This Ongoing War..
27 November '16..
The New York Times' assessment of the massive fires that had erupted all over Israel in the previous 48 hours was summed up in these striking opening sentences of Isabel Kershner' report this past Friday:
Parts of the port city of Haifa in northern Israel were ablaze on Thursday as wildfires raged through the country for a third day, devouring forests, damaging homes and prompting the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
Asked how long Haifa was likely to be battling the blazes, Mayor Yona Yahav told reporters, “This is a question that has to be referred to God.” Israeli officials said the fires had been fanned by unusually strong winds and made worse by a dry atmosphere, but they also said they suspected that many of them had been caused by arson and negligence. Dozens of people have been slightly affected by smoke inhalation, but no serious injuries or fatalities have been reported.
["As Wildfires Rage, Israel Suggests Arson and Asks for Foreign Help", New York Times, November 24, 2016]
For us, the tone of that piece was set by "Israel Suggests Arson" in the headline and the words we have bolded above: "slightly affected by smoke inhalation, but no serious injuries..." Knowing the scale of the massive blazes and which places were - and which were not - affected makes the wording appear especially shabby. It goes on to make mention of Israeli concerns, articulated by the government minister in charge of public security, Gilad Erdan, that
"the professional assessment was that almost half the fires were the result of arson."
For many, the details of that professional assessment might have been something worth knowing.
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