Wildfires Sweeping Central Israel Force Evacuation of Israeli-Palestinian Village

Neve Shalom, the community in Israel where Jews and Arabs live deliberately side by side, was evacuated on Tuesday after a fire threatened to engulf the village in central Israel.

The town’s 270 residents were forced to leave in the early morning hours, and then were allowed to return home after noon once the fire had been contained.

Sixty firefighter teams comprising 150 people and eight airplanes were dispatched to control the fire.

“We didn’t even have enough time to take anything from home, not even a jacket,” Neve Shalom resident Yasmin Alkalak told Channel 2.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but might have been an incident of “human negligence” such as a tossed cigarette, fire chief Yoram Levy told i24.

Founded in 1978 by Egyptian Jewish convert to Christianity Bruno Hussar, the community of Neve Shalom is home to and run by Jews and Arabs who seek an alternative model to Israel’s largely segregated housing.

The Neve Shalom fire is one of several burning through Israel today, exacerbated by wind and dry weather.

Residents Zichron Yaakov in Northern Israel also evacuated their homes on Tuesday. According to i24, the Magen David Adom medical service treated five people, including a 10-day-old infant.

The Magen David Adom medic service said that five people were being treated for light injuries including a ten-day old infant. Three children were also treated for smoke inhalation.

Another fire raged in Atlit, a northern coastal town, and 200 children were evacuated from their school.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com or on Twitter @naomizeveloff

Author

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

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Wildfires Sweeping Central Israel Force Evacuation of Israeli-Palestinian Village

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