'It was like living in a freezer'

Thousands of settlers from Judea and Samaria were temporarily evacuated from their homes because of the snow storm.

Samaria residents take shelter from storm 370 (photo credit: Samaria Regional Council)
Samaria residents take shelter from storm 370
(photo credit: Samaria Regional Council)
Instead of tucking his four small children into bed, in their Gush Etzion community of Meizad, Eli Rosenberg and his wife sat with them, and 90 of their neighbors, on a crowded bus heading toward Jerusalem in search of warmth and electricity.
They were among thousands of settlers from Judea and Samaria, temporarily evacuated from their homes by their regional councils, because of the snow storm, which began on Wednesday and ended on Saturday.
But among those in the country hardest hit were those in Judea and Samaria, where snow accumulations were a meter and more and where residents lost electricity and in some cases water.
“It was living in a freezer,” said Rosenberg in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post as he rode in the bus.
The situation was made particularly difficult for his family, because they live in a caravan that quickly gets cold without any heat.
The community lost power on Thursday when the storm started. It went back on Friday for a few hours and then fell again.
“At this moment there is still no electricity,” Rosenberg said and added that he does not know when the electrical problems will be fixed.
“It was dark in the house and now the water is going to stop,” he said. Once they decided to leave their home, it was not so easy to get out because the roads were slippery and filled with snow, Rosenberg said.
Volunteers came to pick them up in a jeep, and took them to the bus, he said.
The Shomron Regional Council reported that in the last 72 hours 8,500 of their residents have been without power and in some cases without water.
Some 2,500 residents have already left their homes in Samaria. On Sunday they were bused or drove from the communities of Har Bracha, Yitzhar, Mitzpe Yitzhar, Migdalim, Elon Moreh and Itamar. On Saturday night, residents of Tapuach and Nofei Nechemia also left their homes.
Samaria Regional Council is providing food and diesel fuel to those who have remained in their homes, the council said.
Gershon Mesika, who heads the council, thanked the IDF and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett for their assistance, but criticized the electric and telephone companies for not doing enough to restore service.
Vered Ben-Sadon, of the Rechilim community, said that she and her family of seven left their home for that of her parents in the afternoon after sitting in the dark since early Friday morning.
They waited until Sunday, Ben-Sadon said, because the electricity in her parents’ house in the Kochav Hashahr settlement was only restored on Saturday night.
“We didn’t have a telephone or a cellphone,” she said.
They put the perishables from their refrigerator in the snow so they would not spoil.
“We had a kerosene heater, but it was not enough,” she said.
Now, at her parents home, they are taking showers and doing laundry, Ben-Sadon said.
But she is returning home on Monday because she is determined to help a young couple from Peru hold a wedding in Rehilim, even if there is no electricity.
On Saturday in Yitzhar where they also sat without electricity ,and in many cases phones were down, Shifra Schriber went into early labor.
Their phones were out as was the electricity, she said.
Her husband walked in the snow to the home of someone in the settlement’s security team, who arranged for a helicopter.
All of sudden, somehow, neighbors arrived to help out. She was wrapped in blankets and carried on a stretcher to the helicopter, and flown with her husband to Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikvah, where she safely delivered her son.
“It was a miracle,” she said. “God was watching out for us.”