a different side of Israel

Category: Israel News (page 10 of 103)

News in Israel, current events, Israeli politics, daily life and commentary on life in Israel and the Middle East.

The Race Is On

Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Safed, has been summoned by police concerning a letter he published advising the public not to rent or sell homes to Arabs. On Friday, Eliyahu told Yediot Achronot he refuses to answer the summons.

Police are reportedly seeking to interrogate the chief rabbi on suspicion of incitement to racism. He was summoned to Jerusalem on Sunday.

Eliyahu said:

“I asked them if David Grossman, Yossi Sarid, and Shulamit Aloni, who protested against the settlement of Jews in Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood, had also been interrogated, but they said no…If I am being accused of racism while they are not – this is discrimination…We have no intention of playing into the hands of the justice system, which behaves in an inequitable manner.”

Eliyahu finds Knesset members, Yaakov Katz and Uri Ariel (National Union), who condemned the “summoning to interrogation of the great leaders of Israel” and the “persecution of the Torah and its rabbis” on his side.

In a statement, they said:

“Freedom of speech has been stolen from wizened students by the police and the prosecution, because they believe it is deserved only by radical and post-Zionist academicians, who call on Arabs to refrain from renting to Jews in their neighborhoods.”

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, told the press in Ramallah, on Christmas Day:

“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it…We are ready to have peace on the basis of international legitimacy and the road map, which we have accepted, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative…But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”

Iran To Threaten Israel

According to the Irna News Agency, Iran hanged Ali Akbar Siadat, an Iranian citizen, inside Tehran’s Evin prison, after finding him guilty of spying for Mossad.

Siadat was first arrested in 2008, while trying to leave Iran with his wife.

Siadat “confessed that he had transferred information to Mossad about Iran’s military activities” reported Irna, adding that he had “received $60,000 to give classified information to the Zionist regime.”

According to the accusations he was providing information about missiles, air crashes, fighter jets, training flights and military bases.

Allegedly, he met his contacts from Mossad during trips he took to Thailand, Turkey and the Netherlands.

In 2008, Ali Ashtari, an Iranian telecoms engineer, was hanged after being convicted of spying for Mossad. According to Irna, a second man, Ali Saremi, was also hanged on Tuesday. Saremi, 63, was alleged to be a member of the opposition group, People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), considered by Tehran to be a terrorist organization. Saremi had been arrested several times since 1983. He spent a total of 24 years in prison on various offenses of the shah and clerical rule.

Authorities say that when he was arrested in 2007, for the final time, they found CDs, photos and hand-written documents in his house, concerning the PMOI.

In related news, the Iran regime has been subjected to four rounds of sanctions by United Nations Security Council in relation to its resolute nuclear program.

Iran’s nuclear program began in 1974, before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, with plans to build a nuclear power station at Bushehr with the help of Germany. The plan was abandoned during the revolution, but renewed in the 1990, when Tehran signed an agreement with Russia.

In December of 2007, Moscow began delivering canisters of enriched uranium.

Libya’s War on Zionism

A WikiLeaks cable revealed that Libyan authorities adopted “repugnant anti-Semitic tactics” against the Marks & Spencer store in Tripoli, in an effort to have the store closed and drive the British company out of the country.

The leaked memos, sent from the US Embassy in Tripoli, show that the anti-Semitic campaign became so violent that American officials were warned by Libyan government insiders that at least one high-ranking businessman, the Marks & Spencer franchiser, could be involved in a “fatal car accident”.

Marks & SpencerA source from the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry told an American contact that M&S was:

“well-known among Libyans and other Arab and Muslim peoples for its strong support of Israeli occupation of Palestine and the huge funds it provides for killing of Palestinians and constructing of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine…The very mentioning of Marks and Spencer is considered by Libyans as an insult to their national feelings and an attack on their national feelings the source clarified.”

