Health Minister Yakov Lizman (United Torah Judaism) on Tuesday night removed his objection to the ‘Muezzin Law,’ a noise pollution prevention legislation intended to prevent mosques, especially in mixed neighborhoods in Israel, from calling believers to worship at 4 and 5 in the morning.
Litzman originally objected to the bill on the grounds that it could end up curtailing the pre-Shabbat and pre-holiday announcements which are sounded in every Israeli city an hour or so before sunset. Eventually Litzman reached a compromise with coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) that the law would be limited to curbing Muezzin calls from 11 PM to 7 AM.
As a result, the new bill is ready to come up for a preliminary vote at the Knesset plenum, and proceed to committee should it pass. But Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who is currently on a state visit to the Ukraine, demanded to be allowed to chair the meeting, which is expected to be particularly explosive.
MK Issawi Freij (Meretz), for one, is ready to do some exploding, judging by his announcement that separating the Shabbat announcements from the Muezzin bill is another example of Israeli racism. The key difference is that pre-Shabbat calls take place around 7 PM at the latest, while the Muezzin law would apply to disturbing loudspeaker announcements broadcast overnight.
President Reuven Rivlin voiced his vehement objection to the noise pollution bill, saying it would show Israel as a democracy for Jews only.