The fires started Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Since then, over 110 different fires were identified in what is considered to be the worst fires in Israel’s history.
In Haifa alone, over 1000 homes were destroyed and over 60,000 people were displaced.
Five things you need to know about the fires in Israel:
1. There is no rain
Israel is known to be a dry country, and this time period often is particularly devoid of rain. No rain or moisture in the air makes for prime fire-spreading conditions. That is how the fire could spread so rapidly and so far.
2. Arson and Negligence caused the fire
A lot of information is still coming out and being sifted through as the days go on. It looks as though around 30-40 of the 90 fires investigated may have been caused by arsonists.
3. Help from our neighbors
Jordan, Greece, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, and the US have all sent fire-fighting support to put out the fires and prevent them from spreading further across the region.
4. There is a great deal of red tape
The Israeli government will help provide for the families that lost their homes. However, there is a great deal of bureaucracy surrounding the assistance. Our help will help provide immediate relief while those affected.
5. Keren B’Kavod has already set up initiatives.
Haifa, the largest city affected, has been the home to grassroots fundraising and collections from the Leo Baeck Educational Center and Congregation Or Hadash. Our help will go to these programs that continue to provide food, shelter, and funds for rebuilding and are part of the larger Reform movement effort to help and support those affected by the fires.