The US Embassy warned Washington back in 2008 that attacks on the British retailer by Libyan officials “at the highest levels” risked causing irretrievable damage to bilateral ties with the UK.

The British Guardian quoted the memos, describing:

“The ongoing drama surrounding efforts by the UK government and investors to keep open the Marks & Spencer retail store in Tripoli, and a campaign by some Libyan government officials to close it.”

Not long after the store was launched, it was subjected to what the cable described as “persistent anti-Semitic rhetoric” by the Libyan government.

The store was closed temporarily by Libyan authorities at least twice, and employees were repeatedly taken in for questioning and put under “close scrutiny” by security officials who, the ambassador warned, were used as a “strongarm adjunct in this political play”.

Semi-Life Sentence Handed Down to Yeshiva Students

Kadima condemned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the results of a vote on Sunday, in which the cabinet approved a plan to extend the government stipend received by Haredi Yeshiva students for five years, at least. Tzipi Livni complained Netanyahu “sold the Israeli public.” (which arguably, however, is among the prime minister’s tasks). She was referring to the prime minister’s attempt to popularize IDF service among the ultra-orthodox. Which, again, would not be the end of the world.

Fourteen ministers, including ministers from “Yisrael Beiteinu”, voted ‘yay’ on the plan. Among the eight who voted ‘nay’ were Avodah. Shas abstained.

YeshivaAccording to the plan, during the next four years, no changes will be made to the funds received by married yeshiva students who do not work and have at least three children. During the fifth year, however, the stipend for yeshiva students under the age of 29 who meet the criteria will be decreased by some 75%.

Filers of the original petition 10 years ago, the National Student Union, has accredited their movement to the “good results.”

Union head Itzik Shmuli said in a statement:

“We think these are good recommendations that will increase solidarity in our society and make it a more egalitarian one…At the same time, we expect them to be legislated in the Knesset to ensure their future implementation.”

The objective of cutting the Kollel stipend, and Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, has signed off on this, is to save money, help assimilate the Haredim into Israeli society and mainstream culture, increase IDF service among them, strengthen the work force and set an example for the nation.

One Syrias Issue

The Jerusalem Chronicle reported Saturday night that the British government is refusing to release documents with information concerning the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982. They claim the sensitive material could potentially harm diplomatic ties with Syria.

The three Israeli soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, went missing after clashes with Syrian and Palestinian troops near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub during the Lebanon War in June, 1982.
Baumel, Feldman, Katz

Ivor Lucas, the UK’s ambassador to Syria, submitted a report to London on the day of the clash, and may have even witnessed the soldiers’ capture by Syrian troops.

A legal team from Manchester is reportedly taking action over the silence from the UK government, acting on behalf of Zachary Baumel’s mother, Miriam. They are demanding the release of information from the British government.

The common response received by the British Foreign Office, after petitions for the release of information, according to Baumel, has been:

“We are conscious that the release of sensitive information would cause harm to our relationship with Syria.”

To which Baumel protested, according to the Jewish Chronicle:

“I just want the public to know this is a humanitarian matter…We keep getting information that these boys and my son were seen in Damascus and that there were witnesses, and anyone who saw something or who could help must help. I feel the possibilities are great that he is still alive, but certainly the families of those who were seen in Damascus are entitled to closure…I am calling on the British government to act in a humanitarian manner and let the families know by releasing this document, for us to go further in finding our children. If you have children, if one of your children would be lost, how would you feel?”

Meanwhile, Syria is very much a point of suspicion for Israeli and Western intelligence lately.

According to the Jerusalem Post:

“A compound in western Syria with buildings and hundreds of missile-shaped items has been identified as functionally related to a nuclear reactor Israel destroyed northeast of Damascus in 2007…Satellite footage of the site in Masyaf was obtained by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security and shows a compound built in a ravine and surrounded by what appears to be a line of trenches.”

