Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu examines arson damage in Beit Meir. (photo from Ashernet)
Last week’s wave of fires across northern and central Israel is estimated to have caused, so far, some half a billion shekels in damage, and total projections are higher. Several thousand homes have been either destroyed completely, or partially destroyed in the infernos.
In many cases, the fires have been set deliberately. Drones equipped with UV detection equipment filmed several instances of arsonists setting fire to brushwood around the Jerusalem region and in the north near Haifa, and several suspects have been arrested. Matters have been made worse by the fact that the winter rains have not yet started and the forests are very dry. Also, the temperatures have been higher than usual in most parts of the country.
Several countries, including the United States, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey, have sent fire-fighting aircraft to Israel to assist in getting the fires under control. The Palestinian Authority also sent firefighters to assist the Israeli teams to control the infernos.
On Nov. 27, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toured one of the worst-affected areas, just west of Jerusalem, in Beit Meir. The prime minister saw at least 10 homes that had been destroyed and many others showing serious fire damage, making even those uninhabitable.
JNF Canada has started an emergency campaign, every dollar of which will go to rehabilitation and clean-up efforts. For more information, visit jnf.ca or call 604-257-5155.