Israel shuts down for Yom Kippur

Jerusalem, Sep 15 (EFE).- For 25 hours starting at nightfall on Wednesday, Israel will effectively shut down in observance of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews.

Borders will be closed, radio and television broadcasts suspended, public and commercial activities halted and the roads are expected to be virtually empty.

Most Israeli Jews typically fast for Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement – and some also abstain from bathing, sex and using electronic devices.

Long lines could be seen Wednesday outside Covid-19 testing stations, which are due to close their doors at sundown, while hundreds of people gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City for pre-Yom Kippur prayers.

Unlike last year, when pandemic restrictions limited participation in religious ceremonies, Israelis are free to head to synagogues even though Covid-19 infections are again on the rise.

Amid heightened tensions following last week’s escape of six Palestinian militants from a high-security prison, 2,000 police have been deployed across Jerusalem and checkpoints set up around the Old City.

Four of the fugitives were apprehended, but clashes continued between security forces and Palestinians protesting in support of the escapees. EFE pd/ta/dr

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