'American-style DST would save at least NIS 28 million'

Manufacturers at few resistant companies have not switched from daylight saving time to standard time this week.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
September 15, 2010 05:59
3 minute read.
Trader watches the stocks

Trader watches the stocks 311. (photo credit: AP)

The country switched from daylight saving time to standard time this week, ahead of Yom Kippur, as it does every year – except for a few resistant companies. The Merhav Group, Walden Israel Ventures and Israel Healthcare Ventures have all declared that they will continue to observe DST.

Yossi Meiman’s Merhav Group owns 012 Smile and Channel 10, among other companies.

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The company said this week that management would continue to set meetings according to DST, but that customer service at 012 would conform to standard time.

A final decision about Channel 10’s viewing schedule has yet to be made, but “we will act in a way which benefits the hundreds of thousands of viewers and, not, God forbid, in any way which would inconvenience them,” according to a statement from the company.

Any employee who would be adversely affected by continuing to keep DST would also be exempt from the new company policy.

The companies’ decision follows an online petition that has garnered 235,000 signatures against the 2005 law that moved the time change to the Sunday morning between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

But the protest movement has remained small and will likely continue to do so, according to Roni Hefetz, general partner at Walden Israel Ventures and one of the initiators of the protest.

“It’s very hard when a lot of the country is run by the public sector. I talked to the principal of my son’s high school and he said he was compelled to follow the dictates of the Education Ministry,” he told The Jerusalem Post .

Hefetz was alarmed that a handful of government officials were able to affect something so basic in the lives of Israeli citizens.

“I am appalled that a few politicians get to decide on a whim for millions. Even the religious [Israelis] don’t care so much [about moving to DST before Yom Kippur],” he said.

The rationale for the very early move to standard time is to enable those fasting on Yom Kippur to end their fast an hour earlier in the evening, even though the fast itself remains 25 hours.

“This is upsetting and embarrassing. We are supposed to be a modern, open and democratic country, and really we’re in the Dark Ages. It’s primitive and ignorant,” Hefetz said.

“Particularly as an international company, it’s difficult for me to explain to my partners in China, India and the US this irrational move off of DST in the middle of summer,” he added.

Hefetz also contended that this was a much broader issue than just DST – rather, it exemplified how the government treats its citizens and how “the citizens let the government walk all over them.”

The Manufacturers Association estimates that if Israel extended DST to the dates that either Europe or the US do, the country would save at least NIS 28m.

Nava Sela, chairperson of the association’s Energy Committee calculated that even the 170 days of DST which were observed this year saved NIS 100m. According to her estimates, 0.6 percent of electricity for lighting and air conditioning was conserved daily.

A spokeswoman for the association told the Post Tuesday that it had no comment about a matter of church and state.

The online petition, which was initiated by Syneron Medical Chairman Dr. Shimon Eckhouse, also cited the increased risk of traffic accidents, coming home from work in the dark and fewer hours of quality time with children as disadvantages of the law.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) has said he would set up a committee to examine the options for next year. One option would be to go back to DST after Yom Kippur.


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