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Scenes of silence: Israel marks Rosh Hashanah with 2nd lockdown

Nation’s roads, markets and beaches slowly empty as thousands of police set up roadblocks and patrols across the country

A person rides a bicycle on an empty street as the sun sets on the first day of a three-week lockdown in Tel Aviv, September 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A person rides a bicycle on an empty street as the sun sets on the first day of a three-week lockdown in Tel Aviv, September 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel on Friday imposed a new national coronavirus lockdown, the country’s second this year.

The closure, marking the first time in the world an advanced country has imposed a repeat closure to curb the pandemic, went into effect hours before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and will extend through other key religious holidays, including Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

As the closure came into effect at 2 p.m., Israel’s roads, markets and beaches slowly emptied. Some 7,000 policemen and soldiers, backed up by local municipality personnel, deployed throughout the country to enforce the closure using roadblocks and patrols.

Under the new lockdown, nearly all businesses open to the public will be closed. People must remain within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of home, but there are numerous exceptions, including shopping for food or medicine, going to work, attending protests and even seeking essential pet care. The public is also allowed to attend funerals or circumcision ceremonies, to exercise and more — all under strict limitations.

A person rides a bicycle on an empty street as the sun sets on the first day of a three-week lockdown inTel Aviv, Israel, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Capsules for up to 20 women to worship_a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus_ at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, sit emptyon Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, on the first day of a nationwide three-week lockdown in reaction to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A man exercises at an empty beach during the first day of a three-week nationwide lockdown, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, Sept 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Jews pray outside a synagogue in Jerusalem, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, on September 18, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
An aerial view taken in the Israeli Mediterranean city of Netanya shows an empty road after the authorities imposed a series of new measures meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, on September 18, 2020. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
An ultra-Orthodox Jew crosses an empty street during the first day of the three-week lockdown in Bnei Brak, Israel, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
An Israeli policeman seen taking a picture with his cellphone while standing in the middle of Highway 1, leading to Jerusalem, as a country-wide lockdown becomes effective ahead of the Jewish New Year Eve on Sep. 18, 2020. (Gili Yaari / Flash90 )
Israeli policemen inspect drivers at a checkpoint on Highway 1 leading to Jerusalem, as a country-wide lockdown goes into effect ahead of the Jewish New Year Eve on Sep. 18, 2020. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
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