Illustration: Visual Photos
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Illustration: Visual Photos
'We have come to banish the darkness'

Israel installs Standard Time; hundreds protest

Daylight saving time ends ahead of Yom Kippur as Knesset procrastinates on bills seeking to extend it; protesters gather in TA, shout 'We have come to banish the darkness'

Israel will switch from daylight saving time (DST) to standard time in the early hours of Sunday morning. At 2 am Sunday clocks will reset to 1 am.


The move remains as controversial as ever, as September in Israel is still very much summertime.


Standard Time is installed in Israel traditionally ahead of Yom Kippur and many see it as the government's capitulation to the religious parties.


Amid the decision to once again prematurely change the clocks, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and shouted "We have come to banish the darkness."


Interior Minister Eli Yishai's ultra-Orthodox Shas party has long insisted that Israel change its clock before Yom Kippur, saying that makes it easier for people to fast because the holiday ends an hour earlier than it would under daylight saving time.


In a surprising move, Yishai adopted the decision to extend daylight savings time into October, however, legislation has not yet been approved.


מפגינים בכיכר רבין, הערב (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Protesters in Rabin Square (Photo: Moti Kimhi)


In protest of the decision to once again change the clocks, Meretz activists demonstrated outside Yishai's residence in Jerusalem on Saturday evening equipped with alarm clocks.


In addition, dozens of Israel Hofshit (Free Israel) activists protested in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square and wielded signs reading "Eli Yishai is casting darkness upon us."


"Standard time cuts short the quality time that parents have with their children, adds to the risk of traffic accidents because of the additional travel in the dark and costs the Israeli economy hundreds of millions of shekels," said Mickey Gitzin, Executive Director of Israel Hofshit.


MK Nitzan Horowitz, a member of a Knesset committee tasked with reviewing Israel’s relatively short period of DST, claimed that the committee's recommendation to extend DST were neglected by the government.


"All of the promises made regarding the issue were a deception," Horowitz said, hinting that the committee's recommendations were intentionally abandoned.


"Under the pressure of the religious parties, the government did everything it could do to delay legislative action," he added.


"I have no doubt that this dead end has to do with one reason: the resistance of religious business owners. It is time to amend the law and put an end to this ridiculous farce," said Horowitz.


Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid further attacked the decision to change the clocks, writing on his Facebook page that "prematurely switching to ST is abusive towards the majority of Israel's citizens. This cruel plan is going ahead for one reason: Just because they (the religous parties) can."


In response to Horowitz's accusations,  MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) explained that the committee's recommendations were not implemented due to a simple disagreement between political parties.


Meanwhile, there are those who have decided to take matters into their own hands and ignore the change in time. Mano Maritime, an Israeli owned cruise line based in Haifa has announced that it would continue to operate according to DST in effort to allow vacationers to enjoy the extra hours of sun.


Omri Efraim contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 09.22.12, 22:05
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