A swarm of 1 million locusts crossed into Israel from Egypt.
You can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine from one of Israel’s big five wineries — Carmel, Barkan, Golan Heights, Binyamina, Teperberg — or from other well-known brands whose consistent quality has earned them a solid place on American retail shelves, such as Tishbi, Dalton, Galil Mountain and Recanati.
We land at Ben Gurion Airport in the heat of winter, on the first day of Chanukah. At 11 a.m. Dec. 2, already it is 82 degrees in Tel Aviv -- unusual weather for the rainy season in Israel. And it will get hotter. Much hotter.
A fire on the Golan Heights damaged nearly 500 acres, including nature reserve territory and grazing land.
Israel has allocated millions of dollars to repair the damage caused by the Carmel wildfire. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz instructed the government to release the funds following a decision made by the Carmel Rehabilitation Steering Committee headed by Eyal Gabai, director-general of the Prime Minister's Office.
Haifa is poised to be the next home to a Disney amusement park. A 20-acre, $168 million entertainment complex including a 25-screen multiplex and a Disney amusement park is set to be built near the Carmel Tunnel.
The Jewish Federations of North America said the federation system will distribute $2.4 million to help Israel recover from the Carmel Mountain fire. JFNA, the umbrella organization of the more than 150 Jewish federations in North America, made the announcement Monday. The fires last week killed 44 people, scorched more than 10,000 acres of forest and burned 100 homes and structures, including much of the Yemin Orde Youth Village.
Three Palestinian firefighters were refused entry into Israel for a ceremony honoring Palestinian firemen who helped battle the Carmel blaze. Only seven of the 10 firemen were to be allowed in for the ceremony that was scheduled to take place Sunday afternoon in the Druze village of Usfiya. The ceremony was canceled. The Israel Defense Forces said the denial of entry for the three firemen was a bureaucratic error. The list of names did not include the firemen's ID numbers, the IDF said, and that it did not receive the list in time. The army told Haaretz that it is working to get the correct permits and that the ceremony would be rescheduled, Haaretz reported.
The United States Agency for International Development completed its forest fire assistance to Israel. USAID wrapped up operations in Israel on Dec. 10, a statement released Monday said.
The death of 16-year-old Elad Rivan in the Carmel Forest fire last week has put the Fire Scouts on the map, piquing the interest of teenagers around the country in what had previously been a relatively unknown organization of volunteer firefighters. In the wake of Rivan's tragic death, which occurred as he participated in the effort to rescue those trapped in the prison service bus that went up in flames, the Fire Scouts forum on the Israel Fire and Rescue Services website (www.102.co.il ) was inundated with requests from teenagers to join, prompting forum manager Shlomi Sa'adon, to post the following statement on Shabbat: "I see that the whole nation would like to volunteer, and I want to tell you that it's very heartwarming. But you have to understand. It's not that the fire services don't want you, but a volunteer has to take a basic course. If you think we will send you into an inferno like this without prior training, you are wrong. This is not some Lag Ba'omer bonfire. This is real fire, which kills, burns, scorches and consumes everything in its path, so we're sorry."
One of the reactions of Israelis to the fact that their government called on the international community for assistance to combat the Carmel Forest fire is a sense of shame. After all, Israel is a leader in the high-tech world and an innovator in dealing with crisis situations. Now Israel had to admit that it wasn’t capable of dealing with the blaze alone. More than that, for some in Israel there is a reluctance to admit that Israel is not isolated, that not everyone is against Israel. The willingness of nations and peoples to rush to Israel’s side, including the Turks and the Palestinians, challenged this assumption. I remember when Yitzhak Rabin took over as prime minister in 1993, his inaugural address to the Knesset took a different tack than the norm. He spoke to the idea that Israelis need to get beyond the way of thinking that assumed that everyone was against them. He argued that this was neither accurate nor productive, as it led to distorted policies.
It is hard to explain just how devastated Israelis are by the Carmel fire. But it is easier to explain how that devastation can become a positive force for positive change, right now, in Israel. The fire consumed at least 42 lives, thousands of forested acres and millions of shekels in property. With the assistance of a dozen foreign nations, the beleaguered firefighters finally got the resources they needed to battle a blaze that consumed more than its obvious victims. What may have perished in the fire is Israel’s sense of self-reliance, and the confidence of ordinary people that they can rely on their government and society to meet their needs.
The U.S. House of Representatives mourned the loss of life in Israel's worst-ever forest fire and pledged to support assistance. The nonbinding resolution passed unanimously Tuesday "mourns the loss of life and extends condolences to the families affected by the fire in northern Israel" and "supports the Obama Administration’s offer of, and rapid efforts to provide, United States fire fighting assistance to Israel in response to this disaster."
This is a map of the the areas affected by the Carmel forest fire in northern Israel, which began Thursday Dec. 2.
40 people died on Thursday as a huge brushfire was raging across the Carmel Mountains near Haifa, resulting in the death of some 40 people and hurting dozens of others, among them prison guards and firemen.