Ex-Jerusalem Police chief: Call to prayer legislation is ‘ridiculous’

The bill is sponsored by Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev and supported by many Jewish citizens who live near mosques.

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December 11, 2016 20:28
1 minute read.
PROTESTERS AGAINST a law that would lower the volume of mosque loudspeakers hold a sign in Umm el-Fa

PROTESTERS AGAINST a law that would lower the volume of mosque loudspeakers hold a sign in Umm el-Fahm that reads, 'You will not silence the muezzin.'. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Former Jerusalem Police chief and Yesh Atid MK Mickey Levy disparaged the so-called “muezzin bill” as ineffective and an “impossible” way to regulate the Muslim call to prayer.

“I don’t think they discussed [the bill] with the police commissioner. If the police will have to go into Arab villages every day, it’s impossible. This will lead to a lot of trouble between police and Arab citizens,” Levy said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

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Levy served as head of the Jerusalem Police from 2000 to 2003. According to him, he handled the issue during that time by seeking dialogue between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods.

“If someone called me and said it was noisy, I sent a policeman to discuss with residents,” Levy said. “Think about Shuafat, the police need at least four people to make one arrest. Now they are supposed to go and regulate the Muezzin. They need to talk [with residents] or every morning the police will have to go and deal with this.”

The call to prayer is broadcast through loudspeakers five times per day. Jewish residents complain of loud disturbing noise, especially regarding the pre-sunrise call to prayer.

The bill is sponsored by Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev and supported by many Jewish citizens who live near mosques. “The law to prevent noise from houses of worship was designed to protect the sleep of citizens, Jews and Muslims both,” Yogev said on his official Twitter account on Wednesday.

However, in an attempt to revise the legislation, a vote on the bill on Wednesday was delayed at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The public doesn’t elect the police, they elect the public officials,” said Mordecai Dzikansky, former Israel liaison for the New York Police Department. “Of course the police should recommend. But ultimately the decision falls on the public officials.”

Nevertheless, as a former police officer turned politician, Levy believes the bill is impossible to implement. “I’m driving on Route 6 right now and I can see 20 mosques,” he said. “Will the police go to all of them? It never will be.”


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