The facility could also possibly be a Hezbollah stronghold. A WikiLeaks cable reported increased Syrian support for Hezbollah, including domestic facilities and the donation of longer-range rockets and guided missiles that “could change the military balance and produce a scenario significantly more destructive” than the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

A U.S. Defense Department official told the New York Times Hezbollah has 50,000 missiles and rockets, including 40-50 missiles able to reach Tel Aviv, and 10 Scud missiles.

An Unusual Sign From Graves of Tzaddikim

Graves of Tzaddikim

More Regarding Nixon’s anti-Semitism

Last week, White House documents were released from the Richard Nixon presidential library, bearing unknown details about his aversion towards Jews and his concern about exposing more details on John F. Kennedy’s policy on Vietnam and Cuba.

Richard NixonAccording to the documents, president Nixon ordered his aides to keep Jewish Americans excluded from all Israel policy-making.

Formerly classified notes taken by then-chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman, from a meeting with the president in July 1971 read:

“No Jew can handle the Israeli thing…” Later in the one-page excerpt, Mr. Haldeman wrote, “Forget the Jews — they’re against the administration”.

That proviso was explicitly referring to then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger, and included plans to keep him out of the loop: “get K. out of the play — Haig handle it,” says one note, referring to then-aide Alexander Haig.

Apparently – unbeknownst to him – despite being excluded by the president from matters regarding Israel policy on account of his ethnicity, Kissinger has defended Nixon against charges of Antisemitism.

These documents are just now seeing the light of day, yet as the Jewish world may recall, on October 5, 1999, 445 hours of tapes recorded by Richard Nixon were released in which he repeatedly made antisemitic remarks. Nixon had said Washington “is full of Jews” and “most Jews are disloyal“.

Can you imagine catching wind of Barack Obama slandering the ethnicity of former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel?

Four Kinds of Jews

There are four kinds of Jews.

  • There is the non-believer, who has a nasty nihilistic outlook.
  • There is the non-believer who still seeks positivity in the world.
  • There is the believer who employs a rational, utilitarian and liberal mindset.
  • And there is the believer who lives in an anachronistic, ridiculous, fundamentalist haze of long-debunked dogma.
  • The Iraqi born, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ascribes the recent disaster on the Carmel which claimed one-third of the National Park’s ecological splendor, and 43 lives, to desecration of Shabbat.

    “Fires only happen in a place where Shabbos is desecrated”

    He said, quoting from the Talmud.

    “Homes were ruined…entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providence…We must repent, keep Shabbos appropriately. When the People of Israel repent, God safeguards them with a wall of fire.”

    Rabbi Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hevron and Kiryat Arba said the fire was Divine punishment for giving away parts of the land of Israel to terrorists.

    Only God knows what God thinks but here is what I can tell you:

    For years, Israeli firefighters have complained of undersized crews, outdated equipment and minimal supplies. Israel only has 1,400 firefighters, far below the worldwide average. Israel does not have a single firefighting plane; and emergency crews actually ran out of flame retardants on the first day of the disaster.

    The state’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, is responsible for Israel’s firefighting forces.

    He refuses, though, to assume blame for the disaster which took 83 hours, at least, to extinguish and demanded assistance from several nations, including Palestinians. Yishai, amid the blaze, accused Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and treasury officials of turning down his requests to increase the firefighting budget.
    Meanwhile, negligence, not intentional arson, seems to be the cause of the fire.

    A 14-year-old resident of the Druze village, Usfiya, is suspected of igniting the inferno by throwing away a charcoal from a water pipe. Authorities are declining to confirm that an additional 13-year-old resident of the town has been questioned in recent hours.

    Stranger Than Fiction: Stronger Than Hate Speech

    It is not important how I vote. I feel that all political parties in Israel have positive and negative aspects of their platforms, from which one can draw from to shape their own political agendas and ideologies. My own political outlooks, which I shall stray from arrogantly disclosing, are a healthy amalgamation of what ideas are available.

