Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 12/03/2010

FIRE FIRE- PLEASE HELP!

Please read this article; bear in mind that due to scant rainfall in Israel, water is not available to fight fires. There is a chemical foam substance that is sprayed on instead. But Israel has run out of this and outside aid is needed to help put out this monster fire. Please pray for RAIN – there has been none for 8 months.

Fires rage in the North – Prayer and Funds Needed – news bulletin from R. Brimmer, Bridges For Peace
“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17).

My heart is heavy as I feel the pain of the nation of Israel at this moment as fires ravage northern Israel and threaten the city of Haifa. According to the Jerusalem Post, quoting Haifa firefighter spokesman Hezi Levi, “If we don’t get foreign assistance tonight, I doubt we will be able to control the fire, and it will stop only at shores of the Mediterranean.” As I read those words, a chill ran down my spine, because the city of Haifa with its population of 250,000 is between the Mediterranean and the raging fire.

At this moment, the resources of the nation’s emergency sector have raced to deal with the many aspects of the disaster. Surrounding nations are sending firefighting teams and aircraft. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called this a day of mourning in Israel. Forty people have been consumed, their lives snatched by the voracious fire. But, for now there is no time to mourn, rather it is all hands on deck as the nation fights to save more communities from destruction.

At Bridges for Peace, we are preparing to deliver massive amounts of food to those who have had to flee from their homes. We call out to you who love Israel to assist us in this endeavor and show the people of Israel that they have “brothers and sisters” who step up to assist in this time of adversity.

First, we call on the intercessors to pray for God’s deliverance. We can stand in the gap for the people of Israel much as Moses did. The fires are consuming vast tracks of native forest which because of the drought are extremely dry. For eight months, virtually no rain has fallen in Israel. For weeks, we have been calling out to God that in His mercy He would send the rains. Please continue to pray for the winter rains to arrive. The fire is also expanding because of winds. Pray that God will come and deliver, that the winds will die down and that torrential rains will fall putting out the blaze.

“When I shut up the heaven and there is no rain…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:13-14). We can call on God and seek His face on behalf of the nation of Israel. We can stand in the gap for them. Many of the leaders in the Bible did just that. I am reminded of the prayer of Daniel on behalf of the people of Israel in Daniel 9. Israel’s chief rabbis have called on the nation to repent and fast and pray for the rain to come. We can join in this chorus of prayers ascending to the Most High.

Second, many families have lost loved ones in the last 24 hours. Pray that God will comfort those that mourn. Many have lost homes. At this time, reports are saying that the entire community of Kibbutz Beit Oren is destroyed. This community of 200 has lost everything. Pray for God’s provision.

Third, we ask you to give generously to help us care for the people at this time, and to help rebuild what was lost.  Click on this link to make your donation to assist the people of Israel NOW when the need is great. http://www.bridgesforpeace.com/h2n2.php?fn=newdonate/group1projects.htm Our staff is here in Israel ready to communicate your love to the people of Israel through practical assistance.

With a heavy heart,
Rebecca J. Brimmer, International President and CEO

Prayer Focus
Call out to God for deliverance, to send rain, to calm the winds, and to comfort His people.

Scripture
“‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God” (Isaiah 40:1).


More than 15,000 Residents Evacuated

More than 15,00 people were evacuated from their homes by late Thursday (Dec. 2) as a massive fire continued to rage in  northern Israel. Thursday night officials in Haifa, Israel’s 3rd largest city, ordered the evacuation of several streets in the Denia neighborhood. Mayor Yona Yahav estimated that some 2,500 people will be evacuated from their homes and sent to stay at shelters elsewhere in the city.

Earlier in the evening, some 5,000 residents in the town of Tirat Carmel were ordered to leave home and thousands of others were evacuated from various northern communities. Two prisons and a psychiatric hospital were also evacuated for fear the flames would reach them.

At least 40 Prison Service officer course cadets were killed in the fire earlier Thursday after their bus burned down en route to an evacuation mission in Damon Prison. Several other people were injured in the blaze, including Haifa Police Chief Ahuva Tomer, who was gravely hurt. The Interior Ministry’s casualty information center has been reopened for the first time since the Second Lebanon War to collect all the information on blaze victims.

Speaking earlier in the evening, Israel’s firefighting chief Shimon Romach said he was not optimistic about the prospects of containing the fire at this time. “I’m hoping that with our effort tonight [Thursday], and tomorrow [Friday] we’d be able to contain the fire, yet the wind is making it difficult for us, and it’s expected to grow stronger by early morning. Hence, I cannot paint an optimistic picture at this time,” he said. The upper neighborhoods in Tirat Carmel were almost completely evacuated by Thursday night with many residents heading to their relatives or moving to the lower neighborhoods in town.

