Each year, all cars, airplanes, trains and all public transportation stop moving and goes off the road all over Israel for twenty-four hours in celebration of the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people,Yom Kippur,יום כיפור , also known as Day of Atonement - In this day no music plays over the radio, television stops broadcasting, and all shops and businesses remain shut down. For one day, Israel resembles a scene from a post apocalypse movie.
Throughout the country, air pollution plummets a whopping 99% - in some places nearly eliminating the presence of nitrogen oxides, a prominent contaminant in motor vehicle emissions. The air smells good, the visibility gets better and the distant roar of traffic is comfortably absent. Residents take advantage of this day and goes out for walks along the empty city streets. Some take out their bicycles, roller blades and skateboards. The dramatic decline of pollution on Yom Kippur indicates just how polluted the air is the rest of the year.
Visiting Israel during Yom Kippur can be a surreal experience, but when an entire country stops functioning, the consequences can get dire. Eating out during Yom Kippur can be difficult as so much of the country is fasting. Hotels will run an almost skeleton staff and all leisure services such as gyms will be closed. It is therefore highly unlikely that there will be fresh food or usual food service. Some hotels organize a limited buffet of simple, pre-prepared food for guests who want it, but if you are not staying in a hotel, it is unlikely that they will allow you to eat in their restaurant.