web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Carmel Fire Aftermath: Mourning, Assessing, Finger Pointing


JERUSALEM – In the aftermath of the deadliest fire in Israel’s history, Israelis this week set to the task of burying the dead, cleaning up and figuring out what exactly went wrong – and who is to blame.

Even before the blaze in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa came under control Sunday afternoon, Israelis were asking why the country wasn’t better prepared for a wildfire of this magnitude. In all, 42 people were killed, about 250 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, 17,000 people were forced to evacuate, more than 12,000 acres were burned and an estimated 5 million trees were lost.

The damage to northern Israel was estimated at about $75 million, including damage to towns and kibbutzim, destroyed forests and damaged roads. Yemin Orde, a village founded in 1953 that has served as a home and school to thousands of immigrant youths, most recently Ethiopians and Russians, was severely burned. In Kibbutz Ein Hod, 10 houses and an art gallery were destroyed.

On Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet approved a $16.5 million aid package to assist damaged communities, and Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered that each person whose home suffered severe fire damage be given an immediate aid disbursement of about $700.

Calls came from many quarters for the resignation of Interior Minister Eli Yishai, whose ministry is responsible for the state’s firefighting forces. Yishai is also accused of refusing fire truck donations from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Yishai said his ministry was not funded well enough to purchase needed equipment – in 2001, he noted, Ariel Sharon’s government voted to eliminate air support for fire fighting – and told Israel Radio that he was a target because of his Sephardic heritage.

Israel has 16 firefighters per 100,000 residents; by contrast, the United States, Japan and Greece have five to seven times that number per capital, The Associated Press reported. In total, Israel has 1,400 fire fighters.

A 14-year-old resident of the Druze village of Ussfiya was arrested Monday after admitting to starting the fire. The teen reportedly said he was smoking a nargila water pipe and threw a live coal into an open area before returning to school.

The arrest was announced hours after two teenage brothers from the same village arrested over the weekend on suspicion of negligence in starting the fire were released from detention by a Haifa court. The teens had been accused of lighting a bonfire near their home that sparked the blaze.

High winds and dry weather conditions provided fuel for the blaze, which began tearing through northern Israel on Dec. 2. Northern Israel is covered by fields and trees planted over the decades – many of them by pioneers during the British Mandate period. Others were planted by Diaspora Jews through the Jewish National Fund.

Meanwhile, numerous figures in the Arab world cited the fire as punishment from God for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and its occupation of Arab lands. The Palestinian prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said the fire was a “strike from Allah.”

The spiritual leader of the Israeli Orthodox Shas Party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, also said the fire was divine punishment, attributing the blaze to the sin of lack of observance of the Sabbath.

During the height of the blaze, Israeli’s chief Sephardic rabbi, Shlomo Amar, led thousands in prayer at the Western Wall. Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger called on Israelis to give charity and read Psalms to bring about the fire’s end.

For its part, the Israeli government issued a rare call for international assistance. Among the countries that responded were Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Russia, France, Switzerland, Britain, Spain and the United States. The Palestinian Authority also sent 21 firefighters and four fire trucks to help battle the blaze.

Thirty-five firefighting airplanes came to Israel. New York sent a 747 loaded with Fire Troll 931, a fire retardant chemical, in a shipment organized by the New York City Fire Department and the office of the city’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Israel also rented the American Evergreen Boeing 747 Super Tanker, one of the most advanced firefighting planes in the world, loaded with 80,000 liters of water and fire retardant. It arrived early Sunday morning and had an immediate effect on helping douse the flames.

The deadliest incident came in the fire’s early hours when a bus carrying about three dozen cadets from the Israeli prisons service on their way to evacuate a prison threatened by the blaze became trapped between burning trees. Nearly all those aboard perished, and the bus was left a scorched shell.

Jewish communities in Denver and Winnipeg, Canada, also mourned the death of one of the bus passengers, Rabbi Uriel Malka, 32, who was working as a chaplain in the Israeli Prisons Service.

