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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

The Ice Man Returneth to Jerusalem; No Local Buses after 9 p.m.

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Ice-slicked roads are forecast for Jerusalem Monday night, prompting the halt of all local buses at 8 p.m. Buses from the capital to Tel Aviv will continue to operate until 11 p.m. but will stop running to other areas at 9 p.m.

One resident of Maaleh Adumim told The Jewish Press that buses that tried to negotiate hills between the two cities began sliding backwards. Bus service there will resume at 9 a.m.

Tsfat (Safed) announced that schools will be closed again on Tuesday because of icy conditions.

 

 

 

 

Storm of the Century in Israel Claims 4 Lives

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

The bodies of two youths from the southern Bedouin city of Rahat were discovered Saturday afternoon in Tze’elim River. The bodies were discovered by family members and police who had conducted a search in the area. The two victims had left their home midweek with their 4-wheel-drive vehicle and disappeared.

They bring the count of victims to 4, in the “storm of the century” that spread as far south as the Sinai peninsula and Egypt, covering Cairo in snow for the first time in 100 years.

Earlier today, a 13-month-old infant perished in a fire that started in his Lod home, probably from a faulty electric heater. And last night, a 30-year-old man died falling off the roof of his house after climbing there to repair a leaky pipe.

Three days following the beginning of the storm, many towns in Israel are still under siege due to the heavy snowfall, especially in the Jerusalem mountains and up north. Millions have spent the Shabbat without electricity in temperatures that hovered around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The IDF has been utilizing hundreds of heavy bulldozers and armored personnel carriers to clear the highways. The Defense Ministry has transported 35 tons of salt to Jerusalem and Tzfat.

The IDF has delivered thousands of hot meals to residents without electricity.

Jerusalem District police chief Yossi Pariente said today, following a meeting with Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich, that by Saturday evening all the isolated towns and villages in the region will be reconnected to the highway system. However, Rout 1, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem remains closed, possibly until Sunday morning.

Wicked Storm from Russia ‘Attacks’ Israel with Rain and Snow

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A wicked and rare early winter storm plowed into Israel Wednesday, and weather forecasters predict between four and eight inches of rain will fall in the north, with gale force winds and possibly snow in Jerusalem and the higher hills of Judea and Samaria.

Snow is rare in Israel in early December, and predicting the white stuff in the country is as tricky as forecasting anything else in the Middle East. A tiny shift in the winds often moves a weather system towards or away from land, and a change of one or two degrees in the temperature can spell the difference between rain and snow.

This week’s system is a woozy, and the only questions are whether the rains will be drenching or extremely torrential, and if snow will accumulate in Jerusalem.

Rain fell in central and northern Israel last week after a dry November, and some communities in the western Negev received as much as four inches of rain. The Kinneret began to rise for the first time since last spring, but that is only a sneak preview of what is in store for the country from today through Sunday.

Before it is all over, more than three feet of snow is expected to have fallen on the upper slopes of the Hermon, which would allow for a very early opening of the ski season next week, weather permitting.

The Ministry of Agriculture predicts that up to seven inches of rain will fall in the northern Golan Heights, six inches in the Haifa area, 2-3 inches on the Kinneret, 5-6 inches around metropolitan Tel Aviv, 2-3 inches in the northern Negev and more than half an inch in the parched Arava desert.

The storm is rare in its expected intensity and length because it is headed from Russia, via the Black Sea, an unusual occurrence in early December. Meteorologist Tzachi Waxman of Meteo-Tech said, “A cold wave like this is exceptional for this time of year and usually occurs in January and February.”

Torrential rains will raise the level of the Kinneret dramatically once run-off begins from mountain streams.

The downside of the storm will be the usual flooded streets, traffic jams and power outages resulting from electric poles and wires downed by heavy winds and from heavy demand for power by everyone using electric heaters to stay warm.

Air traffic at Ben Gurion may be disrupted, which could knock out the schedule of U.S. Secretary John Kerry who is to land in Israel on Wednesday. With a bit of luck, good or bad depending on your view, he might not be able to land at all.

Heavy rains and strong winds, which may reach gale force velocity, began falling in the northern Negev late Tuesday. Weather maps indicate a rare phenomenon for this time of year will occur on Wednesday, when rain is expected to fall over the entire country, from the northern border to Eilat.

Snow on Wednesday night will cover Tzfat (Safed) and other higher elevations in the northern Galilee and the Golan Heights, and it will continue on Thursday, with occasional thunderstorms throughout the country.

