Hagai Dotan, the commander of the Coastal District of the Israeli Police, ordered on Thursday evening the establishment of a special investigative unit to look into the circumstances surrounding the recent fires.
Dotan said that the fires, which have raged in several areas in Israel in recent days, are a new form of terrorism.
“The suspicion now is that the arson was nationalistically motivated,” he said. “We have no intelligence to support that, but if you look at the entire country, we see arson in Tivon, in Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh – such a sequence of fires cannot be coincidental.”
His comments come after several blazes broke out in Israel on Thursday. One, near Sha'ar HaAmakim, in the southeastern approach to Haifa, was spreading toward Tivon in the afternoon. The residents of three streets were evacuated from their homes. Residents of an old age home were also evacuated. Two homes were reportedly damaged but no one was hurt.
Outside Jerusalem, near Even Sapir, the fire that burned Wednesday reignited and was brought under control after dozens of local residents were evacuated from their homes in the western part of the community.
In addition, a fire broke out near an IDF ammunition depot in the Rehovot area, near Tel Nof. No one was hurt. Fire crews were able to bring the blaze under control in a relatively short time.
Earlier on Thursday, sources in the fire department and the Zevulun precinct police told Arutz Sheva that the fires are the result of arson.
While high temperatures and irresponsibility by campers are always potential causes of fires, it is a well known fact that Arabs intentionally set fires as an easy way of terrorizing Jews and destroying their property. Arab inciters have called on Arabs to do just this, on more than one occasion.
When a fire broke out near Jerusalem six weeks ago, Major General Niso Shaham, who was then Commander of the Jerusalem Police, told a Channel 2 reporter that there is currently a plethora of arson attacks in the Jerusalem area. The reporter said that fire fighters told him that there were several incidents of arson every day in the Jerusalem area alone, and Shaham did not deny this.
Arabs have been documented setting fires to fields in Judea and Samaria, where this is a common practice of theirs.