In Haifa, the War Is History - but Not for Reporters

Leah Koren lives in an apartment on the first floor of 16 Nahalal Street in Haifa, a three-story building struck by Katyusha rockets early in the Second Lebanon War. The image of the apartment wrecked by a rocket became one of the most recognizable symbols of the war.

But as she walked her dog Lula this week, Koren said she couldn't understand why the country was still making a fuss about the war that took place in the summer of 2006.

"The war is behind us," she said, and wondered what it was about her building's residents that so interests journalists. "Why do they come back each time to hear the same things?" she asked.

As the final Winograd report investigating the failures in the war is about to come out, Haifa residents - especially the older ones - seem far more worried about being robbed than with the aftereffects of the war.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert doesn't have to worry about anyone on Nahalal Street; the people here seem almost completely uninterested in the Winograd report.

Not that Koren will avoid watching today's press conference on the report - she said she will watch because she is interested in the news, not because she feels the report affects her personally.

Malka Karsenti, a 72-year-old woman who lives on the second floor of the building, was in her apartment when the blast hit. She had feared she wouldn't get to the shelter in time.

"All the rubble fell on me," she said. "A fire got started and all the contents of the house went up in flames."

Karsenti has strong opinions about where Olmert went wrong. "Olmert's mistake was bringing the soldiers out to the ground offensive in the end," she said. But she doesn't want to see the prime minister replaced.

"I don't think that Olmert needs to go home," she added. "He failed, but you learn more from failure than from wisdom."

Expressing an apathetic acceptance of the situation that seemed representative of her neighbors' views, Karsenti switched to French: "C'est la vie - this is what there is."