For Northern Residents, It's Business as Usual

The alleged Israeli Air Force's violation of Syrian airspace yesterday, and the Syrian warnings that followed it, had no affect on life in the north. Tourist centers in Galilee said no holiday or weekend reservations had been canceled by the afternoon.

"It's all in the media. Nobody canceled. We're all booked up for Rosh Hashanah and reservations for Sukkot are pouring in," said Eran Glik, Kibbutz Merom Golan's tourism manager. "We're all booked up for this weekend as well. Israelis don't believe rumors."

Security officers, fire fighters and rescue services in Haifa and the communities along the northern border and the Golan say they have received no special instructions from the Home Front Command yesterday.

Druze villagers in the Golan listened closely to the Syrian news agency's reports about the Israeli infiltration into Syria's airspace.

"Our main sources are the Israeli media, but we don't rely on it completely because it is mostly biased against Syria," a Majdal Shams man said.

The Syrian reports were too general and did not indicate a confrontation, he said. "We've been sensing the tension in the region for months and don't know where things are heading. The overall picture is not encouraging," he said.

Hundreds of Golan residents gathered yesterday at Emek Habokrim to celebrate the Egoz-Eckstein nuptials of two of Katzrin and Moshav Nov's founding families.

"No tension or fear of a flare-up with Syria was felt at the wedding," one of the revelers said. "For us, it's routine and all the alleged tension is in the media."

Charlie Peretz, owner of the Gam Cafe cafe in Kiryat Shmona said it was a perfectly ordinary evening. People were going out as usual and no tension was felt in the air, he said.

"In the past, when the IDF struck in Lebanon, people in Kiryat Shmona knew they had to be prepared. But this case is not similar at all and we don't need to change our routine," he said.