Photo Essay: Kabolos Ponim For The Visnitz Rebbe In The Skver Yeshiva Ketana In Williamsburg (Photos by JDN)November 24th, 2016
• Haifa University will remain closed on Friday, 24 Cheshvan
• 7,000 homes in the Haifa region without electricity
• Fire in Jerusalem Mountains (Shar HaGuy area) moving closer to gas station in that area
• Veteran fire inspector/marshal Moti Fireberg told Channel 2 News “there is no doubt when there are multiple fires in the same region it is arson and now it must be determined what the motive for the arson was”
• 104 fire victims in light condition – 1 victim listed in moderate condition
• Technion University was evacuated as was Haifa University
• Savion Junction blaze declared under control
• ZAKA standing by to assist families in the north. One may phone 1220
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
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4:16PM IL: Every emergency agency in Israel is focused on assisting in battling the fires in the Haifa district and elsewhere in Israel or addressing the needs of over 60,000 homeless, victims of the fires.
In his press statements a short time ago, Police Commissioner Alsheich ordered the establishment of a special investigation team into the fires over recent days, a unit that will combine the expertise of intelligence, operational, technological, forensic technicians and other units. One may assume Israel Police will be cooperating with the Shin Bet, which announced it too is probing the possibility the arson that led to the blazes was Palestinian terror.
Hardest hit in Israel is the Haifa district, where over 7,500 duman (1,875 acres) of forest land has been destroyed. There are still five fronts being battled in Haifa, all described as “giant fires that continue burning out of control”.
In updated statements released to the media, the Shin Bet is working on the premise the fires were the result of Palestinian terrorist arson. Channel 10 News adds that there are already suspects in custody. Two of the suspects in custody are reportedly students at the University of Haifa but this is yet unconfirmed.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan promises persons responsible for the arson attacks will be apprehended and brought to justice.
Some fire-related briefs:
• Bnei Tzion Hospital information number: 12-55-142
• Train service between Binyamina to Hadera still interrupted but officials hope to resume service soon
• The last of the patients from geriatric center being evacuated
• 105 persons required medical attention due to fires
• Forecasters expect unseasonably high winds to continue through Shabbos
• Police spokesman: While there is a fire in the Shar HaGuy area, Route 1, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway remains open, despite unfounded reports to the contrary a bit earlier
• An Arab trying to start a fire near Kochav Yaakov in the Binyamin Council of the Shomron apprehended in time
• Rock-throwing attacks against Israeli motorists continue at this hour near Kiryat Arba
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
Police Commissioner Alsheich reported a short time ago at live media briefing that a special investigation into the fires in underway and arrests will be made. The commissioner would not detail more than this, but as a former Deputy Director of the Shin Bet one might assume Alsheich has a direction the probe will follow.
In addition, he urged concerned homeowners to remain away from the fire areas, promising police will remain in the areas to prevent looting for as long as it takes. Alsheich adds that social service personnel from the various local and state agencies are working to assess the damage and assist those in need.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
[VIDEOS & PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE ]
The fires in Haifa continue burning out of control as exhausted firefighters continue working 12-hours shifts, hoping to being to see progress. Due to heavy wind gusts as high as 100 KPH (60 MPH), not only are firefighters not making progress, but the flames continue spreading as sunset approaches, about an hour away.
One firefighting plane has arrived from Cyprus and has already joined the effort. Planes will be arriving later from Russia, and Italy’s planes are expected on Friday morning. Turkey is sending a number of planes, with the first expected to arrive later Thursday night.
Three planes have arrived from Greece and it is reported they have their own operational methodology and have asked to be assigned an area and they are working the area exclusively, with planes dropping 18 tons of water in five minutes. The planes refill in the Mediterranean or Haifa Bay.
Channel 2 reports the Shin Bet has confirmed it is involved in the probe amid a growing sentiment that Palestinian arson terror is behind the fires that have plagued Israel in recent days.
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. Haifa has allocated the city’s convention center and another venue to receive the homeless. The National Kibbutz Movement has opened its doors, sending out an alert to kibbutzim to open their doors for those who will need a temporary place, possibly for Shabbos. United Hatzalah has sent out a notice to its 3,000 volunteers, announcing numbers to arrange to take people in for Shabbos, for those willing and able. Even as far as the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlaot, as the Lev Ha’ir community council is calling on residents to assist the homeless.
Israel Police, MDA, United Hatzalah, and Israel Electric Company have declared a state of emergency in the Haifa region. Israel Electric was compelled to cut power to many areas, and this too will complicate matters as the sun sets.
According to forecasters, the heavy winds will continue through Shabbos, adding to the concerns of firefighters. Just minutes ago it was believed the fire was under control in the Almogi neighborhood of Haifa but a strong gust of wind just moved in and proved them wrong.