Malka, a father of five, worked as a Jewish Agency emissary for two years in Denver and then served as principal of the Ohr HaTorah Day School in Winnipeg. Malka had narrowly escaped death during combat in the Second Lebanon War.

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Carmel Fire Aftermath: Mourning, Assessing, Finger Pointing”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Some of the missile fire comes from launchers planted in cemeteries, mosques, schools and hospitals. This is an aerial photo of one such launch in Beit Lahiya earlier this week.
Sleepless in Rishon Lezion, IDF Attacks in Gaza Continue
Latest News Stories
Some of the missile fire comes from launchers planted in cemeteries, mosques, schools and hospitals. This is an aerial photo of one such launch in Beit Lahiya earlier this week.

While Israelis couldn’t sleep in Rishon Lezion, IDF pilots were busy making sure Gaza terrorists were awake Monday night as well.

Rami Levy in one of his supermarkets.

Without fanfare, supermarket magnate Rami Levy has been quietly unloading truckloads of food and basics at the homes of all the fallen soldiers…

05_04_51---Candle_web

After killing 5 IDF soldiers, Hamas terrorists tried to steal the soldier’s bodies.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, dining at the Prime Minister's residence, Jan. 4, 2014.

Kerry’s performance panned by Israeli public, media, and even the PA. Why fury directed only at the Israeli government?

Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Gantz announce Israel will not stop the war until all terror tunnels are destroyed.

This is probably the first time in my life I’ve seen an IDF barber. Who knew we even had them! (Notice he’s using an electric shaver!)

2:29am Multiple rocket sirens towards Tel Aviv-Yafo, Rishon l’Tzion, Bat Yam, Holon….

The IDF spokesman has released the names of the soldiers who were killed this evening.

Bibi said: “Death from above, death from below,” will not continue to threaten the people of Israel.

IDF soldiers killed five terrorists who attempted to infiltrate from Gaza Monday evening near Nahal Oz in Sha’ar HaNegev, foiling another attack.

Intelligence minister meets journalists in Jerusalem, compares Gaza to Judea and Samaria as proof that quiet begets quiet.

Another massive missile barrage made it clear Monday night Hamas has no interest in a cease fire.

Moslem Brotherhood considered enemy number one in Cairo; Gaza branch responds to slight by firing at Israel.

Hamas terrorists attacked their own people Monday, with short-fall rocket fire exploding at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.

A Hamas rocket attack on the Eshkol region has murdered numerous Israelis…

Is MK Zoabi planning to copy her “rebbe”, former Balad MK Azmi Bishara, by skipping the country?

More Articles from Marcy Oster
Arab-Crowds-033012

JERUSALEM – If pro-Palestinian calls for a so-called Global March to Jerusalem are heeded, thousands of Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria could converge on Israel’s borders.

Aftermath of Grad rocket attack on center of southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

JERUSALEM – Egypt announced that a cease-fire it brokered between terrorist groups in Egypt and Israel went into effect at 1 a.m. Tuesday, but several rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza exploded in Israel after the announcement.

JERUSALEM – In the aftermath of the deadliest fire in Israel’s history, Israelis this week set to the task of burying the dead, cleaning up and figuring out what exactly went wrong – and who is to blame.

JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

JERUSALEM – Actress Meg Ryan’s decision to cancel her appearance at this week’s Jerusalem Film Festival didn’t garner the same attention in Israel as British rocker Elvis Costello’s nixing his Israel concert this spring.

JERUSALEM – With nations around the world condemning Israel for the deaths of nine activists aboard a Gaza-bound ship, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned visit to the White House.

JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.

JERUSALEM – Coming as a self-described “pilgrim of peace,” Pope Benedict XVI vowed to fight anti-Semitism and called for a Palestinian state in the moments after his arrival in Israel for a five-day visit.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/carmel-fire-aftermath-mourning-assessing-finger-pointing/2010/12/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: