Daylight Saving Time will be extended by 11 days next year, and will end on October 6, 2013, according to legislation prepared by the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee for its second and third (final) plenum readings.

According to the bill, which passed a vote in the committee with three in favor and one opposed, DST will begin on the Friday before the last Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday after October 1, making it 193 days instead of 182.

Although the Knesset was dissolved on Monday, the government can call plenum and committee meetings in order to pass bills. The legislation extending DST is expected to become law before the election in January.

DST was last dealt with in an Internal Affairs Committee meeting in February that ended without any progress on several private bills and a ministerial bill on the matter.

In late September, Meretz led protests in Tel Aviv and in front of Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s Jerusalem home to protest the lack of progress in extending DST.

On Wednesday, Internal Affairs Committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas) presented a new version of the bill, which combined the government proposal with bills by Kadima MKs Dalia Itzik and Ronit Tirosh.

Cohen criticized the Kehat Committee, which was appointed by the Interior Ministry to draft a proposal to extend DST, for not consulting with the Energy and Water Ministry, Health Ministry and Road Safety Authority to find out if extending DST can decrease the use of electricity or the number of traffic accidents.

At the end of the discussion, Cohen said he would ask Yishai to form another committee that would consult with other government offices on the pros and cons of extending DST.

Dov Kehat, who led the committee on DST, referred to studies in Montana and New Zealand that show extending DST would not save energy, because people would use air conditioning for more hours.

The most important part of the bill, according to Kehat, is that DST is no longer connected to the Jewish calendar, and will be on roughly the same secular date each year.

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said DST should be extended until the beginning of November, like in Europe.

“Few topics have raised as much public outrage as this,” Horowitz stated. “This touches everyone’s lives. Every child knows it and feels it.”

“I understand the difficulty of having an extra hour of daylight for those fasting on Yom Kippur, but there is a population that fasts for a whole month during DST,” MK Dov Henin (Hadash) said, referring to Muslims on Ramadan, who fast only during daylight hours and feast each night.

Tirosh said a short DST is more problematic for her now than ever before, because she is trying to become more religiously observant. She lamented that she does not have enough hours of sunlight for her hobby, bike-riding, and finds it difficult to finish cooking for her family on Fridays before sundown, when Shabbat begins and using fire or electricity is forbidden according to Jewish law. Tirosh added that this is a problem for many religious families.

Cohen joked that he does not understand her problem, saying he told his wife he would not enter the kitchen until he retires.

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