Thursday, November 17, 2016

In Israel, Anti-Noise Bill Aimed At Mosques Falters When Legislators Realize It Also Bars Jewish Sabbath Alerts

The Washington Post reported yesterday that in Israel this week, ultra-Orthodox Jewish government ministers stopped progress in the Knesset (Parliament) on a government-approved bill that would have prevented religious institutions from using loud speakers.  The law was aimed at mosques in which the five-times-per-day calls to prayer are broadcast through loudspeakers attached to the top of minarets.  Jewish Israelis living close to Muslim neighborhoods have complained for years, especially about the early morning calls to prayer that wake them. Arab Israelis had strongly opposed the law, one Arab Knesset member calling it "a populist and racist attempt to incite against the Arab public."  What stopped the bill however was the realization by Orthodox Jewish Knesset members that the bill, written in broad terms, would also outlaw sirens used in Jewish neighborhoods to alert Jews to the start of the Sabbath.