Haifa schools, except for two, were back to routine Sunday morning after five days of wildfires across the country. The university and Technion resumed classes and exams, excepting exams in international studies. The regular cabinet session will take place in Haifa in support of the town.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu phoned the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas with thanks for the eight Palestinian teams with engines who spent 36 hours battling flames alongside Israel firefighters.
At least half of the hundreds of fires, initially whipped up by dry winds, were deliberately set. So far, 25 arrests of suspected arsonists are in custody and being questioned, most of them Palestinians, a few Israeli Arabs.
Home Security Minister Gilead Erdan said those convicted would receive the same punishments as other “terrorists,” including the demolition of their homes.
One-time grants of INS 2,500 (app. $700) per person were to be made Sunday to householders whose homes were damaged in the wildfires across the country. Finance Ministry surveyors to set out on inspections without delay to assess the damage to homes. Property Tax Dept officials were directed by the minister to cut the red tape for compensation applications. Compensation would be awarded regardless of whether the householder carried insurance. Haifa, Israel’s third town, was the worst hit, with 1,800 homes damaged by fire, including 527 that are uninhabitable.