Israel news

Turkish aid for forest fire brings diplomatic thaw

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 9, 2010

The aid sent by the Turkish government to help fight the blaze on Mount Carmel offered an opportunity to improve the relations between the two countries.

In the wake of the fire, discussions took place this week over an Israeli apology for the Gaza flotilla incident and compensations to the families of nine Turkish citizens killed by Israeli naval commandos.

On Friday, Turkey sent two firefighting planes to take part in the international effort to end the fire on the Carmel at the request of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


'The real culprit is global warming'

By Nathan Jeffay, December 9, 2010

As many Israelis are blaming the poor state funding of firefighting infrastructure for the quick spread of the inferno, environmentalists are pointing their fingers at another culprit - the entire international community.

Gidon Bromberg, director of Friends of the Earth's Tel Aviv office, said: "The fire would never have spread with such speed had there been more rainfall making trees less dry. We're in our sixth consecutive year of drought and we had unheard of high temperatures in November."


British charities mobilise for Camel forest fund

By Robyn Rosen, December 9, 2010

Dozens of charities have launched appeals to fund recovery after the forest fires.

JNF UK, along with its sister organisations worldwide, is raising money to replant and replenish more than 12,000 acres of destroyed natural woodlands.

Samuel Hayek, JNF UK chairman, said: "What has happened in the Carmel region is an absolute tragedy for all involved. JNF mourns the loss of the life which has occurred and is greatly distressed by the extensive environmental and ecological damage caused by the fires.


Negligence caused Israel Carmel forest fire

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 9, 2010

While investigators have yet to pinpoint the definitive cause, one thing seems clear: the worst forest fire in Israel's history comes down to a moment of negligence.

The blaze raged for four days, consuming some 12,000 acres on the Carmel Mountain range, claiming 42 lives, severely damaging 250 homes, displacing 15,000 people and threatening Israel's third largest city.

It was finally put out by an unprecedented coalition of the woefully underfunded Israeli firefighters and planes, engines and firemen from 24 countries including Britain, the US, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority.


Netanyahu honours foreign help for Carmel fire crisis

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

Israel has honoured 250 foreign fire fighters and rescue workers from Britain and around the world who worked to control the devastating four-day-long forest fire in the Carmel mountains region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the volunteers honorary awards on behalf of the state of Israel at a ceremony in Jerusalem this morning.

He said that for years Israel had sent humanitarian assistance abroad, in response to disasters such as the Haiti earthquake or a fuel tanker explosion in Congo, and praised the international community for doing the same for Israel.


Chabad man in cocaine arrest, insists innocence

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

A Chabad representative has been arrested in Spain after police found four kilograms of cocaine in his suitcase.

Eliyahu Hecht, who is based in Safed, was detained by police during a stopover on his flight from Costa Rica back home to Israel.

A friend said Mr Hecht had not known the drugs were in his possession and had been the victim of a smuggling scam. He said that before boarding the flight a woman asked Mr Hecht to deliver a suitcase to a woman in Madrid, but he refused.

Chabad activists have launched a campaign to raise money to defend Mr Hecht in the case.


Justin Bieber sets date for Israel concert

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

Teenage pop sensation Justin Bieber has announced that he will perform in Israel next year.

The 16-year-old Canadian singer will play in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park in April as part of his “My World Tour.”

Marcel Avraham, the producer bringing the singer to Israel, said he expected up to 60,000 people to buy tickets.

Best known for his songs "Baby" and "One Time", Bieber has had chart success around the world and is the most Googled person on the planet.


Carmel forest fire traced back to teen's nargila coal

By Jennifer Lipman, December 6, 2010

Police investigating the forest fire in Israel’s Carmel region have traced it back to the negligence of a 14-year-old boy.

The teenager has admitted to discarding a lit coal, used in smoking a nargila water pipe, in an open area.

Investigators believe this is what initially caused the devastating blaze, although unseasonably dry weather and strong winds have been blamed for why it spread.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said: “Based on an analysis of findings on the ground, the fire was caused by negligence.”


Deaths mourned as Carmel forest fire brought under control

By Jennifer Lipman, December 6, 2010

More than 17,000 people have been allowed back to their homes in the north of Israel after firefighters said that the worst of the blaze in the Carmel mountains region had been brought under control.

The fire, which investigators have traced back to two teenage boys now being held by police, has devastated 5,000 hectares of forest.

Forty-two people died as a result of the fire including the head of the Haifa police department and a 16-year-old volunteer firefighter who was killed during the attempt to rescue prison-guards trapped on a burning bus.


Israel's Idan Raichel to perform at Nobel ceremony

By Jennifer Lipman, December 3, 2010

Fresh from a tour of UK universities Israeli music star Idan Raichel has been asked to perform at this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

The singer, who has enjoyed global success and sings in Arabic, Amharic, Zulu and Hindi as well as Hebrew, will take to the stage with American artist India Arie at the event in Oslo on December 10.

The pair are currently working together on an album.