After a special meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri approved NIS 4.5 million ($1.25 million) for Mevo Modi’im and Kibbutz Harel, two communities that suffered serious damage in fires two weeks ago.

“A week ago, we experienced very severe fires, and they burned large parts of Mevo Modi’im and Kibbutz Harel, which caused great damage to dozens of families,” Netanyahu said in a media statement. “This is heartbreaking, and in a joint effort with the interior and housing ministers, we are providing immediate assistance to residents whose homes were burned…”

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Of the 50 homes in Mevo Modi’im, 40 suffered serious damage. Even the houses that were undamaged will be unlivable for at least six months as the infrastructure for water and electricity was destroyed and must be replaced before anyone can return. The people were forced to flee with just the clothes on their backs. They returned to their homes, many to be greeted by piles of ashes. Most have to rebuild their lives from nothing. They are currently being housed in the Ben Shemen Youth Village in Yad Binyamin.

Bridges for Peace and Israel365 have partnered to help the people of Mevo Modi’im through this difficult period.

“I visited the two communities and saw the tremendous damage done to the local authorities, who acted quickly to immediately evacuate the residents until a final solution was found,” Deri said. “The government should help the local authorities to enable the residents to return to their routine as quickly as possible, despite the enormous damage caused. I instructed the director-general of the Ministry to continue to examine all the expenses and needs of the authorities in order to provide a solution as required.”

The community of Mevo Modiin was founded by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, known as the singing rabbi. His brand of Judaism, based on love and inclusion, attracted many from the hippie counterculture in the 1960’s. Many young Jews came to his small synagogues in New York City and San Francisco called “The House of Love and Prayer.” Many of these people followed him to Israel, settling in Mevo Modiin in 1975 when the region was largely unsettled.  The group is a collection of eclectic individuals, including musicians, artists, organic farmers, wine makers, perfumers, and Torah scholars. Their hand-painted synagogue, itself a work of art, was filled with joyous service based on the songs of Rabbi Carlebach.

The community had an open-door policy and brought many people, Jew and non-Jew, closer to Torah with their unique brand of joyous service to God. This undoubtedly was an approach they learned from their ‘rebbe’ (spiritual teacher), Rabbi Carlebach. Known simply as ‘the Moshav’, the extended family of these very special Jews circles the globe.

Unusually high temperatures generated dangerous conditions leading to more than a thousand fires being reported last weekend destroying more than 3,700 acres of forest. Fire authorities now suspect the fire that destroyed Mevo Modi’im the result of arson.


Source: Israel in the News