the destruction in Mevo Modiim
the destruction in Mevo Modiim Hadas Parush/Flash90

The Knesset Finance Committee held a hearing on Wednesday to examine the issue of compensation for the residents of Mevo Modiim and Kibbutz Harel, whose homes were burned down in a massive fire two weeks ago. The hearing followed the government's decision on Sunday to approve a budget of NIS 4.5 million for immediate aid to the fire victims.

The Mevo-Modiim community has 65 households with 223 residents who lost their homes to the fires. Many of them also lost their source of income and have been left with little more than the clothes on their backs.

This morning, they came to the Knesset Finance Committee and urged members of the committee to do all they could to ensure that the government would properly handle them, both in terms of the personal and communal resilience and in the physical aspect of finding short and long-term housing solutions.

The residents described a truly catastrophic situation: they live in basic boarding conditions - six people in a room, parents with small children and elderly people.

Brachi Sprung, a member of the Mevo-Modiim community, shared the difficult experiences of the residents with the committee members. "We have been wiped out. All the residents are immigrants from different countries who came from Zionist motives, and now they have nothing. It is inconceivable that the moshav does not exist, it now looks like a war zone. There was nothing left. My father was the last to be evacuated. He took only the dog because he did not believe he would not return home."

Sprung described the unbearable conditions the residents have lived in for the past two weeks. "We live as destitute refugees and need holistic treatment. We went through an unimaginable trauma. We evacuated the children quickly and there is nowhere to go."

Shimon Sussan, head of the Modi'in Regional Council, said: "The residents' are not living their lives. There are problems on every continuum, residents have experienced trauma and they are in a pressure cooker. It is important that you know that this event must end as soon as possible. Every day a quarter of a million shekels is raised, and the temporary settlement must be accelerated."

"When there was an earthquake in Haiti, we received the message at 6 AM, and at 8 PM the discussion ended. At 10 there was government approval, and 11 were on the tracks," MK Tal Russo said. "We are dealing with a disaster, and in such a situation we must be prepared with an immediate emergency procedure."

Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni summed up the situation: "We are in an absurd situation, and I want to tell everyone that we have patience and we will not stop, not because there is such a disaster and there is no legal solution."