a different side of Israel

Tag: Haifa

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.

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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.

A Pipe Between Us

Druze protesters from the Mount Carmel area clashed with the police near Yokneam on Tuesday. The demonstrators were against the laying of a natural gas pipeline on lands once belonging to them. Highway 70 in the direction of Yokneam from the north was also blocked.

“A quiet procession was agreed upon, but they began to disrupt the works, and went down to protest on the road”

Complained Northern District Chief Superintendent Yehuda Maman.

Several officers were injured and two Druze protesters were detained. Immediately, the protests were of no avail, as hundreds of officers continued to oversee the project and secured the surrounding roads.

The work was recommenced three months ago – about two years after work was brought to a halt following these very disagreements of ownership. The Israel Lands Administration made the decision to restart the work and also determined the level of compensation for the Druze inhabitants.

Fahmi Halabi, chairman of the Druze land association said:

“We are against violence…We will try to do everything to prevent this from becoming violent, but we don’t have the power to control everything, and we ask the government to reach an agreement with us soon.”

Intended to supply natural gas to the power station in Haifa and many factories in the area, the pipeline will pass between Dor Beach and Haifa Bay. So far, the pipeline has been laid between Dor Beach and Yokneam, and between Ha’emaqim Junction and Haifa. The work on the 11.5 km (7 miles) that is still remaining is expected to be completed within a matter of months.

Cancer Breathalizer Comes out of Technion at Haifa

Wow. These Israeli inventions just keep coming, don’t they? We’ve heard of cancer sniffing dogs, so why not program some artificial intelligence to do the same thing? Revealed this week in Nature Nanotechnology journal, the “cancer breathalyzer” can detect lung cancer with 86 percent accuracy. It can even detect cancers that are not even large enough to show up on X-rays or CT scans. Detecting cancer that early could really save lives. The wonders of affordable technology!

HossamHow does it work? It tests for chemicals that are produced in cancer cells. They are ethylbenzene, decane, heptanol, and trimethylbenzne.

From what I remember from my organic chemistry days, these are all very flammable, but no, the detection does not involve attempting to set a patient’s breath on fire. There isn’t enough of it for that. Decane is a very long chain of hydrocarbons (ten carbons long actually) found in jet fuel, and heptanol is a 7-carbon chain with a hydroxide group at the end, making it an alcohol. Ha, college. The alcohol we drink, ethanol, is a 2-carbon alcohol. Don’t drink heptanol. It won’t make you any more drunk, but it will likely cause you, in drinkable amounts that is, to become dead.

The chemicals are detected using gold nanoparticles and an electric circuit. If the breath contains heptanol etc, the circuit goes off.

The research team was led by Hossam Haick, an Israeli Arab, pictured here, also the inventor of the electric nose.

Haick and his team have patented their device, but will continue to work to perfect it. The device must pass further clinical trials before being put to use. Good job Hossam!

The Propaganda War

The Kfar Qana bombing incident in Lebanon, followed by tragedies such as missile attacks in Akko, Haifa, and now, pristine Kfar Giladi, makes one wonder who really is winning the media propaganda war? For example, the two major American news networks that can be easily picked up in this part of the word, seem have very different ways of reporting the often tragic events, with a definite slant in favor of either one side or the other. Military censorship, once very easy to control by the Israeli military, is now less possible, due to the high tech world we presently live in. Use of the internet, cellular phones, Ipods, and many other means of on the spot communication, also allow media reporters to give accurate ‘as they happen’ details, without having to first write them down and then run to the nearest private or public telephone to frantically call the story in, like they had to do as recently as the Vietnam War.

Rockets in HaifaHat Tip: Dor from Haifa
Playing on already frayed and often panic stricken emotions, ‘breaking news’ events are often blown completely out of proportion, including video photo clips of dead and terribly wounded people being pulled out of destroyed buildings and carried off to receive medical attention (if still alive). The Qana incident, for example, was one of the most covered and dramatic incidents of the current conflict so far. While tragic enough on its own, still ongoing investigations, including more accurate accounts by on-the-scene Red Cross emergency personnel, now confirm that 28 people were killed in the alleged attack by Israeli aircraft, and not 57 as was so graphically reported by world media news mongers. Even the actual facts were muddied a bit, especially the 7 hour ‘time lapse’ between the aerial attack by Israeli aircraft and the time when the building housing the unfortunate victims actually collapsed, resulting in their deaths.

