Over at the Times of Israel my Yom Kippur post is proving to be rather popular. As I said yesterday, the piece is a mild reworking of something I’ve written here before but it’s significantly updated.
From sundown to sundown the streets are full of people strolling or cycling; on suburban streets or along 10 lane highways, the only thing you have to watch out for are kids on speeding bicycles. Non observant people figure out how, for just one day a year, not to drive except for dire emergencies.
I will allow my 4 year old child to pedal furiously down a 6 lane divided highway in whichever direction he prefers.
As far as I can tell (people are vague on this) there is no firm, enforceable law against driving on Yom Kippur. It just isn’t done.
In theory, I think, the police could stop you, but they’d just ask why you were driving, tell you to be careful and let you go. It’s Israel: there is no religious police to enforce this kind of thing in Israel as it isn’t a religious state.
Motor traffic does stop every Sabbath in places where observant, religious Jews live in large majority: parts of Jerusalem, highly religious towns like Tzfat (Safed, Zefad, however you spell it) and many others. Even Bnei Brak, which is part of metropolitan Tel Aviv, largely stops every Friday to Saturday.
But on a regular Sabbath in Tel Aviv Friday night traffic is bumper to bumper and the restaurants serving pork or shell fish are full to bursting. Some of them seem to combine pork, prawns and dairy products in one dish to break as many of the Kosher rules as possible in one go.
I think it’s one of the most popular pieces I’ve ever written judging by more than 2,000 likes and shares on Facebook in under 24 hours and by the fact I now “occupy” the top spot for the most read and talked about blog on the Times of Israel at the moment.
And don’t forget, the detailed in-depth review of the hard science that proves the air is better after only one day of no cars and trucks was published here on Israellycool yesterday too.