This information is taken from several blogs and news reports. The first story is from a blog called Shearim. This link is to an Israeli newscast that followed Israeli photographer Roni Sofer back to the location where he observed the burning bus and in fact saved three of the people from the burning wreck. He is an expert photographer and wanted to get pictures of the disaster. He describes the road as they drive down is saying that very quickly there were “walls of fire”. He soon realized he must make a quick escape and turned around to drive to safety. There were two other cars and the bus full of prison guards coming and he warned them to make a run for it. The two cars turned around (Note: the driver of one of the cars–from Tiberias–is still missing). The bus, unable to turn around was already on fire and Roni saw three people–a woman and two men–running towards him asking for help. The video shows the pictures he was able to snap of them running from the bus through his rear window. They escaped to safety, but the guards and Haifa police commander, Ahuva Tomer, who was in one of the cars did not. Ahuva Tomer is now in critical condition burned over 60% of her body and fighting for her life.
American 747 Supertanker
The American ‘Evergreen 747 Super Tanker is now over Carmel joining fighters from many nations in the fight to control the massive fire that is still burning.
Meanwhile the crew of an air force plane fighting the fires spotted two men in a pickup truck trying to start a fire near one of the areas where a part of the blaze had recently been put out. The air force crew contacted police on the ground with the location of the truck and minutes later police arrived on the scene and arrested the suspects. In the last days arabs around the country have been starting fires to disrupt the efforts in Carmel. Hezbollah is celebrating the lost of life and forest in Northern Israel. “The great Carmel fire has embarrassed Israel’s firefighting capabilities and proved its almost complete incompetence,” crowed the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar TV news network. The arab press is claiming that Ithis shows Israel is weak and no longer able to defend itself because we had to ask for help–and the dancing in the streets continues.
PA Firefighters Arriving to Help Israel
On the positive side, twenty-one Palestinian Firefighters have entered Israel through the Salem crossing accompanied by Administration Personnel. According to Ayash, the Palestinian people viewed the disaster with a great deal of sorrow. He said the cooperation has nothing to do with the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. “We came here to help without addressing the issue of Jews and Arabs,” Ayash added. “We will stay in the Carmel region until the fire is put out.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had telephoned President Mahmoud Abbas to express his thanks at “neighbours helping neighbours”.
This disaster is estimated to cost 3-4 billion dollars and take decades to recover from. Israelis have already started the long task. They begin by laying their dead to rest, taking in the displaced and starting to rebuild. During this week of Chanukah we know one thing, that miracles do happen and that is proven by the biggest miracle of all–we are still here and we are still standing together.
Video~Commander Ahuva Tomer Driving into the Blaze (0:30)