A massive forest fire broke out on Sunday afternoon near Beit Meir and Shoresh outside of Jerusalem. Thirteen fire fighting planes are now fighting this fire and authorities called for a massive call-up of all hands in the fire services. Due to strong winds, the fire has yet to be brought under control. The communities of Ramat Raziel, Kiryat Ye’arim and Sho’eva were evacuated and route 395 has been closed.
Initial reports claimed several motorists were trapped in their cars near Ramat Razael and there were four people treated for smoke inhalation. Prayer requests have been sent out for the safety of the remaining motorists.
The proximity of the fire to Jerusalem generated some dramatic images of orange-colored smoke hovering over Jerusalem in the manner described by the Prophet Amos:
Israel365 News correspondent Joshua Wander was on hand to record the event.
Israel has been experiencing a wave of brush fires exacerbated by an intense heatwave. In the past two weeks, some 1,235 acres of forest in the Ramim Ridge in the north of Israel area were burned in fires caused by flares fired by the army, the Ynet website reported. A fire last Thursday broke out in the north near the city of Kiryat Shmona.
According to early reports, the current blaze is larger than the fire that struck the same area twelve days ago. That fire shut down the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway,e was believed to have been a case of arson and forced the evacuation of 60 families from the towns of Shoresh and Shoevah.
The blaze destroyed a forest planted by Israel365. After a blaze damaged the forest near Shoresh in 2019, Rabbi Tuly Weisz visited Shoresh to plant trees as part of his organization’s wider campaign to plant trees throughout Israel and replenish the land from brush fires.
Shoresh was founded by Romanian immigrants in 1948, the year of the founding of the state of Israel. The word ‘Shoresh’ means ‘root’ in Hebrew and can be found in the book of Isaiah:
In that day, The root of Yishai that has remained standing Shall become a standard to peoples— Nations shall seek his counsel And his abode shall be honored. (Isaiah 11:10)
It should be noted that the Shemitta (sabbatical year) begins after Rosh Hashanna at the beginning of September. Jews are forbidden from planting in the Shemmitta so despite the great need in the wake of such destruction, perhaps even intentional arson, it will be difficult to replace the loss of the trees of the forest.
The Israel365 organization is working hard already to replenish trees that are being burned down and hopes to do so in the three weeks remaining before the Sabbatical year begins. You can help by clicking here.
This is a developing story and will be updated as needed.