In Israel, during the Shavuot holiday, the country faced a downpour of rain.

Across the land of Israel, the Israeli nation celebrated the Shavuot holiday, yet was unable to have picnics or barbeques in many instances due to a heavy downpour of rain. As a result, many Israelis celebrated the holiday in their homes, instead of in national parks, who recorded an unusually low attendance given that it was a holiday. In fact, in the Jezreel Valley, the main Shavuot festivities were canceled due to the weather and there was even flooding in the Haifa area. Rain also fell in Tel Aviv and the Northern Negev Desert.

The rain storms lasted from Tuesday night up through Wednesday morning, with thunder storms, lightning and even hail occurring. “This is real winter, it looks like we’re in February not May,” said Tzahi Waxman, a meteorologist from Meto-Tech. As a result of these rainfalls, the Kineret rose another 2 centimeters and the Galilee received 30 millimeters of water within just a couple of hours on Wednesday. This level of rain during the month of May is considered unprecedented, with the Water Authority claiming that the latest documented rise occurring on April 29, 2006. Israel has experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall this year, as well as snow, which has contributed towards the rise in the Kineret level.

Usually, on Shavuot, many Kibbutzim have their first fruit ceremonies, yet due to the downpour of rain, many of these ceremonies were rained out. However, many Kibbutzim did not give up their ceremonies despite the stormy weather and 200,000 people attended such ceremonies. Similarly, some people did not give up their spots on the Kineret beaches, despite the downpour of rain. However, tourism officials in Northern Israel did state that many other people preferred to spend the holiday doing indoor activities because of the rain.

Haifa municipality authorities were forced to drain the streets of certain areas in Haifa that flooded during this recent downpour. “A preliminary check revealed that drainage to the sea was stopped up by the water corporation, on the assumption that the rainy season was over,” said the municipality’s head of operations, David Luria. “The infrastructure in this neighborhood is excellent, so we never see flooding. This is a technical failure that will be investigated immediately.”

Shavuot is the holiday where the Jewish people celebrate G-d giving the Torah to the Jewish people. Many Israelis usually have picnics where milky products are consumed and barbeques during the day of Shavuot, while others seek to go out and enjoy nature. Due to the weather that existed in Israel this past Shavuot, it appears as though many Israelis were forced to change their plans, switching towards indoor feasts and gatherings rather than outdoor ones.

By Rachel Avraham

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