Fire or a Massacre? Israeli Media Downplays Arson Suspicion
The fire in the Carmel Mountains may turn out to be the worst terror act in Israel's history, but major news outlets appear resolute in their will to ignore this possibility and its implications.
Israel's left-oriented major news media are on the whole defining the fire as a "disaster," spending most of their broadcast time discussing the insufficient preparation for a disaster of this magnitude and downplaying the fact that Arab arson is likely to be behind the blaze.
MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) of the National Union was the first leader Thursday to publicly give voice the possibility that the fire was a terror attack – “an act of arson that turned into a massacre,” in his words. Most of the large forest fires in Israel are set by hostile Arabs, Katz said. He noted that he had proposed a bill for minimum punishment of terror arsonists nine months ago, and blamed Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman for torpedoing it.
Member of Knesset Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) called on Prime Minister Netanyahu Thursday evening to recruit “the entire Shin Bet” (Israel Security Agency) to investigate the Carmel Mountain fire and what he described as "the ongoing arson activity in the Galilee in general."
MK Ben-Ari said, "Fires are not decrees from above and the people of Israel must receive an answer regarding what's behind this great tragedy."
The fire spread from three locations simultaneously – making arson a likely possibility.
Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), a resident of Usfiyeh, said on Channel 10 Thursday evening that he has received information that the fire is a terror act. He said that if the perpetrators are caught they should be executed "like [the Nazi criminal Adolf] Eichmann" who is the only person put to death by Israel to date.
Arab citizens of Israel use arson as a simple means of inflicting terror and destruction upon the Jewish state. Large scale fires recently consumed 5,000 acres in the Golan Heights. A fire was set in the Gilad Farm several weeks ago and an Arab was seen fleeing by a group of soldiers in the area..
The numerous large fires that broke out or were set this year depleted Israel's reserves of fire-fighting chemicals, and the supply of chemicals is expected to be used up completely by Friday morning. Israeli planes are reported to be en route to France to bring more supplies of fire-dousing materials.
According to an unconfirmed report on rotter.net, Radio Haifa reported that Arabs have been dancing in the streets of Furadis, just south of Haifa, in celebration of the deadly fire.