    Be they Arab astronauts, Zionist settlers, Peaceniks, Tamini, Ethiopian or Tibetan Messianic Jews from China, the members of a democracy such as the State of Israel, should keep an open mind to all of the views and opinions flowing freely through the Knesset and the media. This is how one becomes educated in an ever-shrinking pluralist community.

    So without stating my own personal political convictions, I propose to my open-minded, intelligent and gracious readers the following question:
    Is it just me, or has Shas, in the last year, gone absolutely mad? Really. It is embarrassing.

    Rabbi Ovadia YosefThe party’s platform is as follows:

  • Israel is the Jewish people’s state and Jewish identity must be preserved when it comes to decision-making, while curbing moves that see “a country of all its citizens” emerging.
  • Shas does not call for a state based on religious law, rather, “a state with a Jewish soul” where Jewish character is preserved within state laws.
  • Every diplomatic question on the agenda has Halachic answers. These are to be determined by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
  • Shas pledges to set objectives for minimizing unemployment and rewarding employers; assisting women and sectors that need support; and forming a socioeconomic convention in order to create a common denominator for all market forces.
  • Shas will work to integrate Jewish tradition into the education system.
  • Get Real:

    When Carlo Strenger of Haaretz and Tel Aviv University, earlier this year, mentioned in one of his columns, Israel’s systematic oppression of Sephardic Jewry b’Eretz, he was kidding. He was testing the nation’s public’s intelligence and, and, and sanity! Right Dr. Strenger? Because if he wasn’t he was fueling a dangerous fire: the very same fundamentalist bullshit which is poisoning the Shomrei Torah Sephardim (Sephardi Torah Guardians), also known as Shas political party.

    Earlier this year, the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, said:

    “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel…”

    Which may or may not be true – but it is not the kind of hate-speech one spits in such a widely public forum, especially while the country is struggling to make itself understood among the “Goyim.”

    According to the Shas spiritual leader:

    “In Israel, death has no dominion over them… With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat. That is why gentiles were created.”

    As if he were reading right from the lying pages of Mein Kampf and affirming it all, right there. The Torah never included such hate speech.

    This is after insulting the religious Ashkenazi population by publicly forbidding Sephardic Jews from hearing the Megillah read by an Ashkenazi during Purim.

    Rabbi Ovadia, isn’t it time we forget what sets us apart culturally, instead of what binds us?

    Furthermore, Yosef embarrassed the state last Rosh HaShannah when he issued the following statement, blemishing the Holiness of the day:

    “Our enemies and haters may come to an end, Abu Mazen and all these villains – may the Holy One, Blessed Be He, afflict them with the plague… these evil enemies of Israel… “

    No, no, no! We may not trust Abu Mazen, not always, but don’t say THAT! That’s stating the obvious! Anyway, doesn’t the Blessed Rabbi intend these wishes for the Hamas regime, rather than the more moderate Palestinians? Furthermore, I happen to know some Palestinians, whom I don’t want to perish!

    This hate-speech is just the tip of the iceberg. Supporting party leader, Eli Yishai’s movement to expel the children of foreign workers, is just another example of what makes the “Shas” party a mixed bag of nuts.

    Won’t somebody change this Jew’s diapers before the stench begins to ruin the country’s spiritual reputation!

    Police Commander Ahuva Tomer Is 42nd Victim of Carmel Fires

    Today Commander Ahuva Tomer, Police Chief of the Haifa station (Israel’s largest police station) passed away from her injuries. She was one of the first to respond to distress calls on the road to Beit Oren in the beginning of the Mt. Carmel Fires. She was buried today at 3:00 PM in the Military Cemetery in Haifa. Ahuva was 52 and was the highest ranking female Police officer in the service. She was destined for great things, a leader for women in the armed forces and was loved and admired by her peers. She exemplified the bravery and dedication of a true police officer until her last minutes.

