Minister Litzman appeals 'muezzin law'

Preliminary vote on law banning loudspeakers in places of worship put on hold after Health Minister Yaakov Litzman appeals.

Ben Ariel,

Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov Litzman
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) on Tuesday evening filed an appeal against the decision of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation to approve the “muezzin law”, which would prohibit mosques and other places of worship from using loudspeakers which disturb citizens’ sleep.

The committee approved the bill on Sunday, but it still must be voted upon in the Knesset in three readings in order to become law.

Litzman’s appeal was filed on the grounds that that if the law is approved in its current form, it could prevent the use of sirens in some cities in Israel to announce the start of the Sabbath.

Following the appeal, the bill will not be brought forward to a preliminary vote in the Knesset on Wednesday, despite the fact that even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has expressed support for the law.

The draft bill has sparked anger among Arab MKs, who see it as specifically targeting mosques since synagogues do not have public address systems.

In fact, MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) on Tuesday called on the Arab public to disobey the law should it pass.

"I call on all my people to disobey this law until it reaches the third reading and is approved. We are also disturbed by the Friday and Saturday sirens (announcing the Shabbat), we too cannot travel on Yom Kippur and festivals because of you, but we don't speak about it, we don't protest," he said.

The bill has also been criticized by the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders threatened Israel with “consequences” if it passes, including action in the UN.

Earlier on Tuesday, before Litzman’s appeal against the bill, MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) asked Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to appeal the muezzin law and set up a committee of public officials to regulate the issue.

The request was also signed by MKs Nachman Shai (Zionist Union), Yossi Yona (Zionist Union), Michal Rozin (Meretz), Shelly Yechimovich (Zionist Union), and Yaakov Margi (Shas).




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