While the situation in Jerusalem has gotten the lion's share of attention in the wake of the major winter storm that hit Israel over the past few days, there are many other places around the country that were just as profoundly affected. Northern Israel was badly hit by the storm, and in the Marom Hagalil Regional Council, which includes towns such as Meron, Avivim, Biria, Amuka, and others in the northern Galilee near the Lebanese border, the power has been out since last Thursday – in every single town, except for one.
Besides being a major inconvenience, the lack of power is a potential security risk, because of the proximity of the area to the border. Many of the towns have had limited power, using private or public generators, but regular power is off due to downed electrical wires.
Amit Sofer, chairman of the Merom Hagalil Regional, over the weekend toured the area with National Police Chief Yohanan Danino. Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Sofer described the hectic pace he has been keeping – 48 hours without sleep, as he attempts to restore basic services to the area.
“We are working in a number of ways with the towns in our jurisdiction. We have asked the army to deploy and provide assistance where necessary. We also evacuated about 90 families, mostly consisting of the elderly and people with babies, who were unable to get along by themselves, and we have placed them in hotels in Tiberias,” he said.
Sofer said that the situation was a dire emergency, one of the worst natural disasters the region has ever experienced. “I do not remember such a powerful storm hitting the country and causing so much damage so quickly,” he said. “Hundreds of trees have fallen, dozens of roofs crashed in. Electric Company workers are working around the clock to restore power. We are very hopeful that power is going to be restored tonight,” he added.
Sofer added that many government officials, including Interior Minister Gideon Saar and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, have asked what they could do to help. “There is always room for improvement, but the government is doing a lot to help,” he added.