Carmel Firefighters 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Although MKs were still busy on Monday assigning – and deflecting – blame for
the Carmel fire, the first Knesset hearing held on the blaze focused not on the
cause of the fire, but on the solutions to the problems that emerged as a
The Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee met to
discuss how to coordinate donations and fund-raising for the people, communities
and parks damaged in the four-day conflagration.
Committee chairman MK
Danny Danon (Likud) said that on Sunday, a number of Diaspora organizations had
requested that the Knesset committee aid in organizing and centralizing the
mobilization of Jewish communities to help restore the Carmel.
wait weeks or months to restore this unique natural gem,” Danon
“There has been great damage done to many families, to
infrastructures and to the forests themselves, and we must act quickly and with
the cooperation of world Jewish communities to provide aid.”
A number of
the world’s largest Jewish organizations participated in the hearing, during
which they discussed both the damage incurred by the fires as well as their
fundraising efforts to help restore the Carmel region.
Fund chairman Efi Stenzler described the current situation as “a moment of truth
for the Jewish world, the non-Jewish world and residents of Israel. The JNF’s
forests took a very serious blow – nearly 50,000 dunams of forests were burned
and their rehabilitation will continue for years to come.”
called upon people both in Israel and abroad to donate funds to restore the
firedamaged areas, emphasizing that “together we can bring the green back to the
The JNF’s American branch, Stenzler reported, donated $1 million
on Sunday to aid immediate restoration efforts.
The American Jewish
Committee reported that it has raised $100,000 in recent days to aid in the
Mudi Zandberg, chairman of the United Israel Appeal, said
his organization is “currently holding hearings and meetings in preparation for
the restoration effort. We have started a collection of donations from Jews from
all over the world and there is great interest and readiness to
Zandberg said that on Sunday, a delegation from former Soviet
states arrived in Israel, and traveled directly to the Carmel forest to see the
situation for themselves. On Thursday, they will head to Russia for a
The World Zionist Organization reported that it has
directed resources toward providing rest and relaxation for the thousands of
residents who were evacuated from their homes. On Monday, the Jewish Agency for Israel took 1,300
children from the Carmel region to a “fun day” in Tel Aviv's Luna park for Hanukka activities and to allow their
parents to focus on getting their households back together.
Ministry reported that it is developing a longterm plan centered around having
international Jewish communities adopt Carmel communities damaged in the fire.
The partner communities would aid their adoptees in acquiring firefighting
equipment and fire stations, as well as partnering with specific families who
In a letter submitted to the committee, the Nature and
Parks Authority presented its initial assessment of the costs of the fire that
damaged approximately 45,000 dunams of the Carmel National Park.
NIS 1.6 million budget includes restoring the bird compound and fire equipment
at the Hai-Bar animal preserve, restoring fire roads and firefighting equipment,
and restoring campgrounds and picnic areas.
An estimated 100 homes were
completely destroyed in the blaze, while an additional 200 suffered damage. The
total estimated financial damage due to the fire is estimated at NIS 1 billion,
some of which will be supplied in the form of aid from the government, while the
rest will come from private sources. That cost does not, however, take into
consideration the improvement of Israel’s fire services, which has been
estimated to bear a hefty NIS 2b. price tag.