2016 – Wildfires in Haifa

By Ben Oppedijk

Israelis in Haifa wake up to flashes of light, the screech of sirens and the rush of action. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vows roars on the television, vowing to avenge a new form of terror. 80,000 are evacuated from their homes as accusations fly at Palestinian suspects.
The wildfires in near Haifa in November 2016 were explosive and dramatic – and yet they symbolised so much of the story of the state of Israel. This is a country that is regularly described as a tinderbox and, this time, it was no metaphor after two months of drought. Hundreds of homes were destroyed but, thankfully there were no deaths. Meanwhile, media around the world fanned the flames of outrage as accusations flew. A most Israeli of disasters, where everyone had something to say and it was almost as if the heat and the violence was coming from the land itself.