There is a chance of snow in Jerusalem and the mountains in Judea and Samaria and the Negev on Thursday and a higher probability that snow will fall on those areas Thursday night and Friday. However, there is no assurance that the snow will accumulate below altitudes of 2,800 feet, the height of most of the highest areas in Jerusalem. Parts of Gush Etzion and the southern Hevron Hills are as high as 3,000 feet, where accumulation is more probable.

Flash floods will smash through the Judean Desert and Arava.

Private weather forecasters predict that the storm will continue to pummel Israel on the Sabbath before weakening late in the day. It will be extremely cold Saturday night, with possible sub-zero temperatures in higher elevations.

Winter Finally Comes to Israel; Snow on the Hermon

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The rainy season officially has begun in Israel, with snow falling on the Hermon mountain and streets in Jerusalem flooded.

November was almost totally dry, and special prayers for rain have been inserted Prime Minister Netanyahu daily prayers because 30 days have gone by without precipitation since Jews in Israel began the usual request for precipitation beginning two weeks after Shemini Azereth-Simchat Torah.

Outside of Israel, Jews began adding the request on Wednesday, December 4, coincidentally when rain began falling in some parts of Israel before spreading today.

The Kinneret, which could reach flood levels this year, rose for the first time Thursday after having fallen to 2.6 meters, or 102 inches, below the level at which the Degania dam would be opened to prevent flooding in Tiberias and surrounding areas.

The official forecast calls for scattered showers to continue through Sunday.

Haredim, Wake Up and Toughen Up

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

When Jews are attacked in broad daylight in the world’s holiest city, something is horrifically wrong in Israel. Rashi, for example, comments on Yechezkel 39:7 that “Israel’s degradation is a profanation of His Name.” Such a Chilul HaShem recently occurred in Yerushalayim when Arab youths hurled snowballs at two Haredi Jews’ faces and mocked them.

Police who excel at arresting young Jewish women and elderly rabbis were nowhere to be found in this case. If the dereliction of the police is sickening—and that dereliction is ongoing in Yerushalayim and Lod and elsewhere—then sickening too was the defenseless reaction of the victims. The video of the snowball attack brought to mind these verses from Chaim Nachman Bialik’s poem “In the City of Slaughter,” about the 1903 Kishinev pogrom:

…the heirs Of Hasmoneans lay, with trembling knees, Concealed and cowering—the sons of the Maccabees! The seed of saints, the scions of the lions! In December, another group of Arabs in Yerushalayim attacked a Haredi yeshiva student. Before that, thugs in Ashdod beat a Haredi man on Shabbat. This aggression dovetails with a vicious media and political culture which has demonized Haredim in ways that look modeled on the Nazis. Likewise, inciting murder against other religious Jews results in no prosecution, whereas condemning an IDF officer for supporting the destruction of Gush Katif in 2005 results in conviction for “insulting a public servant.”

Haredim need to wake up to these realities and toughen up. As Rav Kook zt”l wrote in Orot:

Israel’s physical restoration is of cardinal importance. Our spiritual emphasis ignored the sanctity of the body, physical health and vigor. Let us remember that the Jew possesses a Divine body no less than a Divine spirit…Our regeneration entails a synthesis of the spiritual and physical, vibrant flesh and blood, sturdy organs and a glowing spirit sustained by firm muscles. The problem is that Haredim remain in Galut when it comes to this restoration. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim notes in this vein, “It’s possible to physically be in Eretz Yisrael but spiritually, psychologically, to be elsewhere. You don’t have to look very hard to understand what I’m referring to.” (See 57:15 here.) It’s urgent that Haredim begin to develop physical strength and preparedness in the tradition of Chushim ben Dan, Yehoshua, Shimshon, David HaMelech, and the Hashmonaim. There is nothing noble and everything disgraceful about being victimized in the same land where these great Jews of action lived.

In terms of specific forms of preparedness, self-protection through firearms is a very remote option for Haredim due to Israel’s highly restrictive gun ownership policies, which extends to the life-endangering disarmament of Jews. (Meanwhile, there are enormous amounts of illegal weapons among the Arab population.) Nevertheless, available means of self-protection and training should be utilized immediately. What Rabbi Meir Kahane Hy”d wrote in 1971 to an American audience in Never Again! has all too much relevance to Israel today:

The Jew, with his persistent image of weakness, unwillingness and inability to fight back is   open to constant physical attacks on the part of non-Jews. A youngster wearing a skull cap and returning from a yeshiva is fair game. Jews walking in a park or playing ball in a playground are open to attacks. Such things must be met in the one way that is most effective—a feeling on the part of the attacker that he stands an excellent chance of being severely beaten himself. Jews must be taught to defend themselves physically. This is the surest deterrent to attacks upon them.

