Israel battles cold snap


Israel is battling a serious cold snap that has caused death and crop damage.

Temperatures plunged as low as 16 degrees in some parts under mostly clear skies. There was no precipitation.

After four Israelis died of hypothermia, the government ordered emergency aid to the homeless, while the Israel Electric Corp. restored power to many delinquent customers so they could use heaters.

The electric company, which is almost totally owned by the government, said the peak national consumption of power reached 94 percent of its output and urged Israelis to economize so as not to overload the system. But apart from some short power outages, electricity supplies to most of the country remained steady.

Crop damage from the freezing temperatures was reported in the Negev Desert, as well as the Arava and Jordan valleys.


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