Economy

Fire damage in the community of Beit Meir, outside of Jerusalem
Managing insurance claims and red tape will be the brunt of initial cleanup efforts

Israel is working to extinguish the last of the fires that set the country ablaze last week. While the final firefighting efforts continue, the economic damages are racking up.

Hundreds of fires raged from the as South near the Dead Sea through the North of country, scorching almost 5,000 acres of land.

"We need to do something with this. We can't go on like this. Our whole country is burning and it hurts," said Temima Shavit, a resident of Bet Meir, a religious moshav in central Israel.

This wave of fires is estimated as 30 percent larger than the Carmel mountain fire of 2010, which cost the Israeli economy 270 million shekels.

Repairs for Haifa alone are already projected to total as high as half a billion shekels. Haifa saw the largest fire, forcing more than a quarter of the northern city to evacuate.

We in the Ministry of Finance and Property Tax Foundation, we will lead all to give these people an immediate solution," said Fiance Minister Moshe Kahlon. "If there will be arguing with insurance companies we will manage them."

Managing insurance claims and red tape will be the brunt of initial cleanup efforts.

Parliament must decide where the fault lies. If the fires are arson and therefore an act of terrorism, the government is required to compensate the victims.

Otherwise, insurance companies will have to cover the claims, leaving those uninsured with the bill. For now, many are focused on providing shelter for the 1,000s left homeless.

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