US Palestinian Affairs Unit in Jerusalem ignores Yom Kippur, holiest day of year for Jews

Instead of calling Yom Kippur by its name, the message issued by the PAU read: “Our office is closed today, Thursday, September 16, for the local holiday.”

By World Israel News Staff

The U.S. Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) in Jerusalem avoided addressing Yom Kippur when announcing that it will be closing its offices during the Jewish holiday on Thursday.

But instead of calling Yom Kippur, considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism, by its name, the message issued by the PAU read: “Our office is closed today, Thursday, September 16, for the local holiday.”

Some took to social media to express their confusion over the vague announcement.

Arthur Len, an former Israeli diplomat who has served as ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Azerbaijan, called the announcement “mysterious.”

“Lots of fun comments to this mysterious, unnamed ‘local holiday.’ I wonder what mysterious, unnamed “normal business” will take place today,” Lenk tweeted.

Former senior adviser for Global Public Affairs in the U.S. State Department, Len Khodorkovsky, also questioned the PAU’s wording.

“Which local holiday is that?” “Do you mean Yom Kippur, the Jewish people’s holiest day of the year?” Khodorkovsky wrote.

The PAU is currently part of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which was merged under the Trump administration with the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. The merger meant closing the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that had served Palestinians up until that point. Instead, relations with Palestinians have been conducted through the PAU.

Recently, under President Joe Biden, the U.S. has been pushing to reopen a consulate in east Jerusalem that will better serve Palestinians, a move which Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has called “a bad idea.”