The clocks go back one hour tonight (22 September 2012) in Israel. This is earlier than most of the rest of the world, and therein lies a story.
You see, this coming week it’s Yom Kippur, the BIG ONE; the holiest day of the religious year, complete with a 24 hour (plus) long fast, and prayers to match. And since the fast ends at nightfall, once upon a time somebody on the religious side of the spectrum in Israeli politics, decided it would be good to change the clocks so that the fast finishes earlier. For example, this year it will finish at (roughly) 6pm instead of 7pm if the clocks had not gone back. The fast isn’t any shorter – to some it just appears that way. And so, for the sake of appearances, we are changing the clocks tonight. Or, to put it another way, for no good reason, we are changing the clocks tonight.
The costs to the country are, according to some, substantial. What’s worse, at least in my opinion, is that the minister responsible for this part of Israeli law – Interior Minister, Eli Yishai – promised in the face of huge public pressure that this year we would change clocks in line with most of the rest of the world. But it didn’t happen. Why? That’s another story. Let’s just say, “Welcome to Israel”. I just wish we could say, “Goodbye to Yishai.”