Israeli Arabs protest 'Muezzin Law'

Thousands of Israeli Arabs wave PLO flags during protest in northern Israel against the “Muezzin Law”.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mosque (illustration)
Mosque (illustration)

Thousands of Israeli Arabs on Saturday staged a protest march in northern Israel against the “Muezzin Law” which passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset last week, AFP reported.

Some 3,000 men and women marched through the town of Kabul, located 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) southeast of Akko (Acre), reported the AFP news agency.

The protesters held up Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags and signs saying "The muezzin law won't pass" or "Don't silence the muezzin", while chanting against the legislation and against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The “Muezzin Law” was originally to have been applied during all hours of the day, but haredi parties objected to its original wording, fearing that it could be used to silence the Shabbat sirens which announce the beginning of the Sabbath each Friday, joined with the Arab parties in opposing the bill.

The new version of the law would only affect calls to prayer issued at night, as it says that any house of prayer using outdoor loudspeakers between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. would be liable to pay a fine of at least 5,000 shekels ($1,333).

The bill was approved after a heated discussion in the Knesset on Wednesday, that turned into shouting matches between coalition members and Arab MKs who are opposed to the law.

Members of the Joint List and the outlawed Islamic Movement took part in Saturday's march against the legislation.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) has called on the Arab public to disobey the law should it pass.

The Palestinian Authority has expressed its opposition as well, with chairman Mahmoud Abbas warning the bill “would drag the area to disaster.”

On Friday, Hamas joined in on the criticism as well, with its deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh warning the law would face “stiff resistance”.