JERUSALEM, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Israel came to a standstill on Tuesday at sundown as Jews marked the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar.
During the holiday, which starts on Tuesday at dusk and ends on Wednesday at nightfall, stores, restaurants, cinemas and other business and public venues are shut down.
As required by law, radio and TV stations have stopped broadcasting. Public transport is out of service and people stopped using private vehicles, except for medical emergencies.
For Jews, Yom Kippur is a time for reflection and repenting. They fast during the holiday and spend the day in intense services in synagogues, asking for God's forgiveness. On this day, according to Jewish tradition, God "seals" the "Book of Life" in which each person's fate for the coming year is inscribed.
For many secular Israeli Jews, it is a quiet day spent with family.
The Israeli police said in a statement on Sunday that they had deployed more forces in Jerusalem ahead of the holiday, amid heightened tensions in the past months over a string of Palestinian attacks in Israeli cities and nightly Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli army said in a statement in September that it would impose a two-day total closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, during which all of the crossings to Israel will be shut down and passing would be possible only in exceptional humanitarian and medical cases.