'Mosques wake our kids up in the middle of the night'

Municipal leaders explain importance of law banning muezzin from sounding at night - and that they have nothing against Arabs.

Hezki Baruch, Chana Roberts,

Mosque loudspeakers
Mosque loudspeakers
iStock

Lod Municipal Council Member Amichai Langfeld and Karmiel Deputy Mayor Rotem Yanai explained on Wenesday why they support passing the "Muezzin Law."

The Muezzin Law, initiated by MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) and MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), forbids the muezzin from playing during the late evening and early morning hours.

Israel already has a law banning loud noise after 11:00 p.m., but it is not enforced for muezzin.

At a Knesset meeting, Langfeld slammed the way the Muezzin law had been presented.

"They presented the minority opinion, and presented it as if there's something religious, against Islam, against Arabs, as if there's something extremist. In essence, to protect the rights of the minority," he explained.

"The minority here are people being harmed in their homes. There's a law whose primary and differentiating characteristic is that it harms. If I want to protect my family...I can enter my home and protect my children and close the door, I'm at home, in my fortress.

"This nuisance, which is a nuisance not because G-d forbid it's from a mosque or from a religious place, but because of its volume and the hour. And I'm emphasizing that it's because of the volume and the hour that it's a nuisance, and not because of where it's coming from. Because if it's at the permissible volume and at the permitted hours, it's not a nuisance. And we have no problem with that, and we're not talking about those hours. I have to get that point across.

"But we in our homes are helpless. We can't help our children who are woken up at 4 in the morning and can't learn, on days that they have tests, and there are students who cannot succeed on their tests. We, who are working and driving, when we come back from work at 5:30, we've already been up since 3 in the morning. And it causes a lot of other things as well.

"The officers in charge of the police station - not just with us, have spoken about dialogue for years. We had dialogue, I participated in dialogue.... There are no Arabs here and that's not a coincidence. I asked my Arab friends, who turned to me and asked me to deal with this issue. I told them, 'Come with me today to the Knesset.' They said, 'What, you want them to shoot me?' And that's what happens at the end of every dialogue. They told me, 'Amichai, who will go and turn it down?...We can't do it, we live in a society that if you don't turn it around, we have no way out.'"

Echoing Langfeld's words, Yanai said, "None [of the Knesset members who spoke] even mentioned us, the residents... I can send letters,and text messages, by WhatsApp, of letters that we receive on a daily basis from residents, who wake up night after night..."

"There's no suggestion here, from myself or any of my colleagues...that is anti-Arab, or anti-Jewish... We all suffer from this. We all suffer from it: Religious, secular, right-wing, left-wing...whoever you want,"

"I think the issue here is enforcement," he emphasized, noting that police do enforce noise limits on parties after 11:00 p.m.

"A law like this, which isn't against any village, which isn't against one religion or another, which comes from dialogue, which asks that we should be able to live peacefully - all of us, those living in Karmiel, those living in villages - it asks for us to have basic rights, the most basic right to quality of life, and nothing more."




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