Carmel fire AP 2.12.2010
Firefighters attempting to prevent a wildfire from reaching the town of Tirat Hacarmel, Dec. 2, 2010. Photo by AP
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You don't have to be a genius to predict horrible disasters - one is bound to happen sooner or later. That said, it is still outrageously stupid to not work to avert a predictable disaster before it strikes. Israel is a stupid, lawbreaking state. It voraciously devours its own people, and this time devoured them with fire. Yesterday was the first day of Hanukkah - but there was certainly no miracle.

Only a week ago I wrote here, yet again, about the narrow gap separating the miracle we cannot count on from the calamity lying patiently in wait. I wrote about the insufferable gulf between the florid statements and pretensions, and the effective incompetence - reflected yesterday in the rescue services' inadequate hoses and ladders. Even their fire-extinguishing planes are improvised, and there are too few of them to make a difference. The meager materials at the firefighters' disposal will run out by this morning.

The State Comptroller's reports are awash with prophecies of doom, but they too are shoved onto high, dusty shelves. You don't have to be Lindenstrauss to know what is going on and shudder. Anyone who takes an interest knows.

I also wrote about the minister in charge, the interior minister who is in no hurry when everything goes up in flames. He relies on God, whose salvation is instantaneous, like the blink of an eye. The minister is ready to set Jerusalem on fire at any moment as well.

Saying "I told you so" is annoying, I know, but those who refuse to listen are more annoying.

The minister is not the only one to blame here. The entire government is responsible. Every government has a leader - And where's his head at, these days? Now there's a problem - who will appoint the inquiry committee into the fire. But what happens when the investigators are the same ones who caused the disaster in the first place?

All the tragedies befalling us have a common denominator - they are not surprising at all. Haifa's mayor rushed to the scene and said, "We knew it was only a matter of time before disaster struck." He was referring to the neighboring landfill, where the fire most likely started. And if it wasn't the source of yesterday's brushfire, it will be the source of tomorrow's.

The country is full of such garbage dumps where nobody bothers to enforce the law. The whole country is at risk, but especially Haifa, whose surrounding mountains were recently described by the industry, trade and labor minister as "an atom bomb."

Not a week goes by without a fire raging - one in the Shalom Tower in Tel Aviv, many in the Golan. While property and forests burn, people simply return to their daily routine, as if it was no big deal. We claim to love our country so much, with all our heart and soul, with a lot of fire and very little water.

But our love is declarative and heavenly, rather than practical and down-to-earth. Where trees burn down due to neglect and disrepair - people will be burned too.

Let us call on our beloved country to cry out from its depths. But who will hear her cries and show compassion?