A plane unloads fire retardant on a fire in Jerusalem (video snippet)

A dramatic fire erupted in the Valley of the Cross, perilously close to the Israel Museum, igniting fears and causing significant damage to the roof of the museum's youth wing. The museum issued a statement confirming that, thanks to the heroic efforts of the fire and rescue services, the blaze was eventually brought under control, sparing the museum's invaluable art collections from destruction.

The conflagration, which burned for hours, started near the Knesset and rapidly spread toward the Israel Museum, sending plumes of smoke and flames perilously close to this cultural landmark. As a precautionary measure, the museum was evacuated amid conflicting reports on the scale of the response. According to Israel's Channel 12 News, a staggering 23 fire and rescue teams from the Jerusalem district, supported by eight firefighting aircraft, battled the inferno. In contrast, the Jerusalem Post reported the deployment of 14 fire teams and four aircraft. Regardless of these discrepancies, the response was nothing short of monumental.

Museum officials reassured the public that the priceless works of art remained safe, stating, "There is no danger to the works of art housed within the building." This came as a huge relief to art lovers and historians worldwide.

The Jerusalem District Fire and Rescue Service highlighted the challenges posed by the fierce winds and scorching temperatures that fanned the flames towards the museum. "The fire spread towards the Israel Museum due to the winds and extremely hot weather," they explained. Firefighters focused their efforts on preventing the blaze from breaching the museum's defenses.

Adding to the formidable firefighting force, an Israel Police Air Unit helicopter joined the fray, providing critical aerial support. A large police contingent from the Jerusalem District also mobilized in the nearby Matzalaba Valley, also known as Rehavia Park, where another forest fire had raged shortly before.

The origin of the fire remains a mystery, but it coincided with Israel experiencing unusually high temperatures, with forecasts predicting even hotter conditions in the coming days.

This incident underscores the bravery and dedication of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to protect one of Israel's most cherished cultural institutions.

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy