Winter storm socks Israel, causes deadly car accident
JERUSALEM (JTA) — A winter storm that closed the main roads into Jerusalem and schools throughout Israel caused a deadly car accident.
Many Israelis awoke Wednesday morning to freezing temperatures and snow as the storm moved in late the previous night. Snow covered the Golan and heavy rain socked northern and central Israel.
A 13-year-old boy was killed and two others were wounded in an accident near Beit Shemesh after a car reportedly skid on the road from the icy conditions.
Schools were closed in the Golan and Galilee regions, and in Jerusalem, where a dusting of snow was visible on Wednesday morning. Hebrew University in the capital said Tuesday that it was canceling classes for the rest of the week.
The storm also shut down schools in many areas of the West Bank, where power was out in several settlements.
The heavy rain and wind knocked over trees and power lines, leaving parts of Tel Aviv and Petach Tikvah without electricity on Wednesday morning.
Flooding also was a concern for central Israel, as was the limited visibility expected due to sandstorms in the south of the country.
Despite heavy hail at Ben Gurion International Airport, most airlines continued with their regular schedules.
Some 1,500 extra Israeli troops moved to northern Israel to help close roads as needed and dig out stranded drivers.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency in the West Bank and Gaza. Families living near the coast evacuated over flooding fears. Syria and Lebanon also faced heavy snowfalls.
Snow and rain were expected to fall in northern and central Israel throughout Thursday and Friday. More rain was expected over the weekend.