Winter has come: Israel to turn clocks back
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Winter has come: Israel to turn clocks back

Israelis to get an extra hour of sleep as clocks turned back one hour at 2 a.m., marking end of daylight savings

Illustrative photo of a clock.  Shutterstock)
Illustrative photo of a clock. Shutterstock)

Israel’s winter will officially begin early Sunday as clocks turn back one hour marking the end of summer time.

At 2 a.m. Israelis need to turn their clocks back to 1 a.m. again.

However, owners of smartphones will not have stay up to reset their clocks, with Apple, Samsung and many other major brands provide an automatic service, alongside Israel’s major phone carriers such as Pelephone, Partner and Cellcom.

Watches, clocks and a variety of appliances (and some much older phones) will still have to be changed manually.

Daylight savings time will return officially on March 23, 2018. The change in Israel coincides with the EU, but not the US, which changes on November 6

In 2013, the Knesset passed legislation extending daylight savings time 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.

Orthodox Jews walk in the empty streets of Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, the holiest year in the Jewish calendar, on October 12 2016. (Photo by Sebi Berens/Flash 90)
Orthodox Jews walk in the empty streets of Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, the holiest year in the Jewish calendar, on October 12, 2016. (Sebi Berens/Flash 90)

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 haredi parties and their non-haredi 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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