Worst Snowstorm in 20 Years Slams Israel

Rare Winter Storm Brings Jerusalem to Halt

By Reuters

Published January 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page
(Photos: Getty Images)



The worst snowstorm in 20 years shut government offices, public transport and schools in Jerusalem and along the northern Israeli region bordering on Lebanon on Thursday.

Many Palestinians in the hilly occupied West Bank were also snowed in and dozens were forced to flee flooded homes.

Elisha Peleg, an official in charge of emergencies with Israel’s municipality for Jerusalem, urged residents to remain at home and stay off the streets, telling Israel Army Radio the area had overnight seen its greatest snowfall since 1992.

He said 10 to 15 centimetres (4 to 6 inches) of snow had piled up in the city centre and more than that in outlying areas. “The downtown area is bathed in white,” Peleg said.

“The elders of Jerusalem don’t remember such a snowstorm in years,” Peleg also said.

Public transport ground to a halt for several hours. Many vehicles that ventured onto roads were stuck and citizens were urged to remain at home. Government offices also remained closed for the day.

“Make it a family day. In the afternoon, the temperatures are supposed to rise and you will be able to head out for some shopping,” Peleg said.

Israel Radio said a highway linking Jerusalem to Tel Aviv was blocked, and much of the northern Galilee region was paralysed by heavy snowfalls.

Some traffic arteries opened later in the afternoon as temperatures rose and some snow melted. Public bus services partially resumed and were free of charge in Jerusalem, as an incentive to keep private vehicles off the slushy roads.

In the occupied West Bank, city streets were largely abandoned, with few residents chancing the hilly and widely rutted roads and schools kept shut because of the weather.

A general strike by government employees also kept Palestinians in their homes, as the Palestinian Authority has been unable to fully pay salaries following Israeli economic sanctions announced last month in anger at a campaign that won de facto United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood.

The Palestinian meteorological institute said that snow levels in the Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Bethlehem areas had reached 10-20cm and as much as 30cm in Hebron.

Flooding was reported in the northern West Bank, where water “inundated dozens of houses and widely damaged agricultural areas local farmers depend on for their livelihoods,” Jenin governor Talal Dweikat told Palestinian Radio.

“Dozens of families have been forced to flee their homes, but thank God there have been no deaths, and the Authority is dealing with the problem aggressively despite its financial problems,” Dweikat said.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.