Israel shut down on Tuesday evening for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
How well I remember the time where, shortly after I got saved, when I first held a copy of the Jerusalem Post in my hands. I found it at an international news stand in Princeton, NJ, and it may sound silly to you but I actually trembled a little bit holding that paper. Why? Because long before I became a Christian, God broke my heart for Israel and the Jewish people after I watched raw WWII newsreel footage in eighth grade on the concentration camps in Hitler’s Germany. I sat there as a 14 year old boy, my face stained with tears, unable to comprehend what I was watching on the screen. Holding a copy of the Jerusalem Post in my hands was not like holding any other newspaper. I felt connected to the only place on this earth that God called His Land, and to the only people on earth who are called His chosen people.
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:27,28 (KJV)
So today on this highest holy day for Jews both in Israel and around the world, we here at NTEB are joining you in prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that the forgiveness you seek will be found by you in the LORD as you fast and atone individually and as a nation. The words of the prophet Jeremiah resound as true and powerfully today as they did when first spoken thousands of years ago, and offer hope to Jew and gentile alike.
Am Yisrael Chai.
“Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” Jeremiah 26:13 (KJV)
FROM TIMES OF ISRAEL: All flights in and out of Ben Gurion airport ceased at 1:35 p.m.. The airport will reopen Wednesday night with arrivals starting at 9:30 p.m., while departures will resume at 11:30 p.m. Public transport also gradually halted with buses and trains stopping their routes until after the fast day. As sundown approached, all local radio and television broadcasts gradually fell silent.
Yom Kippur, which began at Tuesday at sundown and ends Wednesday night, is marked with a 25-hour fast and intense prayer by religious Jews, while more secular Israelis often use the day to ride bicycles on the country’s deserted highways. Security and rescue services, however, remain on high alert.
For the Magen David Adom Rescue service, Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year with hundreds of extra medics, paramedics, ambulances and volunteers deployed across the country.
Most injuries over Yom Kippur come from accidents on the roads as tens of thousands of children and teens take advantage of the deserted streets to ride their bicycles. Other common Yom Kippur injuries are caused by parents leaving children unattended outside synagogues and, of course, dehydration and complications from fasting.
Hospitals were working with limited emergency medical crews only. Weather was forecast to be warm and sunny Wednesday with a high of 28°C (82°F) forecast for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, increasing that chances for dehydration for people fasting.
Meanwhile, the IDF sealed off the West Bank for 48 hours starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The Erez border crossing into Gaza has also been shuttered amid rising border tensions with the Palestinian enclave.
The army routinely seals off the West Bank and Gaza on Jewish holidays, and did so last week for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said additional police units were deployed to the Old City for the holiday, which falls a day ahead of the Shiite Muslim holy day of Ashura. Police arrested five Muslim activists on the Temple Mount on Tuesday and accused them of trying to obstruct a group of Jewish visitors touring the flashpoint Jerusalem holy site. READ MORE