Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire in a field caused from incendiary kites flown by Gazan terrorists, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the border with the Gaza Strip, May 15, 2018.

Israeli cuisine may be a bit leaner this year if things keep up the way they are going in southern Israel; certainly, some of the meat on the table won’t be domestic, and shoppers will be spending more to make sure the family is fed.

Hundreds of turkeys died of smoke inhalation this weekend due to the thick black smoke from wild fires sparked by arson balloons launched from Gaza. The smoke wafted over a farm where the birds were being raised at Kibbutz Ein Ha’Shlosha in the Eshkol Regional Council district.

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Kibbutz Ein Ha’Shlosha was founded in 1950 on the lands of the former Kibbutz Neve Yair, and was named in memory of the three founding members who were killed during the 1948 War of Independence. Neve Yair was established in 1949 by members of the Lehi but was abandoned in June 1950.

The community, located very close to the Gaza border with the central Gaza community of Khan Younis, relies a great deal on turkey and dairy farming, but also has a small factory. Its members are supremely resourceful and have learned to survive against all odds, as do nearly all Israelis who live in periphery communities.

At least 20 fires were started in the Gaza Belt region by the flame-bearing kites and balloons on Saturday alone, according to Eli Cohen, spokesperson for the southern Israeli fire brigades, leading to the destruction by fire of more than 250 acres of farmland and crops. At least 11 fires were started in the same region on Friday, causing even more devastation.

Damage to Israeli agriculture is estimated at approximately $1.4 million so far — and that sum doesn’t include the inestimable damage to the ecology, and the damage to Jewish National Fund forestland. Since March 30, more than 300 fires have been recorded and hundreds of acres of farmland have been destroyed; an entire year’s worth of food has been burned to the ground by the terrorists.

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