Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Sunday that there were no “failures” in the country’s response to the unprecedented snowstorm that struck over the weekend, and praised the work of Israel’s emergency services, army and Israel Electric Corporation workers in dealing with the crisis.
There is no need for an official commission of inquiry into Israel’s response to the storm, Aharonovitch told Israel Radio. ”This was a once-in-a-few-decades event,” he said, adding that “there is no need to talk about failures.”
The multi-day snow storm closed roads in Jerusalem, Safed, the Golan Heights and other high-elevation areas, left tens of thousands of households without power for days, and led to some public criticism of the government’s preparedness and response to the storm.
“I don’t think there was a failure” on the part of the electric company, Aharonovitch said. ”There were very few deaths, and none directly from the weather itself,” he added, but conceded that the “problematic areas” – closed roads and power outages — could be looked into and responses could be improved upon. “There are always surprises [in events like these],” he said.
He praised Electric Corporation workers, emergency services and the army for “working 24 hours a day” in response to the crisis. “I want to thank all the organizations that helped with this… everyone was helping,” he said.
The situation on the roads was expected to improve by Sunday evening, he said, but “some difficulties” would continue throughout the day. “Many roads are still blocked. In the Judean mountains and in the settlements, many [communities] are only accessible by four-by-four, but will open to regular vehicles later today,” he said.
Both major entry routes to Jerusalem, routes 1 and 443, which were blocked since Friday, opened to traffic Sunday afternoon.