The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs is scheduled to discuss a bill initiated by MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) proposing to ban the use of loudspeakers by mosques On Sunday. However, it appears the bill does not have the necessary majority and may well be removed from the Knesset's agenda.
Elements in the Justice Ministry are opposed to the bill claiming that it hurts Freedom of Religion.
The proposal aims to prohibit mosques from sounding the nighttime and early morning calls of the Muezzin – who uses a public address system to beckon worshipers to pray – in order to avoid disrupting nearby residents. The bill bases its premise on complaints by hundreds of thousands of Israeli who suffer daily noise caused by the Muezzin, particularly in the morning hours.
"The bill is based on the assumption that Freedom of Religion should not compromise quality of life," Michaeli said.
Mosque in Rammallah (Photo: Alon Hameiri, The Nature Protection Society)
The majority of Likud ministers, including Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan, Limor Livnat and Benny Begin, are against the proposal. It is estimated that ministers Gideon Sa'ar and Moshe Kahlon will also vote against the proposal.
Environmental or political issue?
"This bill does not address environmental issues but defies minority members," one Likud official said. "It’s an outrageous bill which cannot pass. What about noise emanating from churches and synagogues – this doesn't need handling?"
Meanwhile, MK Michaeli said that if she finds there is a majority against the bill, Yisrael Beiteinu will motion to remove it from the agenda.
"We do not deal with polls and voting analysis, but a menace to the lives of people of all sectors. This is a green bill, not a black bill. It's not a nationalistic-political symposium but an environmental issue of the first order."
Muslim imams said they will not be silenced. "I don't think that the call of the Muezzin disrupts the lives of others, "Sheik Assad Kalek from Haifa said. "You cannot turn the speakers down or change their direction and this bill is another racist step against Arab-Israelis."
Akko's Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Kader said the bill was "a violation of Muslim rights."
Attila Somfalvi, Aviad Glickman and Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report
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