Jerusalem partially returned to life Tuesday morning, after a heavy winter snow storm left the capital isolated and largely shut down over the weekend. Schools, city hall and public transportation were all set to return to operation in one form or another.
Most schools and city-run kindergartens were set to open at 10 a.m., the municipality said Monday, although some were still physically inaccessible due to fallen trees, ice, and other debris and would remain closed. A list of specific schools (Hebrew) was released late Monday night. School had been canceled in Jerusalem since last Thursday.
The Israel Electric Corporation said Tuesday that it had returned power to all communities affected by power outages, except for a few isolated households in Jerusalem. Overnight Monday, the IAF airlifted generators into the West Bank settlements of Shilo and Itamar, which were still inaccessible by road. At the height of the storm Friday, 60,000 households were left without power.
Kikar Safra, Jerusalem’s city hall, was also set to resume operations at 10 a.m., and public bus service inside Jerusalem and to and from the capital was to partially resume Tuesday morning as of 8 a.m. The Hebrew University remained closed on Tuesday, due to the widespread traffic and ice issues that have hampered access since Thursday.
However many in the capital reported late or nonexistent buses and persistent problems with getting around the city.
Schools in the Golan Heights were to resume Tuesday, but the northern city of Safed said its schools would remain closed for the third day straight on Tuesday, after finding significant infrastructure damage to some institutions, including fallen power lines and caved-in roofs from accumulated snow.
Route 60, the main road to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of the capital, was closed because of ice Monday night and had not reopened as of Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. A second road to the eastern part of the bloc was opened to traffic Tuesday morning.
The National Roads Company of Israel announced Monday that most major roads in the country were open to traffic, except near Nahal Tze’elim near the Dead Sea and some roads in the north.
Early Monday morning, Route 1 to and from Jerusalem reopened to private traffic after having been closed in both directions overnight Sunday-Monday due to icy roads.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel weathered the brutal winter storm “better than developed countries” that were accustomed to more frequent blizzards, and dismissed criticism that the country was ill-prepared for the storm.
Four people were killed from the inclement weather over the weekend, which brought snow as far south as Dimona and heavy rains elsewhere, though none from the cold in Jerusalem.
Besides the regular emergency call centers — 100 for police, 106 for the local municipality — a government call center was opened for elderly residents. It can be reached by dialing *8840.
Palestinian police said over the weekend major thoroughfares in Palestinian-controlled areas were gradually being reopened, but the UN said many villages were still inaccessible. In Gaza, some 40,000 people were evacuated from flooded homes on Friday and Saturday.
The snow reached 40-60 centimeters in Jerusalem and between 60 centimeters and one meter in the Golan during the three-day storm.