Twenty-two ambulances were assigned to take part in the evacuation of the Filman Geriatric Home, as many patients are on life support. MDA has brought in over 100 of its people to work with the facility to get the patients to safety in the Haifa district. That is still ongoing at this hour.
Over 65 people have been treated in the Haifa district and B’chasdei Hashem, with the exception of one person in moderate condition, the remainder is listed in light condition, most treated for smoke inhalation and about 40 transported to area hospitals. B’chasdei Hashem there has not been loss of life blei ayin hara.
The IDF Homefront Command is also involved, sending two battalions of reservists to assist efforts in the north. Fire trucks from around the country are being deployed to the Haifa district when possible and all leaves have been canceled and all fire service personnel were called to the north, for those who can come.
In the Shomron, a pursuit was reported a short time ago for an Arab seen trying to start a fire near Yishuv Har Bracha.
In the Shar Haggai area, the fire is moving in rapidly towards a gas station, a Jerusalem Fire Service spokesman reports.
The Israel Prison Authority is in the process of evacuating a prison in the Haifa district. 150 members of the IPA will take part in moving 600 prisoners out of the area.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
Levaya Of HaRav Eliezer (Elias) Schwartz ZATZAL; Menahel For 60 Years At Yeshiva Toras Emmes – Kaminetz In FlatbushNovember 24th, 2016
YWN regrets to inform you of the Petira of HaRav Eliezer (Elias) Schwartz ZATZAL, the Menahel at Yeshiva Toras Emmes – Kaminetz. He was 99-years-old.
Rav Schwartz was the Menahel for approximately 60 years.
The Levaya will be held on Thursday morning at 9:30AM at the yeshiva, located on Avenue N and East 19 Street in Flatbush.
Boruch Dayan HaEmmes…
The media reports the current rise in anti-Semitism, but there is a deeper anti-Semitism that has been with us for a long time. This anti-Semitism is greater than the one that is currently being reported and that is the anti-Semitism of the media silence about Israel.
Currently there are twenty fires raging in Israel, clearly acts of terrorism. Statistically, there is no way that these could be accidents. And yet the media here in the United States has completely ignored the fires. Israel is burning and the media tells us about how turkeys get reprieved for the last time by the president and about how Finding Dory receives a Medal of Freedom.
The Filman Geriatric Hospital is being evacuated due to power outage. But there is nothing in the American media. So many patients there on life support and the transport under such conditions presents a formidable challenge to MDA personnel.
The IDF has sent two Homefront Command battalions, all reservists, are being activated.
In the meantime Israel, who helps every country in need, faces these fires alone.
Greece sent help. So did Italy, Croatia, Russia, Cyprus, and Turkey. The aid amounts to 10 planes. But where is the rest of Europe? Where are the “moral” nations of that continent who so value fairness and humanitarianism? Where are CNN and the New York Times?
It is a deafening silence that exposes a perverse anti-Semitism far greater than the comments of a new member of Trump’s cabinet in a divorce settlement.
The hypocrisy is so palpable it boggles the mind.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
Hundreds of United Hatzalah volunteer EMS personnel assisted firefighters in evacuating residents in the Romeima and Sapir neighborhoods of Haifa during a series of fires that blazed in those areas on Thursday morning., 23 Cheshvan. Residents who were still in their neighborhoods were evacuated by the firefighters, police and United Hatzalah volunteers.
Multiple fires burned in and around the wooded Haifa neighborhoods propelled by strong winds in the area. Schools and kindergartens were among the first buildings to be evacuated.
UH Haifa Head Moshe Adler said: “Our volunteers left their jobs and families and are joined the firefighters, police officers, and other rescue workers to help evacuate and rescue residents, children, and the elderly in the affected areas. It is important that our volunteers joined the effort and were present in order to provide first aid to any resident or firefighter that required assistance during the evacuation. Tens of people have been treated for varying degrees of smoke inhalation.”
Doron Shafir, a paramedic with United Hatzalah who helped with the evacuation spoke about the assistance that the EMS personnel were providing the fire department and police during the blaze. “We are working with emergency rescue forces to evacuate the residents in the area. We are going into the high-rises and evacuating the elderly from the area in our own personal vehicles to safe areas. What is unique about this situation is that we live on these streets as well. These are our neighborhoods and our neighbors.”
Shafir added, “In one instance United Hatzalah ambucycles had to open up a lane of traffic for an individual who needed to be evacuated as he was suffering from significant smoke inhalation, and we were able to transport him to Carmel Medical Center in moderate condition.”
Volunteers from the organization are assisting rescue teams at the location of other fires around the country including Nataf and Talmon. The organization has instructed its volunteers, across the country, to be on a state of alert in order to provide an extra level of response to any emergency, whether it is fire related or a medical emergency, as it is expected that there will be ambulance evacuation delays due to the heavy traffic and extra workload in affected areas.
