Monday, June 11, 2007

The Guns of August

It's really hard to plan vacation around the possibility of war.

That sounds bizarre, but it's what many Israelis are going through now. The tour companies and bed and breakfast places are in a tizzy. Every August we head north -or occasionally to the coast- with a few other families, close friends all, to enjoy the Golan and Galilee as the summer wanes. Thousands of others do the same and the area is usually packed with kayakers, hikers, jeep riders and just plain lazing on the beach types. (We do all of the above. One of the group breaks a sweat popping open beers. Since I break a nail doing the same I hang with the more active side of the crowd. And anyhow, I dislike beer.)

But- what if the threatened war with Syria breaks out? If Hizbollah renews their attacks, as reports of their replenishing their bunkers with even longer range missiles are mentioned daily in the press. Gaza is always ready to explode, but the Western Negev desert is not a (vacation) hot spot, anyhow. How on earth are we supposed to do summer? And has anyone ever noticed how most of the wars are in the summer months? Does the Mid Eastern heat and haze give our enemies sunstroke or something?

So we plan and hope for the best. Last summer we hosted northerners in Judea in July and then went to a B & B in the Lower Galilee just after the war ended and the Katyushas stopped. The area was eerily empty. Burnt forests and fields, shattered buildings, bombed out tourist attractions and morose shopkeepers were part of the tour. We not only had a great time, though, (no lines anywhere!) but felt good about leaving our shekels where they were clearly needed.

This year a war will, sadly, not come as a surprise, since last year's one was not really concluded. With a son in the army it's a constant worry. We plan on going north, booked a lovely place on the Kinneret with our gang and even reserved a place for him in the hopes that he can get a few days off and join us for some R & R. Depending of course, on quiet.

But you can't live here always waiting for the worst. In 1991, during the First Gulf War, we planned a Purim party and set a side a room for everyone to leave their coats....and gas masks. That day everything ended and we joyfully yanked the plastic protective sheeting off the windows. So, too, we'll send in the deposit now, load up on sunscreen and check the rafts for leaks, and hope for the best.

I'm sure we'll get a full refund if if if. What, that's not a consideration?

In this land of miracles and madness, though, ya just never know. Boring it never is.

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