Cabinet okays extension of Daylight Saving Time

Bayit Yehudi MK says bill will negatively affect manual laborers and religiously observant.

June 23, 2013 17:50
2 minute read.
Sunset at the kinneret

Sunset at the kinneret 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Say goodbye to the neverending debate between the secular and religious camps regarding Daylight Saving Time: The government on Sunday approved a decision to permanently extend DST by a month, until the end of October.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said this was a decision 65 years in the making.

The bill will now go to the Knesset for final approval.

“The interior minister has submitted an important decision that will add, in effect, an additional hour of daylight until the end of October,” Netanyahu said at the outset of Sunday’s cabinet. “That is, we are bringing good news to Israeli citizens. Now we have a land flowing with milk and honey, [natural] gas and sunlight. This is good. It is a very, very welcome change.”

The DST issue has long been a wedge between the religious and secular camps, with the secular saying that ending the additional hour of daylight by an hour before the Yom Kippur fast, as has been the case for years, was wasteful. In the religious camp, meanwhile, there have long been those saying that DST needs to end earlier even than Yom Kippur, not only to make the fast end earlier, but also to make it easier for religious Jews to say penitential slichot prayers during the month of Elul.

For years the date of DST has changed, with clocks often turned back the weekend before Yom Kippur, usually in September.

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) set up an expert committee in April, which in its recommendations called for extending DST and to bring it closer to the common practice in European countries, which is to end it on November 1.

MK Zvulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi) asked that the government reconsider the change and extend DST to no later than October 10.

“Lengthening Daylight Saving Time into winter is good for wealthy workers who leave their homes at late hours, but can hurt manual laborers who leave early in the morning and will have to make their way [to work] in total darkness,” Kalfa wrote to Sa’ar.

Kalfa added that extended DST will also be problematic for the religiously observant, who will not be able to say morning prayers until after the sun rises at 6:45 a.m., which could lead them to be late to work.

The Bayit Yehudi MK suggested that DST only last until October 10, the last day of the year in which the sun does not rise after 6:30 a.m.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, said the DST reform was just one of the government’s achievements as it approaches its 100th day in office later this week. He praised the government for what he called its “innovative actions.”

“This is a government of reforms,” he said, pointing to the DST decision as well as Sunday’s decision on exporting 40 percent of the country’s natural gas. He said other reforms that already passed include the Open Skies agreement with the EU and a reform on importing vehicles as well as one on garages.

Netanyahu praised his colleagues for passing the budget on its first reading, passing a law to prevent infiltrators from sending money outside the country unless they themselves are leaving and formulating an outline to increase sharing the burden of military duty.

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