Deri: We’ll Consider Stripping Arsonists of Citizenship

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. (Miriam Alsterl/Flash90)
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Miriam Alsterl/Flash90)

Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri (Shas) said Thursday evening that he would consider every option available to him to punish the arsonists responsible for many of the fires that have ravaged Haifa and other parts of the country.

Speaking in Haifa Thursday evening, Rabbi Deri said that punishments could include stripping the arsonists of their citizenship. Police said that so far eight arson suspects have been arrested.

In other developments, the director general of the Finance Ministry, Shai Babad, on Thursday convened top officials of the Finance and Interior Ministries and the Prime Minister’s Office to form an assessment of the situation in the wake of the wave of fires that has struck the country over the last three days, Ynet reported.

As of Thursday night, it appeared that there were no budgetary impediments to meeting the need for financial help to devastated areas. In the crisis, the Finance Ministry has been making the necessary funds available to the Interior Ministry, security forces, rescue services and hospitals.

Meanwhile, fires in Kiryat Ata near Haifa were threatening homes there, Walla reports. Another blaze began near Kibbutz Sasa, close to the Lebanese border, and another fire close to the Druze town of Sajur, in the Galil, was reported.

Another fire broke out near the northern city of Carmiel. Four teams of firefighters were working to bring the blaze under control, Walla reported.

The Haifa municipality announced that several neighborhoods will remain without electricity overnight and at least through Friday morning, including Ramat Chen, Ramat Sapir, Ramat Almogi, Ramat Begin, Ramat Golda, Hurav and Romema.

Schools and kindergartens in the fire-ravaged areas of Haifa will not open on Friday morning, the municipality said.

Nearly 2,224 acres were burned in this week’s fires, the biggest natural disaster in the country in terms of land since the Carmel fires of 2010, according to a JNF estimate.