The Jerusalem Municipality said Monday night that most schools in the city would reopen Tuesday, with the school day set to begin at 10:00 a.m., following two days of closures. The announcement came after a winter storm pummeled Israel beginning Thursday, leaving the capital largely inaccessible for over 48 hours over the weekend.
A list of schools set to open Tuesday was published on Facebook late Monday.
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.
Schools in Jerusalem, Safed, Mevasseret Zion, Abu Ghosh, and some towns in the Golan Heights, the Galilee and Gush Etzion, remained closed Monday.
The Hebrew University said classes would be canceled Tuesday, after having also canceled Monday due to the widespread traffic issues that hampered access.
The university had initially announced it would be open for classes Monday, leaving many students to make the journey to the mountaintop campus only to find the school shuttered.
Meanwhile, over 3,000 households remained without power as of Monday evening, some for the fifth day in a row. Earlier Monday, that figure stood at 6,000.
The outages were still affecting some parts of Jerusalem, its environs and some West Bank settlements.
At the height of the storm Friday, 60,000 households were left without power.
The Israel Electric Corporation vowed to have all customers but a few isolated homes back on the grid by Monday night.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem prepared for another icy night Monday, as roads were expected to freeze over after temperatures dip back down below zero.
Drivers were urged to proceed carefully on all roads in or near the capital.
Buses inside the city shut down at 8 p.m. as officials feared roads would ice over for a second straight night.
Most intercity public transportation to and from Jerusalem stopped operating at 9 p.m. Monday, due to road conditions. A last Jerusalem-Tel Aviv bus, Egged line 480, made its final departure at 11 p.m.
Public transportation had resumed earlier Monday, as slightly warmer temperatures allowed the city to begin thawing out, and the Jerusalem light rail was operating, albeit in limited capacity, by Monday afternoon.
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.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel weathered the brutal winter storm “better than developed countries” accustomed to more frequent blizzards.
Netanyahu said Israel had grappled well with the storm, but that there were still challenges ahead. He dismissed criticism of national and local governments in preparing for the storm, echoing a statement made a day earlier by an electric corporation official that “we functioned better than developed countries that such storms afflict more often.”
Netanyahu said the priority was and remained “saving lives,” and warned drivers to take particular care on the still-icy roads.
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.
Several neighborhoods in the capital, as well as in Safed and in the Golan Heights, remained under heavy snow. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo reported Sunday that two flamingos had died in the storm.
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.
Throughout the West Bank, IDF helicopters were used to evacuate those who needed emergency medical attention, including, on Sunday morning, a mother and her three children in the settlement of Haresha who were found suffering from hypothermia.
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.