“That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” – Hillel the Elder, c.100 BC.
The dry forest on the Israeli-Lebanese border provided shade but little relief. Rain had not fallen for months, and the blistering season-long heat wave that would later set parts of northern Israel on fire was currently burning down forests in Russia.
An Israeli intelligence officer led me to this concealed yet sweltering viewpoint near the border fence overlooking Lebanon where Hezbollah guerrillas were busy fortifying positions for the next round of conflict, a round that will almost certainly be bloodier and more destructive for both sides than the last. A small green valley covered with Mediterranean scrub stood between us and the Party of God.
“Four years ago you could easily see Hezbollah positions and bunkers from here,” she said. “Now you can’t. Hezbollah pretends to respect United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, but that’s just their public face. Their posts are now hidden in houses and mosques.”
A young soldier standing watch handed me a small glass of coffee with no cream or sugar. Tea is the preferred social and professional lubricant in most of the Middle East, but most Israelis and Lebanese I’ve interviewed prefer coffee.