Opponents of a bill to ban the use of loudspeakers to broadcast the five daily calls to prayer from mosques across Israel have found support from an unlikely source – a member of the haredi Shas party.
While some haredi figures had earlier objected to the so-called “Muezzin Law” in its original form, a compromise gained support from United Torah Judaism chief Yaakov Litzman. Earlier, Litzman had expressed concerns the law, if passed, could be used to prohibit the use of sirens by synagogues to signal the beginning of Shabbat.
Under the compromise, the ban on outdoor loudspeakers at houses of worship would only apply during the night, from 11:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m.
But on Wednesday MK Yigal Guetta (Shas) expressed his opposition to the bill, arguing that it constituted a needless provocation of Israel’s Arab population.
“I think the law is problematic,” said Guetta in an interview with Radio Kol Hai.
“On the one hand, we have to take the well-being of residents into account, and bothersome noise that interferes with people’s rest must be dealt with. But at the same time we need to find a solution through dialogue, and not by agitating our Arab brothers.”
Guetta added that the law seemed extraneous, arguing that existing noise laws were sufficient to solve the problem.
“We already have laws against noise, so this bill is just superfluous. It won’t help a thing. We need to come to an understanding based on dialogue. A few Arab MKs turned to me and offered to reach an understanding through dialogue. At the end of the day,” Guetta added, “the noise also bothers Arab children.”