Saturday, 6 March 2010

Love of the Land: In Israel: Liquor, Not War

In Israel: Liquor, Not War

Nomi Abeliovich
The Atlantic
04 March '10
Posted before Shabbat

In a region so complicated that anything is possible, local gastronomy seems to be extracting the better side of a messy situation. This is how a group of former Lebanese militiamen has found themselves producing the "milk of lions"—arak, an aniseed-flavored liquor made from grapes or other fruits—in Israel.

It all started in the late 1970s. As a result of the Lebanese civil war, the South Lebanon Army (SLA) was set up to combat various groups, and it was no longer under the direct control of the main Lebanese army. The SLA was closely allied with Israel, and after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, it turned over an occupied ''security zone'' in the south of Lebanon to the SLA, which mainly fought the Lebanese guerrilla forces led by Hezbollah. In return, Israel supported the organization with arms, uniforms, and equipment.

When the Israeli Defense Forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah guerrillas took control of the areas previously controlled by the SLA, the SLA collapsed, and its members were declared traitors and collaborators by the Lebanese government. Some surrendered and stood trial in military court while others sought emergency refuge, along with their families, in Israel.

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Love of the Land: In Israel: Liquor, Not War

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