Rabbi Yonatan Elnatan, a member of the Tel Aviv City Council, has filed a lawsuit against the city over its efforts to ban shuls from sounding sirens or music on Friday afternoon, to herald the approach of Shabbos. The lawsuit was joined by officials of the Yeshua’t Yisrael Synagogue in the Ramat Shapira neighborhood, which got a specific order not to sound songs on Friday afternoons, one of two shuls to get such an order.
The city claims that sounding songs violates municipal bylaws on noise, and the lawsuit contends that the practice does not violate any laws. Besides Yeshu’at Yisrael, a shul in Ramat Aviv Gimmel has been instructed to dismantle its outdoor amplifier, thus preventing it from sounding music.
The campaign to halt the music was started by Meital Lehavi, the head of the far-left Meretz faction in the city council. “In recent years, each weekend we are ‘treated’ to loud music and sirens on Fridays emanating from synagogues in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, clearly disturbing the peace and violating rules against loud noises,” Lehavi wrote in a social media post. “After receiving many complaints, I have asked police to look into this, and they are prepared to act. But they need more information. I would like people to supply information on the locations of where these violations are taking place, including addresses. Please keep me informed,” she added.
According to Rabbi Elnatan, “Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai is making great efforts to harm the traditional residents of the city. He is seeking to remove all signs of Judaism from the first Hebrew city.” In response, the Tel Aviv municipality said that it was “operating within its authority to enforce laws to prevent harm to residents from noise, whether it is from a church, synagogue, or mosque. The mayor has asked the the chairperson of the Tel Aviv religious council to work out a solution that will be acceptable to all residents.”