Israel: The Land of Fire and Ice

Severe winter storms hit most of Israel this week with strong winds, rain and snowstorms causing country-wide havoc. In the North, the Hermon Mountain was blanketed with more snow than the country has seen in 20 years. This happened days after the Carmel region was devastated by forest fires which left 43 dead and caused damage estimated at between 100-120 million Shekels.

For many, these storms provide welcome relief from the drought the country has been experiencing. The Sea of Galilee, Israel’s main water reservoir, has risen five centimetres as a result of the storms.

This sentiment is echoed by many in the Israeli twitosphere. @Tekhelet said:

I am glad Israel has storm/rain and snow now. Baruch HaShem. Thank you Father!

Despite the havoc, disruption and inconvenience caused many were simply grateful for the rain. @MaozIsrael added:

Snow and rain in #Israel! God is answering our prayers!

But these storms weren't the answer to everyone's prayers. Although in desperate need of rain, the storms also caused country-wide damage.

The Maoz Israel blog published some pictures of the destruction caused by the storms:

Tel Aviv's beach battered by gale force winds and heavy storms

Alone in Holy Land, a Romanian blogger living in Ashdod, described what it was like to get caught in the storm while driving with her family to Eilat:

In was absolutely hellish! First, it was the wind, very strong and then the sand…When we reached Mitzpe Ramon it was so cold and windy … I was terrified. The gales of wind kept hitting the car from one side, then the other and I was panic stricken. Not even able to utter one word. My stomach was the size of a pea and the throat constricted… Unbelievable…while I was muttering prayers under my breath and pretending I was somewhere else. At the end of our trip, some 30 km before Eilat, the sand storm stopped abruptly, the sky became clear and the sun was back on the sky.

And then there were those who threw caution to the wind and took advantage of the stormy conditions. Shahar Zubari, an Israeli windsurfer, braved the weather and headed for the waves.

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