Saturday, December 4, 2010

Help! We’re Fighting a Mega Fire.

Shalom Yeladim:
I don’t usually visit you every week, but we have an emergency over here in Israel and I feel that I HAVE to tell you about it.

The largest fire in Israel’s history started this past Thursday – a Mega Fire spread by strong wind. At its peak it was jumbo size…so big that it killed 41 people, destroyed huge parts of one of Israel’s most beautiful forests, and forced 15,000 people to leave their homes.

This horrible fire is still raging. They say it will take a week to completely put it out. It’s right outside the city of Haifa and I want you to see what it looks like. Israeli photographer Guy Shachar posted these photos.

The Prime Minister of Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu – asked the world to help us because we don’t have the fire fighting planes that you do in America. Twenty-three fire aircraft from around the world came to our aid. America, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Great Britain, Greece, Russia, Spain, and Turkey sent us planes and firefighting crews to help us put out the fire. Egypt and Jordan – our next door neighbors that are at peace with us – also sent aid. Even the Palestinian Authority pitched in with some fire fighting units. Now that’s a good sign! Let’s hope we can work together on other topics that everyone’s all fired up about.

Back to the fire. We won’t know how much damage has been done until it is totally put out. What we do know right now is that over 12,000 acres of land in the Carmel region have been destroyed. Hundreds of families have lost their homes and the Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, which helps breed and save endangered and extinct animals, was also was hit by the fire but thankfully all the animals were saved.

I’m reporting about the fire because you and us – we’re family, and family always helps each other out. We’re going to need a lot of help – whether it’s planting trees to reforest the Carmel Forest, raising money so that we can buy special fire fighting airplanes, or just helping people put their lives back together. Maybe you and your teachers can create a project to assist us.

This time helping Israel is really a burning issue.
Please write to me and tell me what you think you can do.
Todah Rabah…Zvuvi

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