Daylight Saving Time ended on Saturday night, as dozens of Meretz activists protested in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square and in front of Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s Jerusalem home.
Speaking at the demonstration, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) called on Yishai and the Shas-controlled Knesset Interior Committee to allow his bill to extend DST to the end of October, which passed a preliminary Knesset reading in June 2011, to continue in the legislative process.
This year, the Israeli public will lose hours of sunlight because of “an inexplicable caprice,” Horowitz said.
Interior Committee chairman Amnon Cohen (Shas), has said the measure is stuck because of disagreements between the Interior Ministry’s committee of experts on the topic and MKs from other factions, who wanted the legislation to be worded differently.
Yishai’s office said the minister changed his policy, bringing the lengthening of DST, as opposed to his predecessors.
“Politicians from Meretz are delaying the bill, because their time is running out and this is the only campaign they have left to bring to voters,” the Interior Minister’s spokesman said. “Therefore, they are torpedoing the possibility of bringing the bill to a second and third reading.”
Yishai’s office said the bill would be finalized in the Knesset’s winter session, which begins on October 15.
“Once again, Israel is at the bottom of the list of DST length, even though the summer is long here and we can use the many hours of light in order to save electricity, decrease traffic accidents and gain another hour of light in the afternoon,” Horowitz said.
If the law is not changed, DST will end on September 8 next year, almost two months before most of the world, Horowitz explained.
Also at the protest, Mickey Gitzin, director-general of religious freedom NGO Israel Hofshit, accused Yishai and other politicians of trying to increase their power at the expense of the public’s leisure and work hours.
“The public is sick and tired of the government ignoring their basic needs,” he said.
MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), who proposed a similar bill to extend DST, said that “Israel has proved, once again, that it is a dark country.
“The interior minister continues to make false promises that the new law will pass in the next Knesset session, but he knows that the only law that will pass is to dissolve the Knesset,” she stated, referring to rumors that an election will be called in the coming months. “Meanwhile, he is forcing all of Israel to lose hours of light and waste electricity.”
Earlier this week, Meretz attempted to create online memes against ending DST on its Facebook page. One showed a picture of Yishai’s head on the body of a character from HBO’s TV show Game of Thrones, with the words “winter is coming,” a well known quote from the show.
Another had Yishai as the bird in a cuckoo clock, with the text: “Don’t move your clocks, move Eli Yishai. One hour earlier is better.”
Yishai's office said the minister changed his policy, bringing the lengthening of DST, as opposed to his predecessors, and that it is stuck in Knesset committees.
"Politicians from Meretz are delaying the bill, because their time is running out and this is the only campaign they have left to bring to voters," the Interior Minister's spokesman said. "Therefore, they are torpedoing the possibility of bringing the bill to a second and third reading."
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.