'Loudspeaker war' in Hebron continues
Following repeated complaints police put end to Hassidic music played loudly from Gutnick Center adjacent to Cave of Patriarchs. Palestinians realize nuisance hasn't disappeared when sounds resume from speakers placed on car. Jewish settlement speaker in Hebron slams muezzin speakers in response
After repeated complaints prompting police intervention, settlers of the Jewish community in Hebron recently stopped playing loud Hassidic music from the Gutnick Center, a Jewish event hall adjacent to the Cave of Patriarchs.
However, Palestinians residing in the area shortly after realized that not much had changed: The music kept on playing at the same volume from loudspeakers placed on a car which would disappear whenever police arrived at the scene, and later resumed uninterruptedly.
Three months ago Ynet reported that settlers played music at a loud volume virtually all hours of the day from the event hall to the irritation of their Palestinian neighbors. The Palestinians residing nearby claimed that nuisance had made their lives a living hell, while some had even complained of hearing problems.
The Jewish residents of the West Bank city, on the other hand, said they had been suffering for years from the sound of muezzin prayers and wedding gunshots coming from mosques across town.
Tarek Mohammed Beitar, who lives directly across from the center, told Ynet that the situation only deteriorated after the report. "After your article the Gutnick center managers placed two additional speakers especially directed towards my bedroom, so as to punish me for the article. The speakers would play music from 6:30 am to 8 in the evening."
And yet following the report and a complaint filed by the Yesh Din organization, the police apparently started enforcing the law and music had not been heard for several days.
However, optimism was premature. "The center's loudspeakers were replaced by speakers placed on top of a car which parks in front of our houses and plays the exact same music, and in as high a volume," Beitar said.
"But when a police or Border Guard car approaches, the settlers' car vanishes, and returns 15 or 20 minutes later. On average it is parked at the spot for eight hours a day and drives us crazy just as the Gutnick speakers did."
Arab law violations
Beitar said that the police tries to enforce the law but that the settlers keep outsmarting it. "We also fear that following the decision to prevent the settlers from playing music they would start taking revenge," he said. "Lately they have been complaining of wrongdoing by the neighbors who are taken into questioning."
Noam Arnon, spokesperson for the Jewish settlement in Hebron told Ynet in response, "I am not surprised at the Arabs because they do everything in their power to hurt Jews and force them out of the Jewish people's holy sites.
"What is outrageous is that the law authorities in the State of Israel cooperate with them, turn a blind eye to Arab law violations and take a firm hand against Jews.
"The prime examples are an oversight of tens of thousands of illegal houses built by the Arabs, a brutal attack of Jewish construction and an oversight of thousands of loudspeakers across the country playing the muezzin as well as deafening Arab music."
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report