World

Israel police on alert to avert clashes as major Jewish and Muslim holidays coincide

  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Hassidic sect Vizhnitz gather on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea as they participate in a Tashlich ceremony in Herzeliya, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Tashlich, which means "to cast away" in Hebrew, is the practice by which Jews go to a large flowing body of water and symbolically "throw away" their sins by throwing a piece of bread, or similar food, into the water before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which start on Friday. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Hassidic sect Vizhnitz gather on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea as they participate in a Tashlich ceremony in Herzeliya, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Tashlich, which means "to cast away" in Hebrew, is the practice by which Jews go to a large flowing body of water and symbolically "throw away" their sins by throwing a piece of bread, or similar food, into the water before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which start on Friday. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

  • Palestinians sell animals at a livestock market in preparation for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in the West bank city of Nablus, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Muslims around the world are preparing to mark Eid al-Adha, also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, as the biggest holiday of the Islamic calendar. The faithful slaughter sheep, cattle and other livestock, and give part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

    Palestinians sell animals at a livestock market in preparation for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in the West bank city of Nablus, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Muslims around the world are preparing to mark Eid al-Adha, also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, as the biggest holiday of the Islamic calendar. The faithful slaughter sheep, cattle and other livestock, and give part of the meat to the poor. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray on the Hayarkon river bank during a Tashlich ceremony in the Israeli town of Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Tashlich, which means "to cast away" in Hebrew, is the practice by which Jews go to a large flowing body of water and symbolically "throw away" their sins by throwing a piece of bread, or similar food into the water before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which starts at sundown Friday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

    Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray on the Hayarkon river bank during a Tashlich ceremony in the Israeli town of Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Tashlich, which means "to cast away" in Hebrew, is the practice by which Jews go to a large flowing body of water and symbolically "throw away" their sins by throwing a piece of bread, or similar food into the water before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which starts at sundown Friday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)  (The Associated Press)

Israel police are on high alert to avert possible clashes as Jews and Muslims observe their faith's major holidays of Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha, which overlap this year.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says reinforced police contingents are deployed across Israel. There are large Muslim minorities in four important Israeli cities: Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv twin city of Jaffa — Yafo in Hebrew — and also in Haifa and Acre.

Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day, begins at sunset Friday and ends on Saturday night.

Eid al-Adha, a three-day holiday that starts Saturday, is an occasion for family celebrations and outings. It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim — or Abraham, as he is known in the Bible — to sacrifice his son in accordance with God's will.