National Correspondent:   
Lt. Col. Itai PELEG
Home Front Command
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National News Highlights

Unprecedented wildfire in Israel triggers broad international aid effort

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Firefighting teams from around the world flew into Israel on 3-5 December to help battle the largest fire in Israel's history which erupted on Thursday 2 December in the northern Carmel region and was extinguished Sunday 5 December around midnight.

 A few hours after the fire took hold of the region, when it became clear that Israeli fire service could not cope with it, the Israeli government launched an international appeal for help. Israel also contacted the EU Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) with a specific request for fire-delaying and extinguishing materials, such as anti-fire powder. In response, the MIC was activated and spread Israel's request to the 31 members of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Within hours, the Participating States offered the requested material and the delivery of assistance was coordinated by the MIC.

Overall at least 22 countries swiftly responded to the Israeli call. International firefighting teams started to arrive on site Friday morning. Greece, Spain, France, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey, UK, USA and the Russian Federation offered fire fighting aircrafts. “34 planes and helicopters swooped over the Israeli woodland – the Israeli fire services spokesman said -, dumping tons of seawater onto the flames, but the blaze continued to burn out of control mostly due to the strong winds”.


Four Greek fire fighting planes were the first to arrive Friday morning followed by Cypriot, French and Turkish aircrafts on the same day. On 4 December two Russian Ilyushin Il-76 planes which are able to discharge 42 tons of water at once arrived and on 5 December an American Boeing 747 Supertanker, the biggest aerial firefighting weapon, joined the air fleet pouring some 82 tons of water at once and spraying flame retardant over the fire.

150 foreign firefighters have been working alongside hundreds of Israelis to contain the fires, 92 of them came from Bulgaria. Three teams were sent by the Palestinian Authority to support efforts and three others were sent from Jordan. The global effort to help Israel contain the fires also involved Egypt, Germany, Italy, Austria, Romania, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

"I think this symbolises an unprecedented response to our request for international help," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “The EU and our Member States have responded to this natural disaster with immediate and coordinated assistance,” highlighted Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union in a statement.

The wildfire claimed 41 lives, scorched more than 5,000 hectares of woodland, destroyed millions of trees, devastated dozens of houses and forced the evacuations of more than 15,000 people from villages and towns close to the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Israeli media assessed the cost of the damage at over 400 million €.

Declaration of gratitude from the State of Israel to the Palestinian Authority
The State of Israel expresses its gratitude and deep appreciation to the Special Delegation from The Palestinian Authority for the invaluable contribution and exemplary courage in battling the blaze on Mt. Carmel. Signed Simon Peres, President of the State of Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

EU supports Israel in combating worst forest fires in decades

MIC message 1, Friday, December 03, 2010 8:08 PM

MIC message 2, Friday, December 03, 2010 8:09 PM

MIC Message n.3, Tuesday, December 07, 2010 11:40 AM

OCHA Carmel Fire Situation Report #1, 4 December 2010

OCHA Carmel Fire Situation Report #2 - 6 December 2010

A short Note on the Seismic Hazard in Israel

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webterremoto2002_11This article by Avigdor Rutenberg and Robert Levy from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and Avi Shapira from the UK-based International Seismological Centre introduces the available seismic hazard maps along with the probabilistic seismic hazard analysis procedures used to elaborate those maps.

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Unprecedented Cross-Border Partnership to Research Earthquake Activity in Middle East

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This article was published in February 2008 on the web site of the Tel Aviv University's American Friends. It reports an initiative started of Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli researchers to build a new partnership to monitor earthquakes in the Jerichio area. Scientists from the three universities Al-Balqa University in Jordan, An Najah University in Nablus, and the Tel Aviv University planned to work together to share earthquake knowledge and to deploy six "seismic microscopes" in the Jericho region, in order to map a 100-square-kilometer area which is one of the most vulnerable in the Middle-East.

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The Dead Sea Rift as a natural laboratory for earthquake behavior: prehistorical, historical and recent seismicity

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This interesting field guide to the Dead Sea seismicity was published for the workshop on "the Dead Sea Rift as a natural laboratory for earthquake behavior: prehistorical, historical and recent seismicity" organised in February 2009 by the Geological Survey of Israel and INQUA Paleoseismology Subcommission.

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