CARLEBACH MOSHAV DESTROYED IN BLAZE: Massive Fires Rage Across Israel; Sifrei Torah Rescued [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]


Fires were raging out of control in multiple areas across Israel, Thursday afternoon, forcing nearly 4,000 people to evacuate their homes.

One fire had almost completely destroyed the village of Mevo Modi’im – a Moshav founded by the late songwriter and singer Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

Israel is currently gripped by a major heatwave. The expected temperatures on Thursday were: Tel Aviv and Haifa 39C (102F), Jerusalem 38 (100), Kinneret 44 (111), Tzefas 36 (96), Be’er Sheva 44 (111) and Eilat 45 (113).

Firefighters were battling fires in the Ben Shemen Forest near Modiin, forcing some to be evacuated from their homes in nearby Kfar Daniel, Mevo Modiim and Gimzo (between Bnei Brak & Kiryat Sefer). There were homes fully engulfed in flames in Mevo Modiim and Kibbutz Harel.

In Gimzo, firefighters rescued around a dozen Sifrei Torah from a Shul near an out-of-control-fire.

Route 443 (linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) was forced closed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry and Public Security Ministry to seek firefighting aircraft from abroad to help battle the blazes, a spokesman for the premier’s office said.

The Foreign Ministry said Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia had agreed to send help, but the aircraft would only be able to depart for Israel on Friday morning.

There was fire reported in a few different areas near Beit Shemesh, and at least six firefighting planes were requested to assist.

[DANGEROUS WEATHER: Sharav Heatwave In Israel And It’s Only Getting Hotter]

Another fire was burning near Elad, and one in Pisgat Ze’ev (Jerusalem). Earlier, firefighters pulled three children from a burning building in Beitar Illit, and there were fires near the Uzi Narkiss Bridge and in Mevasseret Zion.

Some of these fires are believed to have been started from Lag B’Omer bonfires, which the government warned against lighting due to the extreme heat and dangerous weather conditions sweeping the country.

Magen David Adom said at least 22 people have been hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the wave of brush fires.


  1. The people who disregarded the warnings most probably thought:

    1) What does the government know?
    2) It won’t happen to us. The power of ______ (insert your favorite segula here) will protect us during performance of a mitzvah!
    3) Its a minhag in klal yisroel to light the fires, the govn’t cant be mevatel it

    I hope that the fires started illegally are fully investigated and the parties involved charged with their crimes. Not only are they shotim, they have caused incredible amounts of hezek and bitul torah for the yeshivos who cannot operate while the conflagrations are ongoing

  2. What idiots! Couldn’t they do without their bonfires for one year? It’s not a mitzvah, and the big balagan isn’t even a serious minhag, just a modern shtick. Is it worth it to have even one family’s life ruined, much less so many, and so many precious acres of forest destroyed? And just because some people don’t believe that they don’t have to pay attention to the hiloni government.

  3. where are all the anti israel people? should the fire department just wait for the tefilos of people or should the zionist fire department act?
    im really confused as to where in the shulchan aruch it says you are allowed to intentionally light a fire and not put it out when you are done. Those who lit the fire should be held criminally responsible and should pay fines for damages and pay for the fire department’s salary and gear for saving their behinds.
    sickening. blatant intentional destruction of other peoples properties.

  4. Your hatred of whole groups of Am Yisrael is heart braking, and instead of saying Thillim you are looking to be mekatraig .Instead of deciding in advance that those who you don’t like are responsible for the fires , feel pity and ask for rachamin. The fires caused by hatred are much more dangerous than any other fire.

    Anyway, I’m happy to be able to disappoint you but the frum listened to the rabbonim who said not to light and most of the bonfires where lit by chilonim. But the MAIN fire in each individual community was lit and supervised very carefully. And nobody said not to light those.

  5. agutyar – There is nothing in anyone’s statements including mine that say it was done by religious Jews. It’s a global statement against **anyone who did this***. Unfortunately that is YOUR spin and YOUR being mekatraig. Perhaps I associate with the wrong chilonim that have no Jewish spark in them.

    Nor did anyone say we should not be saying tehilim for those who are affected.

