Israelis lose an hour as clocks spring forward into summer time

Israel enters daylight saving time as US, EU signal support for ending yearly clock changing ritual

A yawning dog in bed with feet and an alarm clock. (Damedeeso, iStock by Getty Images)
A yawning dog in bed with feet and an alarm clock. (Damedeeso, iStock by Getty Images)

Israelis woke up a bit sleepier Friday morning after clocks sprang forward overnight as daylight saving time came into effect.

Clocks at 2 a.m. jumped directly to 3 a.m.

The time change puts Israel back on the same time as the Palestinian Authority, which switched to daylight saving time on March 23.

The US leaped ahead earlier this month, though President Donald Trump indicated he wanted to end the twice-yearly clock changing ritual.

“Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” he wrote on Twitter.

Earlier this week the EU voted to scotch mandatory rules governing daylight saving, giving member states the choice of whether to change their clocks or not.

Left groggy by the disruption, critics say the back-and-forth of the clock is unnecessary and maybe even dangerous. In 2013, Israel voted to shorten daylight saving time by pushing off its start date from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

Before that, daylight savings would end the Saturday night before Yom Kippur, so that the day’s fast, which is pegged to nightfall, would seem to end an hour earlier.

Because the Hebrew calendar is a lunar one corrected via extra leap-year months to the solar cycle, Yom Kippur can fall anywhere 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 usually ends around November 1.

As a result, the issue of the seasonal time transition became contentious among Israelis, and was caught up in political tensions between ultra-Orthodox parties and their secular counterparts.

Religious parties generally pushed for the early time change to ease the Yom Kippur fast, which lasts from sundown to sundown, 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 doing so in darkness.

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