Wildfires Sweeping Central Israel Force Evacuation of Israeli-Palestinian Village by the Forward

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.

Unique Israeli-Palestinian Village ‘of Peace’ Threatened by Wildfire

Unique Israeli-Palestinian Village ‘of Peace’ Threatened by Wildfire

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

This story "Neve Shalom, Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence Village, Evacuated in Wildfire" was written by Naomi Zeveloff.


Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff

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

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Wildfires Sweeping Central Israel Force Evacuation of Israeli-Palestinian Village

Thank you!

This article has been sent!