The Tel Aviv Municipality will not operate its bicycle rental service on Yom
Kippur, following a request made to Mayor Ron Huldai by a religious member of
the city council.
Shas faction member Beni Babayouf told The Jerusalem
on Wednesday that he petitioned Huldai last week and asked him not to
operate the system on Yom Kippur so as to avoid offending the city’s religious
“Tel Aviv is a mixed city with both secular and religious
people who both respect and honor one another. The mayor understands this very
well and made the decision to respect this,” Babayouf said.“Yom Kippur is one of
the most important days to all of the Jewish people and it is forbidden to harm
In a statement issued this week, the municipality made no mention of
“Yom Kippur is a special day that is unique to the
State of Israel, and also a day in which the people of Israel voluntarily
refrain from driving their cars,” the statement said. “Due to the fact that
operating the bike rental will require employing people and dispatching vehicles
across the city, we have decided not to operate the bike rentals during Yom
The municipality added that the customer service center for the
bike rentals would cease operations three hours before the beginning of the Yom
Kippur fast, and that rentals would be unavailable starting two hours before the
fast until two hours after its end.
Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv and the
surrounding communities is a cycling experience hard to find anywhere outside
Israel. The streets resemble a post-apocalyptic cityscape bereft of automobiles
with a stillness and silence broken only by the clicking of changing traffic
lights and the laughter of children and adults tearing through the streets on
In Tel Aviv the day is known as a sort of unofficial cycling
holiday, and in the days beforehand the bike shops are crowded with people
making last-minute purchases and repairs to take in the experience.
“Tel-o-fun” bike rental service went into operation earlier this year and is
available at dozens of rental stations across the city. The goal is to
eventually reach 150 stations.Send us your stories and photos
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