Experience Israel snowfall

Snow and floods in Israel and Palestine

Heavy snowfall, floods, days of power outages: Large parts of the Middle East experienced the worst winter storm in at least 60 years at the weekend.

At least US Secretary of State John Kerry has kept his humor: “I've heard that guests should feel at home. Nobody has gone that far before - I am greeted with a New England snowstorm, ”he said after arriving in the region for another round of talks with Israelis and Palestinians over the weekend.

Most of the locals, not only in Israel and Palestine, had long since left laughing: Hardly anyone is enjoying the snow that has made Jerusalem, Jordan's capital Amman, even the pyramids outside of Cairo a brilliant white. Because the cold masses, which otherwise only fall for a few minutes in Jerusalem and in northern Israel and in the high altitudes of Lebanon and Syria, hit the region completely unprepared.

In many places, the power supply collapsed, so sustainably that almost all of northern Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and almost all of Jordan had to do without it even on Sunday afternoons - a disaster, because only a few buildings in the region have central heating fitted; Electric ovens are used for heating, and abundantly, because the buildings are usually poorly insulated. On Sunday it turned out to be even more problematic that the food in the fridges, both at home and in the store, is now spoiling.

The situation of the Syrian refugees who have found refuge in tent camps across the Jordanian border is even more problematic. The UN speaks of an impending humanitarian catastrophe. "We have considerable difficulties in providing people with blankets, radiators and food," says a UN spokesman, who also points out that a large number of people suffer from health problems due to the deprivation of their flight.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is also precarious. In the coastal regions the precipitation fell as rain; many cities in the densely populated area suffered from flooding; Large quantities of food were destroyed in the shops. Both the UN and Israel increased supplies of oil, gas and food.

In Israel, the chaos caused a violent dispute between the government, local politicians and the state electricity supplier. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the company of not having invested anything in infrastructure in recent years. But they counter that the infrastructure is, by law, a matter for the government, which, although several commissions had warned against this scenario in the past few years, did nothing.

In addition, as in many municipalities, there are complaints that the Ministry of Defense has not deployed the military much more intensely to help: "The army has infrastructure specialists that we urgently need to reinforce these days," said spokesman for the electricity supplier and municipalities unanimously . However, referring to the recent cuts in the army budget, the military says that this is not in the budget.

There is also strong criticism of the management of the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. After a palm tree killed two flamingos, and three birds and two umbilical pigs froze to death, the media accused the facility of not having adequately protected the animals.

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