World Citizen: Israel Forest Fire Could Be Ultra-Religious Parties’ Katrina

World Citizen: Israel Forest Fire Could Be Ultra-Religious Parties’ Katrina

The foreign firefighters have received their commendations, packed their bags, and headed home after helping to extinguish the worst forest fire in Israeli history. But now that the flames of the Carmel forest have been consigned to the crowded recesses of the nation's most-painful memories, now that relatives of the 42 people killed in the inferno have buried their loved ones, a new firestorm -- this one a political conflagration -- is beginning to rage in Israel.

All major natural disasters bring political consequences, and every politician wants to avoid being blamed for them. But sometimes even the most media-savvy politician cannot avoid the fallout, especially when the disaster confirms what many had long suspected regarding Israel's firefighting preparedness: Political games and bureaucratic wrangling can sometimes be deadly. And when the incompetence becomes so obvious, the government's actions can qualify as "criminal negligence."

In Israel, many feel strongly that somebody should pay for the Carmel fire, even if it qualifies as a natural disaster. And the search for a culprit is raising the heat on some of the parties that make up Israel's governing coalition.

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