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Moving clocks back - and causing depression?
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Standard time - reduced play hours for kids? (Illustration)
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Standard time debate 'not religious-secular issue'

Over 100,000 Israelis sign petition against moving clocks back. Initiator surprised by wide response, expects it will 'change something,' but interior minister's office says return to daylight saving time after Yom Kippur unlikely

Shimon Eckhaus may be a successful high-tech entrepreneur with a string of achievements under his belt, but until last weekend he was mostly unknown among Israelis. However, in the last few days, the man who launched a petition against standard time has become a threat to world order – and its clocks. Even Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) cannot ignore him.


"I hoped and aimed high, so I wrote that I expected 300,000 signatures, but I didn't think it would happen so quickly," Eckhaus told Ynet on Sunday, six days after he put his petition online, when the number of signatures had already passed 100,000. "I believe the petition will change something. It has created an effect that's hard to ignore."


Eckhaus said the feeling of absurdity had prompted him to act. "We pay all the time, then they add yet another thing to our burden, and we just accept it," he said. "We say, 'never mind,' and just keep going. I've been asking myself for a number of years what would happen if we all ignored the government's declarations about standard time and didn't move the clocks."


"So this year I said, let's do it and see what happens," he continues. "What is this idiotic thing? When I go home at 6 o'clock, why do I suddenly need to drive in the dark instead of by daylight?"


What is even worse, Eckhaus said, is the fact that even the religiously observant fail to explain why we need such a long period of standard time, but he notes that those who see the petition as a step against the religious is greatly mistaken.


"I pray daily too, and fast on Yom Kippur," he said. "The idea of adding connotations of religious against secular is completely erroneous. There is deeper message than the issue of daylight saving time, and we need to get out of all the factionalism and the way of thinking that says if I'm against standard time I must be against the religious too."


On Sunday afternoon Eckhaus welcomed Yishai's agreement to consider going back to daylight saving time after Yom Kippur, but sources at the minister's office already said they did not expect this to happen.


'Standard time makes adults depressed'

Moshe Ben-Moshe, the owner of the site Atzuma, where the petition is hosted, said staff were making every effort to prevent the site from crashing again as it did early Sunday morning due to the huge numbers of visitors to the site.


"We have our finger on the pulse constantly," he said. "We have had petitions that reached 300,000 signatures, but we have never had a petition with such a rapid rate of growth."


And the trend continues.


"It's a question of saving energy," Ilan Starikov, a signatory, explained. "When there's light outside, why should we have to turn on electrical appliances? Furthermore, when it's dark, people close themselves up indoors. As a father, it's important that my activities with my children, like sport, can be done when there's still light. It's natural that parents will bring their children in when it gets dark."


Shimshon Ben-Asher explained he simply wants to be awake longer, and for this he needs more hours of light. "Around the world people have 230 to 250 days of summer, with the US leading the longest period of daylight saving and Europe coming close behind," he said. "Here we have a little over 170 days. Apparently there isn't a single state with less summer."


Yehudith Tzoibol noted that in a country like Israel the wasted energy is a hundred times worse. "We have important resources like sunlight which we must use," she said, adding that standard time has emotional implications. "It makes adults depressed, and shortens the time children have for playing," she asserted.



פרסום ראשון: 09.05.10, 17:55
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