By Ilana Messika/TPS
Residents of Haifa, Bet Meir, Neve Tzuf and other communities hard hit by last weeks fires returned home Sunday morning to survey the damage and to begin the process of rebuilding their lives and communities.
“Now, it is the first time that we stand again in front of our house, in its ruins. This was originally a neighborhood of about 15 houses which were destroyed to the floors, nothing is left, said Itzik Shmadi, a resident of Neve Tzuf, in the Binyamin region as he stood in front of the ruins of his house.
Shamdi, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and other government ministers addressed police and government estimates that a majority of the fires were terror attacks, set intentionally by local Arabs at a time of high winds and dry forest conditions.
“It is part of the war against the Arabs and we will act accordingly like in a war. We will build again greater homes, and be brave. They will not win,” Shmadi concluded.
Also visiting Neve Tzuf, Lieberman commended the work of the fire and rescue teams, along with police and IDF support. He said that current statistics from IDF Central Command indicate that out of the 110 fire cases, 17 were definitely arsons.
“[Neve Tzuf if a] veteran settlement, with strong people who have faced crisis in the past and are now again dealing with this challenge in beautiful and dignified way. They are not talking of revenge, but rather about construction, rehabilitation and expansion of the settlement,” Liberman stated.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett also praised the fire department and added that temporary caravans will be placed in Neve Tzuf for families that lost homes, in order for the entire community to be able to return and for children to return to school as normal.
“We have seen an unprecedented mobilization and mutual assistance of all arms of the Israeli society, and on all of the burnt houses here we will build other houses greater in number and size,” he stated.
According to Roni Nouma, Commander of the Central District, there are currently several leads regarding arson suspects. Twenty-three people have been detained and released, but Nouma said security forces are continuing efforts to apprehend suspects.
TPS / Tazpit News Agency