CloudsIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Cabinet is poised to approve an aid package for Israeli victims of a monster winter storm, the worst to hit the country in a decade at its regular weekly meeting today (Sunday). The NIS 8 million aid package is expected to provide at least partial compensation to homeowners whose property sustained damage not covered by insurance.

The storm, packing gale-force winds, heavy rain and snow, battered Israel and Lebanon for five days earlier this month.

In Israel, parts of Tel Aviv were cut off from the rest of the country, as all four train stations and the city’s main highway were completely submerged by flash floods from the Ayalon River which crested its banks.

In Judea (Yehuda) and Samaria (Shomron), Palestinian Authority rescue workers found the bodies of two women after their car was swept away by flooding in the PA Arab city of Tulkarem, in Shomron.

At least four people died in Lebanon as a result of the Middle East version of a hurricane-nor’easter.

The Israel Electric Company and the country’s main telephone service provider, Bezeq, issued apologetic announcements around the clock explaining to customers across the country that they were working as fast as possible to restore service to thousands whose power and phone lines were damaged from the storm -- many resulting from broken tree limbs that came crashing down on power and telephone lines. But in some places, it was simply the 100-kilometer-per-hour winds that  snapped off the poles supporting the main neighborhood telephone stations.

“Don’t forget, our cables and boxes are all above ground, and they’re exposed to the elements,” a Bezeq technician told Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity. “You wouldn’t believe how many people were without service, and how long it took to get things back up and running again, because major switching stations were damaged so badly.”

The proposed bill to be considered by the Cabinet notes that compensation will be provided with the goal of making it possible to live in the damaged homes, a necessity due to “special circumstances.”  It is not intended to dissuade property owners from purchasing insurance, lawmakers emphasized.

It is important to note, however, that the aid is unlikely to help anyone who rents property, despite the fact that renters are the ones who pay property taxes on the places where they live and not the owners.