Rainstorm in Israel: A Blessing or a Curse?

Jews all over the world have been praying for rain since early autumn. It seems that these prayers have been answered and then some. Starting on Friday, December 10th Israel has been hit hard with meteorologists are calling the largest storm in over 20 years.

The Hermon Mountain, the highest mountain in Israel, was covered in nearly 7 feet of snow while central Israel saw massive flooding, harsh winds and sporadic hail.

The worst of the storm hit on Sunday with winds of over 60 miles per hour flinging loose objects through the air, snapping trees in half, collapsing weak buildings and lifting pedestrians off their feet.

Country-wide power electricity’s plagued citizens since Saturday, and public transportation saw massive cancellations and delays.  At Ben-Gurion Airport, five flights into Tel Aviv were diverted to Larnaca, Cyprus or Rhodes and three Turkish Airlines flights were cancelled.

It’s a tradition for Jews to pray for rain beginning on Shmini Atzeret, the last day of Sukkot which falls in early autumn.  The Amidah, a central prayer in Jewish worship, is altered to accommodate a special clause for wind and rain.

What’s more, World Bnei Akiva, the largest Jewish youth movement in the world, had emissaries in 30 countries across the globe insert a special prayer for rain into their worship on the first week in December.  And on Monday, December 6th, Zeev Schwartz, World Bnei Akiva’s Director General asked all of the organizations 150 branches  to take part in a special fast day to pray for rain in Israel.

It is true that Israel is no stranger to drought.  The country’s famed Sea of Galilee has been quickly shrinking and water is always scarce.

But while the Sea of Galilee has risen about two inches only in the last weekend, the storm seems to have caused more damage than good.

The famous Caesarea archeological site was beaten by waves when the seawall fell on Sunday and a Moldovan ship capsized and sank off of the coast of Ashdod on Sunday morning.  The 11 Ukrainians on board were luckily rescued.

According to meteorologists, the rains over the past several days have entirely offset the rainfall shortages of the past two months. However, Israel’s government is now left with a massive clean up on their hands.