Lots of stuff happened in the world this week, but the top story in Israel was the loss of 10 young people (9 girls and a boy) who were swept away in a flash flood in the Judean Desert.
When I read the names and locations, it seemed that they were from all over Israel – places I’d heard of, places I hadn’t heard of. It’s always hard to wrap your head around the idea that all the kids belong to everyone, but this is a case where I think it’s entirely true. All of these kids touched people in their communities and were together on a bonding trip before their pre-army academy.
The nation has responded for “our children.” The kids drowned on Wednesday and by Friday, the head of the academy and a teacher were arrested.
Flash floods are serious in Israel. The rain falls hard and fast in Jerusalem. A short time later all the water is gushing down wadis and into the Dead Sea.
On Wednesday afternoon, I hopped on a bus to get home and within 30 seconds, the skies opened up and the rain started pounding. A few minutes later it was hailing.
By the time we got to Emek Refaim (it’s a valley and a water tends to back up), traffic slowed down because people weren’t sure if their cars could get through the puddles. All of us on the bus were, for the moment, enjoying the scene. We were dry and we didn’t have to drive.
My street is just slightly above the valley, so armed with the umbrella I knew to bring with me in the morning, I thought I’d get home relatively dryish. Nope.
The lower part of the street had water coming up past the rims on cars’ hubcaps. I got off the bus here and had to fight rain and ford puddles like they were rivers. I was WET.
The source of the river was right here. I was getting too wet, so I put my camera away and just did my best to get home. The rest of the night was spent counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder.
These pictures were taken after 20-30 minutes of torrential rain in the city. Multiply this water, funnel it into a narrow canyon, and send it speeding down the mountain. And that’s a flash flood.
And for those 10 that were lost this week, may their memories be a blessing to all who knew them.