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Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 01/10/2013

Snow blankets parts of Middle East, Jerusalem (PHOTOS)


Snow covers the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City January 10, 2013. (AMMAR AWAD - REUTERS)

Four to six inches of snow fell in Jerusalem Wednesday night into Thursday morning, snarling traffic and closing schools and government offices.

The snow in Jerusalem resulted from a large storm system that produced days of inclement weather in the Middle East.


Low pressure tracks through the Middle East Wednesday (WeatherBell.com)
Initially, the storm brought mainly wind and heavy rains that caused flooding and damage in some areas.

But as cold air wrapped into low pressure tracking through the region, temperatures plummeted and snow reports spiked. Up to three feet of snow fell on Mount Hermon in northern Israel the Inquisitr reported. Snow was also observed in areas of the West Bank, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

The cold, stormy weather in Syria brought further suffering in war-ravaged cities and for refugees.

“The United Nations says millions of people inside Syria and 600,000 refugees outside the country need assistance, including food, blankets and warm clothes,” Voice of America wrote.

Reuters called the snowstorm the “worst” in 20 years in Jerusalem, but government officials and clergy put a much more positive spin on the glistening blanket of white.

“Jerusalem has many colors,” President Shimon Peres said. “But when she is white, it so rare, so beautiful, so unifying.”

YNetNews spoke to “prominent kabbalist” Rabbi David Batzri who said the snow was an indicator of forgiveness from God .

“The kabbalists torment themselves and pray for snow, which is a sign that the Jewish people’s sins are being forgiven and erased,” Batzri said.

Haaretz columnist Allison Somner said some Israelis had proposed names for the storms such as “Snowpocalypse” but she spoke out against the popular western custom.

”Around these parts, even one non-controversial name would be impossible, let alone a list of them,” Somner writes, offering 10 reasons why officially naming storms will never fly in Israel.

Here are some additional photos of the Israeli snowstorm...


A general view of the snow covered West Bank city of Nablus, taken from a hillside overlooking the city during snowy weather, on 10 January 2013. (ALAA BADARNEH - EPA)


A man walks through tombs covered by snow on the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Bernat Armangue - AP)


Flamingos are seen in their snow-covered enclosure in Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo January 10, 2013. (RONEN ZVULUN - REUTERS)


The hat of an ultra-orthodox Jewish man is filled with snow flakes in Jerusalem's Old City, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Bernat Armangue - AP)


Snow falls a an ultra-orthodox Jewish man prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Bernat Armangue - AP)


Christian nuns walking nearby some palm trees covered in snow near outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem near the the Damascus Gate, 10 January 2013. (JIM HOLLANDER - EPA)


Eitan El Hadez, an Israeli from the coastal town of Netanya north of Tel Aviv, poses as an active skier on the plaza before the Western Wall (behind), Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City, 10 January 2013. (JIM HOLLANDER - EPA)

By  |  11:48 AM ET, 01/10/2013

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