Burnt trees after the Carmel Fire 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Fifty Druse teenagers from northern Israel villages will gather from Tuesday
through Thursday to take part in a seminar on maintaining forest values and fire
Organized by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund and
B’nai B’rith International, the three-day seminar will be based at the Nes Harim
Field Center in the Judean Hills.
For rescuers, effects of Carmel Fire linger on
Fire Service commissioner: We built new organization
The first day, however, will begin in
the Carmel Forest, where the students will collect tree trimmings from wood that
burned in last year’s fire.
Over the next two days, in addition to
hearing lectures from local experts about forest maintenance and fire safety,
the group members will take part in an independent forest navigation exercise
and will also participate in a fire-extinguishing simulation in the Ben Shemen
“The whole idea of the seminar is to give them tools to make wise
use of parks and forests and to be role models for their friends and to be
active [facilitators] – kind of rangers,” Dr. Ben- Zion Bar-Lavie, director of
education and ecology at JNF-KKL, told The Jerusalem Post.
leaders who will address the youth during their seminar are local municipality
mayors, MK Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), former Knesset member for the National
Religious Party and World Zionist Organization board member Yigal Bibi, and head
of the Druse Zionist Council, Yussuf Nasser A-Din.
“We are working with
all communities, all sectors,” Bar-Lavie said. “This is part of a whole overall
program to empower young leadership.”
KKL-JNF plans to hold future such
seminars among Beduin, secular Israeli and ultra-Orthodox students – secular
Israeli teens already enjoyed a similar seminar during the Succot holiday, while
Beduin youth will participate in one during Passover break, according to
“This is the first time we have planned this kind of seminar
in the Druse community,” he said, noting that the seminar is particularly
prestigious, as the 50 selected students come from 11 Druse towns spread
throughout the North.
The “trigger” for the seminar, according to
Bar-Lavie, was last year’s Carmel fire that began near the Druse town of
Usifiya, but the program’s goal is to give the youth leaders skills necessary to
maintain the quality of forests. During the three days, the students will meet
with foresters, as well as hear lectures about the power of animal grazing in
By encouraging animals to munch on herbs growing between
tree roots, people can reduce fires by 50 percent, Bar-Lavie
“All the fuel of the fire starts from the bottom of the
forest,” he said.
Meanwhile, the students will also understand how to be
wise consumers of the forest’s natural resources, while participating in
barbecues and other recreational activities. Most importantly, however, the
youth will learn how to “take active responsibility and be leaders of their own
friends and communities,” Bar-Lavie added.