    During the first hours of the Carmel Fires a TV crew on the scene recognized her and she briefly stopped to let them ask her a question. She was driving with her Operations Commander of her station, who was killed as well, and she just sped off into the flames. That was the last time she was seen unharmed. The bus as well as the police cruiser were burnt to ashes when the fire engulfed the road they were on. Fire fighters managed to get her out of her cruiser and for the past 3 days she managed to battle the burns to 80% of her body, until her condition deteriorated suddenly this morning. She is the 42nd victim of this disaster.

    Eli Yishai still thinks he holds no responsibility for this. He feels the media is “lynching” him unfairly.

    Yishai vs. HaRachmana

    For the purpose of this blog post we will pretend that bending over backwards to undo and defend Israel’s blemished national image, is not a waste of energy – Jews in large numbers have been unpopular since the beginning of time; there’s really nothing we can do to help that. But if there is any influential member of Israel’s government who is ruining her reputation, it is none other than Shas party-leader and Interior Minister, Eli Yishai.

    Eli Yishai deportation protestSadly, he who leads the most powerful, religious political faction in the State of Israel is an unapologetic racist. Yishai, for the last year or so was at the helm of the movement to expel the children of foreign workers. He claims the amount of non-Jewish families, as a result of the foreign workers is detracting from the ‘Jewishness’ of the country. Adon Yishai forgot that a genuine concern for humanity and love for the people of all nations is the responsibility of Israel.

    According to a government decision, last August, all children must be registered in the Israeli school system; they must speak Hebrew; they must been either born in Israel, or entered before their 13th birthday; they had to have lived in Israel for at least five consecutive years and the children’s parents must have entered Israel under a legal permit – or else, deportation.

    Former prime minister, Ehud Olmert’s wife, Aliza, was active in the battle to have the children remain, repeatedly petitioning the government to show them compassion. Also in August, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, wrote this letter to Yishai on behalf of 400 children facing deportation:

    “Dear Eli, I turn to you as a mother of two young sons and a psychologist in the public service…From the depth of my heart, I ask of you to exercise your authority… and allow most of the 400 children to stay in Israel…Israel must find a solution for these children. I would like to believe that my pleas on this matter helped the prime minister’s position that 800 out of 1,200 children in question were allowed to stay. I am certain that in this case too, you can find a creative solution for the children of the foreign workers [through] the government’s decision and the power you hold as interior minister, in a way which will not harm Israel’s national interests as a Jewish state and its policy on immigration.”

    Eli Yishai Directly Responsible For National Disaster in Israel – Must Go!


    We will continue to report on Eli Yishai until he will either resign or be dismissed from his office as Minister of Interior. These are some of the quotes from online publications about his responsibility for the biggest fire in Israel. Instead of worrying about deporting immigrant worker children from Israel, Yishai should have worried about the time bomb that was the responsibility of his office.

    If he could bring the government to its knees for the Orthodox students and the obscene budgets given to the Yeshiva students, Yishai should have been worried about the lives and well being of everyone in Israel. He failed and is now trying to roll the responsibility on to the Ministry of Finance.

    He now called for an investigation as a way of weaseling out of his negligence and it will not work. By calling for an “immediate investigation” he believes that the best defense is an offense and that will not do.

    Eli Yishai will go home!

    “Eli Yishai is the Interior Minister. Yesterday, when PM Netanyahu did the right thing and showed up at the emergency command center in Haifa, Yishai was nowhere to be found. Earlier, he tried to spin the story, blaming the finance ministry for the budget cuts.
    I don’t remember Yishai mentioning this issue before. The Ministry of Interior’s main political project last year was a failed effort to have 1,200 foreign workers’ children deported out of Israel, as part of a larger demographic battle against all non-Jews in Israel. He was also very vocal in his insistence on continuing construction in East Jerusalem. Apart from his attempts to sabotage the peace process and his xenophobic initiatives, Yishay didn’t do much.”

