A monument to an inexistent border
In Rosh Hanikra, the northwestern tip of Israel where families take a cablecar inside a seaside grotto, there’s a sign that reads informs you that Beirut is 120 kilometres away. This distance, if it weren’t for the barbed wire and armed guards, is valid only for birds.
To get to Beirut from here you would need to head in to Jordan, then to Syria, and finally to Lebanon, a total journey of more than 420 km, assuming you avoid an Israeli stamp in your passport, and the Syrian border guards fail to notice you crossed into Jordan from Israel.
As the Arab-Israeli conflict thrives along the Lebanese border, this sign is simply a memory of better days, when it was possible to pop into the neighbouring capital as a weekend trip for some good kafta and maybe some tail at a trendy nightclub.
Today, a line of buoys mark the border two kilometres into the Mediterranean, and a lonely Israeli patrol boat keeps a lazy watch on it.
That the distance sign still remains is admirable. If anything, it’s a monument to hope, that a time without rockets and bombs and militias and commando raids can yet come to exist, maybe within the lifetime of those Israelis and tourists who come to Israel’s north and must then turn around.