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Wildfire (illustrative)

More than 100 wildfires blazed their way across the Jewish State this weekend, exacerbated by a “sharav” (desert wind) that heated up the country to temperatures of at least 36 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit); in places like the Arava, the Dead Sea and Eilat, it was even hotter.

More than 170 fires were reported by the end of the day on Saturday, some caused by lax attention to barbecues by Israelis out for a nice day with the family, and some caused by environmental terrorism — fires set by Arab terrorists.


In response to the sweltering weather, the Fire and Rescue Commissioner has banned open-air fires this weekend to reduce the risk of a spark going astray and igniting another blaze.

Paradoxically, officials are also warning about the risk of flash floods in dry riverbeds and other areas hikers like to explore, particularly in the eastern and southern areas of Israel.

Flooding is a concern because rain is in the forecast for some parts of the country this weekend, and a dry riverbed can suddenly become a raging torrent within minutes — not enough time for a hiker to escape.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.