Snow blankets Israel in time for Christmas

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Jerusalem ‘the city of peace’ and much of the rest of Israel was covered in a blanket of snow throughout the day on December 12 as storms passed over the Holy Land overnight. More than eight inches of snow accumulated in some parts of Israel, thus setting a record for the month of December. Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem was in a festive mood, saying “Snow in Jerusalem is a cause for celebration for Jerusalemites and the many visitors who come to see the worlds’ most beautiful city painted white.” He added, “We hope the snow does not disappoint – especially the children of Jerusalem who are waiting and excited.” 
Schools as well as courses at Hebrew University were cancelled throughout the capital - much to the joy of students, teachers and faculty alike. 
Classes at Hebrew University were cancelled throughout the Israeli capital, delighting students and faculty. Also, students in Judea and Samaria were dismissed. School was also cancelled for both Thursday and Friday in the mountainous  Kiryat Arba, Gush Etzion, Shvut Rachel, Shilo, Tel Tziyon, Maale Levona, Psagot, Beit El, Eli and Ofra regions. It was Hebron that witnessed the first flakes of the white stuff. Schools in Kfar Kara, Rahat and Um el-Fahm were also closed.
Authorities have asked for travelers to cancel plans to travel to or from Jerusalem today. The main highways leading to Jerusalem have been closed down until December 13. 
Other areas of Israel experienced rainy stormy weather that brought flash floods and high winds. Some vehicles were carried away by high water in the flash floods. In one case, a vehicle ferrying nine children was swept away by the rising water in the Garar River. The driver and passengers are now in hospital in Beer Sheva.
Schools in Kfar Kara, Rahat and Um el-Fahm were also closed due to flooding on Thursday.
About 5 inches of snow fell in northern Israel, where Mount Hermon and Tzafat got a dusting. Torrential rain has lashed the Sharon region, Gush Dan and the Galilee The Negev desert was also hit. 
Cold air from Eastern Europe swept down into the Eastern Mediterranean region, bringing the snow and storms. Israel will probably get more snow over the weekend.

Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Filed under science, religion, israel, snow, weather, Middle East


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