Thousands of Israeli households still without power after snowstorm


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 14,000 Israeli households remained without power in the wake of what is being called Israel’s worst snowstorm in decades.

The Israel Electric Corp. reported that 6,000 of the households still without power on Sunday, 72 hours after the storm, are in Jerusalem.

At the height of the bad weather, some 60,000 households did not have electricity, many due to downed power lines from trees that fell in the storm.

At least four people died as a result of the storm, according to reports.

On Sunday, Israel began transferring fuel to the Gaza to run the strip’s sole power plant, and has committed to sending more fuel on Monday and Tuesday. Two days earlier, Israel allowed fuel transfers into Gaza gas for home heating.

The Israeli army assisted in clearing roads in the Palestinian Authority areas of the West Bank.

Schools in Jerusalem and its environs remained closed on Sunday, as were schools in Safed, the Golan Heights and areas of the Galilee.

The major Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway on Sunday morning was open in both directions for public transportation, but was open to private vehicles only for leaving the city. The road was opened and closed several times Sunday due to dangerous ice patches.

Trains left from Jerusalem for Haifa and Tel Aviv on Saturday after the ban on public transportation on the Sabbath was lifted for the emergency.

“We were as  prepared as a country should be for an event like this,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a Saturday evening news conference amid calls for an investigation into responses to the emergency.

It is estimated that repairing storm damage will cost Israel more than $34 million, according to reports.

Temperatures throughout Israel on Sunday remained colder than expected for this time of year under sunny skies.

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