Jerusalem was blanketed with more than a foot of snow this week. As beautiful and welcomed as the snow was, it also brought challenges to the Holy City. Power to 60,000 homes was cut across Israel, and roads leading to the holiest place on earth…the Temple Mount were blocked.
Snow also covered Bethlehem and parts of the West Bank. In other parts of Israel, heavy rains caused thousands to evacuate their homes with some using boats to get from place to place.
Soldiers and army vehicles were used to rescue Jerusalem travelers who were stranded in their cars as the roads were blocked with heavy snow.
Trains that normally do not operate on Saturdays because of the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat), were up and running and making special runs to help travelers get out of Jerusalem.
Highways 1 and 443 which both lead into Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, required emergency crews to clear them, after being closed for several days. Many residents had abandoned their cars after being stuck in the snow on these roads and authorities were challenged as they struggled to clear the lanes.
The worst of the storm in over 50 years, according to Israeli weather service, was winding down Saturday night after four days. The Sea of Galilee rose 8 cm from rains. Tel Aviv and surrounding cities also experienced hail, heavy rains and flooding. Much of Jerusalem and northern Israel are still deep in snow. On the slopes of Mount Hermon in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, crowds are expected to participate in skiing as there as been two feet of snow there.
Thank you to Petra van der Zande, Jerusalem, Israel for providing pictures.