Albert Schatz is one of the locals forced to leave their home. He told Ynet that around 7:30 pm [Thursday] residents in his area were ordered to evacuate the area, and 15 minutes later, he was already out the door.

“I packed a small bag, my wallet, ID, a few pictures and other important things. I quickly took my wife and kid to our relatives, living in the lower neighborhoods,” he said. “The fire was spreading massively. One moment, we saw it at the edge of the mountain ,and the next moment, it was already making its way downhill. We realized we had no choice but to leave.”

Schatz said he has no idea what happened to his house. “We can’t go up there. It was a scary scene. I’ve lived here for 20 years, and we’ve encountered a few fires before, but never a fire this size” he said. “It was amazing-within 30 minutes almost half the forest was in flames.”

Immigrant Absorption Ministry Director General Dimitry Apartsev, who arrived at Tirat Carmel, said: “This is an emergency, and we’re here to help. The minister wanted to come here immediately, but we just calmed her down and told her there’s no need. We bought with us Russian and Amharic [Ethiopian language] speakers to help the police and security forces communicate with residents who are new immigrants. I just spoke with the mayor and told him we’ll do anything we can to help.”

The evacuation of Damon Prison ended in tragedy, after 40 cadets in a Prison Service officers course were burned to death in a flaming bus sent to help in the prison’s evacuation. Apart from the 40 victims, several firemen and three police officers who drove a police car behind the bus were also injured.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the site of the massive fire which broke out in the Carmel on Thursday, the largest in Israel’s history, and provided the media with details on the circumstances of the tragedy. Aharonovitch sent his condolences to the victims’ families. “We are dealing with a mass-casualty event. There are some missing people who have yet to be located-two to three.”

Haifa firefighter teams made a desperate plea to all fire brigades in Israel to help contain the fire. “The war on the Carmel is the war on the State of Israel,” Reshef Levy from Haifa said. “The work will last days. These are crazy fire sites.” The Haifa Municipality said that all Chanukah events scheduled for the weekend were canceled in light of the tragedy.

(Excerpts of an article by Ahiya Raved, Hassan Shaalan and Raanan Ben-Zur contributed, Ynetnews, December 3, 2010)

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will move swiftly and mightily to stop the spread of this disastrous fire. Pray for the fire-fighters, for the evacuees and for the families of the victims that the Lord will be their strength and their consolation.

Scripture
“‘And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible'” (Jeremiah 15:20-21).


International Firefighting Aid Coming to Israel

Help is on the way, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that foreign nations have already sent aircraft to help Israel deal with the massive fires in Israel’s North. In comments posted on the Prime Minister’s Office Web site, Netanyahu said Thursday evening [December 2] that a total of 10 aircraft from Greece, Spain and Cyprus were en route.

Other nations are providing support as well. In the US, President Barack Obama expressed his condolences in comments posted on the White House Web site and said that the American government was working on seeing what firefighting assistance they have available and to provide it as soon as possible. Said Obama, “That’s what friends do for each other.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that assistance is also set to come from Britain, Russia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Romania, Jordan and Bulgaria. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on their Web site that they are “in contact with almost all European countries, and with Middle Eastern states regarding assistance in extinguishing the blaze. A number of nations have sent firefighting aircraft as well as equipment and supplies to help control the flames.”

The firefighting efforts have also expanded beyond the fire department in Israel to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Israeli army said in a press statement that IDF fire trucks have been involved, along with search and rescue teams, paramedics and more. The Homefront Command also has worked to deal with hazardous materials at the scene.

In his comments, Netanyahu noted the significance of the fire, saying that “It is by no means certain that the fire will be extinguished immediately; it will take time.”  However, he expressed confidence that they can work through it. “This is a national event, a major disaster, but we are dealing with it, and we are in control of it…I think that together, we will surmount this.”

Netanyahu also expressed his support for those who are suffering. Said the Israeli leader, “Good people, men and women, have shown tremendous strength and heroism. People sacrificed themselves to save others. I would like to say to the families, who are now dealing with the personal catastrophes that have befallen them, we support you and are with you.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, December 2, 2010)

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will bless and strengthen those that are bringing aid to Israel. Pray that they will see the hand of God Himself as they work side by side with Israelis to combat this threat to the nation. Pray that God will be, as He has promised, revealed to the nations through His relationship with Israel. Israel is again facing tragedy and enemies on nearly every side. Pray that the people of Israel will remember the miracle-working God who loves them and will cry to Him for deliverance. Pray that the Lord will move with  mighty power to put out fires, rout enemies, bring rain and bless His people again in this season of Hanukkah.

Scripture
“Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; oh, sing praises to the Lord, to Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old! Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice. Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!” (Psalm 68:32-35).

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Responses

  1. As of today, rain is expected according to the weather forecast in Israel!

  2. Praise God! Baruch hashem! It is RAINING NOW!!!!!!


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