US Firefighters "Dropped Everything" to Fight Fires in Israel

39 firefighters gave up their Thanksgiving weekend to help Israel in their fire crisis.  Seven of the 39 are Jewish, but all of them share a love for Israel.

American Firefighters in Israel (Photo by The Times of Israel)

American Firefighters in Israel (Photo by The Times of Israel)

Over 32,000 acres of beautiful forest burned along with hundreds of homes and businesses. According to the Israeli authorities, the fires began because of a very long dry spell and high winds, but were exacerbated by Palestinian and Arab-Israeli arsonists with nationalist motives. While 29 have been arrested for arson, investigations continue.

Last Friday, Israel’s Public Security Ministry requested help from the “Emergency Volunteers Project,” a network of over 950 American volunteers and professional first responders. Many Israeli firefighters had been fighting the blazes for 90 hours straight and appreciated the American help so they could rest.

Elan Raber (Photo from The Times of Israel)

Elan Raber (Photo from The Times of Israel)

Elan Raber, Jewish, flew in Sunday morning from Los Angeles, where he works for the Los Angeles City Fire Department. He was familiar with the station at Petach Tivkah because he trained there with the Emergency Volunteers Program. Raber was born in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces and views being in Israel as “part of his calling,” According to The Times of Israel.