For the First Time, Kinneret Beaches to be Closed for Yom Kippur

A panoramic view of the south end of Lake Kinneret, as seen from Switzerland Forest near Teveria.

For the first time, Kinneret beaches will be officially closed on Yom Kippur. The Union of Kinneret Cities made the decision last July, Ha’aretz reported, but made the decision public only at the beginning of September. The beaches will have no services, and the gates to parking lots and campgrounds will be shuttered. The closure will be in effect from noon on Tuesday, erev Yom Kippur, until Thursday morning.

Access to the beaches themselves will still be possible by those willing to walk from the road to the water. However, the group noted that swimming without a lifeguard is against the law – and the cities responsible for the beaches, as well as the Union, will not be held legally responsible if someone decides to enter the water.

Until now, the one day a year that the beaches were closed was Memorial Day for IDF Soldiers. Under new rules decided upon in the July meeting, both Yom Kippur and the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day will be added to the list of days the beaches are officially closed. All Israelis are welcome all other days, the Union said in a statement.

Secular groups decried the decision. Meretz MK Moussi Raz said that “those who say the right seeks to throw the Arabs into the sea are wrong. It is just the opposite. They are throwing Arabs and secular Jews out of the sea,” referring to the two groups who go to the beach on Yom Kippur.

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