British teenagers on gap year programmes in Israel have witnessed first-hand the worst forest fire in the country’s history.
Groups from several British youth movements including FZY, Habonim and Noam were in the town of Shlomi in the north of Israel for a seminar when the fire broke out on Thursday afternoon.
Natie Shevel, the UJIA’s regional director for Israel, reassured that all 160 British participants were safe.
He said: “None of them has been affected and they are all well out of harm's way.”
However the teenagers did see the flames blazing in the Carmel mountains region while travelling nearby.
Stephanie Lipman, in Israel with Bnei Akiva’s Lehava programme, said: “There was a massive black cloud over the forest.
“It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”
The Lehava group will be spending Shabbat in the north, near Nahariya, and will be joined by people who have been evacuated because of the fire.