Hebron (archives)
Photo: AFP

'Loudspeaker war' in Hebron

(Video) Palestinians complain about loud Hasidic music played daily by Jewish event hall in Hebron; settlers say muezzin prayers also nuisance

VIDEO - Palestinians living near the Gutnick Center, a Jewish event hall in the Cave of Patriarchs area in Hebron claim they have been forced to listen to hours of Hasidic music being played every day in the center.


The Jewish residents of the West Bank city, on the other hand, say they have been suffering for years from the sound of muezzin prayers and wedding gunshots coming from mosques across town.



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According to evidence compiled by Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights organization, Palestinians claimed that the Gutnick Center placed large loudspeakers on the building, using them to play music at a very loud volume. They said the nuisance has made their lives a living hell, adding that some neighbors have even complained of hearing problems.


Tarek Mohammed Beitar, who lives directly across from the center, said that eight large speakers were placed on the roof and windows of the building, five of which face his house.


"Every time we turn to the police officers and soldiers to complain about the noise, they do nothing" Beitar told Ynet, adding that "sometimes they cooperate with the center's management and ask them to turn up the volume."


"After repeated pleas and almost two years of waiting, we were finally allowed to file a complaint with the Kiryat Arba police, but the problem is that the police does not take the complaint seriously." Beitar said.


During the past few months, except for on Saturdays, the loudspeakers worked constantly from 6:30 am until 8 pm, "And this does not include days on which there are weddings and the celebrations continue until 2 am."


"The situation is so grim, that my 2-year-old daughter asks me on Saturdays why the settlers are not playing music. She got used to these sounds. When my wife and I want to talk we have to yell. I cannot even hear the voice of the muezzin in the cave any longer," he added.


'Hasidic background music'  

The operators of the Gutnick Center had a completely different take on the story. According to Ofer Ohana, the center's director, "The music played in the center for the past seven years is Hasidic background music which is pleasant to the ear; a hymn that accompanies explanations about the city of Hebron for the visitors of the center."


"It is only played during the center's activity hours which are 8am to 5pm, except for on special occasions like Independence day."


According to Ohana, Kiryat Arba's and Hebron's Jewish residents suffer from the muezzins: "Some 7000 residents have been suffering for years from the crazy noise of the muezzins, the sounds of gunshots at weddings and fireworks that are being used regardless of the Ramadan holiday."


"I have a mosque across from my house and my daughter wakes up from the muezzin. You can check how many complaints have been filed by our side," Ohana added.


Ohana doesn't blame his Arab neighbors, saying that "we've been playing music for years and nobody complained, but since these leftist anarchists from Germany and other places arrived at the area, they have been instigating and damaging the relationship between the neighbors."


פרסום ראשון: 09.15.09, 19:53
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