JERUSALEM (Jan. 7)
Rain fell for several hours in some parts of Israel this morning for the first time in two months, bringing hope that the disastrous drought might be over. The dry spell has already cost Israel tens of millions of pounds in lost crops.
Weather experts studying cloud formations said it was still uncertain whether the rains would continue. Agricultural authorities said there was still some hope for some major crops, but others were beyond saving even if the rains continued for a substantial period. Continuation of rain would, however, eliminate the present threat of a lack of water next summer.
News of the rain evoked expressions of rejoicing in many parts of Israel. The members of the Kabbalist sect residing in Safed claimed the rains came in answer to their prayers.
The Ministry of Agriculture today set up a special Drought Committee to maintain a constant watch on the situation and to order emergency measures where needed. The Ministry was reported considering a proposal to have the entire portion of Israel south of Rehovot a “water protection” area. In such an area, any major exploitation of water resources, such as irrigation and drilling of new wells, would require special governmental permission.