Israelis will fast on Yom Kippur this year just like Americans, starting and finishing the fast one hour later due to Daylight Savings Time, known in Israel as summer time, remaining in effect until the end of October.
The Knesset Monday night overwhelmingly voted for the change, ending years of arguments between secular Jews, who want a longer period of an extra hour of daylight just like most of the world, and religious leaders who have argued that continuing the fast later in the evening will cause many people to break the prohibition against eating or drinking on the holy day.
In the past, Daylight Time ended the week before Yom Kippur, and the fast would began around 5 p.m. and end around 6 p.m.
Similarly, Daylight Time used to be postponed until after the Passover holiday so that families would not have to extend the traditional family Seder meal until the later hours, when children were more likely to have fallen asleep instead of participating in the observance. The clocks now move forward at the end of March, regardless of when Passover begins.
“If people can’t pray because of the [new] law, we’ll discuss it again,” commented Likud Knesset Member Miri Regev in the Knesset.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at last week’s Cabinet meeting, where the measure was approved along with the proposal for exporting natural gas, “We now have a land flowing with milk, gas and sunshine.”