Hanukkah, which we celebrate this week, recalls the miracle of lights that burned for eight days. Israel, meanwhile, struggled to extinguish a forest fire raging out of control. Fanned by Santa Ana-type winds, the blaze engulfed the Carmel region of the Lower Galilee, claiming 42 lives, destroying communities, and consuming about 10,000 acres and more than 4 million trees. A country that has prevailed through successive wars and terrorist attacks, Israel had never before confronted such a devastating natural disaster. And we could not overcome it alone.
Admitting that was not easy for us. A self-reliant people who are renowned as first responders to disasters abroad ”” in earthquake-stricken Haiti and Turkey, for example, or in a Congolese village decimated by fire ”” we are accustomed to offering rather than requesting aid. And yet, as the Carmel fire spread, forcing 17,000 people from their homes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not stand on pride. “We live in a global world,” he explained. “We give and receive help, and it’s not shameful to ask.”
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