Mosque tower in Jerusalem
Mosque tower in Jerusalem Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Otzma Leyisrael party, known for its strong Jewish nationalist views, brought a mosque to an upscale suburb of Tel Aviv early on Thursday. At six in the morning activists began “prayer services” at the makeshift mosque, using a loudspeaker to blast prayers beginning “Allahu Akbar.”

When residents complained about the noise, activists pointed out that tens of thousands of Israelis living in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood of northern Jerusalem wake up to the same noise every day. Mosques in the Pisgat Ze'ev area start their morning prayers before dawn.

Like many mosques in the region, those in Pisgat Ze'ev use a broadcast system to ensure the prayers are heard for many blocks around. Residents of Akko, Lod, Ramle and other mixed Arab-Jewish cities hear loud Muslim prayers from a similarly early hour.

Some angry Ramat Aviv residents called police to complain, but when officers arrived they were unable to find a law that would allow them to put a stop to the loud prayers.

In a post to his Facebook page, Otzma Leyisrael head Michael Ben-Ari reported that the response from Ramat Aviv residents when hearing about life in Pisgat Ze'ev was to say, “So they shouldn’t live there.”

“Apparently we’ll have to wake them up a few more mornings in order to get them out of their bubble,” he concluded.

The issue of loud Muslim prayer has become part of Otzma Leyisrael’s campaign ads. “Are you, too, sick of waking up in Arabic?” the party asks in a new ad. Accompanying the ad, under the heading, “Quiet, please” is a graphic comparing the noise from a nearby mosque to that from a neighbor’s motorcycle, a party, or a crying baby next door – and noting that the mosque is the loudest.