Residents of the Arab village of Shaab invited their Jewish neighbors in Gilon and Tzurit affected by the fire to stay with them. And in Abu Ghosh, an Arab council a few minutes west of Jerusalem, local council head Issa Jaber offered his community's help to neighboring Nataf as soon as he learned of the fires and its evacuation.
"We set up a nursery school in our community center, we hosted a day of activities for the children and set up all the additional halls in the community center. One hundred and fifty people from Nataf came here, including children and animals. It's the least we could do for our neighbors," Jaber said.
But the generosity of the residents of Abu Ghosh did not end there. When local restaurant owners heard their neighbors would be staying in their village, they sent food and drinks to the community center, and volunteers set the tables for their guests. Rami Matan, the head of the Nataf Council, said, "I have never seen anything like it in all my life. Issa told me he will do everything for us." Matan called the experience "very moving."
Farther north, around 15 employees of mobile network operator firm Pelephone -- including engineers, technicians, contractors and managers -- set up a mobile cellular station in the Zikhron Yaakov area, where fires also continue to rage. The station is meant to assist security forces and police as they work to manage the situation there.
Also in Zikhron Yaakov, members of the city's Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed youth movement were collecting donations and hosting activities for young people. In regional schools, youth group leaders hosted educational and recreational activities for children of all ages and operated crafting stations to ease tensions among students. In addition, the youth movement opened one of its centers to the general public, to allow people to donate toys, clothes and electric appliances to families in need.
The National Student and Youth Council announced an initiative to put evacuated families in touch with families interested in hosting them. As of Wednesday night, dozens of people have contacted the council to help.
Yaron Rozenthal, head of the Kfar Etzion Field School in Gush Etzion, is reaching out on social media to families evacuated from their homes in Zikhron Yaakov and inviting them to stay at the new guesthouses at the field school. Rozenthal said the fire and the evacuations "obligate us to show solidarity and provide assistance."
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=38267