After the Carmel Fires – How can we help Israel?


It took four days to control the fire that raged in the Carmel Forest near the city of Haifa in Israel. The loss was immense and total. Huge plantations of forests and natural woodlands that had flowers and thousands of species of birds, mammals, and reptiles were destroyed by the fires. What I realized was that it would take many years going into decades before the landscape could be restored. Some of the trees were 50 to 100 years old and are going to take just as long to grow back. Approximately, 50,000 dunams of planted forests and natural woodlands spread across open and buildup spaces were destroyed, including somewhere around 5 million trees.

It was caused accidentally by a 14-year-old boy who went to the forest to smoke a water pipe. He threw some ember which caught fire on the ground. He panicked and ran away without telling anyone of what had happened. What followed was destruction of the worst kind where a small fire literally destroyed the whole forest. Around 12 fire trucks and hundreds of workers were actively involved in putting out the fire. Sadly, they could not prevent the destruction of bushes and trees that have now become extinct. It is believed that the grand mountain would not be restored to its full glory for a very long time.

The Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund, or KKL-JNF as it is commonly called, has taken the initiative to start a project of mammoth proportion. They have asked the world population to come and plant a tree at any of the centers established off the major highways. It is important that you and I take up on this offer and gain blessings by planting a tree in the Holy Land. Two planting centers are ready to help, one located at the Kennedy Memorial in the Aminadav Forest in the Jerusalem Hills while the other is near the Golani Junction in the Lavie Forest near Tiberias. Volunteers from the KKL-JNF are ever willing to plant a sponsored tree in case it is not possible to physically be present at either location.

Israel is in a state of emergency not seen even during wartime. Sadly, there is also helplessness about the whole situation. Nature has dealt a telling blow and Israel needs help from you and me. Several countries helped with fire-fighting chemicals when they were needed. Cyprus, Greece, Russia, France, Bulgaria and USA were among several other countries that sent firefighting planes. Jordan and Palestine firefighters were actually involved in fighting the fire.

I have decided to plant several trees and coordinate with the KKL-JNF, if there were any way I could help further. It may take time to overcome what happened, but it is possible. Trees need to be planted to maintain ecological balance. Donations can be sent to the KKL-JNF and several other organizations. Scientific knowledge would come in very useful to hasten the process of rehabilitation. Public safety is of primary importance. The fire has spread gases and particulates that are bound to affect the environments. Also, experts would be needed to find the environmental precursors that may have caused the fire.

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