Jerusalem officials have quietly shelved a previously announced plan to turn down the sound from Muslim mosque loudspeakers in some eastern Jerusalem areas and give Jews, and some Arabs, a bit of peace and quiet.
The $80,000 project won screaming headlines eight month ago, when officials said the ear-splitting screams of the “muezzin” in mosques, starting in the pre-dawn hours, would be toned down in certain eastern Jerusalem areas, such as Jabel Mukhaber, between Talpiot and the Old City.
Anyone who has visited the Western Wall or the Patriarchs’ Cave (Maharat HaMacpelah) in Hebron know that the wails from the mosques are turned up full volume, even, if not especially, when Jews are praying.
The plan was supposed to include measuring the sound levels of the loudspeakers, which often blast far beyond legal limits, and to ask the clerics to turn the loudspeakers in the direction of the centers of Arab villages.
Loudspeakers in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Tzfafa, in southern Jerusalem, were discovered to be turned up during the escalation of the recent wave of terror.
The clerics also were asked to buy new loudspeakers with volume controls, and Jerusalem workers were to make their rounds and make sure the noise level is more tolerable.
Not surprisingly, Muslim clerics were furious and called the idea a “shame and disgrace.”
The city has explained that the plan has been “temporarily” shelved because the money is needed to build 23 new rooms in kindergartens.
The municipality added that after the Ministry of Education transfers more money to the city, the funds for the project will be returned for general use.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem residents can use ear plugs.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu