By David Dolan
The holiest day in the annual Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, begins this evening at sunset. It commemorates the time in antiquity when, upon God’s instructions spelled out in the Bible, the Jewish High Priest would take the blood of a slain sacrificial lamb into the Jerusalem Temple’s Holy of Holies. There he would seek atonement from the Almighty for the sins of the people.
As every year, the sacred day will be marked in Israel with widespread fasting and prayer. By law, all Jewish businesses, places of entertainment and the like will be closed from just before sunset until tomorrow evening. Non emergency vehicular traffic will be banned on most of the country’s roads and trains and buses will halt their service.
Israeli security forces will be on extra alert to prevent any attempts to disrupt the peace while ambulance crews stand by for the inevitable handful of citizens who will fall ill from fasting.
Most soldiers normally receive home furloughs during Yom Kippur. However with war raging in nearby Syria and turmoil gripping many Arab countries, many will stay this year on their military bases.