Traveling to Israel on Yom Kippur: What Does it Mean for a Tourist?

If you travel to Israel on Yom Kippur you might want to look at this discussion on the website Trip Advisor

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.

Being a Jewish state, it is a law of the land in Israel that no shops are open and no cars are driving on this day. If you are not Jewish, choosing not to fast and staying in Israel during this day, you might want to make sure you prepare food in advance for the day. You should also make plans for the day that do not involve driving, or plan to spend it at the place you’re staying in, like most Israelis.

If you’re staying in a hotel that provides meals, they should provide simple meals for you during the day. Otherwise you’ll need to buy food beforehand. On the whole you should not drink or eat in public, unless you go somewhere (such as the beach) where others around you are clearly ok with that.

You can enjoy the traffic-free city streets, go to the beach if you like, sit in a park and enjoy the very unusual atmosphere of the day. Some Israelis like to ride bikes on Yom Kippur, but you’d have to get one well before the fast begins and demand is high.

Note: For those traveling during Rosh Hashanah, the story is diferent. Rosh Hashanah is like Shabbat – many places are open (and popular national parks and tourist sites will be extremely crowded). Museum hours – see individual websites, but most of them will be open, probably the same hours as Saturdays. Public transport doesn’t run, but taxis are available. Kosher restaurants will be closed but there are plenty of non-kosher ones so you won’t starve.

Source: Trip Advisor