Israel on Fire

There have been wildfires raging through Israel for several days though thankfully they are now being described by Israeli firefighting authorities as being largely under control.

The fires began on Tuesday and saw tens of thousands of people forced to leave their homes. On Thursday 60,000 residents of Haifa were evacuated, though they have now been given the all clear to return home.

The Times of Israel reports that 32,000 acres of land have been destroyed mostly in the Judean Hills and the Kfir Nature Reserve adding that;

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of politicians have been quick to blame many of the fires on the work of terrorist arsonists, though security services — the police, Shin Bet and military — have been more cautious in ascribing nationalistic motives.

No one has been killed by the flames although there are reports of a large number of casualties mostly suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire fight saw a massive international effort established to help with Turkey, Greece, Russia and the USA all sending help mainly in the form of firefighting aircraft. The Palestinian Authority despatched four firefighting teams to help as well.

Naturally there was a battle on social media about the whole thing. The battlefield being on Twitter fought with the #israelonfire hashtag. Fortunately by the time I looked it up there were more informative and pro Israel Tweets than there were anything else.

Some notable Tweets include from Air B’nB;

And I found this image to be particularly emotive;

The hashtag #Israelburn is also running at the moment and the hate is there for all to see though I won’t gratify those tweeting it by putting any of the tweets up here.

The solid international cooperation Israel received and the speed with which firefighters were able to bring the many, many, blazes under control are things to be thankful for. There are hundreds of Israeli homes destroyed and likely thousands of victims here who will have to work hard to rebuild their lives. We can also be thankful for the fact that so far no one has died.

The government has announced a stipend of 2,500NIS (roughly £480) for citizens forced to abandon their homes.

Hopefully the worst is over