Chanukah Firestorm

Fire in the Carmel Forest

Fire in the Carmel Forest

A fire raging out of control in the north of Israel has killed 43 people so far.  Most of the dead were prison guards whose bus was caught in the flames as they tried to reach a nearby jail to help evacuate it.  Five million trees have been destroyed in the Carmel National Forest — Israel’s only natural forest and an ecological treasure.  About a third of the forest has been destroyed.  Forest rangers have evacuated animals from the inferno.

All 1,400 Israeli firefighters (yes, every firefighter in the country) have been deployed near Carmel, and parts of Haifa have been evacuated.  The supplies of fire extinguishing agent have been exhausted.  Israel has asked for help from the international community.  So far, the following countries are helping:  Britain, France, Romania, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and Russia.  All are sending supplies.  It is particularly touching that financially impoverished Greece and recently cool Turkey are helping.

Battling the Fire

Battling the Fire

Please donate generously to the fund-raising organizations of your choice.   The National Council of Young Israel has a fund, every penny of which goes directly to the emergency effort.  Click here to donate.   May the fire be brought under control quickly, may HaShem grant a refuah shlemah (a complete and speedy recovery) to the injured, and may the families of those killed be comforted among the other mourners for Zion and Jerusalem.

12/5 UPDATE:

There are now over thirty nations involved in the fire-fighting effort, many providing specialized aircraft and equipment as well as personnel.  One hundred firefighters from Bulgaria are fighting the flames, as well as fire extinguishing planes and crews from Greece and Britain.  The fire is still not under control.  Only one specialized plane can fight the fire at night, and operating it costs $200,000 per hour.  (Israel is renting it from an American company in Arizona.)  The rest of the aircraft fight the fire each day, and ground crews try to limit the spreading each night.

The Fire Spreads for a Fourth Day

The Fire Spreads for a Fourth Day

The cause of the fire is not yet determined, but if this fire was deliberately set, all we can add is:

U-tsu  ei-tsa  v’su-far,
da-b’ru  da-var  v’lo  ya-kum,
ki   i-ma-nu  Keil.

Happy Chanukah!

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  1. #1 by Jewish Jihad on December 24, 2010 - 5:59 am

    The fire that destroyed 40 percent of Yemin Orde Youth Village did not weaken the spirit of the people there.

    Repairs are underway and the community is a hub of action. Your dollars can bring supplies and equipment to the Village.

    We are so proud of the children. They are hopeful and understand that “you get up from the ashes and you rebuild yourself,” as Chaim Peri, Director Emeritus of Yemin Orde Youth Village and President, Yemin Orde Educational Initiatives tells everyone.

    Watch on YouTube touching 4-minute video that shows both shock and courage as children and staff return to their Village for the first time after the fire.

    “[It] is a metaphor that decay is not the final decree,” said Peri. “That out of all this, something great comes out. It really is a metaphor about the Jewish people.”

    Today the Village is busy with activity. The children are attending classes while contractors and staff are making plans for a new library, new homes and new offices. Dozens of graduates and volunteers from all over Israel have come to lend a hand. Visitors from overseas arrive once more. Everyone is moving forward.

    Help us rebuild and recover. Our work has just begun.

    For more information on our recovery efforts or how to help, visit our website at

    PLEASE HELP US during this time of need. Checks can be made payable to Friends of Yemin Orde and mailed to:

    Friends of Yemin Orde
    12230 Wilkins Ave.
    Rockville, MD 20852

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