Photos, video shots, and even less perfect images taken by private witnesses using new cell phones with miniature video cameras installed often try to over-dramatize events in order to get the viewers’ undivided attention. Though acting under the guise of free speech and freedom of the press, are these current news propaganda methods really any different than those described in British author George Orwell’s famous novel: 1984? Orwell’s now historic novel, from which several movie versions have been made, describes a world in which huge authoritarian and oligopoly run governments have divided a post nuclear war world into three mega dictatorships: Oceana, Eurasia, and East Asia. Using dramatic film clips, television, and a political language called ‘double-speak’ peoples’ minds and actions are completely controlled by the government, using such slogans as: War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, and Slavery is Freedom.

OK, good people, don’t get me wrong. We who live in democratic societies, including Israel, do not live under such governments; and are free to choose which news ‘versions’ of events we want to hear. And, if things get too rough, we are also free to turn off our “tel-screens” and not see these horrible events at all (something completely forbidden in the ultra-authoritarian ruled society portrayed by Orwell). Many people in other countries, including ones very near to Israel, do not have such freedoms, however; and often have to watch government censored and controlled versions, including listening to ‘double speech’ type of rhetoric. Islamic republics like Iran, and Kingdoms like Saudi Arabia, probably fall into this Orwellian category, with people having to take great risks to see other ‘versions’ of current events.

Government censorship may be beneficial however, when issues of national security are at stake. To explain on television how a commando operation, or similar operation was carried out, or graphically describe damage from a bombing or missile attack in a certain location, can play in to an enemy’s hands giving them better details in order to be more accurate in their next planned attack; which appears to occur much too often. In this case, we’re not talking about Orwellian double-speak, but good common sense; especially in matters of life and death.

Sounds of War in Haifa

This is what the siren sounds like and for some of you this brings back memories…

War Updates

Haifa was bombed today with three salvos of Katyusha missiles. Some Missiles landed on buildings and some landed near the industrial zone and the distillation factories.

One missile landed on an apartment building, which has collapsed. Although the apartments were mostly empty since the residents were in the shelters, four people were lightly injured and evacuated to the hospitals. There was some concern that people may have been trapped beneath the rubble. Fire forces put out the fire that has burst in the place while in the meantime searched for possible trapped people using dogs.

Zefat was also bombed again today, and a building was hit with a direct hit. Fortunately the building was already evacuated for the fear of an attack. The neighbors reported of panic and fear. The mayor of Zefat, Ishai Maimon, has been receiving complaints from citizens that said that the town is not well equipped with shelters. Residents who do not have relatives to flee to in the south are saying they’re feeling neglected.

At noon a few Katyusha missiles landed in Carmiel. One of the missiles hit a duplex house and penetrated the house of one family. Once again the family was fortune enough to leave their houses prior to the attack.
Many families in the central area and south of the country have opened their houses for people from the north. Hundred of people have left their houses, mainly families with small children, and are being hosted in the houses of Jewish families all over the country.

In the meantime Israel is still heavily bombing southern Lebanon, infrastructures and Hezbollah facilities. This morning the Lebanese media has reported that an Israeli aircraft has being shot down above Lebanon, however the IDF spokesman denied it.

At noon the Minister of Security, Amir Peretz, had a small press- conference and announced that Israel will not stop the attack until its goals have been achieved. He mentioned the vast support Israel is accepting from the international community. He also said that has far as the information he has, there was no plain crash in Lebanon.

A third front may have been started this morning, when Osher Damri, a warrior in the platoon Harub, was killed in an attack during an operation in Nablus. This operation comes as many Palestinian organizations are trying to send suicide bombers into Israel, to help Hezbollah.

The heat is apparently getting to the east, as Iran today offered a cease-fire in exchange to the release of Palestinian prisoners and the Israeli soldiers.

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