Tel Aviv may be the economic and cultural capital of Israel, Jerusalem its political and symbolic capital. But the Galilee is where Israelis come to play, the forested and breezy getaway from the sweltering coast and the incessant dramas of everyday life in this region. Israelis were prepared to give up sandy Gaza and might also have been prepared to do the same with the rocky West Bank, if only the Palestinians would behave themselves. Yet places make a nation as much as principles do, and the Galilee was one place no Israeli could part with if his country was still going to be worth living in.
So even as terror-stricken residents of the north flee, the rest of the country is prepared to fight, whatever the cost: A recent poll found that 80% of Israelis support the present military operations, and three-quarters of those would be prepared to launch a full-scale invasion of Lebanon if that is what it takes to defeat Hezbollah. No similar consensus has existed among Israelis since the 1967 Six Day War.
Up in his winery, Mr. Haviv fears that if the war continues, he will have no one to tend the vines and take in the harvest, and an entire season's worth of business will be ruined. Yet as we stand beside one of his fields, watching an Apache helicopter fire missiles at a Lebanese village visible in the far distance, he muses on what his decision to remain here means. "Being here is part of defending the country. If Hezbollah wins this, the terrorists win this war, and not just against us but against the free world. You think I'm coming down from here? Never."
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Bret Stephens has an insightful look on how Israelis view the current battle with Hezbollah.