Photo: Reuters
Ultra-Orthodox Jews performing Slichot prayers at th Western Wall on Yom Kippur
Photo: Reuters
Israel on high alert as Yom Kippur, Eid coincide
From north to south, Israeli security forces have taken lengthy measures to make sure bothJewish and Muslim holidays pass without violence; weeks of dialogue between Jews and Muslims, massive deployment to sensitive areas, hospitals and rescue personnel stand ready.

A general curfew was to be imposed on the West Bank at midnight Friday, to be lifted 24 hours later, after Yom Kippur - the holiest day of the Jewish calendar which this year coincides with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. The move is accordance with a decision by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and the assessment of the IDF.



During the curfew, the passage into Israel is allowed only for unusual medical and humanitarian cases, subject to approval of the Civil Administration in the Palestinian territories. In the other zones and border areas, the security level of preparedness was raised.


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The police and authorities in cities with both Jewish and Muslim populations were ready to prevent any disturbances during the weekend.


Haredi men practice Yom Kippur Tashlikh prayer in Tel Aviv (Photo: Reuters)
Haredi men practice Yom Kippur Tashlikh prayer in Tel Aviv (Photo: Reuters)

For Eid al-Adha, which starts Saturday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) authorized easing of certaibn restrictions from Sunday, to facilitate the Palestinian population in West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


West Bank residents will be authorized to have family visits and sightseeing trips in Israel during Eid al-Adha, without age limits and without designated permits. In addition, 500 family visits will be authorized for West Bank Palestinians over 60.


Furthermore, 200 permits will be given to Palestinian businessmen to travel aboard via Ben Gurion airport.


Another 500 residents of the Gaza Strip were to receive daily authorization to enter the Temple Mount, via organized transportation, for the purpose of observing the Eid al-Adha prayers. Also, 500 visits for immediate family in the West Bank were to be given to Gaza Strip residents over 60.


In addition, export of agricultural products will be permitted from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank area.


Police: Watching the symbols of state and religion

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch instructed the security forces to show sensitivity towards the Muslim population, especially in mixed cities and councils, in order to allow the freedom of worship and observance in the best way possible.  


Haredi man practice Yom Kippur Tashlikh prayer in Herzliya (Photo: AP)
Haredi man practice Yom Kippur Tashlikh prayer in Herzliya (Photo: AP)


The minister also ordered an open and effective channel of dialogue with the mayors, councils' heads and religious leaders.


Brigadier General Yossi Bachar, head of the police operation's unit, said that on Yom Kippur the police forces would operate on an unprecedented level due to the concurrence of both holidays.


"The broad preparedness of the forces is to allow the holidays to pass without friction. There isn't any concrete information about any coming disturbances," said Bachar.


"We went to great lengths to keep the peace and allow each and every person to observe their respective holiday. Police forces are spread widely and will address every event," he added.


Haredi man practice Yom Kippur Tashlikh prayer in Herzliya (Photo: AP)
Haredi man practice Yom Kippur Tashlikh prayer in Herzliya (Photo: AP)


The forces' deployment includes thousands of policemen who will be equipped with crowd-control measures. Eid al-Adha is celebrated by Muslims, Druze and Circassians and lasts until Tuesday.


The police are concerned that there will be mass disturbances and riots between Jewish and Arab youths during the prayers in the mixed cities. Currently, there aren’t any targeted alerts for terror attacks.


Jerusalem: Special traffic arrangement

Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha, the Jerusalem District police will operate in bolstered format and remain on high alert through the entire holiday.


Police, Border Guard and volunteer troops were deployed across the city on Friday morning to keep the order and guarantee security for the thousands of Jews expected to visit the Western Wall.


Civil Guard volunteers will be armed to protect the synagogues in their residential areas.


As every year, the Jerusalem police acted in cooperation with the municipality, establishing checkpoints on the main roads to prevent spillover and movement of vehicles from East Jerusalem neighborhoods towards the west of the city.


Police and Border Guard officers were stationed at the checkpoints to prevent their removal and are deployed in areas of potential friction to prevent stone throwing and other disturbances.


North: Rabbis and sheikhs meet for dialogue in Acre

In the mixed cities of the northern district, mainly in Acre, interfaith dialogue was held to deter rioting and increase tolerance and cooperation. Six years ago, violent riots took place in Acre during Yom Kippur, resulting in numerous arrests.


On Monday, there was a summary meeting for municipal officla to discuss police preparedness during the holiday. It was agreed that the entrance to Haifa, both to the east and the north, were to be closed.


The entrance to the city will be possible only from Ein HaMifratz, from there revelers' movement will be diverted to the old city. One of the Muslim holiday's customs is to visit the graves of deceased relatives; therefore a special route was to be opened at the entrance to the old city.  


In recent weeks, advocacy efforts have been carried out by religious officials, often in Jewish and Muslim schools - led by rabbis and sheikhs. Leaflets in Hebrew and in Arab signed by Rabbi Yashar and Sheikh Samir Asi were handed out to the mixed crowds.


North District police says that at this stage there is no information on any intentions to disrupt the order, but warned that "it takes one isolated act to lead to an eruption of violence, therefore the coastal district will be reinforced with additional forces".


District police representatives declined to disclose how many policemen are stationed around the city, but stressed that if needed, more forces can be deployed.


Hundreds of policemen are stationed at possible friction points in the area between Nazareth and Nazareth Illit, as well as the exit points from Afula to Iksal and between Carmiel and the surrounding villages.


"In each of the places a dialogue was held between religious leaders and dignitaries, who called on the public to respect one another's holiday and maintain the order," said a representative of the Northern District police.


On Saturday the security was to be bolstered near cemeteries and synagogues.


Nahariya Medical Center has also prepared for Yom Kippur, with the hospital management asking the public to show tolerance towards the medical and nursing teams who will be driving in the area during the holiday.


Haifa police has deployed officers in different areas of the city to enable everybody to observe the holiday: "Consideration and responsibility to Haifa's general public in order to preserve the city's coexistence has been reached through an open dialogue by the parties involved," an official from Haifa police said.


As in Acre, Haifa police will allow traffic to Muslim cemeteries while maintaining the sanctity of Yom Kippur.


The southern district has been preparing for Yom Kippur by bolstering the police presence in mixed cities. Southern District Commander Major General Yoram Halevy instructed the police in the Negev and Lakhish, as well as the southern Border Police and traffic police to increase patrols and presence in all Gaza border communities.


Judea and Samaria police, Border Police and IDF soldiers were also to be deployed in reinforced numbers throughout cities and towns from Friday until the end of Yom Kippur on Saturday night.


MDA: Medical treatment for dehydration and cyclists

For Yom Kippur, Magen David Adom raised its alertness to level C, the highest level. Each year, MDA provides medical treatments for thousands of people who suffer from dehydration, cycling injuries, pregnant women during Yom Kippur. It is expected that this year, paramedics and medics will treat approximately 2,000 people, most of them children.


Parents buy their children bicycles for Yom Kippur (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Parents buy their children bicycles for Yom Kippur (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


According to data from past years, every year there are more than 100 people faint due to fasting, and 500 people are treated by mobile intensive care units for a range of issues.


Magen David Adom stations across the country have been reinforced with dozens of paramedics and ambulances.


In addition, this year MDA will add advanced medical equipment and keep two helicopters on high alert for evacuations in remote areas in the north and in the south.


Yaron Kellner, Noam 'Dabul' Dvir, Omri Efraim, Yoav Zitun, Ilana Curiel and Ahiya Raved contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 10.03.14, 15:04
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