Snow storms swept across Israel Thursday, sprinkling Jerusalem and the western Negev and blanketing Gush Etzion, the Golan Heights and Hevron with snow and hail.

The snow closed roads around the capital Thursday morning and led to a fatal car accident near Hevron in which Rabbi Avi Cohen-Or, 42, and his wife, Simcha, 38, were killed.

The accident took place at the Beit Anoun junction. The family's van skid on ice and collided with a bus on the slippery highway, killing the couple and injuring their daughter Gitit (bat Simcha) critically.

Ambulances rushing to the scene came under attack by local Palestinian Authority Arabs, who hurled rocks and bricks at the rescue vehicles, as well as at those motorists stuck in the ensuing traffic. The Cohen-Ors, parents of eight, were pronounced dead on the scene. Gitit was airlifted to the hospital.

Rabbi Cohen-Or was the founder and dean of the Netiv-Dror Yeshiva. The Cohen Ors' funeral began at 6 PM with eulogies in the religious seminary in the community of Telem and the funeral procession leaving towards the Yarkon cemetery.

The Cohen-Or's van

Ten inches of snow fell in the Mount Hermon region of the Golan Heights Wednesday night, resulting in the closing of the ski slopes at the resort Thursday. Schools in the Golan Heights were closed Thursday.

In Gush Etzion, the snowfall began in the early morning, as many were already on their way to work in Jerusalem or elsewhere. A large number of residents found themselves stuck on the roads or having to find accommodations in the capital overnight. Buses and schools ran on schedule in Jerusalem.

Snow accumulated in areas above 3,000 feet, melting quickly at lower altitudes. The Negev town of Arad experienced heavy hail during the day.

Lake Kinneret has risen almost an inch, bringing the water level within 2.58 meters of its desired level.