Daylight Saving Bill Debated in Knesset

YERUSHALAYIM -

United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev denounced the bill to extend Daylight Saving during a Knesset discussion of the matter on Wednesday.

Calling the measure “populist,” he sharply criticized the haste with which the new government has brought the bill, which will cause hardship to a wide swath of the Israeli public.

As has been noted, the extension of Daylight Saving will mean that the Yom Kippur fast will end an hour later, and that Sephardim who rise for Selichos from netz through Elul will be forced to get up even earlier.

Maklev pointed out the serious consequences of such an ill-considered action: “Where are the calendars that have already been printed? Times for the departure of Shabbos that have already been printed, and people will come to [unwittingly] desecrate the Shabbos? What about air flights that have already been booked?”

Daylight Saving, he noted, is not a matter of halachah. “But when people are not able to complete their tefillos on time, because they have to go to work, this is harmful to large numbers of Israelis.”

How is it possible that a country which passed a law for Daylight Saving only six months ago now changes it? How does it look?” he asked.

Speaking in defense of the measure, Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said that people will be permitted to arrive late for work without penalty during the last two weeks in October if their reason is that they had to daven Shacharis, according to changes being negotiated in the Daylight Saving bill.

“I welcome extending daylight-saving time, which will help the Israeli economy,” he said. “At the same time, I want to work to make certain that citizens, especially those with low income or those who do physical work, are not penalized, and therefore I ask that they be allowed to daven according to their custom. This is a paramount social value.”

Ben-Dahan reportedly made a deal with coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud) that the daylight-saving time bill, which passed a first reading in the Knesset plenum, will be amended accordingly.