Yad Vashem's management held a special ceremony yesterday to thank employees, most of whom are Arab residents of East Jerusalem, who helped fight the fire that broke out in the Jerusalem Forest two weeks ago.

The workers, mostly employed in the cleaning and maintenance staff, fought the blaze for hours as the flames threatened to reach the institution's archives. The employees had to battle the flames with nothing more than very simple tools. Three of them suffered from smoke inhalation injuries and required medical treatment.

Without the efforts of these employees, said Yad Vashem's management, the fire would have breached the museum's fence and damaged buildings.

Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem, said that when trouble came, and the staff were approached, they spontaneously said they were fighting for their home.

The staff's dedication was praiseworthy, he said.

The Jerusalem municipality had finished its study of the fire and drawn conclusions. The cooperation between the various bodies involved in fighting the fire was successful, said the city, but added that in the future, there is a need to improve dealings with the population.