On Monday, three days after the big storm hit Israel, many communities in Judea and Samaria were still disconnected from electricity, water and phone lines. Many of the settlements have no cellular service, not to mention a lack of food and drink.
Due to the dire conditions, many families evacuated themselves on Sunday, as soon as some roads became passable. Some families had to wait to be rescued by volunteers with four-wheel drive vehicles.
One family, the Ben Saadon family from Rahelim -- mother Vered, father Erez and their five children, the youngest just 18 months old -- spent three days in their house without electricity, heat, water or telephones. They tried to leave on Friday but became stuck on a snowy road. After being rescued by police they returned to their home in Rahelim. Only on Sunday, when the road was finally cleared, did they leave settlement for Vered's parents' house.
"We all slept together, each one of us under 50 layers," said Vered.
"In the beginning we turned on the gas, but our gas tanks became depleted. We were left without heat, and we have a baby. There was no hot water for the children. There were no clothes, no food. It was unbelievable. We sat in the dark. The refrigerator did not work so we put our food outside, but in the end, we had to throw it all away. It was like going back in time 100 years. The main lesson I learned over these past days is that it's everyone for themselves. They said that the army passed from house to house and asked how they could help. Not a single soldier knocked on our door to check if we were alive or to give us thermal plastic sheets. This was a national failure."
The IDF on Sunday said it had finished clearing the main roads in Judea and Samaria. On Monday, clearing of smaller roads and roads leading to more remote settlements was continuing. Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig. Gen. Tamir Yedi directed soldiers to go from house to house to see if anyone needed help. Soldiers from an elite unit operated in the Gush Etzion area.
Because many settlements still lack electricity and water, and many smaller roads are still blocked, there was no school on Monday in many settlements. The Gush Etzion local council canceled school everywhere except in Tekoa, Nokdim, Kfar Eldad, Maaleh Amos and Keidar. In the Binyamin local council there was no school in Eli, Shilo, Maaleh Levona, Shvut Rahel, Kochav Yaakov, Tel Tzion, Nahliel, Ateret, Amona, Ofra, Psagot, and Harsha.
There was also no school in the Samaria local council district, where 8,500 residents are stuck without electricity and surrounded by impassable roads.
In Gush Etzion and Binyamin, authorities were busy on Sunday evacuating families who had been stuck in their homes since the beginning of the storm. Dozens of families were evacuated to the Kfar Etzion field school, where they were given warm clothes and hot food and drink.