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.
â€œFires only happen in a place where Shabbos is desecrated”
He said, quoting from the Talmud.
“Homes were ruinedâ€¦entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providenceâ€¦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For years, Israeli firefighters have complained of undersized crews, outdated equipment and minimal supplies.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.
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.
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 donâ€™t remember Yishai mentioning this issue before. The Ministry of Interiorâ€™s main political project last year was a failed effort to have 1,200 foreign workersâ€™ 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 didnâ€™t do much.”
“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.”
Eli 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.
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.
Information, help and donations to the Carmel Fire victims – HERE
**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.
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:
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.