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 National Holidays - Weekends

The working week in israel runs from Sunday – Thursday. 
All public transport, government offices, banks, post offices & shops are open to serve you on these days.
Friday and Saturday is considered the weekend in Israel with Shabbat (Saturday) being the official Jewish day of rest.
Government offices are closed.
Post Offices & Banks closed by 12-1pm.
Public transport usually ceases around 4-5pm Friday (recommences on Saturday around 6-7pm). 
Taxi’s put a surcharge on fares the weekend. 
As the sun begins its decent on Friday afternoon, a distinctive holiday atmosphere spreads throughout the cities, its delightful and a sweet reminder to make time for pleasure and relaxation.  

 National Public Holidays

Public Holidays in Israel follow the Jewish calendar* and as such are celebrated on slightly different dates every year. (Though usually fall within the same few-weeks period).

In the Jewish tradition, a new day begins with the appearance of three stars in the sky; hence national holidays begin in the afternoon hours of the day before the official date. 

As in most countries, the national holidays (holy days) in Israel usually have a religious theme, celebrating a special time in Jewish history. They are customarily celebrated with families and typically include an amazing feast.

If you have the good fortune to be invited to join a family to celebrate any of these special days…seriously consider saying yes, the atmosphere is warm and always welcoming and can be a really enjoyable experience.    

During many of the holidays Public transportation is not available and all but a few shops are closed for business. Though it may sound peculiar, even annoying at first for those on vacation, in reality it is a delightful experience for visitors and locals alike.  A calm tranquil feeling spreads throughout the cities and many locals head to the numerous musical & cultural festivals going on in the country. 

* The Jewish calendar is calculated by the moon phases.

Official National Holidays 2008:
Passover (Pesach)
Apr. 20th-26th 2008 (Only the first and last days are national holidays)
Independence Day
(Yom Ha-Atzmaut)
May 8th 2008
(Jewish Harvest Festival)
Jun 9th 2008
Jewish New Year
(Rosh Hashanah)
Sep 30th – Oct. 1st 2008
Day of Atonement
(Yom Kippur)
The holiest day of the year for Jews - this is the day 'when everything stops'. Oct. 9th 2008
Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) (Sukkot)
Oct. 14th 2008  
Assembly of the Eighth Day (Simchat Torah/ Shemini Atzeret)
Oct. 21st 2008
Other Holidays (2007, 2008)
Feast of Rededication (First Day) (Hanukkah)
Dec. 5th -12th 2007
Dec. 22nd – 29th 2008
Tenth of Tevet Fast (Tsom Asarah b-Tevet)
Dec. 19th 2007
Jan. 6th 2009
Fifteenth of Shvat (Tu Bishvat). New Year for Trees
Jan 22nd 2008
Fast of Esther (Ta`anit Ester)
Mar. 20th 2008
Memorial Feast for the Triumph of Esther (Purim)
Mar. 21st–22nd 2008
Seventh day of Passover (Shvi'i shel Pesach)
Apr. 27th 2008
Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaZikaron LaShoah VeLaGevurah)
May 1st 2008. At 10 AM, the sound of sirens will be heard throughout the cities and the entire country comes to an eerie standstill for two minutes. Restaurants, cinemas, cafes, bars and theaters will be closed on the evening of Apr. 30th
Fallen Soldiers Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron)
May 7th 2008. A sound of sirens will be heard on the evening of the 6th at 8 PM and the next morning at 11 AM. Restaurants, cinemas, cafes, bars and theaters shell be closed on the evening of May 6th
33rd day of the `Omer (Lag Ba'omer)
May 23rd 2008
Jerusalem Day (Yom Herut Yerushalayim)
Jun 2nd 2008
Seventeenth of Tammuz fast (Tsom Shiva` Asar b-Tammuz)
Jul 20th 2008
Ninth of Av fast (Tisha B'Av)
Destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples, Aug 10th 2008
Fifteenth of Av (Tu B'Av)
Jewish Festival of Love, Aug 16th 2008
Fast Day of Gedaliah (Tsom Gedalyah ben Ahikam)
Cellebrated two days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) Oct. 2nd 2008
Yitzhak Rabin's Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron le Yitzhak Rabin)
Nov. 10th 2008
Yom Kippur in Israel
On the Day of Atonement, the most important day of fasting in Jewish religion – Israel comes to a halt: businesses, shops, banks, theaters, museums, restaurants, and public transportation – Every thing is closed!!! Even the Television stops broadcasting.
People don’t work and they don’t drive. The cities of Israel come to a complete stop and the streets are filled with children and adults walking along, cycling, rollerblading and trying their skateboards.
It is as if the Re-Claim the streets movement prevailed and people, instead of cars, own the public areas. One could ride his bicycles in the middle of the Tel Aviv's busiest Freeway…or, if you are in an excellent shape, ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – on the main road itself – you will see no cars (except for emergencies going to hospitals).
The air is supper clean (measures showed air pollution drops to zero on this day), the atmosphere is relaxed and quiet, and the city is all yours to discover – as long as you are willing to walk, cycle or rollerblade….
Don’t miss this exhilarating experience – there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

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