Say goodbye to the neverending debate between the secular and religious camps
regarding Daylight Saving Time: The government on Sunday approved a decision to
permanently extend DST by a month, until the end of October.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said this was a decision 65 years in the
The bill will now go to the Knesset for final
“The interior minister has submitted an important decision that
will add, in effect, an additional hour of daylight until the end of October,”
Netanyahu said at the outset of Sunday’s cabinet. “That is, we are bringing good
news to Israeli citizens. Now we have a land flowing with milk and honey,
[natural] gas and sunlight. This is good. It is a very, very welcome
The DST issue has long been a wedge between the religious and
secular camps, with the secular saying that ending the additional hour of
daylight by an hour before the Yom Kippur fast, as has been the case for years,
was wasteful. In the religious camp, meanwhile, there have long been those
saying that DST needs to end earlier even than Yom Kippur, not only to make the
fast end earlier, but also to make it easier for religious Jews to say
penitential slichot prayers during the month of Elul.
For years the date
of DST has changed, with clocks often turned back the weekend before Yom Kippur,
usually in September.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) set up an
expert committee in April, which in its recommendations called for extending DST
and to bring it closer to the common practice in European countries, which is to
end it on November 1.
MK Zvulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi) asked that the
government reconsider the change and extend DST to no later than October
“Lengthening Daylight Saving Time into winter is good for wealthy
workers who leave their homes at late hours, but can hurt manual laborers who
leave early in the morning and will have to make their way [to work] in total
darkness,” Kalfa wrote to Sa’ar.
Kalfa added that extended DST will also
be problematic for the religiously observant, who will not be able to say
morning prayers until after the sun rises at 6:45 a.m., which could lead them to
be late to work.
The Bayit Yehudi MK suggested that DST only last until
October 10, the last day of the year in which the sun does not rise after 6:30
Netanyahu, meanwhile, said the DST reform was just one of the
government’s achievements as it approaches its 100th day in office later this
week. He praised the government for what he called its “innovative
“This is a government of reforms,” he said, pointing to the DST
decision as well as Sunday’s decision on exporting 40 percent of the country’s
natural gas. He said other reforms that already passed include the Open Skies
agreement with the EU and a reform on importing vehicles as well as one on
Netanyahu praised his colleagues for passing the budget on its
first reading, passing a law to prevent infiltrators from sending money outside
the country unless they themselves are leaving and formulating an outline to
increase sharing the burden of military duty.