Photo Credit: Almog Sugavker / Flash 90
Kibbutz Zikim members beat the heat along the shore.

Cooling mechanisms for computers, electronics and… um … nuclear reactors … probably were working overtime this weekend. Friday’s high temperatures in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran just missed breaking the world record, with a heat index measuring 163 degrees. The actual temperature itself was “only” 46 Celsius (115 degrees Farenheit) but the dew point hovered at 90 degrees. The heat index is what the temperature actually feels like outside.

In this case, it felt like being inside the average 25-hour overnight Sabbath oven.

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The highest world heat index ever recorded (an unofficial record) was in July 2003, when it hit 178 degrees Farenheit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, according to weather writer Christopher Burt. According to the Guinness World Records website, the official highest recorded temperature is 56.7 (134 Farenheit), which was measured on 10 July 1913 at Greenland Ranch, Death Valley, California, USA.

In Iraq, the Council of Ministers declared a nationwide four-day mandatory holiday beginning last Thursday, due to the heat.

In Israel on Saturday thousands of Arab protesters across the country ignored the heat and continued violent attacks on Israelis and security forces, in addition to rioting. A week of gratuitous anti-Israel Arab violence brought with it a Jewish ‘price tag’ arson attack on an Arab family in the village of Duma, near Shechem that killed a toddler and badly wounded his parents and sibling. In response, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization called for a “Day of Rage” that resulted in an uptick of Arab attacks nationwide, prompting Israel Police to move to high alert. Thousands of Jewish protesters in Tel Aviv waved banners and picket signs to protest the attack. Across the country, the heat really was on.

But most of the rest of Israel was either on the beach or hiding at home in air conditioning.

Temperatures in Israel have been sweltering this past week too, though by no means at the country’s record high, which measured at 54 C (129 Farenheit) at Tirat Tzvi on June 21, 1942. Today’s high (August 2) in Jerusalem is again expected to spike to 38 C (100 Farenheit) – but will feel like 41 C (106 F).

AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani said in a statement Friday, “That was one of the most incredible temperature observations I have ever seen, and it is one of the most extreme readings ever in the world. Sagliani predicted “more astounding apparent temperatures” in the region for the next several days.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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