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I had a friend in "Kissufim". His name was Yehuda Paz and he lived on the edge of the kibbutz, with a direct view of Gaza. Ten minutes walk from the border. He long ago stopped counting the "Pazmars" and "Kasams" that flew around his house. But you could always count on him, with his mesmerizing charisma and passion, to explain and convince how right now it is possible to break the cycle of bloodshed for the benefit of the millions of people, women and children, here and there, who have been wasting their lives in this conflict for years, hostages of the terrible border.  


Yehuda died in 2013, and took his plans and ideas with him. But I was lucky enough to hear some of them, and I'm sure he would want us to tell about it, especially now when there seems to be no hope and peace feels more distant than ever. So far that even this word, hello, is almost unpleasant to say. 


So Yehuda was a man of peace, through and through. And not just dreaming of peace. Judah made peace. And what made a muscle and exists because peace is stronger than everything. 


Dr. Yehuda Paz was a development expert, a funny and brilliant man. He managed for years the Afro-Asian Institute of the Histadrut, and devoted his life to international development and aid. He received and trained thousands of wage earners from Africa, Asia, Latin America - in development, agriculture, water, settlement... He was a global expert on cooperation, one of the founders of the Van Leer Institute and chairman of the Negev Institute for Strategies for Peace and Development, and one of the founders of Kissuf. It is difficult to describe the enormous work and the amazing achievements of this smiling and humble man. 


And here, in front of his house, in front of his beloved kibbutz, not in some distant country in Africa, but here, in our country, in our beautiful Negev, at the edge of the field that begins in his yard - such distress and poverty, terror, blood and fire. And he, with all the expertise and experience and talent, who has already helped the whole world, literally, stands helpless in front of the violent border, and looks with wide eyes at the loss and destruction - here and there. So pointless, so unnecessary.


But not someone like Yehuda will despair. Every IED he intercepted and every shell he saw exploding on the other side strengthened his realization that there is and will not be a solution here by force. Because in the end we are all human, and life will win. 


For a moment he did not stop promoting his plans. There was one that I particularly liked. It was in the midst of "cast lead". I came to him for spells, to the small house, full of books and souvenirs. The storm is all around, and Judah's head does not burn. 


Against the backdrop of the explosions, he pulled out blueprints of his flagship project: a Palestinian-Israeli maternity hospital between Gaza and Kisufim, at the highest level, with all the refinements. And as always he managed to infect me with his enthusiasm: "There is nothing that gives more hope than a maternity hospital, where life bursts forth!" Israeli and Palestinian women, side by side, bring life into the world, when from the first moment it happens together, and the babies that come out of there will be people of peace. 


dreamer? of course. naive? Definately not. Yehuda saw with his own eyes some of the terrible atrocities in the world, of which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing. He saw blood and hatred in quantities that would consume your mind and crush your hopes. He was the most non-naive person, and the most sober. And precisely because he looked at reality with completely open eyes, he did what he did.  


My friend of the man of the world Itai Engel, who like me made a pilgrimage to him for years, wrote about him like this: "Yehuda did not run away because of hardship or horror." Unlike most people who at most lamented the misfortunes and misfortunes of others, he was always practical. what can we do? he would ask. Because there must be something that can be done." 


And Judah did because Judah believed in Adam, even in his spirit, a strong spirit. He saw how out of the blood and tears burst new life: small auxiliary farms with vegetables and milk for large communities, water pipes and clinics and hospitals and schools and newspapers and books... with his own hands he nurtured and built, and it worked. To this day it works, against all the extremists, and much better than all the bombs and missiles, and in places much more difficult and dangerous than this Gaza in front of his house. 


Yehuda knew with keen precision "where we live", and because he was in love with this country he came to as a teenager, he did everything to fix it, to solve the problems, so that it would be possible to live here. 


May your memory be blessed, Judah Paz. We remember and miss you, and may peace come to the spells. 

Yehuda Paz - the man of peace

by Nitzan Horowitz

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