Photo Credit: courtesy, Elyashiv Kimchi
Eitam Hill

The scorched earth and the blackened bits of charred twigs are what remained to let people know that Palestinian Authority Arabs had burned down part of a blossoming farm where Jewish youth were working to build something to mark the life of Ari Fuld, hy’d.

No one was injured or killed in what appears to be an arson attack that took place on Eitam Hill, the last hill of the town of Efrat on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday but it was painful to see their hard work burned to the ground.

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“Terrorists rolled burning tires into our area and the fire immediately caught in the fields,” said Elyashiv Kimchi, who is running the site. “Along with the wind, the fire burned dozens of dunams and reached only a few dozen meters from the inner circle of buildings.”

Remains of one of the arson tires used to torch the fields at Eitam Hill.

Dozens of dunams of fields where wheat and barley had been planted for grazing were burned up, and the fire came within approximately 100 meters of a residential structure and sheep pen. Some farming and firefighting equipment were destroyed.

The farm used up their entire water supply to put out the fire. Their water needs to be trucked in.

Nevertheless, Kimchi is looking ahead to rebuilding. Immediately.

“Thanks to the Almighty, along with the resourcefulness of the staff of the farm avoided a serious disaster and no injuries to the soul. We continue our mission.”

According to sources within the Efrat Municipality, the IDF believes the Arabs were burning garbage and tires at bottom of the Eitam hill, a common practice, when the fire got out of control and made its way up the Eitam hill towards the Israeli farm.

As the Israelis were fighting the fire that was working its way up the hill, the wind changed directions and redirected the quickly growing fire, which then spread and burned down much of the Arab fields on the opposite side of the Efrat boundary line. A Palestinian Authority firetruck arrived and put out the fire on the Arab side of the divide.

A serene evening of meat and wine on the Sabbath at Eitam Hill

In the meantime, there are some urgent needs that must be met if those who are working to keep the site alive are to be kept safe while they are there. The all-terrain vehicle that was used in the field must be replaced, in addition to the fire extinguishing equipment. “There’s no water up here,” Kimchi pointed out. “We need that equipment. It’s essential.

“Many people have reached out asking how they can help,” he added. “Here are a few ways:

1. The farm’s ATV broke down as they were battling the fire. It’s our only vehicle that can get around quickly during times of emergency. We need to fix it and have it back up and running as quickly as possible.
2. Purchase of a trailer fire extinguisher (sizable compressor/gas powered fire extinguishing system that sits on a trailer)
3. Setup of emergency water supply.

“For more details and contributions please be in touch with me privately. May we merit to continue our good work,” Kimchi added.

For those who wish to assist in this effort, please send your contributions here:

Bank transfers to:
Signature Bank
923 Broadway
Woodmere, NY 11598
for the Account of
The Central Fund of Israel
ABA Bank Routing # 026013576
CFI account:  # 1503426427
SWIFT Code (international wires): SIGNUS33

Checks can be mailed to:
Central Fund of Israel
c/o Jmark Interiors Inc.
461 Central Avenue
Cedarhurst, NY 11516

For Tax Deductible Contributions
Tax ID#-13-2992985
For: RUJUM

Update: This report has been updated to include new information JewishPress.com received about the event.

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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 Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.