In the past year, terrorist from Gaza have destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature preserves in southern Israel with their incendiary devices such as kites, balloons, and drones. Now, Israel Hayom's Nikki Guttman tells us, volunteer firefighter brigades along the Gaza border are working and training to protect the Holy Land and the people who live there:
Incendiary balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip have destroyed some 8,150 acres of Israeli land, mostly in the Gaza periphery region, in the past 10 months. To better meet this challenge, 16 Israelis have decided to take part in a volunteer firefighting course...
According to Eyal Hajbi, the chief security officer for the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, the course is one way the region is preparing for the next wave of arson attacks this summer.
"We are preparing in full force for the summer of 2019 because Hamas never said it would stop launching [incendiary] balloons and kites. In recent weeks, explosive balloons were sent toward Israel. The incendiary balloons stopped for a time because of the weather. We expect them to renew the launches when it gets warmer out..."
"There's a lot more that needs to be done. The work is being carried out thanks to extraordinary cooperation between the council, the communities and the Israel Fire and Rescue Services. The volunteer unit from Or Haner is another brick in the wall of defense against the fires," he added.
Lucy Miransky, one of two women taking part in the course, told Israel Hayom that on Friday "We did a live exercise that involved cutting a car open, and we simulated a fire. Despite all the difficulty involved, I had a great time. The tools weigh a ton, and we are only two women, but we do everything the men do.
"We've had a lot of fires on the kibbutz and a few times firefighting planes were called in. Thank god we can now protect ourselves more quickly instead of waiting for the firefighters to be sent in. We can deal with the fires or at least stabilize the situation until backup arrives.
"We don't expect things to improve. They launch incendiary balloons. Now, in the winter, they launch explosive balloons, and there's no prognosis this will end," she said...