This evening a good friend of mine shared this beautiful photo of a snow-covered Dome of the Rock. It is the first time in four years that snow has fallen in Jerusalem and it looks like the locals are enjoying the novelty. According to this article it is the heaviest snowfall there since 1992.
To be honest I’d never really given the topic of Jerusalem’s snowfall statistics much thought except for a bit of a coincidence. Earlier this evening I’d been looking through an album of photographs taken by a New Zealand serviceman in the Second World War when I came across this snap.
Often when I find an album of old photographs in a second-hand bookstore or at an auction they are lacking provenance or any information to help identify the context. I’m lucky that in this instance the original owner had written on the back of the photo.
“Here is snow in Jerusalem. This was the heaviest fall for 25 years”
The rest of the album is all of New Zealanders at home and in the Middle East, so it seems likely that the snowball wielding figures in this snap are New Zealand soldiers. Also if you look closely at one of the soldiers in the background you can see what is almost certainly the distinctive Kiwi lemon squeezer hat.
There was no date for the photo but after a bit of searching I found this article in a digitized newspaper collection at the National Library of Australia.
Also this article here
I love that digitized newspaper collections are making it easier to placate my insatiable appetite for historical trivia and am thoroughly amused by the concept of Australian soldiers having snowball fights with Arabs in Jerusalem.
I also found another amazing photo here on flickr of what looks like not just a snow fight but a FULL ON SNOW WAR! I’m wondering if that photo was taken during the same snowfall.
it is funny how some human reactions never change. I imagine that two thousand years ago Roman soldiers in Jerusalem would’ve dropped their weapons and thrown snowballs at each other just as eagerly as the Allied servicemen did in 1942 or as the locals are doing now in 2013. Some simple pleasures are timeless.
© Lemuel Lyes