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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Carmel Forest’

Remains of Druze-Israeli Soldier Missing for Seven Years Identified

Friday, October 12th, 2012

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the remains of Pvt. Majdi Halabi, a Druze soldier who disappeared in May 2005 on his way back to his army base, were discovered two weeks ago in the Carmel Forest near the village of Usifya.

An Israeli civilian hiking in the area reportedly found the remains. They likely were discovered due to last year’s fire, which exposed more of the forest floor. The remains were identified after testing at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine.

Israel police continue to investigate the circumstances behind Halabi’s death, according to the IDF. The funeral will be held Friday.

Halabi reportedly was in civilian clothing when he entered a bus station in the Druze village of Daliat al-Carmel, where he lived. He never made it to his army base near Haifa.

Forester-For-A-Day: KKL-JNF Involves Citizens in Maintaining Israeli Forests

Monday, September 10th, 2012

KKL-JNF’s ( Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund) “Forester For a Day” program is a new ecological initiative that offers visitors a unique opportunity to assist in maintaining Israel’s forests, prevent forest fires and promote an overall atmosphere of environmental awareness.

The KKL-JNF owns 13 percent of the land in Israel, and has planted 240 million trees and establish more than 1,000 parks. Building on KKL-JNF’s  hugely successful flagship tree-planting project, the “Forester-For-A-Day” program lets participants connect with the soil of Israel in a very personal way.

Participants work side-by-side with KKL-JNF foresters to prune trees, prepare forest paths and fire breaks, and clear underbrush. The program is tailored to groups only (15-100 participants), and is available in English, French, German, and Spanish. Spread out in four locations across the country – Birya forest in the Golan, Carmel forest  in the Galillee, Ben Shemen forest in the Center, and Lahav forest in the South – the program runs 2-3 hours in its entirety, and provides an opportunity for volunteers of all ages to experience Israel in a unique way and make a direct contribute to its preservation.

The cost is $18 per person, and participants receive a bottle of water, KKL-JNF hat and pin, certificate of appreciation after their work is completed.

The Jewish Press sat down with Revital Ovadia, Coordinator of Forester-For-A-Day, to find out more about the program.

The Jewish Press (JP): How did the Forester-For-A-Day program get started?

Revital Ovadia (RO): Unfortunately, it was a tragedy – the Carmel Forest fire in December 2010 – that inspired the program. But we decided to take a tragedy and bring something positive out of it.

What has been the feedback? Have many people have participated in the program?

As of today – which is only a year into the program’s implementation – there have been hundreds of participants: bar and bat mitzvah parties, groups wanting to get involved, as well as workplace and family events.

The feedback has been great. The best indication of its success is the fact that when the Israeli public heard about the program – which was tailored specifically for non-Israelis – many requested to participate in it. And so we opened it up to Israeli participation as well!

Has the program had an effect yet on the environment? Has it helped with the rehabilitation after the Carmel fire?

The Carmel Forest has been rehabilitating at an impressive rate, thanks in  part to the program, as well as all the volunteers who came to help KKL-JNF after the fire.

Still, we are not permitted to plant new trees until next year – in order to let the soil regenerate. So we are looking forward to returning to planting trees and intensifying the Carmel Forest’s rehabilitation.

What are some other programs people can get involved with KKL-JNF?

KKL-JNF has a wide range of programs and activities, including bicycle and hiking trails in Israel’s forests and in the parks. Groups can also coordinate such activities to precede or follow the Forester-For-A-Day program.

For more information on the campaign, contact Revital Ovadia at KKL-JNF revio@kkl.org.il.

The Mt. Carmel Inferno: Eyewitness Account

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

HAIFA – Bulgarian firefighters have agreed to let me tag along with them as they make their way up the gullies in the Carmel Forest, seeking out flames still burning uncontrolled.

I walk with Mikhail, probably the only Bulgarian firefighter on earth who speaks Hebrew. He is also a medic, and had earlier done some work in Israel, long enough to pick up basic Hebrew. He and the other Bulgarian fire fighters just came down from the command center at the University of Haifa.

His colleagues are amused that an aging professor wants to accompany them. Meanwhile, a religious couple from Haifa comes out of the bushes carrying large boxes of sufganiyot and distributes them to the firefighters, thanking each of them personally with a “spaseeba!”

All around us the brushes and trees are smoking. Every gust of wind stirs up ash. Countless firefighting planes circle overhead, interrupted by the circling giant American 747 that has just arrived. The command-and-control center for the entire battle against the fires has been set up on the University of Haifa campus. A parking lot there contains so many Russian firefighters that a large Russian flag has been raised.

The firefighters are amazed when campus security staffers speak and joke with them in Russian. They are commanded by the Russian deputy minister for national emergencies, the same fellow who led the battle against the forest fires around Moscow last summer. The soft-spoken guy is a giant, a Russian Paul Bunyan, who seems capable of blowing out forest fires with his breath.

These were not the Chanukah flames Israel was expecting. On the first day of the festival the top of Mount Carmel looked like one of those volcanoes you see on the National Geographic Channel. The pillar of smoke could be seen from 50 miles away.

Gusts of wind bring ash and smoke into Haifa. Residents of some streets closest to the flames are evacuated. The man at the meat counter in the supermarket jokes with me; if the wind changes direction he will be holding a special sale on barbecued chickens that will never need to be put in an oven.

But it is hard to keep a sense of humor in the midst of Israel’s worst-ever natural disaster, one that has claimed the lives of more than 40 Israelis. Besides a bus full of prison service cadets on their way to help evacuate a prison, the victims include a Haifa teenager who had long served as a volunteer fireman with one of the brigades, and Haifa chief of police Ahuva Tomer, a courageous woman who came to Israel from the USSR as an infant.

The Bulgarian firefighters take a breather and rest under a tree that has survived. A sudden breeze makes a small, smoking stack of leaves near us emit some flames a few inches high. For the Bulgarians it is not worth bothering with. I decide to contribute my own effort to this international fight against the Carmel fire and extinguish the little flames the way Boy Scouts put out campfires. The Bulgarians smile and applaud.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/the-mt-carmel-inferno-eyewitness-account/2010/12/08/

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