'Muezzin Law' returns - in a stricter version

Committee preparing bill that will impose a fine on noise in mosques and make it possible for police to ban loudspeakers.

Ben Ariel,

Mosque
Mosque
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The “Muezzin Law” is returning and will soon be promoted in a more stringent format than previously planned, Hadashot (formerly Channel 2 News) reported Monday evening.

According to the report, the new version of the law being formulated by a committee headed by ministers Likud Gilad Erdan and Ze'ev Elkin, will impose fines in the amount of 10,000 shekels on mosques that use loudspeakers for the call to prayer at times of the day in which they could disturb residents.

In addition, the new version of the law will provide police with permission to raid mosques where the noise of the loudspeakers is particularly loud and confiscate their speakers.

The original “Muezzin Law” passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset last March but has not advanced since.

The law which passed a preliminary reading in essence combined two versions of the legislation: One of them, submitted by MK David Bitan (Likud) and MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home), would prohibit places of worship from using their loudspeakers between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., as well as limit the decibel level of loudspeakers used during the remaining hours of the day.

The second proposal, submitted by MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), completely bans all places of worship from using loudspeakers and levies a fine between 5,000 and 10,000 shekels for each violation.

Last month it was reported that the coalition was planning to advance the legislative process. Subsequently, haredi MKs announced they would vote against it.

Responding to Monday’s report, Ilatov said, "I welcome the finding of a plan that will allow the continued advancement of the Muezzin Law. The time has come for us to regulate the issue of loudspeakers in mosques once and for all. Throughout the world, including in Arab countries, the issue is regulated via legislation, and there is no reason why Israel should be different in this matter. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens living in mixed neighborhoods deserve to sleep peacefully.”

Yogev added that "the amendment to the Noise Law that came to regulate the enforcement over houses of prayer during rest hours passed the approval of the Internal Security and Environmental Protection Ministers and will be brought before the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee where it will be prepared for its first reading in the Knesset plenum."

"This is an important and moral law for Jews and Arabs alike who want to sleep peacefully. We are pleased with the intention to promote the bill for the benefit of the citizens of Israel, and we look forward to its advancement as soon as possible. We received many requests from Jews and Arabs who want to promote the law. 100 years ago there were no loudspeakers, and there is no reason why the call to prayer should disturb people's rest late at night or in the early morning hours," Yogev said.




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