The Knesset must pass a law to extend Daylight Saving Time in the coming months,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, hours after the clocks were
turned back one hour and several ministers spoke out against the
Netanyahu instructed coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) at a
Likud ministers’ meeting to “get into the thick of things” and promote
legislation on the issue as soon as the Knesset’s winter session begins on
DST was last dealt with in a Knesset Interior Committee
meeting in late February of this year, which ended without any progress on two
private bills and a ministerial bill on the matter, with MKs and Interior
Minister Eli Yishai’s associates placing the blame on each other.
is no reason in the world that DST should not end in late October, for the good
of all of Israel’s citizens,” Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said at the Likud
Referring to claims that haredim are delaying
legislation, Steinitz added that it is in the interest of all religious people
to extend DST, and he hopes a bill doing so will pass soon.
Technology Minister and Habayit Hayehudi chairman Daniel Herschkowitz, who is a
rabbi and a professor of mathematics, reinforced Steinitz’s statements, saying
religion can no longer be used as an excuse for shortening DST.
Kippur fast is 25 hours long no matter what, Herschkowitz said. “The time has
come to stop this saga,” he said.
“DST has nothing to do with matters of
religion and state. The decision must be made by professional experts
according to market considerations.”
Herschkowitz wasn’t the only
minister to speak out.
“I can’t understand why someone would shorten
DST,” Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said. “There is no justification
and no good reason. It is a waste of energy and electricity, and it must
Livnat called for DST to continue until November, which is
what Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz’s bill would do. It passed a preliminary Knesset
reading in June 2011.
The Interior Ministry submitted legislation based
on the recommendations of a committee of experts that would have DST end on
October 1. MKs Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi)
proposed a compromise, in the form of a bill having DST continue until October
At the February Knesset Interior Committee meeting on the three
bills, Horowitz said he was unwilling to compromise on the end date for DST “on
principle,” saying Israel should change its clocks at a similar time to Europe.
European Summer Time extends from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday
in October each year.
Yishai’s office pointed to Meretz as the reason the
bill is not progressing. A spokesman for Shas explained that, in cases when
ministries and individual MKs propose similar bills, they try to come to a
compromise, and so far, those attempts have not been successful.
compromise is reached in the coming weeks, the Interior Ministry will bring its
bill to a vote without the support of MKs who proposed similar legislation,
Yishai’s office said, but would not specify their deadline to get Horowitz’s
A member of the Knesset Interior Committee’s professional staff,
who is not affiliated with a political party, said that DST had not been
discussed since February, because other issues were higher priorities for
“It’s not like Horowitz asked for there to be a meeting on DST every
week and was rejected,” the staff member quipped.
“Every year this ritual
is repeated, and people use DST as an excuse to come out against religious
people. Back in February [Knesset Finance Committee chairman] Moshe Gafni
(United Torah Judaism) said in the meeting that this isn’t a religious issue;
Tisha Be’Av is a long fast in the middle of the summer.”
Committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas) refused to comment on the
Horowitz said that Shas’s claims he is to blame for the DST
legislation’s lack of progress “does not hold water.”
“Since when did
Shas stop something they wanted to do because of Meretz’s three seats in the
Knesset?” Horowitz said. “Shas doesn’t need us; they’re playing
The Meretz MK does not plan to compromise or remove his private
members bill extending DST to November 1, but did not see that as standing in
MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), who is willing to accept the
Interior Ministry bill because it is “better than nothing,” also did not accept
“Why don’t they bring the Interior Ministry bill to a
plenum vote? Why haven’t there been discussions in the Knesset Interior
Committee?” she asked.
Rebel Shas MK Haim Amsalem called the issue
“unnecessary and bordering on stupid.”
“This has no connection to
religion or halacha,” he explained. “It annoys the general public for no good
reason, and just makes them angry at religious people. There is no logic
Amsalem pointed out Jews all over the world manage fasting on Yom
Kippur regardless of when DST ends.