Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO
Interior Minister Sa'ar
Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO

Knesset passes DST extension

One of thorniest issues in haredi-secular relations sees dramatic change, as Knesset adds three weeks to Daylight Savings Time virtually unopposed

The Knesset plenum on Monday passed in second and third readings the bill for the extension of the Daylight Savings Time until the last Sunday in October, at 2 am.


The bill, which extends the current DST by three weeks, was voted for by 73 MKs, with 17 against.


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Earlier this summer Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced he has adopted the main conclusions reached by the DST Committee. On Monday Sa'ar said that "the people of Israel can smile, since more light means more joy. The Knesset plenum voted by a great majority for the interest of Israeli citizens. The new DST is long awaited news."


According to the committee's estimates, the new DST will save the economy some NIS 300 million ($82 million). The average length of the DST will stand at 211 days, similar to the model used by European countries.


According to the committee's recommendation, the DST will start on the Friday before the last Sunday in March at 2 am, and will end on the last Sunday in October at the same time.


The committee, headed by Shmuel Abuhab, relied in its findings on some 60 academic researches and 50 position papers filed by the public. In addition, the committee consulted experts, public representatives and rabbis.


End of the matter?

The DST is a thorny issue in Israeli politics, and several attempts to extend it in the past ran into adamant haredi parties' resistance, who claimed the DST may lead to various religious difficulties.


"Passing the bill today is an amazing thing," said MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz). "Not only because we finally did this simple thing, which will benefit the life of each and every one of us, but also because one of the most basic conceptions in Israel collapsed.


"For dozens of years they explained to us why it's impossible and why the status-quo (between haredim and general society) does not allow it, and there it passes and no hair from the head of any haredi is touched.


"I guess public transport on Shabbat and civil marriages can be enacted and nothing will happen," she added.


But MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) objected, saying the immediate implementation of the new bill is unfair: "People have already made plans according to the daylight hours, where's our responsibility? The change to people's day-to-day life, the failures that will occur, the calendars already printed, as well as the confusion in the commencement of the Shabbat times."



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פרסום ראשון: 07.08.13, 21:21
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