Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced Monday his decision to implement the recommendation of a professional committee to extend daylight savings time, which will now begin in the end of March and end on Ocober 1.
The new ruling extends daylight saving time period to 193 days, from the current 170-191 days. The decision is to take effect this year.
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Yishai told a press conference that a poll conducted by the professional committee assigned to research the issue found that 50% of Israel's citizens wanted to extend daylight savings time, while 46% wanted to keep it as it is or shorten it.
"Much of the nonreligious public asked for it to be shortened, while much of the religious public asked it to be extended – there are arguments for both sides," he said. "Overall, the poll speaks for itself."
Officials familiar with the matter said that the committee's recommendations were not one-sided; some members supported the extension of the period until the end of October, as is done in Europe, but Yishai dismissed this proposal because it would mean a late sunrise hour that wouldn't allow the religious sector enough time to pray before the beginning of the workday.
As per the current law, Israel occasionally returns to winter time in the beginning of September - two months before Europe and the United States.
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