Flammable Kites From Gaza Set Israeli Fields and Forests Ablaze

Firefighters battled to control a number of fires near the border with the Gaza Strip

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A fire near Kibbutz Be'eri, May 23, 2018.
A fire near Kibbutz Be'eri, May 23, 2018.Credit: JNF
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

A number of fires flared up in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip Wednesday after Palestinians once again sent blazing kites into Israel from Gaza.

Firefighters from the Jewish National fund and the Israel Fire and Rescue Services battled the blazes in the area of Kibbutz Kissufim, Kibbutz Nahal Oz and the Assaf Simhoni Forest. Earlier in the day, firefighters brought a fire near Kibbutz Be’eri under control. No injuries were reported.

Palestinians have been flying kites with flammable material into Israel for weeks, with the aim of starting fires on the Israeli side. The arson has caused millions of shekels of damage to crops and forests.

On Tuesday, a brush fire broke out near Shivta in the northwest Negev and firefighters brought it under control.

Because of the large number of fires caused by arson from burning kites sent by Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s Agriculture Ministry is now urging farmers in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip to harvest their wheat crops early – even before they are fully ripened and ready for harvest. The government is offering farmers 60 shekels ($17) per dunam (quarter-acre) of wheat harvested before the optimum time. 

Farmers whose fields have burned already will be compensated by the state’s property tax department as victims of terrorism.

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