Thousands of firefighters risked their lives in Israel over the past week as they battled hundreds of fierce wildfires. Neighboring friendly nations, including Croatia, Greece, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Russia and Turkey, did not hesitate to come to Israel’s aid, sending additional personnel and firefighting aircraft.
Never to be outdone, Saturday, the United States sent its “Supertanker”—the largest firefighting aircraft in the world.
One would think this act would be newsworthy.
Add to that the fact that initial investigations have largely pointed to arson. Unseasonably dry weather and high winds most assuredly did not help, but it turns out that many of these wildfires were not quite so wild after all. They were, in fact, deliberate acts of destruction intended to inflict as much devastation and damage as possible. And it’s still not in the news.
Is it this particular form of terrorism that makes it so uninteresting to the media? Shootings and stabbings are given their fair share of airtime. Bombings are certainly front page news. And arson?
The silence is deafening.
But arson is no less dangerous or destructive than these other attacks—arguably even more so. It’s just the latest iteration in the constantly evolving, ever growing Palestinian terrorist arsenal.
We have seen drive-by shootings, mass riots and so-called lone wolf strikes. We’ve seen stabbings and car rammings at crowded bus stations. The message from the terrorists is simple: We will take whatever we have and use it as a weapon. Our creativity when it comes to murdering Jews knows no limits.
Undeniably, the Palestinian terrorists are an innovative group, constantly looking outside the box for new ways to harm innocent people. They look for maximum impact: How can they do the most damage, and ruin the largest number of lives, at the lowest risk of being stopped? So why not fire?
The rest of the world should take note, and beware. Israel is the canary in the coal mine. When terrorist tactics are tried out in Israel, it is not long before they are visited upon the rest of the world. Just look at the recent terrorist car ramming and stabbing attack on the campus of Ohio State University. In many ways, it played out just as dozens of similar strikes have in Israel. And it ended the same way, with law enforcement being forced to end the threat with deadly force, killing the terrorist.
Last October, attacks that were eerily similar took place on the streets of Northern Israel, and in Jerusalem, and in the West Bank.
Starting a fire is just as easy to replicate—minimal supplies are needed. And it comes with the added benefit of giving the perpetrator the option to flee before anyone discovers his misdeeds.
To his credit, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a coalition of eight fire trucks and 40 firefighters to help fight the blazes. But of course, the fires were not contained only to Jewish land. It seems that the Palestinians would rather watch the land burn than let the Jews inhabit it.
And burn it did—32,000 acres—with Israel haters employing hashtags on social media celebrating the fact that the Jewish state was ablaze. In Haifa alone, the fires devastated 28,000 acres. Areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank were also hit hard. Hundreds of buildings were damaged. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated in Haifa, and more than 500 now have no home to which they can return.
The most overwhelming number of all may be the sheer number of individual fires that ravaged the Holy Land for the past week: 1,773 separate blazes were reported. More than 100 people were injured in this firestorm. Thankfully, nobody was killed.
Perhaps it did not make the news because no lives were lost. But we shouldn’t wait until people die to take note. The magnitude of the devastation was severe, and the lives of those affected irrevocably altered. We should not expect these fires to be the last, or the worst, fires that Israel faces.
The fires may have stopped raging in Israel for the time being, but the hatred that started these fires is still raging in the hearts and minds of the arsonists. More than 30 have been arrested so far.
The tragedy of these fires is compounded by the fact that there was no corresponding outcry in the mainstream media. For every other method of conflict in Israel, there is wall-to-wall, 24/7 media coverage. For terrorism arson, apparently it’s simply not a story.
America should be paying attention. One only needs to look at the wildfires that are presently burning in our own great nation to see the damage the flames can cause and the pain they can inflict.
We must address this problem now and take steps to prevent terrorists from using this new method of mass destruction. We can’t afford to wait until the smoke clears.
Mr. Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. Watch our Right Side Forum every Saturday Live, Newschannel 8 TV 28 in Washington, D.C., 10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. and repeats 6:30 p.m. EST. Follow on Twitter: @arightside.