Muezzin Bill Back, But Only at Night

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Knesset will be taking a second look at the muezzin bill, which would prohibit a call to prayer using outdoor loudspeakers at night.

Initially, the proposal was to ban such calls at all hours. That was opposed vociferously by Arab Israeli MKs and their Opposition allies as an anti-Moslem law, but also by chareidi parties who expressed concern it could be used to silence Erev Shabbos sirens as well.

The revised version is apparently intended to prevent any such anti-Jewish application.

Sources close to Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev, who co-authored the bill with Likud MK David Bitan, told The Jerusalem Post that overnight noise is the main problem. Jewish residents in various parts of the country complain about the volume of the call to prayer from the mosques.

Accordingly, it would be forbidden to use outdoor speakers to call to prayer in residential areas from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The fine for offenders is a hefty one: 10,000 shekels. The law would apply to any “house of prayer” – synagogues, churches and mosques.

On Sunday, the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to address the issue.