Israel switched to daylight saving time overnight between Thursday and Friday. At 2 a.m., clocks sprang forward by one hour to 3 a.m.
Daylight saving time will last 212 days until October 25.
Earlier this week, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had sought to delay the switch until May 1 in a bid to discourage pedestrian traffic in the streets in the evening, and promote social distancing, as part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
However, a day after he floated the measure Deri conceded that the move would not be possible as it was too late to synchronize the change with programming on computers and cellphones.
Such a change of policy requires “technological preparations of several months,” a statement from his office said. It also said that Israel’s internet was under strain by millions of people being kept indoors due to the partial lockdown imposed by the government — measures that have since been intensified.
“Any mistakes could disable entire systems,” the statement added, noting that delaying daylight saving time at such late notice could also create a “danger of harming the operational capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces, and the medical technologies in hospitals.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had both given their approval to the measure.