Israelis brave cold and rain to celebrate New Year’s – er, Sylvester
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Israelis brave cold and rain to celebrate New Year’s – er, Sylvester

Magen David Adom medics treat 51 for alcohol poisoning throughout night of revelry

Medics treating a patient on December 31, 2017. (Courtesy/Yissachar Weiss)
Medics treating a patient on December 31, 2017. (Courtesy/Yissachar Weiss)

Thousands of Israeli braved freezing cold and rainy weather to celebrate the new year Sunday night and Monday.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated 51 people for alcohol poisoning, and another 13 who fainted, among hundreds of others treated for a raft of ailments likely unrelated to the ringing in of 2018.

While New Year’s Eve is not officially celebrated in Israel, many secular Israelis do party to mark the end of the civil year, known locally as “Sylvester” — the December 31 anniversary of the death of Pope Sylvester I.

As precaution against the expected revelry, extra law enforcement units, special patrol units and border police were deployed Sunday to patrol city centers. Traffic police and volunteers were also spread out to conduct alcohol inspections on drivers.

Temperatures throughout the country dipped into the lower teens (40s and 50s Fahrenheit) across much of the country Monday, with rains falling from the north to the Tel Aviv area.

The Galilee is seeing some of the heaviest rainfall of the season, with storms across the north of the country and snows blanketing the upper part of the Golan Heights, closing down access to Mount Hermon.

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