A brother and sister from Tiberias who were traveling to Eilat for a vacation were swept away and ultimately killed on Tuesday in flood waters that rushed through the south of Israel along Highway 40.
Ma’ayan Assor, 24 and his sister Sahar Assor, 17, were in contact with their parents when they encountered a torrential downpour. Ma’ayan’s girlfriend, who has not been identified, managed to survive the ordeal by keeping her head above water when all three were swept away. She eventually reached safety on rocks by the side of the stream.
“My daughter was in contact with my wife. She told us what was happening. We understand that he lost control of the car when he got caught in the flood,” said the siblings’ father, Nini Assor.
His daughter “managed to send us their location at the last minute, but then the connection was lost,” he added.
Miracle Accompanies Tragedy
Amidst the tragedy, a miracle also emerged for the family. Nini and his wife Kinneret were traveling with their two other sons along the Arava Highway at the time.
One of the sons was to switch into the second vehicle at a rest stop – but while the family was eating, rain began at their site as well, so they returned to their vehicle, and their son did not join his siblings.
“One set of rain saved us from a bigger disaster, but the other rain took our two [children],” Nini said.
Multiple roads in the south were shut down due to the heavy floods, including those leading to Eilat, while heavy snow did the same on roads in the Golan Heights.
Entrance to Eilat were closed on both Highway 90 and Highway 12, and the Egged bus company suspended its service to and from the resort town until the roads reopened.
Highway 90 was shut down between the Arava and Menucha Junctions. Drivers already on the road were urged by police to enter any local community or gas station and stay there until the road reopened.
Highway 40 was shut down from Mitzpe Ramon to the Tzihor Junction.
Northern Snow, Sewage on Gush Dan Beaches
Mount Hermon was closed to visitors on Wednesday and will continue to be closed on Thursday due to heavy snow conditions and sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures.
Of equal importance is the concern that swimmers will disregard an alert to stay out of the water on the Gush Dan beaches of Tel Aviv, Bat Yam and Herzliya in central Israel.
Heavy rains have caused runoff to carry sewage into the Mediterranean Sea along the coast, temporarily polluting Israeli seaside waters.
Rain and thunderstorms are expected on Thursday as well, with unseasonably cold temperatures.