A week after unknown vandals set fire to four vehicles in the Arab-Israeli village of Akbara, near Safed, the owner of one of the cars received a NIS 1,500 ($417) invoice from the fire department for services rendered.
The vehicles were set ablaze at 2 am, and graffiti reading "don't touch our girls – price tag" was found on a wall nearby.
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Bill sent by Fire Services (Photo: Osama Halil)
When Osama Halil turned to the Fire and Rescue Services he was told the bill for the extinguishing services provided by the service would be split between the owners of all four torched cars, but that he would still have to pay his share (NIS 375, or $104).
Torched cars in Akbara (Photo: Iad Hadad)
"As if it is not enough that my car was burned, now they send me a NIS 1,500 bill," he said. "The bill doesn’t even state my car's license number or my identification card number. It is not right that I have to pay out of my own pocket. It will take time before I am reimbursed – should the assessor and insurance company approve it (the reimbursement)."
Halil's car is insured, but those of his neighbors, Ala Halihal and his brother, are not: "It's like summoning the police and then getting billed for it," said Halihal, whose car is valued at NIS 20,000 ($5,563). "Extinguishing fires is a public service; it's not private."
Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Natan Ben-Shimol said: "There are committees that give discounts or cancel bills, but in general we charge for the cost of the extinguishing services provided. We have begun a process of reducing costs for people whose vehicles were torched."
Gadi Gvaryahu of Tag Meir, or "Bright Tag," an anti-extremism organization, said: "We visited the Halihal family this week and found people who want to live in peace with their neighbors. Sending a bill to the victims of the crime is ridiculous."
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