Decibel wars: Drums vs mosque muezzin

Residents of Jewish town beat drums outside Arab village which blasts muezzin calls at unbearable levels.

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Shimon Cohen,

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Flash 90

The residents of Maon in the southern Hevron hills, having reached their tolerance limit for the constant blaring of the muezzin loudspeaker at a nearby mosque, have embarked on a 'decibel war'.

Maon residents recently set up drums in the middle of the night near the nearby Arab town in which the mosque with the blaring muezzin is located and began singing and dancing. The group was led by the rabbi of the settlement, Rabbi Moshe Cohen, who spoke to Arutz Sheva.

"From the beginning of the year, we have experienced this noise repeating itself every day, five times a day, from 4:30 AM onward, 24 hours a day," Rabbi Cohen said, explaining the desperation which led the residents to take up drums.

"They added speakers aimed at our community," he said. "This is an Arab village located in Area C, which means we're allowed to enter it." The village in question, says Rabbi Cohen, is located about 1000 feet from the edge of Maon.

The suffering caused by the muezzin became even more intense over the Sukkot holiday, when sleep became almost impossible, he said. The residents of Maon submitted requests and complaints to the residents of the Arab village and to the relevant authorities, but to no avail.

"We turned to the police dozens of times, and the response was that they do not deal with the Palestinian Arabs and will pass the problem on to the IDF [which does deal with them], only we have no way of communicating with the IDF. This is a problem that exists throughout Judea and Samaria. We approached the brigade commander through the security officer and various intermediaries. We were promised that action would be taken and the matter would be dealt with, but nothing has been done since the beginning of the year. On Hoshana Rabbah we tried asking them to lower the volume, and they lowered it twice that day, but [the unbearable noise] returned later. We tried to talk to the village mukhtar," he said of the residents' many peaceful attempts to restore quiet to their town.

"We contacted the chairman of the local secretariat and tried to find out where the officers' and brigade commanders' [promises to us] stood, and they replied that they were amazed that this was still continuing and would work to change the situation. These were promises we had heard for over a month without anything happening. Together with the secretariat and the residents, we thought that this was an insult to Israel's honor, an attempt to humiliate the Israeli residents. I consider what is happening here a desecration of G-d's name, so we decided to go out and do something. At 11-12 at night we stood in a spot by the village and about forty people sang and danced with drums so the Arab residents would experience what we go through,

The villagers were woken up by the music and singing and responded quickly. Stones were thrown at the residents of Maon. IDF forces arrived and responded with stun grenades, which only added to the noise.

"The goal was to send the message to the army that we will not be silent. We waited for over a month for the authorities to do their jobs, but since the disgraceful situation continues and we are expected to grovel and accept it, it could not be tolerated any longer."

Rabbi Cohen said that if the muezzin's decibel level is not lowered, the residents will hold a meeting to decide on additional steps. "The goal is to resolve the matter, to clarify who is in charge and who is sovereign here."








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