Death threats, apparently from Arabs, appeared on Facebook pages of Knesset Member Anastassia Michaeli, after she submitted a bill to stop noise pollution from mosques. She has filed a complaint with police.
MK Michaeli, a member of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, has approximately 20,000 “friends” on her Facebook account, and after she wrote them asking for support of her bill, an “army of talkbackers took over three of her four Facebook pages, according to the Yisrael HaYom newspaper.
They deluged the website with insults in Arabic, Hebrew, Russian and English and sent her SMS messages as well as directing rude comments and threats to her via her computer in the Knesset.
They also changed her Facebook picture to show the Knesset Member as a Muslim woman.
The hate threats also included telephone calls to her office, with the background sound of the “muezzin” who announces prayer times through loudspeakers on mosques.
MK Michaeli said her bill is aimed at improving the quality of life for everyone – Jews and Arabs – and that she has traveled to Arab communities to explain her intentions. The bill would outlaw the use of loudspeakers at houses of worship.
She said she has received widespread support from residents of the Galilee, which is predominantly populated by Arabs, as well as from the Negev, Jerusalem and other regions.
She also has received widespread support from thousands of citizens who suffer from the noise, including those in the Galilee and the Negev, where there are large Arab and Bedouin populations.
The loudspeakers blare from every mosque five times a day, regardless of the time of night or day. They are particularly irritating to tens of thousands of residents in the pre-dawn hours before Muslim prayers.
The muezzin often drowns out prayers of Jews at holy sites, such as the Patriarchs' Cave in Hevron.
“I am aware of the image this bill has received,” she said during a visit to the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Ramle. “The term ‘muezzin law’ is inaccurate and has devastating consequences,” MK Michaeli explained. “If we let the term ‘muezzin law’ dictate the pace we turn the law from a matter of quality of life to a first rate political circus.
“The bill is simple. When a place of prayer becomes a nuisance to those around it, anyone who will not consider the way a civilized country should run would have to listen to the letter of the law. There are many simple options to regulate public address systems, such as directing the system into the community, using computer applications or simply lowering the volume. The solution is not the problem. Our problem is that half of the mosques in the country are working without a license, making their own laws and not operating out of religious interests but merely to be defiant of the law.”