Daylight savings time will go into effect across Israel early Friday, turning 2 a.m. instantly into 3 a.m.
The period of extended daylight hours will last for 212 days, until October 27 – the longest time period daylight savings time has ever been in effect in Israel.
Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority will also move their clocks forward overnight Thursday. Most European states, on the other hand, will do so only on March 30.
To preempt mix-ups, mobile phone companies sent users text messages days ahead of the clock change urging them to manually reset the time on their smartphones rather than rely on automatic updates.
Last September, confusion ensued after the state decided to substantially extend daylight savings time. Some phones and computers programmed to automatically move the clocks back stuck to the old schedule, changing the time more than a month before the change officially went into effect. The “phantom change” caused mass confusion among many as phones, computers and automatic scheduling applications went out of whack. A number of Israelis reported being late to work and their children late to school.
In July, the Knesset passed legislation extending daylight savings time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. Before that, standard time would begin the Saturday night before Yom Kippur, so that the day’s fast, which is pegged to nightfall, would end an hour earlier.
Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar, Yom Kippur can fall between mid-September and mid-October, which used to mean that Israelis returned to standard time as much as a month and a half before most other countries, where daylight savings time ends on November 1.
As a result, the issue of the seasonal time transition became contentious among Israelis, and was caught up in political tensions between religious and secular politicians.
Religious parties generally pushed for the early time change to ease the Yom Kippur fast, and some secular activists protested that the change was unnecessarily inconvenient and expensive. They pointed to a relatively early loss of daylight hours and a resultant rise in electricity bills, as well as a greater number of car accidents as people who would otherwise drive home from work in daylight were forced to drive in darkness.