Israeli Jews began marking at sunset Wednesday the two-day Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashana, with public transport ceasing in most places and government offices and major businesses closing.
For many it will be a long weekend, as the holiday ends at sundown Thursday and the Jewish Sabbath kicks in the next evening.
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Many Jews do not work on Friday during the day anyway, but of those who normally do many will take the day off.
As on other major Jewish holidays police were deploying in force in major cities and places of public worship for fear of Palestinian unrest or militant attacks.
Clashes broke out at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound earlier in the day as Palestinians protested against Jews visiting the flashpoint holy site on the holiday eve, police said.