Postcard From Israel: Stormy Weather (Photos & Video)

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

As readers may have heard, Israel (along with other countries in the Middle East) has been experiencing unusually stormy weather this last week with high winds and heavy rains. The more unpleasant aspects of these comparatively rare events have included disruptions to the transport system and homes affected by flooding, with the IDF’s search and rescue teams being called in to evacuate people trapped by flood waters both in Israel and in the PA-controlled areas .

The weather system culminated with much anticipated snow in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and many of the higher areas throughout Israel – including the Negev desert – causing great excitement in a country where this is a fairly rare occurrence.  Equally exciting has been the dramatic rise in the water level of the Sea of Galilee, which climbed by almost 70 cms between the storm’s beginning last Friday and its subsidence on Thursday.

The short film below, made by Oz Segev of Ma’ale Gamla on Monday morning, shows some of the swollen streams of the south and central Golan Heights which all drain into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). In order of appearance the film shows the Daliyot stream, the Yehudia stream, the Meshushim stream, the Jordan Park junction at the top of the lake, the upper Meshushim stream, the Aiyt waterfall, the Bnei Israel reservoir and a view from Ma’ale Gamla.

SONY DSC

Tsfat (Safed) with a dusting of snow

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Seeing to the Needs of IDF Soldiers (Sponsored)

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

As snow began to fall in the Jerusalem area Wednesday afternoon, an IDF soldier placed one last call. He explained that there were over 2,000 soldiers stationed near the northern border, in response to the civil war raging in Syria. The soldiers were freezing, living in makeshift quarters and in desperate need of gloves and thermal underwear as soon as possible. He explained that he had approached other organizations who support the IDF and they flatly turned him down, each one explaining that their budgets were being used for “other things.” He was desperate and didn’t know where else to turn.

David Landau, the Director of Standing Together, listened to the soldier explain the situation. Only hours ago he was sitting in his warm home, watching the news of the impending storm while his Facebook page filled up with photos and weather-related anecdotes. But now he realized there was work to be done.

Since making aliyah over thirty years ago, Mr. Landau has spent countless nights delivering packages as gestures of gratitude to the young soldiers on duty in order to make their service more pleasant. In 2003, he founded Standing Together to expand this mission and to enable others to express appreciation to these heroes throughout Israel.

Standing Together typically delivers late-night snacks to soldiers stationed at checkpoints and bases throughout Israel. With two mobile canteens – dairy and meat of course, which Mr. Landau calls “hospitality trailers” – that are laden with equipment and food, he brings volunteers, tour groups, and visiting families to the soldiers so they can help distribute these tokens of appreciation.

IDF soldiers recharging their cell phones, among other things, at the recharging station during Operation Cast Lead.

In times of crisis though, the mission of the organization changes. During the Lebanon War in 2006, Mr. Landau’s frequent trips North provided soldiers with socks, which had become a scarcity. During Operation Cast Lead in 2009, the trailer’s electrical recharging station gave soldiers a chance to speak with loved ones back home. Most recently in Operation Pillar of Defense, it was the Standing Together trailers that sometimes brought soldiers their first meal in a day.

“It isn’t that the IDF is unprepared or disorganized, chas v’shalom [“Heaven forbid” -Ed.]” Mr. Landau explained. “The IDF faces very real threats from our enemies who surround us, and that’s where the money goes.” So while thermal underwear might seem like a trivial expense in a budget that measures in the billions, given the choice between that or ammunition, the IDF has to choose the latter.

Mr. Landau takes pride in the fact that Standing Together is so agile, delivering pizza one night and personal essentials the next day. “Larger organizations can reach more soldiers at once, but it takes time for them to get moving. We can reach the soldiers much more quickly. And we do it much more personally,” he added, grinning. When asked about the administrative overhead for the organization, he explained that because they were funded by charitable donations, 100% of the funds donated for specific causes – such as the cold weather clothing campaign – go towards that campaign. He draws no salary from the organization.

Mr Landau assured the major that he would be able to get warm winter clothing to his soldiers and hung up the phone. Within hours, Standing Together’s online campaign to purchase military-approved special gloves (thermal fleece with trigger-finger slits, pictured above) and thermal underwear for these soldiers was underway. The speed and generosity of the response to the campaign was overwhelming, and the first order for gloves was placed.

To donate to Standing Together for the Golan Winter Clothing campaign, visit http://www.stogether.org/golanwinter

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/sponsored-article/seeing-to-the-needs-of-idf-soldiers-sponsored/2013/01/10/

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