The holiest day of the Jewish calendar has brought most of the country to a halt for Judaism's day of atonement.

Yom Kippur began Friday evening capping a 10-day period of soul-searching for observant worshippers that began with the Jewish New Year festival.

It is observed with a 25-hour fast and long prayers asking God for forgiveness.

The holiday is unique in Israel as virtually the entire country shuts down. Businesses and airports close; radio and TV stations go silent.

Roads are eerily quiet devoid of traffic. Some secular, mostly young, Israelis take advantage of near-empty roads and highways with bicycle and skateboard rides.

Israel's military shut West Bank crossings citing security assessments. A Palestinian had killed three Israelis and wounded another at a settlement on Tuesday.