In 2000, when Israel pulled out of the security zone it had established in Lebanon, after nearly 20 years, it was a paradigm shift of power in the region. Israel withdrew to the internationally recognized border, with Hezbollah filling the void it left behind. Characteristic of clashes in the Middle East, both sides claimed victory. Hezbollah, in removing Israeli troop presence from Lebanese soil and Israel politically, both domestically and internationally. Caught in the middle of the withdrawal were members of the Israeli-sponsored South Lebanese Army, who if they were lucky managed to be on the Israeli side of the border.
In Lebanon Dream, we meet Samir Farhat, a Lebanese businessman who takes advantage of the confusion of war. Several years before the withdrawal, he is in Israel buying TVs, radios, anything that he can turn a profit on, to import for sale in Lebanon. In the eternal ethos of the middle eastern bazar, he buys low and sells high, but just high enough that he doesn’t overprice himself. Using the connections he makes, over the years he build his business up to where he turns a tidy profit. And in 2000, he finds himself stranded on the Israeli side of the border, with nothing. His wife is in Lebanon, subject to the control of Hezbollah, along with nearly 4 million dollars’ worth of inventory.
However, this is more than a simple tale of an everyman trapped between two larger, opposing powers. Where do his loyalties lie? Yes, he dons the uniform of the IDF and/or the SLA, but is it a matter of ideology, or practicality? Are his friendships genuine, or is he just the eternal businessman seeking opportunities to exploit? And once it’s all taken away, what is left for this man to profit from?