Israel shut down its airspace on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Yom Kippur--also known as the Day of Atonement--the holiest day of the year in Judaism during which Jews spend most of the day in synagogues praying and fasting for 25 hours.

As thousands of Israelis got ready to gather at the synagogues, the country announced the closure of its airspace and shut down all the airports for 25 hours. According to, the flights will now resume only on Wednesday evening.

Across the country starting 15:00 on Tuesday public transport will be shut down in stages and restored after 20:30 Wednesday nightm, accordiing to DebkaFile.

Israel Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has also ordered a general closure of the West Bank and Gaza. All crossings will remain closed from noon on Tuesday until one minute before midnight on Wednesday (23 September), the minister said in a statement.

Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Tuesday and ends after sundown on Wednesday. During Yom Kippur, which is basically a "Sabbath of all Sabbaths", no Israelis are supposed to work and all must spend time praying.

Restrictions are also in place at Temple Mount compound, where only Muslim men aged 40 and above will be allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Israel National News.

The situation around Jerusalem, however, remains dicey, especially as both Jewish and Muslim holidays will overlap. While Yom Kippur begins on Tuesday and lasts till Wednesday evening, the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday also starts on Wednesday and continues till Sunday.

The local police said that they have put age-restrictions for entry to Temple Mount compound as there are reports that Arab youths might be planning a disturbance during Yom Kippur.