The worst wildfire in Israel's history teaches Israelis that Jews and Arabs share the same fate, President Shimon Peres said on Sunday while attending the funeral of a teenage volunteer fire fighter near Haifa.
Speaking at the funeral of fire-fighting teenager Elad Rebin in Nesher, Peres, referring to the bushfire that had been tearing through the Carmel since Thursday, that the "disaster taught us that all of us, Jews, Arabs, Druze, and other peoples, share the same fate."
"The skies were suddenly filled with pilots and planes from twenty different countries," the president said, adding that, on the ground, came "fire trucks and firefighters from neighbors and [nations] far away – Greece, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Cyprus, Bulgaria, the United States, Russia, and more."
In a possible reference to criticism of Israel's apparent inability to deal with the blaze, Peres said that, while Israel may have been missing tools in its fight against the Carmel fire, "there was not shortage whatsoever of wonderful people and volunteers."
"Suddenly we are all one family, one people, bearing responsibility, tearful, and ready for sacrifice, we are one," Peres said.
Rebin, whose funeral the president attended, was a 16-year-old volunteer firefighter from Nesher, who perished on Thursday as he attempted to aid rescue workers attempting to evacuate Prison Service cadets trapped in a bus by surrounding flames.
Speaking at Rebin's funeral in Nesher, Peres praised the teenager's braver, saying: "No one sent you, no one called for you, no one buy your wonderful and brave conscience."
"When the flames seized at you from every direction, Elad, you suddenly awakened the voice of your generation, the true face of a silent generation, one that volunteers, a generation of excellence, of excellent people."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now