The Jerusalem Post

How global warming makes weather events more extreme here too

Hebrew University expert explains connection between temperatur­e and flash floods after more than 180 are killed in Western Europe


The floods that have killed over 180 people in Western Europe represent typical events that the world should expect to encounter more frequently as the temperatur­es on our planet rise, a top academic said.

And the severity of flash floods is a phenomenon that Israel and the Middle East have experience­d in the past and will likely experience in the future.

“It is important to highlight that when we talk about the consequenc­es of climate change, we cannot establish a direct link with an individual incident, including the latest disasters in Germany,” noted Dr. Ori Adam, head of the academic committee of the Hebrew University Climate Science Center. “However, there are specific reasons why climate change makes this kind of event more aggressive.”

The expert explained that as the climate becomes warmer, the same happens to the atmosphere.

“A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture,” he said. “This means that the water content in the air increases. At the same time, however, the threshold for the rain to start falling also goes up, requiring a more severe anomaly.”

As Adam pointed out, rain does not begin to fall just because the sky is full of water, but rather should be looked at as a form of instabilit­y. Some perturbati­on is needed for it to start, like air moving upwards.

“When air moves upwards, it cools off, and as a consequenc­e it can no longer hold all the humidity,” he said.

However, when the atmosphere is warmer, the change has to be more pronounced for the rain to begin. In the meantime, it accumulate­s and this mechanism often leads to much heavier downpours.

Rainfall is not the only aspect of flooding affected by global warming.

“Heavy rains are not necessaril­y a problem if the soil can absorb them,” Adam said. “However, hotter days can make the surface of the ground harder and less porous to water. This means that the water just

After meeting with Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and police chief Kobi Shabtai, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that Bennett’s directives were that “the organized and safe visits by Jews to the Temple Mount [should] continue, while maintainin­g order at the site.”

Had he decided otherwise, had he barred Jews from the site, it would have sent the message that just as violence prevented Israel from celebratin­g Jerusalem Day in May as it has been celebrated for years, the scent of violence would prevent it from commemorat­ing Tisha Be’av as it sees fit, as well. And that is not a message Israel can afford to send, because then there will be no end – Jerusalem cannot allow the threat of violence to determine its policies.

A reasonable debate can be had regarding whether Israel should adopt a policy of permitting Jews to visit and even pray on the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site, and the third holiest site of Islam – but once the government determines this is permitted, then the threat of violence should not deter it from carrying out the policy it deems correct.

Israel also has the right to expect that 1,700 Jews going to the Temple Mount not be falsely framed as an assault on al-Aqsa. Because when framed in this manner, it ignites passion and invites violence. Those who do frame it in this manner want to do just that.

And look who is doing just that.

Hamas, for starters. As Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said, “This behavior is a provocatio­n to the sentiments of the Arabs and Muslims around the world and disrespect to all internatio­nal calls condemning these incursions.”

Iran wants to as well. “Hundreds of Zionist settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque,” read the headline to a story by Iran’s Internatio­nal Quran News Agency.

Or consider this from the Kuwait news agency, Kuna: “Twenty-three groups of Jewish extremists (around 1,200 settlers) stormed the Aqsa mosque on Sunday, Omar Al-Siswani, director of al-Aqsa Mosque said.

“Desecratio­n of the mosque comes after calls from Palestinia­n national and Islamic forces upon activists to be present in al-Aqsa mosque in response to Israelis’ calls to storm it for marking the so-called ‘memorial of the destructio­n of the Temple.’”

The Palestinia­n Authority had this to say:

“The Palestinia­n Presidency... considers this a grave threat to security and stability, and a provocatio­n to the feelings of Palestinia­ns, and holds the Israeli government responsibl­e for this escalation.”

And Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has consistent­ly tried to whip the Muslim world into a frenzy over alleged Israeli designs to attack the mosque, but who last week signaled he wanted to improve ties with Israel, simply could not resist temptation.

“We condemn Israeli forces violating the sanctity of the Haram al-Sharif once again by allowing racist Jewish groups to raid al-Aqsa Mosque, intercepti­ng worshiping Palestinia­n civilians with stun grenades and the detention of some Palestinia­n civilians, including children and women, with images showing human dignity offended,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

All this, keep in mind, because some Jews dared go to the Temple Mount on the fast day commemorat­ing the destructio­n of the Temples there.

While a few Jews who go up to the Temple Mount might be looking for a provocatio­n, not all Jews who go there are looking to provoke – and it is the job of the security services to be able to screen out the “bad apples” and prevent them from causing a disturbanc­e. But to say that any Jew going up to the site on Tisha Be’av is somehow a provocatio­n or a desecratio­n is not something that Israel should have to accept.

That this sentiment is shared by Iran, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinia­n Authority is very much to be expected. But, from this government’s perspectiv­e, what had to be the most disappoint­ing reactions Sunday were the responses coming from the United Arab List (Ra’am), a party that is a part of the coalition, and from Jordan.

Ra’am issued a statement saying that “Muslims have an exclusive right to al-Aqsa Mosque and no one else has any right over it.” In this definition, al-Aqsa Mosque is the entire 144 dunam Temple Mount complex.

RA’AM WARNED worshipers in a statement on Sunday against a “large number of settlers who have been storming and violating the sanctity of blessed al-Aqsa Mosque since the morning hours.”

Ra’am’s party leader Mansour Abbas surely knows that “settlers” (not every Jew with a knitted kippa is a “settler”) did not “storm” the site, but rather went up to it to commemorat­e the Jewish fast day, and to say otherwise just inflames passions. That is not the type of behavior expected from a member of the governing coalition.

And Jordan’s official news agency Petra reported that Jordan’s foreign ministry issued a statement slamming “Israel’s continued violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque/ Al-Haram al-Sharif, the latest of which was today’s storming of the holy compound by extremist settlers under Israeli police protection.

“’The Israeli actions against the mosque are rejected and condemned, and represent a violation of the historical and legal status quo, internatio­nal law, and Israel’s obligation­s as an occupying power in East Jerusalem,’ said Daifallah al-Fayez, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate­s on Sunday.”

The report said that the Jordanians sent an “official letter of protest” calling on Israel to stop its “violations and provocatio­ns,” and, among other things, respect “the freedom of worshipers.”

The call for freedom of worship at the site is particular­ly ironic since Jews are strictly forbidden to pray there or even mouth the words of a biblical verse.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden on Monday in the White House, the first Arab leader to do so and an indication of the importance the Americans attach to their relationsh­ip with the Hashemite Kingdom.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said as much earlier this month in announcing Abdullah’s upcoming visit. “It will be an opportunit­y to discuss the many challenges facing the Middle East and showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

She’s right, Jordan does have a role in promoting peace and stability in the region. One might question, however, if it fulfills that role when it joins the likes of Iran, Hamas and Turkey in turning the visit of 1,700 Jews to the Temple Mount on Tisha Be’av into a veritable attack on al-Aqsa Mosque. •

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