This week, Israelis put the election campaign aside. The most interesting show in town was the weather. The largest storm of the season, possibly the largest storm of the decade, swept over the Middle East. In Lebanon, they named the storm “Bride”, for its potential for being white and fluffy.
The storm began on Saturday (Jan 5th) with heavy rains, which caused heavy flooding throughout the country. Ayalon highway, the main highway for the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, which runs along the Ayalon stream, was flooded and blocked when the river overflowed. In Modi’in, the bottom floor of the shopping mall was flooded and the merchandise in the shops was destroyed.
A Lebanese blogger, whom I follow, wrote about the Library in his town which was flooded and all the books destroyed. At least four people lost their lives in the storm in Lebanon.
On Facebook, someone wrote a parody of posts usually written about policemen breaking traffic laws. In this post, the writer describes an imaginary story in which, while swimming down the street, he photographed a policeman talking on his cellphone while kayaking down the street. The policeman gets angry, and signals him to lay anchor on the side of the road. Unable to think of any traffic laws the swimmer had broken, the policeman asks him whether he’d been swimming under the influence of alcohol. The swimmer says no, and the policeman tells him to swim after him to the police station…
In Jerusalem, where I live, many trees fell down. These photos were taken near my home.
During the first days of the storm, Channel 2 TV had some bloopers, which were, of course, posted on Facebook:
When reporting the huge traffic jams caused by the flooding of the Ayalon, they left out the letter ‘P’ in the phrase “Pkakei Anak” (which means “giant traffic jams”), resulting in the words “Kaki Anak” being printed in large letters on the screen, meaning a “giant poop”.
They must have had a lot of air-time to kill, because at one point they ran an article titled: “Because of the rain: the animals are getting wet”. In honor of this, here are some photos I took of wet animals:
But the real attraction of the storm was the snow storm on Wednesday (Jan 9th) and Thursday (Jan 10th).
If you live in the US or in Europe, snow is no big deal to you. You might even consider it a nuisance. But for Israelis, in order to see snow, they have to either drive to Mount Hermon (only in the winter) or book a plane ticket to Europe. Snow anywhere else in Israel is rare, and usually only in Jerusalem and the mountains (Golan heights, Galilee, high peaks in Judea and Samaria). Snow in Jerusalem is an event which does not happen every year, and even when it does, it is usually a very small amount of snow, which is gone within a few hours.
This year’s snow was definitely the heaviest snow seen in Israel in many years. In our neighborhood, the snow piled to about 20 cm (8 inches). It snowed in the Golan Heights as well as the Galilee, Judea and Samaria as well as in Mitzpe Ramon and other places in the Negev Desert.
At first, it was mostly hail.
However, in the evening it started snowing for real.
My sister in-law celebrated her birthday yesterday (Wednesday) and decided to have a small birthday event in our apartment. She brought a few friends over, and together we went out to frolic in the snow, along with everyone else in Jerusalem.
When I woke up this morning and saw this from my window, I was absolutely giddy.
When I took our dog out for her walk, we ran into a little trouble getting out of our building:
My Facebook feed is filled with friends’ photos of snow in Jerusalem. Today became an unofficial snow holiday in Jerusalem. Most people stayed home, not having any means of transportation to work, and enjoyed the snow. PM Netanyahu took a break from his election campaign (or did he?) and posted a photo of his own, having a family snow fight, on his FB page:
Later, a friend came over to join me and my wife building a snow woman. For hair, we used branches from the fallen tree.
The next item on the agenda was for me to go for a long walk around Jerusalem in order to collect some cool pictures for the blog. Here they are:
I took a break to make a snow dog:
Happy snow holiday!
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