Cabinet Approves Rehabilitation Plan for Yerushalayim Hills Fire Damage

YERUSHALAYIM -
Smoke caused by a wildfire near Givat Yearim at the outskirts of Yerushalayim, as seen from Yerushalayim, Aug. 16. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

In the wake of the wildfires that occurred approximately two weeks ago in the Yerushalayim hills region, the Cabinet on Monday approved an assistance and rehabilitation plan – which was formulated by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the environmental protection, finance and interior ministers – for dealing with the damage that was caused in the area.

The fires led to the evacuation of the communities of Beit Meir, Shoresh, Shoeva, Kisalon, Givat Yearim, Ramat Raziel, Tzuba and the facility at Eitanim, and caused extensive damage in the area, especially to buildings and infrastructure.

The fires also burned thousands of dunams of forest and natural growth, damaged springs, nature and heritage sites, trails and nature reserves, and led to the death of many animals.

Following are the main points of the plan:

  • NIS 2.6 million will be allocated for immediate assistance in financing urgent and immediate emergency expenses and for lodging expenditures by the local council for residents who were evacuated from their homes due to fire damage.
  • NIS 5 million will be allocated to the local council for expenditures incurred in clearing asbestos debris as a result of the fire, which the government recognizes as having a significant environmental impact.
  • The Environmental Protection Ministry will formulate – within 60 days – a NIS 60 million action plan for the ecological rehabilitation of the open areas and nature sites that were damaged in the fire, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, JNF-KKL, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, the local council and other agencies.
  • NIS 400,000 will be allocated by the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry for social affairs and social services rehabilitation plans for the communities that were damaged by the fires, in cooperation with the ministry and the local council.