Last month on a farm outside a small Texas town, I encountered an Israeli in his twenties who overheard me say that I had been to Lebanon and who mischievously remarked that he had also “been, but not been”.
I asked him what year his non-trip had occurred and if it had perhaps been military in nature. A year or two after the Israeli withdrawal, he said–he could not remember–and yes.
His companion, a Texan unacquainted with the tradition of subtle Israeli visits to neighbors, asked if he had liked the food.
The Israeli changed the subject to cell phone photographs of himself with scantily outfitted American females and shared his latest philosophy on life, which was that one must create love in everything one does. My latest philosophy is that continued Israeli lovemaking in Lebanon is not compatible with the term “withdrawal”.