Knesset committee approves longer Daylight Saving Time

UTJ MKs concerned later sunrise will make religious men have to choose between work and prayer.

July 2, 2013 02:21
1 minute read.
Man riding a bus in Mea She'arim

Religious man riding a bus 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Salem)

The bill extending daylight saving time until the end of October cleared another hurdle Monday, passing a vote in the Knesset Interior Committee.

The legislation sets DST as beginning the Friday before the last Sunday of March and ending the last Sunday in October.

UTJ MKs opposed the change, explaining that it will force people to pray before sunrise, which is religiously problematic, because the sun will rise after 7 a.m. for part of October.

MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) also pointed out that there will be more waking hours on Yom Kippur because of the DST law, making it more difficult to fast.

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) pointed out that existing laws require employers to allow people to pray in the workplace, and as such, there should be no religious problem with the bill.

“This bill has many advantages, and the issue of morning prayer is not enough of a reason to oppose it,” he said. “As a God-fearing Jew, I think we there are solutions to this problem.”

Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said Bayit Yehudi supports extending DST, because it is a social and cultural issue, not a religious one.

However, Ben-Dahan asked that an article be added to the law that will allow workers to be late to work if they are saying morning prayers.

If such a change is not made, “workers will have to choose between saying morning prayers on time or arriving at work on time, because most workplaces do not have the proper conditions to pray in a minyan [group of 10 men] or with a Torah,” he said.

Still, Ben Dahan pointed out that this only applies to 10 work days.

“Once again, we see that the Bayit Yehudi is forced to vote against its conscience on matters that harm their voters and not just haredim,” UTJ MK Ya’acov Asher responded. “It can’t be that a party representing religious and traditional people, who pray before going to work, doesn’t protect that group’s interests.”

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