שריפה בחיפה

It’s the end of a long summer (no real Autumn in Israel) and the country’s land is parched, desperately awaiting winter’s rain. Strong winds from the east are rattling our doors and windows.

Six years ago it was the massive Carmel fire. Like then, it started almost innocently. This time, with a small fire next to Neve Shalom and Kibbutz Harel across the road from my moshav. And then, Haifa – adjacent to the Carmel Forest – déjà vu? No, because the events took a nasty turn. Eight hot spots around one city. Even with the strong winds, something doesn’t make sense. In a flash, it became a national domino effect with fires igniting in Misgav, Modiin, Lachish, Halamish, Nataf and more. Nataf, is about 20 kilometers from my home and the entire Shabbat I watched as a pair of bright yellow planes from Greece flew back and forth between this tiny town nestled in the Judean Hills and the Mediterranean Sea where they refilled their water supply.

We know that in some cases the fire was caused by arson. In others not. That’s not déjà vu.

As this depressing chain of events unraveled, there is one thing we can count on to lift our spirits: The immediate response of our friends and family in our P2G communities. From South Africa to North America, we immediately began getting emails, and our phones chimed from a flurry of whatsapp “conversations” and telephone calls with the sounds of Thanksgiving on the other end of the line. I can only imagine: “Hold on with the cranberry sauce, I have to make a call to Israel to see if everyone is okay”. Official letters were sent to the mayors expressing their concern and offering help.

We have a number of partnerships which over the years have conducted people-to-people Emergency Response Volunteers programs. Among them, firefighters from the South East Consortium in partnership with Hadera-Eiron and the Central Area Consortium in partnership with the Western Galilee, have come to Israel to learn about our unique emergency expertise and methodology. And now, some of the same federations are helping to send American firefighters to join Israel’s Emergency Volunteer Project. Already, Jay Cohen a firefighter from Nashville and a member of the P2G 2013 delegation will be landing in Israel this afternoon.

A firefighter getting on a plane to help is not trivial. No email, telephone call or letter is trivial.

Yes, the Israeli people are amazingly resilient. Remember though, resiliency is the sum total of many things. One of them is the moral support that you, our partners, provide.

As always, we thank you for your caring, support and sincere partnership.

Andrea Arbel
Director 
Partnership Unit
The Jewish Agency for Israel

 

 

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29 Nov 2016 / 28 Heshvan 5777 0