By Andrew Friedman/TPS
MK Yehuda Glick called a bill proposal to limit loudspeakers “unnecessary” and said noise issues between neighboring communities in Israel should be solved via dialogue, not legislation, and said that the word “Shalom” is both one of Judaism’s names for God, and forms part of the word Yerushalayim, Hebrew for Jerusalem.
Speaking at a Knesset conference co-hosted with MK Zouheir Bahaloul (Zionist Camp), Glick said that at first glance the bill seems like a fair attempt to address a simple social issue, but upon closer inspection it provides a view into some of the deepest issues facing Israeli society.
“Muslims feel the bill is yet another Israeli attack on their community and an act of ‘war’ against Islam. Many Jews feel that Muslim opposition to the measure stems only from a desire on the part of many Muslims to show Israeli Jews that they are strong.
“In actual fact, when I speak to my Muslim friends, it is clear that there is good will on all sides to both preserve religious freedoms and to be considerate of all people in the pre-dawn hours. We can deal with the Muezzin issue without hurting or offending anyone,” Glick said.
Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, a resident of Alon Shvut and a founder of Ofra (as well as a frequent critic of the religious Zionist community) said the path to compromise on this issue will come when “all believers in one God [decide] to speak one language.
“If we start with prayer – we can go very far… There are harder issues, but one God is a joint language… we can find a way to be considerate, we can find answers if believers choose to speak a joint language of one God.
The bill, tabled by MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), proposes to ban loudspeakers for early-morning calls to prayer. It was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation last Monday but has been met with severe criticism from Arab MKs, Arabs, and human rights organizations who say the bill is “racist.” Ultra-Orthodox politicians also opposed the bill because they were afraid it could be applied to sirens announcing the Sabbath, but they have since rescinded their opposition.
Residents of Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab city, noted that no Muslim religious leaders from her city attended the session.
“We have tried and tried and tried to speak to Muslim leaders in Lod, but there is simply nobody to speak with,’ she said. “The sheikhs in Lod simply won’t listen, they aren’t willing to talk about it, they aren’t willing to come to any agreement. I am absolutely opposed to the current bill, but I also note that it is no surprise that the push for the law originated in Lod.
“We have come up against a solid wall [of intransigence],” added another resident of the city. “I’m opposed to this law, but the function of legislation is to address situations and individuals who aren’t prepared to compromise or even to recognize that there is a problem.