Not Awaiting the Cabinet's Decision

That scoundrel Nasrallah will hear from me. Even in matters of time he cannot be trusted. We had become accustomed to the fact that at 10 A.M., he starts pounding Kiryat Shmona and neighboring communities. But yesterday at 10 A.M. all was still quiet, and you cold hear the whisper of the fire consuming the forest, devouring it insatiably. Soon the fire on Naftali mountains will be left with no trees or shrubbery to feed on.

Suddenly, as though to disrupt our daily routine, Nasrallah was up to his tricks again, and at mid-day, rocket volleys once again rocked our world. If for a moment we were under the impression that firing Udi Adam was an effective deterrent, two hours later that impression was also struck by a volley and collapsed. To everyone's amazement, Hezbollah appeared indifferent to the question of who was waiting for him here - Adam or Kaplinsky. Where are the good old days, when Yanush was waiting around for Assad, and Menachem Begin used the OC as a strategic weapon of deterrence, until even Begin's swollen chest deflated again.

On Tuesday another blow fell on us: the last of the Thai workers decided they had had enough, and were deserting us. It was no good pleading with them or trying to tempt them. Even Thais want to live. They rose as one and left. Local legend has it that if even Thais - those work weary, downtrodden laborers - leave, things must be very bad indeed.

And who will save the thousands of eggs? I put on work clothes, and joined the moshav farmers' work brigade. Manual labor has many advantages, which A.D. Gordon already elaborated on extensively. In the chicken pen, all my worries were reduced to one: how to collect the eggs without breaking too many of them in my hands. For three whole hours, I was more bothered by keeping the eggs whole than anything else. Such are the rewards of labor.

Another advantage: the hens' squawking and hysteric flap of wings drowned out the alarm siren from Kiryat Shmona. Calm enveloped me as though there were no tomorrow, and even the day seemed to fall away. Only the chickens and eggs and I seemed to exist in the entire world.

Why should I travel all the way to Jerusalem, why should I sit among the deciders, what are the cabinet and confidants to me? The TV is on, the mouths are babbling, my room door is open. Erev Hadash is on, and all programs merge into one. The yapping mouths will not easily be shut up, and each one says the same thing - all are the same voice and same commentator.

And what do I see from the open door? The Golan Heights opposite and above, and anguished, extinguished Kiryat Shmona below. And I see reality spread before me like the Hula Valley, exposing its secrets: soldiers arriving and gathering - more and more soldiers - and the weapons of war piling up.

Meanwhile, in the cabinet they still delude themselves that they are calling the shots. But the decisions are already made on the ground, dictated by the mighty generals. The last thing this government needs is to bring the battalions home in the same way they left; the army would make an omelet of the politicians and their broken eggs. Who among them would challenge the military diktat?

Behold, the days are coming when Israel will find itself in the same situation it fled from merely six years ago, if not worse. We swore not to return, and Nasrallah released us from our vows. He extended the invitation; who would not enter? Who would dare disobey Nasrallah?

Haaretz editors told me to wait until we knew more of the cabinet's decision. I didn't need to, I told them. It's not really important. Then I told them the story of the door and reality that came barging in.