By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
Jerusalem, Israel — November 25, 2016 … The Israel Fire and Rescue Service has asked the Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP) to immediately deploy at least 50 firefighters from the United States to assist in battling over 200 fires in Israel.
EVP is emphasizing that Islamic terrorists have set fire to several wooded areas of Israel and have created a critical need of both added manpower and equipment.
Twenty-two people have been arrested on suspicion of arson or incitement to arson.
The fires, which began on Tuesday, have raged throughout the country, blazing through parched forests, incinerating scores of homes and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee.
The activation request calls on firefighters to be on the ground in Israel within 30 hours.
That all preparations have been made, funding is in place and all that is need are experienced firefighters.
EVP states that if firefighters are able to deploy immediately to Israel, to contact Tony S., EVP Director of Fire Operations at 214-923-5567 or by email to FIRE@EVP.org.il with a cc to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send links or attachments.
Over 80,000 people have been evacuated from Israel’s third largest city Haifa.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning toured the site of the fire at Beit Meir, accompanied by Israel Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Jerusalem District Border Police commander Itzik Sabin, Mate Yehuda Area Fire and Rescue Service Commander Effie Peretz and Beit Shemesh Fire and Rescue Service Commander Reuven Yitzhak. The Prime Minister met with firefighters who briefed him on their work in taking control of the fires.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the firefighters: “The most important thing is to evacuate people, and also yourselves. Nobody needs to die here, nobody. This is before anything else. There are many other things but this takes precedence.”
Netanyahu spoke with Arik Abulof, an officer with the aerial firefighting squadron, who told the Prime Minister: “What you have done here, this squadron certainly constitutes a significant force in assisting the units on the ground. Without it, I figure that the forces, and I belong to them, would have had to spend many more hours, long days, in order to achieve control. The damage to property and life, the damage to life, would have been much worse. There is no doubt that these planes, they are doing the work in order to assist in blocking the flames and giving respite to the ground forces.”
“I am pleased that you are saying this,” said Netanyahu.
“There was a clear decision to do this during the Carmel fire, and afterwards we decided to establish the squadron even though it was not included in any report, not in the State Comptroller’s report on the fire, nothing. Two words were lacking there: Firefighting planes. One cannot fight fire without firefighters like you. It is impossible. This is heroism; you stand in the line of fire. But there are no forest fires and fires on the ground, nowhere in the world, in which they are dealt with effectively without firefighting planes. And I am proud of the fact that today we have a large and good squadron.”
Security analysts in Israel state that these fires are not related to any kind of land occupation.
“This is Jihad, Islamic holy war against Jews and Christians. Those terrorists who are creating the fires are being paid by Iran and other Islamic state terror nations. If they could burn down New York, Paris or London, they would.”