‘Many questions’ – Knesset member’s barn torched in suspected arson

Massive blaze engulfs barn belonging to MK who recently compared the Likud party to Nazis, foul play suspected as cause behind the fire.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Opposition MK’s barn was engulfed in a huge fire early Saturday morning, causing damage the lawmaker estimated at millions of shekels and triggering an arson probe.

Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben-Barak gave an interview from his home in the Nahalal moshav in northern Israel on Friday afternoon.

Hours later, around 2 a.m., firefighters received a call that a large blaze was raging through a barn on Ben-Barak’s property.

It took firefighters nearly seven hours to put out the blaze, which Ben-Barak said caused about 2.5 million shekels ($700,000) in damages.

The lawmaker noted that the barn, which normally houses calves, was fortunately free of animals at the time of the fire.

Eyal Betzer, a Nahalal resident and the chair of the Emek Jezreel Regional Council, told Hebrew language news site Ynet that there are “many questions surrounding this fire.”

Betzer said that because the barn had been filled with hay and not straw, “it should have burned more slowly.”

He added that “there are no electrical connections in the place, so that rules out the possibility of a short circuit. There was no extreme dryness over the past few days. This is a very serious incident.”

In a media statement, Ben-Barak thanked the firefighters for extinguishing the blaze and stressed that he trusts “the professional authorities to investigate the incident.”

Ben-Barak, who once served as deputy head of the Mossad, has been a vocal opponent of potential reforms to Israel’s judicial system.

During a debate on the matter in the Knesset last month, Ben-Barak compared the Likud party to the Nazi party.

“Even in Nazi Germany, they came to power democratically, because they made moves. In the end, the country was taken over by a madman, may his name and memory be forgotten,” he said.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Ben-Barak had “gone off the rails” by comparing the democratically elected Israeli government to Third Reich Germany, the lawmaker doubled down on his remarks.

“Netanyahu, Ben-Gvir and all you other fellow travelers – check Wikipedia and read the history of how the Nazi party rose to power democratically and immediately became a dictatorship,” Ben-Barak wrote on Twitter.

“The legislative process we are putting forward in an allegedly democratic way will also turn into a dictatorship just like in Poland, Turkey and Hungary – We are next.”