Chilean investigators reportedly believe that a fire in a popular national park is the work of arsonists, though an Israeli remains charged with negligently starting the blaze.
Conservative movement rabbis thanked envoys from countries that helped Israel douse forest fires, including some that now have difficult relations with the Jewish state.
Arson is suspected in a major forest fire in Jerusalem that led to the evacuation of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum.
In the wake of the Carmel Forest fire, Israel's government approved more than $223 million for homefront emergency preparedness and disasters. Nearly $100,000 will be allocated to establishing an upgraded national fire service and an aerial firefighting force, according to the bill approved Sunday. The vote was 20 to 3 with one abstention. Interior Minister Eli Yishai opposed the bill, demanding a doubling of the budget for fire services.
First, of course, are the dead and the injured. Almost all of them young, in a training program for prison guards, trapped in a bus, incinerated. Who by fire? That, says the prayer, God decides: “On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: How many shall pass away and how many shall be born, who shall live and who shall die, who in the fullness of time and who before his time, who shall perish by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by wild beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by earthquake and who by plague, who by strangulation and who by stoning, who shall have rest and who shall wander, who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued, who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented, who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low, who shall become rich and who shall be impoverished. But repentance, prayer and righteousness transform the severity of the decree.”
A standout among the many tragedies of the Carmel fires is the severe damage to the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Northern Israel, which has displaced all of its residents — nearly 500 children originally from Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union and other countries, as well as Israeli-born children who moved to the school from dysfunctional homes. The fire destroyed nearly 20 buildings, including the library, children’s homes, some classrooms, staff housing and a special unit for the youngest children, and many other buildings were damaged on the 77-acre campus atop Mount Carmel.
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.
This is a map of the the areas affected by the Carmel forest fire in northern Israel, which began Thursday Dec. 2.
"We're all healing -- emotionally, psychologically, ecologically," said Paul M. Ginsberg, director of the Forest Department in the Northern Region Office of Keren Kayemeth Leisrael (KKL), the Israeli arm of the Jewish National Fund. He stood on a hillside looking over the Hula Valley, north of the Sea of Galilee. At his back was a hillside forest of trees, many of them charred from last summer's rocket fire.