Thousands of worshipers flocked to the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday night and Tuesday morning for penitential prayers ahead of Yom Kippur, which begins Tuesday evening.
The prayers are traditionally said in the days leading up to the High Holidays. The service was the last before the Day of Atonement.
Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown Tuesday. The Old City has been closed to traffic until the end of the holiday, at nightfall on Wednesday.
Driving during Yom Kippur is considered taboo, and many secular Israelis have turned the day into a biking holiday, taking advantage of the car-free roads.
For religious Jews, the day is marked by fasting, abstinence and prayer over its 25 hours.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said additional police units have been deployed to the Old City for the holiday, which falls a day ahead of the Muslim holy day of Ashura.
Tens of thousands of Jews gather at the Western Wall to ask for forgiveness and repentance ahead of Yom Kippur ❤️???????? pic.twitter.com/1I895UbRBi
— Anthony Shaw (@AnthonyShaw_) September 15, 2018
The IDF announced that it would be sealing off the West Bank for 48 hours starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
The Erez crossing into Gaza has also been shuttered amid rising border tensions with the Palestinian enclave.
The army routinely seals off the West Bank and Gaza on Jewish holidays, and did so last week for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
The closures intended both to prevent terror attack attempts in Israel during the holiday period and to allow the Israeli security officials who operate the crossings to celebrate the festival.