IN PICTURES / Snow in northern Israel, as cold snap bites
Despite forecasts, no snowfall in Jerusalem; rain and unseasonable cold expected to continue this week.
Israel faced relatively heavy snowfall in Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights overnight Wednesday, while Jerusalem residents were left disappointed Thursday morning, having no snow grace their city.
Kibbutz Merom Golan in the Golan Heights got around four centimeters (1.57 inches) of snow overnight Wednesday, causing schools and a number of roads to close.
Sheffi Mor, the tourism director at Kibbutz Merom Golan, said he was hoping the snow would stay on the ground through the weekend as it would likely bring in a flood of visitors. He said the reservation books of local bed-and-breakfasts are already filling up, with some visitors even arriving Wednesday to take in the first snowfall, which was expected last night.
In the highest peak of Mount Hermon, Israel's most northern point, 50 centimeters (19.66 inches) of snow were measured.
Despite earlier forecasts of several centimeters of snow gracing Jerusalem, residents awoke Thursday morning disappointed, seeing their city still barren.
The main victims of the cold snap are Safed and Jerusalem, where temperatures are expected to reach no higher than 2 and 3 degrees Celsius, respectively. The south, however, will also experience an unusual chill.
The rain and cold will continue on Friday, and Saturday will be unseasonably cold as well.
On Wednesday, the Water Authority published figures showing that January was a good month for the country's water sources. Thanks to heavy rain in the Galilee, for instance, the groundwater level, for the first time in years, is almost high enough for water to start flowing into Ein Afek again. That dried-up spring has become the symbol of the country's drought in recent years.
January's rains also produced the worst flooding ever recorded in the Negev's Nitzana area and added 105 million cubic meters of water to Lake Kinneret - the largest amount seen in the month of January since 2004.
Nevertheless, the authority warned, a one-month bonanza is not enough to make up for a deficit going back years, and all of Israel's water sources remain at dangerously low levels.
In view of the extreme cold which is has been felt across Israel recently, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, said Thursday that it was donating NIS 20 million to pay for the heating bills of 134,000 Elderly people in need throughout Israel.