Paramedics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service treated over 1,500 Israelis over Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which began Friday at sundown and ended Saturday evening.
Like every year, secular Israelis took advantage of the deserted roads and highways, filling the streets in droves over the holiday, which is marked by a 25-hour fast and intense prayer by religious Jews. But, like every year, injuries were not far behind, with MDA treating 1,659 people, it said in a statement, among them 265 injured while biking, skateboarding and rollerblading.
Another 228 people were treated for dehydration and fainting spells due to the fast, which includes a ban on drinking water; 21 required resuscitation, according to a statement released by the service.
MDA said paramedics were called to treat 134 women in labor and helped seven women deliver at their homes or in ambulances.
For paramedics, Yom Kippur is one of the busiest days of the year with hundreds of extra medics, paramedics, ambulances and volunteers deployed across the country.
On Friday afternoon, prior to the start of Yom Kippur, a 75-year-old man drowned while swimming at a beach in the central city of Netanya. Paramedics tried to revive the man but were forced to pronounce him dead.
With the end of the fast on Saturday night, public transportation, as well as radio and television broadcasts, again resumed.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were closed off by the Israel Defense Forces beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, were set to be reopened at midnight Saturday, “depending on a situational assessment,” the army said.
The closure is a routine procedure during Israeli and Jewish holidays. However, in a less common move, the military also announced that Palestinian workers would be barred from entering Jewish settlements in the West Bank — a measure that is not normally taken during closures. The army said special permission may be granted in some cases.
This additional restriction is likely tied to a terror attack on Tuesday morning, in which a Palestinian gunman hid among a group of laborers waiting to enter the Har Adar settlement, outside Jerusalem. When he was called to stop, the terrorist opened fire with a handgun, killing three security officers and wounding a fourth.
In addition, the Jewish high holiday season, which began last week with Rosh Hashanah, is generally seen by defense officials as a time of increased tension in the region, when the risk of terror attacks is higher.