Starting at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Earth Day, government offices, businesses and thousands of residents across Israel will turn off unnecessary lights for one hour as part of the global "Earth Hour" movement.

Yet in typical Israeli style, the city is making its appearance at the international event fashionably late. Three weeks late, that is.



While capitals around the planet darkened their lights and landmarks, from the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower, on Saturday March 31 this year, Israel decided to postpone its activities until Earth Day, presumably to avoid conflicts with Shabbat.

Resident and businesses in cities around the country are requested to turn off non-essential lights, both to conserve energy and to make a symbolic statement about conservation.

The tradition began in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and has grown to include 147 countries around the world. Twenty-two cities in Israel will participate, each kicking off the hour-long event at some point between 8:00 and 8:30 in the evening.

In Tel Aviv the signature green city-sponsored Tel-o-fun bikeshare bicycles have been adorned with small flags advertising Earth Hour for several weeks. Israeli singer Ivri Lider will perform with his new group The Young Professionals in a Rabin Square concert powered by renewable energy and bio-diesel.

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