These are very hectic and thought-provoking days. In times like these, the media is full of experts. It seems their numbers grow from crisis to crisis. Well, I am not an official expert, but then again, my gut feeling was not wrong about what was right for the country and where events would lead; so, I feel I have as much right as any of the many authorities telling us yet again why we are in a mess and how things will turn out.

I am not a prophet, and not even an expert, but I am an avid observer and I do posses a normal memory. I remember the joy and how Prime Minister Ehud Barak beamed with self-satisfaction at the great coup he pulled off six years ago. Imagine the sweet sense of victory as the Israeli army fled Lebanon in the middle of the night, leaving mounds of equipment and personal effects behind for the enemy to plunder. Now, that certainly sent the Lebanese, and all our neighbors, a strong message, didn't it? Our south Lebanese allies were left in the dust. Yet, we were assured that if Hizbullah dared to cross that border, or shoot just one bullet, then we would respond with all our might. And all the experts assured us that this was cause for celebration.

Somehow, I did not feel like partying when I saw the tanks cross our border, leaving our allies abandoned and leaving Hizbullah to replace them on the fence. But I am not an expert.

Perhaps, because I am not an expert, I was not one of the revelers when our sophisticated intellectuals celebrated Mr. Yasser Arafat's arrival from Tunisia. Maybe I missed something when I thought it was not a good idea to create the Palestinian Authority and arm them. Who knows , perhaps I lacked the depth of perception to grasp the deeper meaning of the term "peace partner". I should then have later understood that if Arafat was perhaps a small disappointment, then Abu Mazen would certainly protect us from the really bad guys. Why am I so skeptical?

I probably am missing a doctorate in expert affairs, as I did not see how rewarding terror by handing over the victims' homes to the ones that shelled them for years would teach them that shelling won't work. Hadn't our handling of the Hizbullah taught them a lesson? What could I not see?

Why did I not grasp the advantage and wisdom of the policy of restraint? Restraint vis-a-vis our enemies that is; restraint vis-a-vis the demonized "settlers" was not in the cards. In Amona, Israel's democracy was saved. And all I saw was bloodied, unsophisticated, patriotic Jews.

I heard an interview the other day with General (res.) Dr. Yom-Tov Samia, former commander of the Gaza theater of operations. He claimed that we should not have restrained ourselves in the face of the provocations from Lebanon or from Gaza since the expulsion of the Jewish communities, which he supported. He emphatically said that he does not care about Jewish settlements or the "Land of our Fathers," rather, he is interested in security.

I thought about that statement. How far gone are we ? I actually came here only because it is the Land of our Fathers. What I am I missing this time?