Israel 2013: When a Highway Turns Into a Water Park

You might know Israel as the good ole Holy Land, yet many now know the country isn’t only focused on its past. With an overwhelming amount of start-ups, it’s also called Tech Nation.

This is why witnessing Israel in winter is one hilarious ride.

Israeli folks have won Nobel prizes and other recognition – though clearly nothing related to handling winter. Located in the Middle East, the first landscape connotation one might have is the desert. To be honest, it’s hot here most year long, so I guess the occasional falling tree in winter is nothing to invest resources in.

Now, trees don’t fall everywhere, yet at least a couple fall down in the middle of the street somewhere around this land every winter. This country might be small – it can fit 20 times inside California – yet the chance of a tree falling over you is still pretty low.


The Biggest Storm in 10-20 Years

Of course, chances of hazard increase in those rare moments when Israel gets a real-life winter. No, you won’t find picturesque frozen ice to document, but you might see a country almost paralyzed for a few days.

That’s what happened early in January, when the biggest storm in 10-20 years hit Israel. Some people waited a few extra hours in traffic, others couldn’t get anywhere because the train system couldn’t handle the extra rain, and yet others went kayaking on one of the country’s busiest highways.

Unfortunately, yours truly had to be sick that week of all weeks. Moreover, it came at the culmination a largely sick year and kept getting worse as the storm continued, so going out to play with winter had to take second place. The photo you see above is from a previous winter in Netanya, Israel.

While I had a hard time staying inside considering I finally got a real winter, and while I kept questioning my decision, I ended up feeling better physically and I have plans to experience winter next month.

Fortunately for you, there are other good citizens in the country. They went out and took videos instead of staying home, drinking tea and hoping the storm continues for another few weeks.

Following you’ll find some of the videos that were uploaded to YouTube – I hope you enjoy them.


A Note About Dates

You might notice dates on some of these videos. Dates in Israel are written a bit differently that, say, in the US. If you see a date such as 7.1.2013 – the video wasn’t shot on July 1, 2013, but rather on the 7th of January, 2013.


Wintery Videos

Judaean Desert gets flooded (by agriportal):


Floods in Hadera, a city close to Haifa (by Tsur Yohananov):


Using a water craft instead of a car in Hadera (by adirostami):


An inside mall in Modi’in, a city close to Jerusalem, gets flooded (by yedioth):


Ayalon Highways in Tel-Aviv flooded. A weatherman said on TV (not on the following video) that it was a dream come true for him to see this, and he had no idea if he would ever get to see it in his lifetime. This particular video is by Zahi Shaked:


A train “floats” on water in Tel-Aviv (by Zahi Shaked):


At last – kayaking on a highway. A 51 year old dude took out a kayak and set out to enjoy life on a flooded highway. He drowned (!) near Israel’s only international airport, yet fortunately he made it out alive and will be able to tell the unique story for the rest of his life. If he won’t, surely his friends will.

These guys were luckier (video by bencarmel5):


And to end – some greenery from northern Israel. Floods in the area of the Kinneret, AKA Sea of Galilee (by xgshv):



Have you ever considered going kayaking on a highway?



  1. I feel a little better about all the snow we have to deal with here now. At least it doesn’t flood our malls and highways. That’s one tough winter you guys have to deal with. Probably a good thing that you had to stay in and recuperate. Somehow I see you jumping on one of those tubes and heading down the highway if you were feeling well enough to go out.
    Steve recently posted..Behind the Gum Wall – Our Night at the Seattle ImprovMy Profile

    • LOL! It was only a few days, unfortunately, so I didn’t get a chance to try a tube on a highway. I never saw anything like it here – I want a rerun! Today it ran a little, but now it’s sunny again. If it makes you feel better, I’m not wearing short sleeves (I did a couple of winters ago, though).

    • It was crazier this year than anything I can remember – I love it!

    • Fortunately, not many people were hurt during this storm (to the best of my knowledge). I know that one neighborhood was preparing for evacuation, yet don’t know how that turned out. I hope to see some of the rivers/falls in person this spring.

  2. Amazing videos! I knew you guys were having a big winter but I didn’t know it was this big. Apparently Israel doesn’t have the drainage systems that we have in the US, to drain the water off the roadways. Or do you? I’ve never been in Israel in the winter, and I can see I really missed out this year.
    Sabina recently posted..A Very Sweet Middle Eastern Holiday – Eid al AdhaMy Profile

    • Israel does have drainage issues when it comes to storms like this. It’s so rare, I guess it’s not a priority for the authorities to take care of. I still hope there’ll be a storm rerun before the winter ends for now.

  3. What a week to be sick and miss all the action outdoors. The flooding looks wild and kayaking a major river is a very cool way to get around. I hope you didn’t have flooding in your house.
    Leigh recently posted..Dazzled by the Lake Louise Ice SculpturesMy Profile

    • The flooding didn’t reach anywhere near where I live. Thanks for understanding, Leigh, it could have been a fun week to play outside in winter 🙂

  4. That’s a lot of water. I like to think I would be one of those people on a raft or kayak making the best of it 🙂

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge