Ministers to vote on muted version of ‘muezzin bill’

The original text of the legislation would have proscribed such use of outdoor speakers at any time.

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February 2, 2017 18:29
1 minute read.
Jerusalem mosque

A man stands near a mosque opposite to a neighborhood in east Jerusalem November 13, 2016.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to decide Sunday on whether the government will back the new version of the “muezzin bill,” a proposal to ban religious institutions from using outdoor loudspeakers at night.

The original text of the legislation would have proscribed such use of outdoor speakers at any time.

According to the revived text, it would be forbidden to use outdoor speakers to call to prayer in residential areas from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. It also includes a larger fine for violating the law – NIS 10,000.

Covered under the legislation would be any “house of prayer” – synagogues, churches and mosques.

The changes in the bill were made due to requests by senior politicians from the haredi sector who pressured the cabinet to promote legislation that would not affect the Shabbat sirens that sound at sundown on Fridays.

Sources close to Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev – who initiated the legislation along with Likud MK David Bitan – told The Jerusalem Post that the main problem the measure is trying to address is overnight noise. They explained that the current version of the bill focuses on that matter and protects citizens from loud muezzin calls at night.

The explanatory notes of the bill say “Hundreds of thousands of citizens in Israel – in the Galilee, the Negev, Jerusalem and other places – suffer on a daily basis from noise that comes from prayer speakers several times during the day and the night.

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