Rare Storm Brings Snow to the Holy Land

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The worst snowstorm in 20 years brought Jerusalem to a standstill on Thursday (January 10).

Views across the historic Old City showed landmark sites like the Dome of the Rock layered under a blanket of snow.

Most people stayed indoors during the unusual weather, but some saw it as an opportunity to enjoy.

Israeli President Shimon Peres made a snowman at his residence in Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem has many colors, in the morning in the sunshine, she is a little bit gold-ish. In the sunset, she is a little bit blue-ish but when she is white it so rare, so beautiful, so unifying. Whatever happens in Jerusalem is a blessing. This time is a blessing in white," Peres told reporters.

Elisha Peleg, an official in charge of emergencies with Israel's municipality for Jerusalem, urged the city's residents to remain at home and stay off the streets, telling Israel Army Radio the area had overnight seen its greatest snowfall since 1992.

He said 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches) of snow had piled up in the city center and more than that in outlying areas.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, residents playfully held a snowball fight in Arafat Square.

Across the West Bank, rooftops and streets were covered in snow as bulldozers made efforts to clear passageways.

Particularly proud Palestinians in Bethlehem planted a flag in a snowman they built in front of the Church of the Nativity.

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