When family members of the 44 victims of the Carmel Forest blaze two years ago gathered on Sunday, 18 Kislev 5773 for the second yahrzeit, they were angered at the obvious absence of government ministers, in particular, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
It was clear the prime minister would not attend, for if he did, he would have been criticized by the bereaved family members for failing to accept demands to dismiss Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai and Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Shteinitz, both cited as primarily to blame for the lack of adequate fire services in that area.
Making things worse if the fact that two years following the disaster, a Carmel area fire station does not exist, and this was the first recommendation of the investigatory panel. Two tractors in the preliminary stages of clearing ground for a future fire station can be seen, but an actual Carmel Forest area fire station is a long way away.
Fire department officials are seeking funding for a firefighting jumbo jet, one that carries an annual maintenance budget of 18 millions NIS stating this is critical towards preventing future disasters. In the interim, Israeli firefighters are meeting with their French counterparts, experts in fighting forest fires, hoping to learn new techniques towards improving future responses to forest fires.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)