Israel Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) blamed terrorists on Sunday morning for the wave of fires which scorched a number of towns and cities in Israel over the past few days, causing untold damage.
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We are seeing a wave of nationalistic terror here. Fire terrorists tried to kill an entire town and its residents, Bennett said during a visit to the settlement of Halamish in the Binyamin area of the West Bank, which was struck hard by the relentless flames. The aim was to burn and kill in an Israeli town.
Bennetts remarks came on the heels of the findings of a special investigations unit which discovered evidence of arson in two areas of Halamish.
Meanwhile firefighters were forced to contend with a massive brush fire which erupted near Hadera in the moshav of Talmei Elazar in northern Israel on Sunday morning. The fire broke out after authorities believed that the flames had finally been brought under control or extinguished across the country.
In the last few days I was in Haifa during the fire and now here I see destroyed homes, burnt to the core, Bennett continued. We are facing a new wave of national terror whose goal is to murder and intimidate Jews. That is the definition of terror. This terror too, we will defeat.
He went on to praise Israel for the actions taken to suffocate the fires, and the camaraderie displayed as the disaster battered large areas of the country. As usual, Israel drew in all layers of society, for each other, in a way that is unprecedented. We see the volunteers and the mutual help. For every home here we will build an even bigger home, many more, because that is the real answer to terror. We will prevail, he declared.
Elaborating on the efforts being undertaken to rehabilitate Halamish, in which 18 homes were consumed by the fires, Bennett said: At the moment, the aim is to return all the families to the town who will live temporarily in caravans since they wish to continue their lives.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also visited the blackened settlement where he furnished praise on the residents who even today choose to act courageously and not speak of revenge but rather about building the and expanding the settlement enterprise. I think that the best answer is to widen the settlement enterprise.
Lieberman further stated the establishments intention to bring to account any terrorists who deliberately started fires, before thanking countries that had provided succor in Israels hour of need.
I think that natural disasters are shared by us and the Palestinians, he said. When something like this happens everyone comes to help. I want to thank all the fire crews who came from outside Israel, and made an enormous and critical contribution, including the Palestinian crews.