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IAF copter delivers electric generators to West Bank settlements
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
17/12/2013
The air force on Monday delivered much-needed generators to the West Bank settlements of Shiloh and Itamar.
 
In an unprecedented move, the air force on Monday delivered much-needed generators to the West Bank settlements of Shiloh and Itamar who lost power at the start of the storm on Thursday.

“The roads were still impassable. They were totally disconnected. They only way to bring them the generators was with a helicopter,” Israel Electric Corporation spokeswoman Iris Ben-Shahal said.

“It’s the first time the IAF has done something like this,” Ben-Shahal noted.

Binyamin Region Spokeswoman Tamar Asraf added, “We were happy to restore electricity to residents who had been without [it] for more than 90 hours.”

Generators were also trucked into the West Bank settlements of Yitzhar and Har Bracha that have similarly been in the dark, Samaria Regional Council spokeswoman Esther Alush said. She added that with the help of donors and companies such as supermarket chain Mega, the council had distributed food to communities that were still largely snowed in.

Asraf thanked the IDF for helping to clear the roads where conditions were particularly difficult.

Earlier in the day, Police Chief Yohanan Danino visited Shiloh to check the condition of the area. He met there with Avi Ro’eh, head of both the Binyamin Regional Council and the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.

Save for a few isolated settlements, electricity was restored to most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria by Monday night. Most of the schools that the Binyamin and Samaria regional councils run were set to open Tuesday.

Some will open late, at 9:30 or 10 a.m. However, schools in the communities of Ateret, Eli, Shvut Rachel, Shiloh, Adi Ad, Keda, Ahia and Esh Kodesh, all in the Binyamin region, will remain closed, according to Asraf.

Most schools under the Gush Etzion Regional Council will still be closed.

The thousands of Judea and Samaria residents who had sought shelter elsewhere began returning home on Monday.

In Gush Etzion, generators were trucked into a number of isolated communities such as Meizad that were temporarily evacuated the night before.

Route 60, which had been closed, was reopened between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion, but the stretch which linked to the Kiryat Arba settlement still remained largely shut. It will likely be reopened on Tuesday.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch managed to make his way through the closed roads to the Cave of the Patriarchs, where he met with leaders of Hebron’s Jewish community and inspected the physical conditions of the Herodian-era structure.

Worshipers have a particularly difficult time at the Cave in the winter because the plastic roof that covers the public Jewish prayer space does not offer adequate protection.

Hebron Jewish community spokesman Noam Arnon said that authorization was needed before the roof could be replaced.

Providing adequate maintenance for the public prayer space would benefit not just Jewish worshipers but also Muslims, who use the space at specified times during Ramadan, he said.
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