Israelis on bikes in an empty street during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
Israelis on bikes in an empty street during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
Photo: EPA
A view of empty blocked roads during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021

A bird's eye view of Israel's deserted streets on Yom Kippur

Drone video captures virtual standstill in the country during the Jewish 'Day of Atonement,' as children took advantage of the deserted highways to ride bicycles, scooters and skateboards without fearing cars

Reuters |
Published: 09.16.21, 19:36
Seen from above, it could be mistaken for a COVID-19 lockdown: highways typically jammed with traffic nearly deserted, save for a few pedestrians unhurriedly crossing the street.
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  • But Thursday's virtual standstill in Israel - captured by a drone video - is in fact an annual affair as the country marks Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    A view of empty blocked roads during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
    A view of empty blocked roads during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
    A view of empty blocked roads during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
    (Photo: EPA)
    Businesses close, air traffic is halted and most Israelis refrain from driving on the Jewish "Day of Atonement," emptying city centres and streets across the country.
    Many in Israel's Jewish majority mark Yom Kippur by fasting during the 25-hour holy period, which began at dusk on Wednesday and ended after the sun sets on Thursday.
    Others, including many children, take advantage of the deserted highways to ride bicycles, scooters and skateboards without fear of being hit by cars or trams, even in major cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    Israelis on bikes in an empty street during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
    Israelis on bikes in an empty street during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
    Israelis on bikes in an empty street during the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 16 September 2021
    (Photo: EPA)
    Last year, the holiday standstill was accompanied by a nationwide lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has sought to avoid similar lockdowns during the Jewish high holidays this year by ramping up COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, now in the arms of nearly 32% of the country's 9.4 million population.
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