    From 972Mag

    “Yet this failure has an address. This person disappeared from the public eye Thursday, and this was no coincidence. He is intimately familiar with the firefighting force’s grim state. His name is Eli Yishai and he is the interior minister, who holds the ministerial responsibility for the failure. Had Yishai shown the same kind of care for Shas’ schools and its yeshiva students, Rabbi Ovadia would have fired him a while ago.

    Some six months ago, Minister Yishai received the state comptroller’s draft report on the nation’s firefighting services. The report will be published within days. If Yishai remains in his post after this report’s publications, the notion of ministerial responsibility would lose its meaning.”

    From Ynet

    Why Is Shimon Romach Protecting Eli Yishai?

    Shimon RomachEli Yishai has been serving for 3 consecutive terms. He is the person who is directly responsible for the fire in the Carmel and he was in a position to do something to prevent this. Today when a channel 10 reporter confronted the inapt minister as to the blatant disregard to the state of the fire prevention capabilities in Israel, he stated that 100 Million Shekel were appropriated to the Fire Department but it will take several months before they get dispersed (accountants and bureaucracy). But then guess who jumped in to protect the minister? Shimon Romach, the Chief of Fire and Rescue in Israel. He was quick to jump in and say that Eli Yishai was doing everything he could to provide for the Firefighters. Apparently he feels that everything that could be done was done by the good minister.

    From 500 Million Shekel that was needed for the firefighters the government appropriated 100 Million shekel. Not saying that the government was doing the right thing here BUT if you are the minister in charge of this critical functionality you don’t let go. You keep at it. You fight for this to happen the same way that Eli Yishai fights for the Yeshiva students and the monies that are appropriated for the Orthodox.

    What Shimon doesn’t understand is that where there is a will there is a way, something that Eli Yishai can teach him a little about after 12 years as a minister in the Israeli government.

    In Israel there are 7,000 citizens for every firefighter, where the standard in Europe is 1,000 citizens per firefighter.
    There are 420 firetrucks out of which a third are usually out of commission. The tallest ladder in Israel reached 42 meters and there is ONE of those in Israel. In other countries the standard tall ladder is 105 Meters. There are 1,200 firefighters in Israel and there are supposed to be 2,500 at the minimum. The office in charge of all this is the Ministry of the Interior and the head of that office is Eli Yishai.

    This is a recap of the Carmel fire so far..

    Carmel Fire Still Rages On – Day 2

    Just an update at the end of day two. This is a channel 10 news update from the scene 6:30 PM. The planes that were working all day from Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria didn’t do much to help apparently. The reports are mixed and while the Fire Chief is reporting progress and that things are looking better look at the screen and see that things are not quite under control. In fact earlier tonight two 35 year old, Daliyat El-Carmel residents were arrested for arson. There have been 6-7 reports of arson today and it seems like this is a new form of terror in Israel.

    The Ex Chief Police for the North was interviewed and did not hold back on the incompetence and direct responsibility of Eli Yishai in all this. But we knew that already. Shabbat Shalom Eli.

    The Geographic Department of Haifa university had a stationary camera on the carmel and the following video broadcast on channel 10 shows the first 24 hours of the fire in fast forward. Notice the skies as the fires begin.
    The video loops.

    Carmel Fire Updates – FIRE !!!!!

    Information, help and donations to the Carmel Fire victimsHERE

    **See updates below.

    Eli Yishai is the Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. The National Fire Department services are directly under his responsibility. He is the head of the Shas party and is an important part of the coalition that keeps Netanyahu’s party in government. He is the directly responsible guilty party that should be held responsible. He should be discharged from his position in government. He will not be. Our government is weak and this is the corrupt political structure we have. In a few months another commission will make suggestions and some low level dismissals will take place.

    The only thing Eli Yishai will always worry about is money for the Orthodox party he represents (Shas) and, the all important fact the migrants should not be allowed to settle in Israel and are the cause of disease. This is what he considers the priorities of his office!

