Photo: Gil Lerner
Kafr Kassem mosque
Photo: Gil Lerner

'Muezzin Bill' now only to apply to ungodly hours

Seeking to have the bill limit the noise from houses of prayer's loudspeakers during the nighttime alone, MKs are rephrasing the legislation to get around the ultra-Orthodox block.

MKs in the coalition have been striving over the past few days to phrase the "Muezzin Bill" in a way that would overcome the ultra-Orthodox parties' block on the legislation.



MKs Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) and Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) have been holding conversations with other parliamentarians and with figures in the ultra-Orthodox public regarding the bill, which is officially entitled "Limiting noise from houses of prayer." Whilst ostensibly intended to uniformly apply to houses of worship of all religions, the bill is known to seek to quiet the mosques' muezzins at late night and early morning hours. However, the ultra-Orthodox parties were concerned that such a bill would prevent their use of sirens to mark the beginning of Shabbat in Jewish areas and blocked it.


Lod mosque (Photo: Avi Moalem)
Lod mosque (Photo: Avi Moalem)


As such, the new bill would only ban noise from religious institutions during the night. The bill drafters explained, "Hundreds of thousands of citizens in Israel in the regions of the Galilee, the Negev, Jerusalem and other places in the center of the country regularly and daily suffer from noise caused by loudspeaker systems in houses of prayer that disturb their rest several times a day, including in the early morning hours and at night. The bill presents a worldview whereby freedom of religion need not be a factor harming the sleep of citizens."


Those who violate the bill by making use of loudspeakers are night would be subject to a 10,000-shekel fine.


Many in Israel's Arab sector have protested the bill. Sheikh Kamal Khatib said, "Cancelling the muezzin at night is not at all acceptable. There's no way to put the muezzin in negotiations. The muezzin's call is part of the religion, and the Israeli government must stop harming us with a religious war against Muslims…There's no way to stop the muezzin's call, even if the law passes."


MK Robert Ilatov, Chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu faction, said his party has been moving the "Muezzin Bill" forward for the past six years. He added, "I hope that, very soon, we'll reach the end and solve once and for all the matter of loudspeakers in mosques, which cause unbearable noise and damage the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of citizens in Israel."



פרסום ראשון: 02.02.17, 23:00
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