Digging out of Worst Snowstorm

Israelis began digging themselves out of the worst snowfall in recent years today. It blanketed much of the country from Galilee to the northern Negev, left many areas temporarily without heat or electric power and played havoc with deliveries of bread and milk.

About 17 inches of snow fell in and around Jerusalem between 11:30 p.m. Sunday and 3 p.m. Monday. The highways linking the capital with Tel Aviv and other areas were blocked preventing the normal delivery of supplies. Army half-tracks made emergency deliveries of milk in Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem. Jerusalemites were seen carrying armloads of bread through the snow drifts as if preparing for a siege.

Avraham Birnbaum, secretary of the Jerusalem Merchants Association denounced the city administration because only 100 of Jerusalem’s 500 small grocery stores received any bread during the day. But Mayor Teddy Kollek rejected complaints that the city was caught unprepared by the storm. He said things couldn’t be expected to function during a January snowstorm as they did on a sunny day in May.

The Knesset, undaunted by the storm, opened on schedule but only 20 of the 120 members were present, a number later increased to 40. The snowstorm may accomplish indirectly what the complaints of many a weary traveller has failed to do–bring about an improvement of Israel’s decrepit railroad system. Many MKs, forced to make the trip from Tel Aviv by rail for the first time in years, agreed that it was the worst they ever made. They pledged to do something to improve the system.

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