Health Minister Yakov Lizman (United Torah Judaism) on Tuesday night removed his objection to the ‘Muezzin Law,’ a noise pollution prevention legislation intended to prevent mosques, especially in mixed neighborhoods in Israel, from urging the believers to worship at 4 and 5 in the morning.
Litzman, who originally objected to the bill on the grounds that it could end up curtailing the pre-Shabbat and pre-holiday announcements which are sounded in every Israeli city an hour or so before sunset. Eventually Litzman reached a compromise with coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) that the law would be limited to curbing Muezzin enthusiasm from 11 PM to 7 AM.
As a result, the new bill has been ready to come up for a preliminary vote at the Knesset plenum, and proceed to committee should the vote be yay. But Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who is currently on a state visit to the Ukraine, demanded to be allowed to chair the meeting, which is expected to be particularly explosive.
MK Issawi Freij (Meretz), for one, is ready to do some exploding, judging by his announcement that separating the Shabbat announcements from the Muezzin bill exposes it for what it is: yet another example of Israeli racism. Never mind that those pre-Shabbat calls take place around 7 PM at the latest, while the Muezzin law lets people – both Arabs and Jews – have their rest from 11 at night to 7 in the morning.
President Reuven Rivlin, who used to be a proud member of Likud but has since been often playing for the other teams, voiced his vehement objection to the noise pollution bill, saying it would show up Israel as a democracy for Jews only.
Somebody, please, build a mosque next to the President’s residence, to serve the Arabs of Rehavia… The president might change his mind yet…