THE COHEN HOME burned down in the Nataf wildfires two weeks ago..
(photo credit: ELIYAHU KAMISHER)
Yuval Cohen, 33, shared his parents’ home in the village of Nataf with six brothers and sisters.
“We are like one big group,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Nearly two weeks after the house, west of Jerusalem and overlooking Route 1, was engulfed by flames, Cohen said the reality is sinking in.
“All the brothers, we were in special units in the army, so in the first few days we were reacting to the situation.
We all brought friends from the army,” he said. “But now that things are more settled, the mental things come and the situation penetrates, and everyone is dealing with it using their own tools.”
The home was built by Cohen’s parents 30 years ago.
“Our parents, who are in their 60s, never thought they would build another house at that age,” he said.
Now, however, like many others around the country, the family is dealing with the struggle of bureaucracy and insurance companies. It is still unclear how much compensation they will receive, and Yuval Cohen said dealing with “low appraisals” from insurance-company engineers has not been enjoyable.
“Now the bargaining begins,” he said, adding: “We are not in our best situation. We start at a weak point, mentally and physically.”
“Practically, what is happening is there are two insurances: the government insurance and the private one,” Cohen said. “They haven’t made any drastic decision. Luckily, we have some money in our account.”
The Cohen family is also unsure whether it will receive government compensation for a nationally motivated arson attack or regular fire compensation.
The Fire Authority has said the likely cause of the fire that destroyed their home was negligence from people making coffee. Another fire, which burned in Nataf two days later, is being investigated as a possible arson.
Cohen said the process has been especially taxing for his father, Ya’acov.
“He discovered that [the insurance companies] are not here for the citizens,” he said. “They are here for their own interests. He felt kind of offended by it.”