    I am not sure why you would put brakes on your heart to slow it down, it’s a matter of pikuach nefesh. The lack of spelling and gramatical ability IS heartBREAKING while you are “Anyway I happy to be able to disappoint you but” which makes no sense.

    Have a good shabbos and Memorial Day weekend

  6. Qsman: Agree with your initial comment. I don’t believe agutyar was talking to you, by the way. He should have specified, but that might have been a bit of a disproportionate response to someone who didn’t explicitly say they were referring to you.

  7. @agutyar – what chilonim? On this very website and another “whatisnews” site they have photos of rabonim and chassidim lighting massive bonfires. its not just chilonim and its not just chareidim. its everyone and anyone. All people who lit bonfires that spread should be forced to pay for their crimes. ALL PEOPLE!

  8. Qsman it was pretty obvious from the above remarks that they were pointing their fingers at frum people. And, may I say from your remarks too.
    1) Certainly people should not have been careless, whoever they are.
    2) Who said it wasn’t arson?
    That sounds like the most likely answer, with cousins living all round those areas!

  9. We recently read פרשת אמור אל הכהנים, where we are taught the important lesson, להזהיר גדולים על הקטנים, that not only gedolim/adults are obligated in the mitzvoh, but that also youngsters who have not reached the age of majority (adulthood) are to be under the guidance of their elders in it. The years of minority, before bar mitzvoh, are not a free for all, of anything goes.

  10. concern regarding dancing around a bonfire, due to similarity with ancient practice of
    It is a teshuvah of Rav Shmuel Wosner z”l, stemming from a תוספתא that states המרקד לשלהבת הרי זה מדרכי אמורי

  11. qsman, you certainly did blame religious Jews. You speculated:

    The people who disregarded the warnings most probably thought:
    2) It won’t happen to us. The power of ______ (insert your favorite segula here) will protect us during performance of a mitzvah!
    3) Its a minhag in klal yisroel to light the fires, the govn’t cant be mevatel it

    Only religious people could possibly think these things, so you were clearly blaming the religious, when you have no reason to suppose any of the fires were in fact caused by religious people. Most lag b’omer fires are lit by secular people, for whom it’s just a pyromania festival.

    Sammy, the rabbonim photographed lighting did so with permits. There are no photos on this site, nor have I seen any anywhere else, of rabbonim lighting illegally.

  12. Sorry if i missed something , but where does it say anything in the news piece about how these fires were caused?

    I am actually more concerned about the fact warning that The Gedolim (including Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita) gave last week about the Eurovision contest and the Chilul Shabbos.


  13. Yes Rabbonim have light bonfires but in permitted and controlled areas the fires that spread if they came from bonfires were done illegally and uncontrolled and thoughtless. Hashem Yerachem.

  14. unfortunately the israeli fire dept. (is to stuck up to getting training from the usa) and have no idea how to deal with forest fires or even any fire in a wooden structure all they know is if its wood spray water … they never even heard of most of the techniques we use in the usa for forest fires. a lot of these fires are to some extent the fire dept. fault, I saw with my own eyes how the FD came and sprayed out supervised controlled bon fires but only did a half a job (and laughed when I told them if its still red it will be back on in no time) thru out thurs night all over israel there were hundreds of fires back up and raging UNSUPERVISED …..

  15. Why is it so easy to criticize Lag Ba’Omer bonfires and not criticize the fires intentionally set by the Palestinians day after day?

  16. Fires in Harel, Karmiya, caused by electrical issues, fire in ‘Carlebach town’ still being investigated.
    Doesn’t that teach you all to be don lecaf zechus our holy brothers!

  17. I’m posting a headline from ywn: Rav Chaim Kanievsky Warns of “Sakona” Due to Massive Chillul Shabbos For The Eurovision Song Contest.
    The gemora warns that the punishment for chilul Shabbos is fire!
    One cannot ignore this!!!

  18. etzhar, the article said “Some of these fires are believed to have been started from Lag B’Omer bonfires”. This is, of course, pure speculation. The article doesn’t say who believes it, let alone why, or how many of the fires. But it is there, and that sparked the usual anti-frum commenters into blaming the frumme, for absolutely no reason at all.