Israel marks Yom Kippur through fasting and prayer

Most of the country’s Jewish population started fasting this evening as part of the holiest Jewish day of the year, Yom Kippur, Hebrew for the day of atonement. As part of necessary security arrangements, the IDF announced a general closure on all Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and the crossings to the Gaza Strip. The closure will be lifted, and the crossings will be reopened, tomorrow at midnight. Entry will be allowed only in humanitarian, medical, and extraordinary cases. Meanwhile, Police and Border Police forces have been deployed in the Jerusalem area and patrols have been increased at points of friction, particularly in areas along the seamline. Furthermore, Flights at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport ceased today at 2:00 PM and will resume operations tomorrow night, at 9:30 PM.

Ahead of the day of atonement, today, Orthodox and religious Jews performed their traditional rituals, which they believe replaced the biblical sacrifices at the Temples, including the waving of chickens over their heads or emptying their pockets into a stream of water, actions they believe would provide them atonement for their sins. The waving of a chicken over their heads is called ‘Kapparot’, in which orthodox Jews believe the act would pass their sins onto the animal. “We take the ‘Kapparot’ and all the punishments that we should have received pass over to them that is how, with God’s help, we are salvaged from judgement,” said Michael, Ultra-Orthodox resident of Jerusalem. Along Israel’s shoreline, scores of orthodox Jews performed ceremonies called ‘Tashlich’, where people empty their pockets into a running source of water, symbolically casting their sins out to the sea.