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The Schmooze

Check Out These Eerie Pictures from the Sandstorm in Israel

Today, Israel looks a lot more like the planet from Star Wars than we’re used to. Since Tuesday, country has been swept by a sandstorm, the worst one the country has seen in 75 years.

Apparently, all that sand is coming from Syria and Jordan. (Thanks!)

As an Israeli, I’ve witnessed many such storms. This one, however, is highly unusual— they don’t usually occur in the summer.

The heavy storm, coupled with rising temperatures, has made it difficult for people to live their lives. School trips and internal flights have been cancelled and the ministry of health encouraged people to stay inside and avoid strenuous activity. The heavy haze can be a health hazard, especially for children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with lung and heart disease.

Here are some eerie pictures of what it was like to be outside in Israel during the storm:

Some swimmers were not willing to skip a summer beach day:

Image by Getty Images

This lone bather in Eilat washes herself in the middle of the storm

Some, like this Palestinian man, wore face masks to avoid breathing in the sand:

On any other day, you would be able to see Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mont of Olives:

Image by Getty Images

Another Tel Aviv couple braves the storm for a leisurely walk:

Some very persistent vacationers in Eilat:

Tel Aviv from the set of a sci-fi movie:

Image by Getty Images

I asked my family in Tel Aviv how they were handling the smog, and my brother sent me the following selfie:

So yeah, pretty bad.

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