Aug 24, 2007 9:52 am


No town was hit worse by the missiles Hezbollah rained on Israel last year than Nahariya. This year only the stories remain. The victims have been buried and the town and the wounded have recovered. The beaches are full especially those were swimming is supposed to be prohibited. Yesterday, I went to an official beach. A Six p.m. the life guard station closed. The loud speaker asked the people to get out of the water as swimming without life guards present is dangerous. No one got out. This is both the strength and weakness of Israel. The people here believe rules are made not to be followed but considered. The result? Innovations and record traffic accidents.

On the beach I met a young Philippine girl. She has been in Israel for two years taking care of a six year old child with Cerebral palsy. Given a vacation day, she came to Nahariya with her elder sister, an illegal immigrant who has been in Israel for 6 years and her 3 year old nephew. Her husband had to go back to the Philippines to wait for a visa. As the child was born in Israel, he is the only member of the family with a valid permit to stay in the country. The young women tell me how lucky they feel."I am Catholic," the young one explains,"so being in the Holy Land is special. I talk almost daily with my brother and sister. I tell them to study hard. I send them money so they can go to college." She works hard but notes that unlike in Israel, beaches in her country are not free. They all speak fluent Hebrew.

Israel is a magnet to illegal immigrants. The latest group of refugees are from Darfur. Israel has reached an agreement to send them back to Egypt but many Israelis are not comfortable with turning away refugees.

As King Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun.

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