[You can download this PDF file with an auto-translation of this post to Arabic.]
In 2018 Hamas used kites to send fire to Israeli fields. I make kites and this use of kites hurt my soul.
At the beginning of 2018 Rami Haruvi, a member of Kibbutz Be'eri, founded The Lighthouse for the awareness of Gaza.
I found the Lighthouse and I stuck with them. Every Friday at noon, from 13:00 to 16:00, we meet at the sulfur factory near Kibbutz Be'eri, 3.5 Km from the border with Gaza.
I made a kite for the Lighthouse, symbolizing hope. My inspiration was a star drawn by a child in Gaza. The kite is opened and hung at every meeting of the Lighthouse.
In the winter we sit in the ruins of the factory and in the summer we sit outside, under the shadows of the trees. Sometimes there are 4 members and sometimes 20. But the meetings must continue, regardless of the number of members. The last meeting was on October 6th, our 293rd meeting.
Most of the members live in the Gaza area. Some, like myself, come to the meeting from more distant places.
We talk about the harsh situation in Gaza, the largest jail in the world. We talk about the history of the Gaza area and the history of the Jewish settlements around Gaza. We talk about the past, when people from Gaza worked in the area, and the connections with individuals from Gaza. We donate to Gaza and try to help as much as possible. We talk about the Israeli occupation of Gaza, past and present. After rounds of violence with Gaza, we meet, console each other, and talk about hope. During rounds of violence, when talking with friends in Gaza, they express concerns for our wellbeing and every time we are touched and surprised because they don't have safe shelters as we have.
We had friends living in Gaza whom we communicated with online during our meetings, seeking connection and hope for peace. They were incarcerated by the Hamas, accused with of normalization with Israel which is against the law. They had to flee Gaza and now live elsewhere.
A story I keep telling is the one about the piano. One of our members heard that a young person in Gaza really wanted to learn the piano, but in all of Gaza, there was only one piano. She was able to raise the money and arrange the shipping of the piano across the border to this young person. When I told people about the situation in Gaza, I gave the example of the piano as an illustration that in Gaza, two million people have only two pianos, a ratio of one piano per million.
As I wrote above, the last meeting of the Lighthouse was on Friday noon, October 6th. The next morning Hamas attacked Israel with rockets and stormed the border.
Rami, the founder of the Lighthouse, and his wife live in Kibbutz Be'eri, 6 Km from the Gaza border. Hamas fighters stormed their home but they locked themselves in the safe room. The fighters burned their house to make them leave the safe room but they didn't get out and the fighters left. Rami and his wife suffered from inhaling smoke and were later taken to the hospital. Rami sent us a message to notify us that he is alive, which until then, we were uncertain of. In his message, he wrote:
It was, and still is, a nightmare that cannot be described. The essence of horror!
This morning we woke up to a reality that cannot be defined.It will take time to understand the magnitudes of this tragedy. Nothing will ever be the same. Our lives tipped over.
If you, the readers, were exposed to the news, you might know of the massacre at the music party that took place near the border. Around 250 young people were murdered by Hamas fighters' guns in a short time. And this is only one event of all the atrocities.
Update: Just now we learned that 108 bodies of Israelis had been found in Kibbutz Be'eri.
The Lighthouse for the awareness of Gaza is about hope. The current events are a direct attack on hope. In our meetings we insisted to not talk about political solutions to the problem, knowing that it's just empty talk.
I am writing this on Monday, October 9th. The fighting continues, and rockets are still launched towards Israel.
The names of hundreds of dead people, army and civilians, had not been published yet. Funerals had not taken place. Images from the ruined settlements had not been officially shown yet. People don't know if friends and relatives are alive, dead, kidnapped or injured. Israel is a small country. Each and everyone of us will have relatives, friends or someone we know that is a victim of the violence.
The upcoming weeks and months will be filled with sorrow and rage.
And what about the Lighthouse? What about hope?
Soon we will find out which of our members is kidnapped or injured and who is alive or not.
When we are allowed to return to the sulfur factory we will see what had been left of it.
Then, we will need to find a way to gather again, console each other, and find a place in our hearts for hope, whichever it is.
Our website – The Lighthouse for Gaza
A movie by Filming for Change – Rami Haruvi