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      290 Million Shekel Storm Damage in Jerusalem

      Mayor Nir Barkat presents figures to Knesset Finance Committee, asks government to cover the damage.
      By Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 1/1/2014, 12:55 PM

      Nir Barkat and Binyamin Netanyahu during storm
      Nir Barkat and Binyamin Netanyahu during storm
      Flash 90

      Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat assessed the damage wrought on Israel's capital during the recent snowstorm before the Knesset Finance Committee on Wednesday. According to the figures, Jerusalem suffered 290 million shekels ($83.9 million) in damage, reportedly the worst in the country.

      The Jerusalem municipality is looking to the government to cover the economic and infrastructural damage caused by the "tsunami," as Barkat termed the storm.

      "I expect the government to get involved so they can provide a substantial financial incentive which will return the city to its state before the storm and make sure the damage does not fall on the shoulders of residents, which would double the suffering," remarked Barkat.

      Aside from physical damage to buildings and property, Barkat noted the loss of income caused by the storm, which is figured in around 15 million shekels ($4.3 million). Additionally, emergency services and snow clearing procedures cost another 16 million shekels ($4.6 million).

      "The government must recognize the storm as a natural disaster," declared Barkat.

      Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Union of Local Authorities Chairman Shlomo Bohbot spoke on Wednesday, and agreed that the government would cover all special expenses relating to saving life and helping with damage borne by local authorities during the storm, reports Mako.

      If the agreement is carried out, it may provide desperately needed aid to hard-hit communities in Judea and Samaria such as Itamar, which has announced it can not financially bear the damage wreaked on its agricultural and tourism industries alone.

      The recent talk over storm damage comes after State Comptroller Judge (ret.) Yosef Shapira previously announced his intention to investigate government response to the storm.