Now the fruit will wait till it rots

Moshav Margaliot in the north could be called a remote place. I wonder when remote places are most neglected - in war time, or in peace? My impression is that in quiet times they move farther away. No one remembers them, no one is interested in them.

Just look at the ministers scurrying frantically after the booms, as though only Katyushas can raise problems and needs. The ministers' sudden urge to do good is described, for some reason, as "solidarity."

Margaliot sits right on the fence , the closest place to the Lebanese border. It is a beautiful place, with breathtaking, little-known beauty. Nothing can equal the magic of the valley below as seen from the mountain.

Moshav Margaliot doesn't complain much, but that doesn't mean it's not deprived. I have to apologize in its name that it doesn't appear on the list of Katyusha-targeted communities. The other side ignores Margaliot too, and won't waste a rocket on it. Not even a dud.

On Friday afternoon it seemed for a moment that the gates of heaven had opened and at last signs of Katyusha were found. We were sitting - Eitan and Liran and Kobi and I - on the balcony overlooking Kiryat Shmona, and without warning Eitan shouted "Katyusha!" and pushed me into the reinforced room. And indeed we heard a rocket landing below us. I immediately called the mayor of Kiryat Shmona and Haim Barbibai confirmed that rockets had landed, but in an open field, thank God.

This is the closest to the lengthening list of targeted communities we've managed to come so far.

On Friday and Saturday nights more Katyusha rockets fell to our right and left, almost all the valley and mountain communities were hit as choppers and planes plowed the sky, but Margaliot was left out. When you listen to the radio and television, remember us: "the Galilee Panhandle" that's us. Don't forget Margaliot.

Margaliot farmers grow chickens and fruit - peaches, pears, apples, nectarines. The peaches and pears have a life of their own, regardless of the security circumstances. They are rounding out, blushing mildly and awaiting the picking. A delay could cause a whole year's labor and investment to be lost.

So we went out to our orchards near Kibbutz Yiftah to check out the pears. We took an inside hidden path, via Kibbutz Manara, because the main entrances to the North Road are blocked. Thus we evaded the watchful eye of the army, which would have frowned on our visit to the orchard on the border.

I lay under a tree, thinking of the fruit that was ripening on the other side of the border as well. I thought of the Lebanese farmers watching their fruit from their window, longing to pick it. I remember them from the time I lived here. On Saturday morning I'd make myself coffee and look out of the open window. They used to stand there on the mountain opposite, looking at me. They'd wave to me and I'd wave back.

They knew who I was; I knew who they were - they were Hezbollah people. In southern Lebanon most people are Hezbollah, whether they want to or not, and let our prime minister, defense minister and chief of staff make no mistake: They too have families and homes, fields and orchards, apples and pears and chickens. When they used to stand on the mountain on quiet days, looking, waving, shouting - they looked and sounded like human beings look and sound.

Until someone there goes crazy and infects them with his madness; until someone here goes crazy. Now the fruit will wait till it rots.