Samarian Community Appeals for Help After Snow Devastation
The massive snowstorm last weekend has left the Samaria town of Itamar with damage to its agricultural and tourism industry estimated at millions of shekels.
Many families in the town earn their living on the industries which were left in ruins. The community says the farmers can not bear the costs and ask for donation to save them from an economic crisis.
Damage includes 20 dunams (4.9 acres) of hothouses that were destroyed by the heavy snow and winds, including those growing select organic vegetables. Thousands of fruit trees cultivated for over a decade were destroyed, and thousands of chickens froze to death or were killed when their shelter collapsed. A pen for milk-producing goats collapsed inwards, although the animals were saved in time.
In terms of tourism, the Village Point key attraction was completely destroyed when all its buildings collapsed in the heavy snow.
"Many families whose source of income was agriculture and tourism are left powerless by the predicament they find themselves thrown into, and are confronted by a severe financial crisis," said a community spokesperson.
To deal with the crisis, Itamar has established a foundation to request the government to recognize the storm as a natural disaster, and provide appropriate assistance. The government has yet to declare the storm as such, reports according to Maariv.
Chairman of the Agriculture Lobby in Knesset, MK Zevulun Kalfa (Jewish Home) has requested Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) to declare the storm a disaster and release the necessary funds for disaster relief.
Itamar was cut off from electricity for 5 days during the storm, along with other hard-hit Judea and Samaria communities.
The frontline town was the site of the horrific murder of 5 members of the Fogel family in 2011, in which the parents and three small children, including a 2 month old infant, were brutally murdered at night by two Arab terrorists.
Itamar has since seen continued threats of Arab terror; in October, Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs filmed the town and made throat-cutting gestures during an 'olive harvest' nearby.
To donate to the appeal, click here.