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Cycling injuries, fasting challenges keep paramedics busy on Yom Kippur

Netanyahu hospitalized as well after feeling unwell during the fast

People ride their bicycles and walk along the empty road near the Old City walls in Jerusalem, on Yom Kippur, Oct. 4, 2022. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year for paramedics in Israel – and this year was no different. Hundreds of extra medics, paramedics, ambulances and volunteers were deployed across the country, treating 2,741 people during the 25-hour observation of the Day of Atonement.

This year, some 285 Israelis were treated for injuries sustained taking advantage of the traffic-free roads on bikes, scooters and skateboards. Another 268 people were treated for dehydration or fainting related to fasting and 1,920 were taken to the hospital for additional treatment. 

Even former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hospitalized after feeling unwell while attending services at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. He was released on Thursday morning.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, almost all traffic comes to a halt and the roads essentially trade motor traffic for worshipers walking to and from local synagogues and families taking advantage of the empty streets for long walks or cycling.

Most people also fast from food and water from sundown to sunset on Yom Kippur while repenting for the sins of the previous year. 

With the approach of sundown on the holy day, all local radio and television broadcasting came to a halt. Public transportation ceased. Israel closed its air space to flights passing through.

Christian and Muslim Arabs do not observe Yom Kippur as a holy day and many do drive, usually avoiding Jewish neighborhoods. However, on Tuesday night a vehicle with five men from an Arab town drove through the city of Bat Yam on Tuesday evening. A mob of religious Jews overturned the car and claimed the five had driven into the city deliberately to disturb the peace. One of the men was treated at a hospital and another two sustained minor injuries.

Read more: YOM KIPPUR

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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