Symbols must be used with immense care. In Mafia Explodes in Tel Aviv, I mentioned a girl called "Noga." Her name means "Venus" in Hebrew. Most Western readers consider the name a symbol of beauty; however, "Venus-light" ("or-nuge") is a symbol of sadness in Hebrew. Something similar happens with the picture accompanying this paragraph. It shows the Tel Hai Monument, where a major Zionist battle took place on March 1, 1920. Sometimes it is considered the first proper military battle between Zionists and Arabs, in this case from what nowadays is Lebanon.
That day, several hundred Shiite Arabs from Jabel Amil approached Tel Hai—a Jewish Settlement in the Upper Galilee—and demanded to search it. A dispute began, and the Jews called for reinforcements from the nearby kibbutz Kfar Giladi. Joseph Trumpeldor's troops arrived, and an armed confrontation broke out. Six of Kfar Giladi's troops died, including Trumpeldor himself; two denizens were also killed during the battle. Tel Hai was burned and abandoned.
The following year, after the British and French reached an agreement on their Mandate borders, there was a Jewish attempt to resettle the spot. Shortly afterwards, the failed re-settlers joined Kfar Giladi. Years later a monument was erected; it features words attributed to Trumpeldor: "It is good to die for our land." Zionists consider it a symbol of their bravery; others consider it a symbol of the futility of Zionist efforts. In 2013, Tel Hai—which means "Live Hill"—is as dead as in 1920.
The clumsy introduction to this article was needed in order to explain that the "Southern Lebanon Army" is a misleading name. Technically, it describes a Lebanese militia which split from the Army of Free Lebanon in 1979. It was led by Major Saad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon and it fought against the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hezbollah. Its symbolic name becomes unambiguous in Hebrew. The acronym is Tzadal, which to every Hebrew speaker sounds almost identical to Tzahal*. The latter is the Hebrew acronym of the IDF. In fact, the Southern Lebanon Army was a puppet army of Israel, serving as a strong brigade beyond the enemy lines. They were in the Israeli army payroll. Their headquarters was in Metulla, an Israeli settlement not far from the abovementioned Tel Hai. They were Lebanese mercenaries symbolically reversing the events of 1920.
In July 2000, Israel withdrew from Lebanon after 18 years of illegitimate occupation. By then Tzadal was small, it had just 1,500 soldiers; at its peak it had had over three times that number. They were considered traitors and collaborators by denizens, Hezbollah, and the Lebanese government. Void of choices, they were accepted as refugees by the Israeli government. Those left behind were tried; most of them received sentences of less than one month in jail, about a third got one-year sentences and a few of them who were found guilty of committing torture at Al-Khiam prison received life sentences. In a few cases, people were barred from returning to Southern Lebanon for a few years. Those who crossed the border, were forced to settle in Kiryat Shmona, in the valley just below Tel Hai.
"Kiryat Shmona" means "Town of the Eight." Founded in 1949 on the western edge of the Hula Valley, it was named after the eight persons who died in the Tel Hai battle of 1920. With just above twenty thousand inhabitants, it is the archetypal Jewish "development town." New immigrants are often sent to remote places, Soviet gulags in a Middle Eastern Siberia, where they don't have opportunities to become part of the society that invited them. This town is populated mainly by Moroccans, who in late 2000, received about one thousand refugees, formerly known as members of the Southern Lebanon Army, who became denizens of Israel's northernmost city.
This couldn't end well. On January 21, 2013, Channel 7 published that the Israeli government decided to get involved in the assimilation of the refugees due to the emergency situation created in the town. Official statistics of the Israeli government claim that out of the one-thousand adult refugees, 30% of the men and 70% of the women are jobless. They have failed to integrate in their new society. This is not surprising considering the religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences. Moreover, as Lebanese do, many Israelis consider them "corruptible," to put it mildly. After all, they have already proved themselves to be mercenaries. The situation is so extreme that a group of them moved southwards to Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee shore. The government's answer was rather clumsy; it decided to open specific courses for the refugees, which include Basic Hebrew (after more than a decade in the country!), and topics like self-confidence and basic human rights. It will be difficult to consider them assimilated upon their completion. They will continue to be immediately identifiable for the rest of their lives. Israel doesn't care; after all the Sabbath Goy carried out his job. "It is good to die for their land," the new immigrants jokingly paraphrase Joseph Trumpeldor.
* "Tzahal" acronym for "Tzva HaHagana LeYisrael," "Israel Defense Army,"
"Tzadal" acronym for "Tzva Drom Lebanon," "Southern Lebanon Army"