Cell phone (illustrative)
Cell phone (illustrative) Israel news photo: Flash 90

Many Israelis were surprised Sunday morning as their cell phones showed a time one hour earlier than the actual time. The confusion resulted from a difference between this year’s switch from Summer Time to standard time, and the timing of the switch in other years.

Cell phone developers had prepared for the annual time change without taking into account the possibility that the Knesset might change the date.

Concerns were raised Sunday that many may be late for work, after mistakenly believing their phone is giving them the correct time.

Israelis usually set their clocks back by one hour in the week before the Yom Kippur holiday. However, this year the clocks will only change at the end of October, as is customary in Europe.

Daylight savings time is controversial in Israel, where it has become part of the debate over religion and the state. The relatively early time change in the fall that was customary in previous years was meant to make life easier for observant Jews who wake up early for the Slichot prayers, and for Jews who fast on Yom Kippur.

Those who favor extending Summer Time (daylight savings) say it will save money by increasing productivity and reducing traffic accidents.

Some experts argue that Israel should not switch the time at all. Summer Time savings are minimal in Israel due to its being located closer to the equator than Europe, they say.