    In my opinion Eli Yishai is a disease for Israel. He represents the uneducated, ignorent (Iran like), corrupt cancer that is eating up Israel and turning it into a fundamental, religious, backward country. Considering this is the only Jewish state we have, maybe we should not let this happen. As long as people like Eli Yishai can be allowed to govern and hold positions in the highest levels of government disasters like this will continue to happen.

    Over 40 were killed in the last few hours in a fire that is raging on the carmel mountain and several other points in the North of Israel. There 135 firefighters – 135! that are fighting this mega fire and so far there is no signs of slowing down.

    One of the main disasters of this event is the death of 40 officer trainees that were called into the scene to help the firefighters and were burnt alive in the bus that was taking them to the scene.
    An ongoing investigation is showing that this maybe an arson and that the fire started in 3 different locations at the same time.

    The recent weeks have been dry and there were no rainy days at all, making this one of the driest spells in Israel’s history. The North of Israel has been experiencing one of the worst “winters” in history with a record number of fires occurring in the past few weeks. The warning signs were there all the time and firefighters were warning that resources were low. Tonight when the “mother of all fires” has hit, it finds Israel unprepared.

    Reinforcements are being called in from France, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria and there is a hope that planes with fire extinguishing equipment will be arriving later tonight.

    View Larger Map


    UPDATE 8:02 PM 2/10/10

    A high ranking police officer Chief Deputy for Haifa Police (Ahuva Tomer) was interviewed earlier tonight, a few hours later she was caught in the flames and is now in critical condition in hospital with 80% burns to her body. Doctors are fighting for her life.

    We are getting reports of several firefighters who are currently missing and some injured are being evacuated to the local Haifa hospitals. The current list of evacuated locations are:

    Beit Oren
    Ein Hod
    Haifa University
    Denia (Haifa)
    Tirat HaCarmel

    UPDATE 11:02 PM 2/10/10
    4 prisoners escaped tonight taking advantage of the evacuation of the local prisons in the area in a police vehicle (feel like the apocalypse yet?). They apparently took advantage of the evacuation of the Damun prison. The Prison Authority is now looking at the case and are checking the details. Damun Prison holds illegal aliens and petty crime offenders.

    Interviews are showing the evacuees from local neighborhoods in the Carmel being moved to local hotels and hostels in the area. The forecast so far is that the fire will not end quickly and that the fire will continue to rage unhampered until the beginning of next week.

    Another “interesting” announcement – Turkey our close “friend” has offered help. We should really check that they are not going to use this excuse as a way of landing equipment in Gaza as a way to “help”…

    Barak has managed to get a commitment from the French government of approx. 40 tons of fire extinguishing materials.

    Why are we asking for help from Azerbaijan?
    Why doesn’t Israel “have the necessary tools to extensguish the fire” (Benjamin Netanyahu)?
    How is a country like Israel, a supposedly advanced country, not have the capability to protect its citizens from a fire this size?
    Is anyone going to be held responsible for this fuck up?
    Will it be the right person (see above)?

    UPDATE 8:02 AM 3/10/10
    Planes from Bulgaria and Greece have landed in Ramat David airfield and with them a Bulgarian plane with 100 firefighters. There are so far 15,000 evacuees in the Carmel area. Kibbutz Beit Oren was 20% burnt down it was also the location of the bus that was burnt earlier. Additional towns that were evacuated include Osafia, Nir Etzion, and Tirat Hacarmel.

    Ecologically this is the worst disaster ever in Israel. The Carmel woods were considered the most beautiful National Reserve in Israel and they are completely gone – 7.7 Square Miles of forest are gone and the fire is still raging.

    The winds in the morning are intense and the fire is continuing to rage. Over night the fire reached highway 4 and it is now closed from Faradis Interchange in the North. So far there are 41 killed. Two Police officers and 2 firefighters are missing.

    Tirat Hacarmel is being evacuated now and over the early hours of the morning Denia (a lucrative neighborhood) was evacuated as well.

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