Tourist Drowns as Israel Hit With Severe Winter Weather

Heavy rain causes problems across central Israel; Search on for second tourist lost at sea.

Heavy rain on Friday caused problems across central Israel, as much of the region was flooded, main thoroughfares were closed off and area residents were trapped in their homes and cars.

Several people were reported injured or missing on Friday as a result of the stormy conditions: A 65-year-old woman was hit by a bus she had been riding in Ra'anana when she slipped while getting off. She was taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava for treatment.

In Netanya, rescue personnel have been searching for a tourist from Belarus who disappeared from a local beach.

The tourist was with two friends, one of whom was pulled from the water in serious condition and was pronounced dead several hours later in Laniado Hospital, Sanz Medical Center in Netanya. The third man was not injured.

The rain also caused extensive damage across the area. Thousands of Ramat Hasharon residents suffered extensive electricity cuts after a transformer was damaged. A fallen tree there also damaged a nearby parked car.

In Kfar Sava, a downed electricity pole stopped traffic for hours.

The weather also led to the postponement of the Tel Aviv memorial marking 14 years since the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, organizers said on Friday.

The ceremony was scheduled to take place Saturday night at Rabin Square. However, organizers expressed concern that few people would attend because of the rain that pelted central Israel on Friday. Similar conditions were forecasted for Saturday.

Among the dignitaries scheduled to address the crowd are President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Rabin's daughter Dalia.

U.S. President Barack Obama has also sent a videotaped message to be screened at the memorial, in which he will tell Israelis that the alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable.



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