Cabinet agrees to keep daylight savings time in place until the end of October, despite ultra-Orthodox objections, rather than returning to standard time at the beginning of October.
Their main objection to DST, it makes Yom Kippur fast more difficult.
By Yori Yalon and Israel Hayom Staff
The Israeli summer is about to get longer: On Sunday, the cabinet approved Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s proposal to extend daylight savings time by a month.
Extending daylight savings means more time for leisure – Photo: Yehoshua Yosef
Sa’ar’s proposal establishes daylight savings time from March to the end of October, as is customary in most European countries, instead of turning the clock back in early October. Sa’ar’s proposal was formulated after a team of experts examined all the relevant aspects of the issue.
The practical implication of the decision will be an extra hour of daylight each evening for an additional month.
The extension of daylight savings time brings to an end the ongoing dispute between secular and religious Israelis on the issue. The haredim (ultra-Orthodox), view the extra hour of daylight as an opening for Israelis to violate the laws of Shabbat (one of which is avoiding the use of transportation), because during daylight savings time, public transportation and other services resume service before Shabbat ends (when stars become visible). In addition, the morning Shacharit prayer takes place at sunrise, and during daylight savings time, sunrise occurs later, making it difficult for religious people to arrive at work on time.
The main objection is that the religious fast day of Yom Kippur will extend longer into the evening if daylight savings time is in place in October, making the fast more difficult.
Last month, Sa’ar addressed the ongoing debate, saying, “More Jews around the world live with a longer period of daylight savings time than the clock that has been customary in Israel. This is not a halachic question. In addition, the length of the fast that is so disconcerting to the people involved will remain exactly as it was — a full day. The new extension of daylight savings time will be good for the religious people, for secular people, for everyone.”
Sa’ar, who took it upon himself to advance the cause shortly after taking office, said Sunday that “the issue of daylight savings time directly impacts the lifestyle and the quality of life of every person in Israel. An additional hour of daylight will have a positive effect on every key aspect of life.”
The proposal will be submitted to the Knesset for a vote in a first reading as early as Monday. The aim is to approve the new legislation in time to institute the change this year.
Following the decision, the KETER Institute for Torah and Economics issued a statement saying that the decision “clearly harms workers who wake up early to go to work and could run into difficulty when it comes to praying Shacharit. Therefore, the institute recommends that alongside legislation to extend daylight savings time, the Knesset also legislate a law that will allow a worker to leave his house less than 40 minutes before prayer time, and allow him to pray Shacharit at work without getting his wage docked.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=10177