Rescue operation in Bat Hefer
Rescue operation in Bat Hefer Israel news photo: Flash 90

The past 24 hours were very busy for Israel’s first response services as they raced to prevent a tragedy while a major storm hit the country. Heavy rains caused floods that swept cars from the roads and spilled into homes.

In the town of Bat Hefer in the Sharon region hundreds of people spent the night trapped in their homes, with flood water making an exit impossible. In total roughly 200 homes were flooded, but many residents managed to escape in time and spent the night elsewhere.

Rescue workers were preparing Wednesday morning to free the remaining residents by boat.

In Baka el-Gharbiya a family had to be rescued by helicopter from their rooftop when flood waters entered the home and continued to rise. In Taibe, rescue workers freed a handicapped man from his flooded home, and rescued two families with children that had become trapped on the roofs of their vehicles. Members of one family were treated for hypothermia.

Perhaps the most dramatic rescue was in the city of Modiin Illit, where a child fell into a rushing river newly created by the torrential rains in the streets of the town. The child was feared dead, but thankfully was pulled from the water just before he would have drowned.

In another dramatic movement, emergency responders were told that a soldier was missing and feared kidnapped. Fortunately, the soldier was soon found alive and well.

Floods may continue Wednesday. Snow is expected in the Golan, Jerusalem, and the hills of Judea and Samaria (Shomron), and rain and storms are expected to continue in much of the rest of the country.

Video: Snow in the Golan Heights