JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is preparing to celebrate Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when the country comes to a virtual standstill.
The military closed crossings with the West Bank for the solemn holiday, which starts on Friday evening, citing "security assessments."
Yom Kippur is Judaism's day of atonement, when devout Jews ask God to forgive them for their transgressions and refrain from eating and drinking, attending intense prayer services in synagogues.
Businesses and airports shut down and TV and radio stations go silent. Highways empty of cars, leaving many secular Israelis to ride their bicycles on the empty roads.
This year the holiday also marks 40 years to the 1973 Arab-Israel War, which Israelis call the Yom Kippur War because the country was attacked on that day.
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