in his own way) and satisfied, definitely satisfied. This time we were: Shmulik, Vivian, Uri, Ose, Hanan and Nahshi. Wrote: Nahshi.
After we dispersed, on the way home on the blocked roads, the familiar message was received about the IDF attacking Gaza. And once again we are in a painful and bloody cycle, in the end we will return to the point from which we started. So how did we start anyway? The roads to the sulfur plant are blocked due to threats of gunfire, so we positioned ourselves at the entrance to Be’eri. Instead of the pine trees, we found a strawberry tree, with the same Gazan wind and a view of the strip from a slightly different angle. We exchanged experiences on three days of movement restrictions, said goodbye to the citizen Ofek before he enlists in the army and wished him meaningful service in peacetime. So we wished. Hayuta brought Erez Biton’s book “Seams” and read two poems. There could not be a more accurate choice for a conversation about blindness and wisdom, humanity and cleverness. Mehran came with his son and we also talked about the situation of the Gazan workers who have already entered and those who are waiting for approval, about the Gazan economy and the employees’ contribution to renewing the personal relationship between the residents of our area. We tried to talk to our friend from Gaza, without success. Later we received a greeting from him through Gadir. And so, even though we sat with a qween (Malki) and King (Malik) – we reached the dispersion and the familiar announcement – the continuation of which we can all already sadly imagine. This time we were: Hayuta, Shmulik, Mark, Ofek, Malki, Mahran, Malik and Nahshi. Wrote: Nahshi
The first hour of the circle held today at the Gaza Awareness Lighthouse, near the abandoned sulfur plant in the Be’eri Reserve, I spent this hour in vipasana – silence and introspection. After an hour Ofek arrived, finally someone to communicate with. As I looked inward and kept silent I discovered that when I am alone I am right in everything I say. As mentioned, Ofek has arrived. He was in Poland and Germany with two friends. During part of the trip, they visited the extermination camps under the guidance of a Polish, Hebrew-speaking guide. During the trip, Ofek received a message that his enlistment in the army had been brought forward and therefore he would join its ranks in 10 days (from today). He asked me if I would accept him into the circle if he will came in the army uniform. In contrast to the first hour of silence, this second hour passed in an almost continuous lecture that Ofek had to listen to. He was content with only a small question here and there intended to fuel my lecture. It turns out that I am not only right when I am alone and silent, also when I speak alone and not alone. Around three o’clock Ofir also arrived (full disclosure, she is my daughter). We talked a bit about Ofek’s upcoming recruitment, Gaza was in the background, it’s there all the time. We came up with a hypothetical thought that Ofek, in his position in the army, would end up in Gaza and meet one of them. At a quarter past three Maharan called and checked if it was still “worth” coming. He arrived about twenty minutes later. Maharan as Maharan. We stayed until twenty past four. By the way, in addition to silences and lectures, I also made the coffee and drank it So this time we were: Ofek, Ofir, Maharan, Oded. Written by: Oded