Israeli life comes to a halt as Jews mark the start of Yom Kippur
JERUSALEM – Israeli life came to a halt on Wednesday as Jews marked the start of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the most solemn point on their calendar, at sunset.
For many secular Israeli Jews, it is a day of quiet reflection and introspection as a family. Streets and highways normally dominated by traffic empty and turn into arteries filled with bicycles.
Israeli police said in a statement that they had deployed additional forces around Jerusalem, with a particular focus on the Old City and its holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, ahead of the holidays.
During the 2020 vacation, the country was under a full lockdown to fight infections. This year, the Department of Health recommended that prayers be held outdoors. Indoor worship is limited to 50 people, unless the synagogue limits entry to those certified vaccinated, recovered, or those who test negative before Yom Kippur.
Israel has recorded more than 1.1 million cases of the coronavirus and 7,438 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year. It launched a COVID-19 booster campaign last month and already nearly 3 million Israelis have received a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.