Additionally, the organization has set up logistics and relief centers for firefighters and rescue workers in multiple locations around the country that have been hard hit by fires in the past three days, including Haifa.
The centers provide a respite for firefighters to recoup and receive hot drinks and food. The Director of Operations for United Hatzalah, David Krispel said “We are happy to help the firefighters and rescue workers who are giving every ounce of energy they have to help protect the residents in the affected areas. At United Hatzalah we have enlisted to help not only with providing medical assistance in the event that it is needed but also in providing humanitarian assistance to the firefighters who are working day-and-night to combat the fire and encourage them in any way we can.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett headed to Haifa to assess the situation and rescue efforts. He was assisted by a United Hatzalah ambucycle driver to get a clear picture of the area affected by the fire.
Photo Above: Naftali Bennett riding on a United Hatzalah ambucycle. Others: United Hatzalah volunteers helping fire and rescue personnel and evacuating residents.
Israel Electric Company has joined other agencies in declaring a state of emergency in the northern area. The utility company has been forced to cut power to areas, high tension lines, due to the dangers posed by spreading fires.
MDA reports treating 56 people for smoke inhalation in the Haifa district, of which one is listed in moderate condition and the remainder light. Eight victims were transported to Bnei Tzion Hospital, 35 to Rambam, and 13 to Carmel.
Greece and Turkey are sending additional firefighting planes. The Greek planes are capable of dumping 18 tons of water every five minutes and these advanced planes appear to have taken the lead in the fight to stop Haifa from burning. The water for the planes is coming from the Mediterranean of the Haifa Bay.
In a short time there will be additional challenges as shekiya in Haifa is 4:35PM today. It will be especially difficult in areas where power has been cut.
Police are reporting traffic is at a standstill on many roads including Rt. 752 from Nesher to Ligur, Route 721 from Damon Junction to Beit Oren Junction and Route 70 towards Ein Tut.
Route 4 from Beit Oren to Haifa is also backed up a is Route 22 at the Bialik Interchange and Route 75 from Lev HaMifratz Junction to Emakim Junction.
Police advise motorists to use Route 6 to Route 70 to Route 22 as an alternative.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
12:47PM IL: [VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] The fires reported earlier today, Thursday, 23 Cheshvan in the N’vei Ian and Nataf areas continues at this hour, albeit much better than the situation in Haifa.
Firefighters are still working the fire, which has not been declared ‘under control’. Firefighting planes that were assisting in this area were called to Haifa as the situation there is far worse.
The fire in the N’vei Ilan area is not out, nor is it under control, but it is far more forgiving than the situation in Haifa.
In the Shomron, residents of Mitzpei Yitzhar have been evacuated from their homes as the blaze continues. The Chabad Yeshiva in Yitzhar has also been evacuated.
Carmel Hospital has established an emergency information number: 12-55-142.
There are fires ongoing at this time in the Nazareth area as well as a forest near Migdal HaEmek.
MDA has declared a MCI (Mass Causality Incident) in the Carmel district. It appears due to a change in wind direction, additional neighborhoods in Haifa are being evacuated.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
2:16PM IL: According to the latest numbers from Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah, forty persons have already been transported to Haifa area hospitals as the fires in the northern city continue raging out of control. Additional victims of the fires have been treated and released by the EMS organizations.
According to all agencies involved, the fires in Haifa are out of control as the IDF is sending two battalions of Homefront Command personnel to assist in firefighting efforts.
There is a growing sentiment that the fires are the result of Arab arson terrorism, but this is just speculation at this stage as the fire service has not had time to rest, yet alone to launch investigations. Senior fire officials have stated however the fires were started in numerous locations, adding to the feeling arson is to blame.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav praises the actions of emergency services but admits “we were not ready for something of this magnitude”. He adds the Denya neighborhood has also been evacuated as fire trucks from stations around the country are heading north.
As reported earlier, Israel received ten firefighting planes from neighboring countries including Cyprus, Russia, and Greece.
As this report is closed, we receive confirmation that B’chasdei Hashem, all the injuries are described as light.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
United Hatzalah has declared a state of emergency in light of the deteriorating situation in Haifa, moving to level 1 operational status.
All volunteers are urged to increase readiness to respond and for those capable, to assist in the Haifa district where the situation is deteriorating. Volunteers who can report to the north are being organized and are urged to call in the appropriate numbers.
The nationwide alert sent to some 3,000 volunteers includes contact information for all districts as well as a Waze link to direct members.
