When we left Bait Lif, we thought: We’ll be back home in a few weeks,” says tobacco farmer Mustafa as-Sayyid. They left the sheep, the chickens, the supplies of boiled zucchini and olive oil, all of that behind in the village But now the farmer and his two wives and eleven children have been sitting in a desolately empty classroom, their emergency shelter, for the seventh month. “Every day we say: Tomorrow it will be over.”

But instead the war continues here, in the south of Lebanon near the border with Israel.

“We’ll come back before winter comes,” that’s what the Gefens thought, packing only a few T-shirts and shorts before leaving Matsuva, the kibbutz in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon. The couple and their three children have now moved three times in six months, most recently to the small rental house in Schawe Zion, where the youngest daughter sleeps on a makeshift bed in the hallway. “We used to know that wars end at some point,” says mother Karin, an employee in a chocolate factory. “Now we often don’t even plan for the next day.”

This is the story of a small war that threatens to escalate in the shadow of the larger Gaza conflict. Because Israel and Iran have been spiraling into violence for weeks. And because Iran’s ally, the heavily armed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, threatens to become more of a threat to Israel than ever.

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