Jerusalem fire gallery_11.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A 50-year-old Jewish
man from Moshav Beit Zayit, 7 km. west of Jerusalem, was arrested on
Monday afternoon on suspicion of being responsible for the fire in that raged in the Jerusalem Forest the previous day.
Police believe the blaze began in the man’s courtyard, where he had piled trash
next to his house, and then was carried by the wind, jumping from place to place
before getting out of control.
Firefighters control Nahal Gilabon blaze in Golan Heights
New 3-D firefighting program predicts flame direction
Police and fire investigators initially
believed that the fire was the result of arson, as it started simultaneously in
four areas. “It seems that the fire jumped from place to place, which is why
they thought it was arson,” Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby
The fire, which burned more than 150 dunams (15 hectares) on Sunday
afternoon, was extinguished around midnight. After conducting patrols throughout
the night, firefighters announced there was “not even a coal glowing” in the
Jerusalem Forest early on Monday morning.
The most damage was around the
House of the Forest Ranch, an agriculture attraction and educational center
located in the heart of the forest. Firefighters discovered 20 natural gas
canisters, some of which had exploded from the heat of the fire. No firefighters
were injured by the exploding canisters.
“We had a lot of luck that there
weren’t any incidents,” Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Lt. Asaf
On Monday afternoon, a small secondary fire broke out near
the Tzippori Center in area that had been burned the day before, but it was
contained within an hour.
Five firefighters were treated for smoke
inhalation. Three workers from Yad Vashem, which has it own firefighting
equipment and trained professionals, also suffered from mild smoke inhalation
after battling the blaze near the western perimeter of the facility.
fire did not enter the campus, though hundreds of visitors to the Holocaust
museum were evacuated.
MK Yulia Shamolov Berkovich (Kadima), head of the
Knesset’s Jerusalem Lobby, called on Jerusalem youth to volunteer to
rehabilitate the areas of the Jerusalem Forest that were destroyed. She plans to
tour the forest on Tuesday, along with members of Youth for Jerusalem, to see
the damage first-hand and to begin work planting new trees.
belongs to us, and who if not the youth, who are the future generation, should
join this important project and donate their time to restore the damage,” said
Hila Zisberg, an activist with Youth for Jerusalem.
In a meeting with
firefighters on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commended
them for their quick action.
“We avoided a tragedy, the fire was
extinguished very quickly and with total cooperation,” he said. Netanyahu added
that the state was gathering resources to expand its firefighting
Earlier this summer, firefighters in the capital battled a
wave of arson in the bushfilled wadis surrounding ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods,
set by bored haredi boys who would start small fires and stick around to watch
the firefighters put them out, before lighting the same area on fire
The Jerusalem fire department is in the midst of meeting with the
leaders of various haredi sects, and the rabbis are treating the arson attacks
with “the utmost seriousness,” said Abras.
“We can really see the results
in the field, there was a decrease, a meaningful decrease, with everything
that’s related to the subject of haredim,” he said on Monday.