Over 200 fires broke out in open areas over the course of Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath, from Friday at sundown until Saturday at nightfall - ed.) and initial investigations have shown that the larger fires may have been set intentionally.
Initial investigations by Israel Police and the Fire and Rescue Service showed that the large fires which broke out in the Galilee town of Gita and in the town of Zeitan near Ben Gurion International Airport were the result of arson, Kan News reported Saturday night.
The Fire and Rescue Service said that in the past day, over 200 fires broke out in open areas, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of families.
Fire Commissioner Dadi Simchi said, "The fire is manmade. Our forces are investigating the fires, and I believe that we will succeed in uncovering the cause and who did it."
"Tomorrow there will also be strong winds, and I call on everyone not to light fires in open areas."
On Saturday, fires broke out near the town of Yarka in northern Israel, as well as in Kafr Kabul and Kafr Yasif, two northern Arab towns near Highway 70. Dozens of families were evacuated, but no one was injured.
The fire in Zeitan forced residents to evacuate their homes, and fighting it caused changes in departures from Ben Gurion International Airport. Later, firefighters succeeded in gaining control of the flames.
The fire in the Galilee town of Gita damaged seven homes, and forced 75 families to evacuate. The families were allowed to return home once the fire was under control.