Channel 10 reports train service has stopped from Binyamina to Hadera due to fire near the rail lines in the Caesarea area.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has provoked a “mixed reaction” among European Jews, said Pinchas Goldschmidt, chief rabbi of Moscow and the current president of the Conference of European Rabbis, the primary Orthodox rabbinical alliance in Europe.
“I think that, in general, European Jews look at the United States and the elections in the United States not so much as what happens to the United States but how those changes will affect Europe, and how those changes will affect the lives of the Jews in Europe,” Goldschmidt said in a phone call from New York last week. “On the other hand, I’d say Israel is much more central to European Jews than to American Jews.”
Goldschmidt’s comments came during a wave of debates about what a Trump presidency means for the world’s Jewish community. While Trump has a close relationship with his Orthodox son-in-law and has spoken in strong pro-Israel terms, his campaign has frequently been linked with anti-Semitic fringes.
Stephen K. Bannon, the former editor of the fiery anti-establishment website Breitbart News who left for Trump’s campaign and will soon become a chief White House strategist, has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments. Perhaps more alarmingly, members of the alt-right community have openly praised Trump with messages clearly inflected with neo-Nazi rhetoric.
“Hail Trump!” Richard Spencer, a prominent member of that movement, said during a recent event to celebrate the election.
Goldschmidt, who was born in Zurich and became chief rabbi of Moscow in 1993, said there was a clear difference between Jews in Western Europe and Britain, who seemed worried about Trump, and those in Eastern Europe and Russia, who were more hopeful. The split was somewhat similar to one seen in the United States, he said. “I think most of the Jews in the United States had voted for Clinton, and there were two distinctive groups who voted for Trump, the Orthodox Jews and the Russian-speaking Jews,” he said.
There have been rising reports of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe over the past few years, with thousands of Jews in Western Europe choosing to leave their homes and move to Israel. Goldschmidt said that the memories of the 20th century are still defining for many Jews in Europe, in contrast to Americans.
“One of the basic differences between European Jews and American Jews is American Jews feel very secure, saying what happened in Europe can never happen in America,” he said. “While Jews in Europe always keep their eyes open that one day, you might have to get out of here.”
Over recent years, the situation for Jews in Europe has become especially fraught, Goldschmidt said. “I usually use a metaphor for the situation of Jews in Europe. A person standing on train tracks and in both directions trains are coming towards this person at great speed,” he said. “One train is the train of Islamic radicalism and terrorism which has created havoc in us. I am speaking of [the terror attacks in] Toulouse, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels.”
“And on the other side there is the reaction of old Europe against this onslaught of terrorism,” Goldschmidt said. “The radical right comes with these anti-immigration measures which are mainly directed at the Muslim immigrants, but we the Jews are the collateral damage.”
Goldschmidt said that despite similarities in the momentum of the far right in Europe, he said he still thinks that European parties, such as France’s National Front, had key differences compared with Trump’s success. “Those parties were founded by Nazi collaborators, to some extent,” he said, noting that although some of them had now distanced themselves from anti-Semitism, they did not have close Jewish advisers or family such as Trump.
But suggestions by Trump’s team for potential policies targeting Muslim extremism – such as a database of Muslim immigrants – gave Goldschmidt pause. “Here we are talking about registering American citizens based on their religious practices,” he said. “I don’t even know if it is constitutional.”
“I as a European do not want to tell Americans what to do and how to keep their country safe. However, any generalization based on religion I think goes against the core of American values,” Goldschmidt said, before adding that Trump’s proposals targeting Muslims were a result of how hard it has become to draw a line between radical Islam and mainstream Islam. “We have to look to our Muslim colleagues to create this line, create this red line, in order that the Muslims do not suffer discrimination.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Adam Taylor
Haifa’s airport is closed, with the exception of emergencies.
22 ambulances are involved in the evacuation of the Filman Geriatric Hospital due to power outage. Many patients there on life support and the transport under such conditions presents a formidable challenge to MDA personnel.
Haaretz reported a bit earlier that tens of thousands of residents of Haifa have already been evacuated.
The IDF confirms that two Homefront Command battalions, all reservists, are being activated and sent to Haifa.
The photo above is from the Romeima area of Haifa.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photo: Media Resource Group)
According to prominent Israeli Palestinian affairs correspondent Avi Issarharoff via twitter, the Palestinian media report that an organization calling itself “Youth Uprising” is behind the arson fires around the country during recent days.
He is careful to add “I announce I did not make a statement like that”.
He adds later in both Hebrew and English, “Pal.news agencies quote me as saying/writing Shabab AlIntifada responsible for fires in Israel. It’s a lie. Didn’t say or write”, once again via twitter.
The translation of the Arabic is via Google translate.
Elsewhere is Haifa, the Israel Prison Authority is preparing to transfer 600 prisoners from the fire area, using 150 members of the Prison Authority force to accomplish this.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)