Shinui?s Parting Anti-Religious Shot

Former Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, before leaving office last week, ordered that daylight savings time ("summer time") in Israel begin without regard for Jewish holidays.

, | updated: 18:05

Poraz was one of five Shinui ministers whom Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fired last week for voting against the first reading of the proposed 2005 budget. Poraz used his ministerial power to unilaterally decide when DST begins for a three-year period. According to his directive, Israelis will change the clocks as in Europe, moving it up on the last Friday of March and turning it back the last Friday of October.

Previously, the clock changes usually took into account Passover, which would start after 8 p.m. during daylight savings time, and Yom Kippur, when fasting would continue until after 7 p.m. during daylight savings time.

The traditional "seder" on Passover eve starts following evening prayers after sundown and often lasts several hours. It is considered an important educational event for little children, and the late hour often makes it difficult for them to stay awake or pay attention. The Yom Kippur fast always is the same number of hours, from shortly before sundown until after nightfall the next day, but many religious leaders have pointed out that the psychological effect of a "late-running" fast might lead people to be more lax with starting the post-fast meal.

Poraz also took what he apparently considered to be a parting shot at the Likud, calling it "tied to religion and tradition."