To everyone in Israel who woke up this week expecting a regular winter day, a big surprise waited at the door. In the last few days Israel has been experiencing an unusual heat wave. Winter is not over, and yet, temperatures keep soaring and soaring. The source of the heat wave is southern winds coming from Africa, causing an increase of 10 degrees Celsius above average. Still in the grip of drought yesterday surpassed the heat wave record of more than 50 years. Some areas in Israel have seen temperatures rise to as much as 38 degrees Celsius. You could have sworn it was a boiling day in August!

KinneretDuring the entire day firefighters dealt with frequent blazes around the country. Fortunately, no injuries were reported at any of these cases. A dangerous fire also broke out yesterday in a pesticides shed in Sade Moshe, a small southern community. Residents of the area were evacuated from their homes because of the toxic chemicals that spread around the area. The fire department still does not know for sure what started this fire.

The weather seems to be going crazy! Do we witness the effects of global warming? Possibly. At any rate, this winter provided us with poor rainfall. Our major problem is not so much the moist, the sweat, or dangerous fire breakout. Israel’s major concern at the end of winter 2008, is [or should be] the Kinneret Lake, better known as the Sea of Galilee, which is Israel’s largest source of drinking water. The Sea of the Galilee has not sot seen such a severe drought in years, and has recently reached its lowest level in five years. The long period of poor rainfall has resulted in the lake dropping few dozens feet below its “red line”. If this drought situation continues, Israel’s primary source of fresh water is at risk. At this low sea level, toxic substances can dissolve in water and pollute this most precious resource.

Israel’s Water Authority has recently launched a big campaign urging Israelis to save water at home. It seems though, that the Israelis do not take this water crisis too seriously, and this statement applies to both citizens and politicians. At the peak of Sunday’s heat, a group of young green activists chose to protest against the general lack of public interest, creating a human chain that demonstrated the extreme low level of Lake Kinneret. Indeed, not enough is done. Summer is on the way. So when you turn your air conditioner on, take a moment to think about these greater effects of the current weather. We should take actions now, before we have to pay the high price of losing one of our finest resources.