With the political leadership consumed by significant issues such as
negotiations with the Palestinians and the appointment of the new chief of
General Staff, MKs and ministers alike sparred on Sunday over a no-less-pressing
issue: why Israel is preparing for winter by switching from daylight savings
time before the first rainclouds have appeared on the
Politicians on the Right and Left attacked and defended the
traditional practice in Israel of switching to standard (winter) time during the
10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, thereby making sunset earlier on
the fast day and synagogue services shorter.
The fast itself is still 25
hours long in any case.
This year, the switch occurs particularly early
in autumn, as the Jewish New Year is celebrated in the second week of
More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition that
calls on the public to ignore the start of standard time and operate according
to daylight savings time until November.
“Schools, businesses, public
institutes, families and other bodies – please continue operating as if the
clock has not been moved back,” reads the petition.
According to business
leaders and the petition’s organizers, daylight savings time costs the economy
millions of shekels for the economy and increases the number of road accidents
due to the added time spent driving in the dark.
As for the religious
issue of setting the clock back before Yom Kippur, the petition proclaims that
“even this pathetic excuse is completely warped, since the fast lasts 25 hours
in any case, and moving the clock only results in warmer hours for those fasting and praying.
the moving of the clock and maybe finally our elected officials will realize
they work for us and not the other way around,” the petition
Business owners said that the switch, which will mean that the
sun will set before 6 p.m., forces them to turn lights on early and thus costs
Finance Ministry officials said that the estimated expense to
the economy of the early changeover was NIS 10 million – not a significant cost,
said Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud).
The Federation of Israeli
Chambers of Commerce announced that they plan to ignore the change, and to
continue working according to daylight savings time.
Eli Yishai (Shas) offered a compromise early on Sunday afternoon.
are all kinds of ideas. It could be that on Yom Kippur, we will go to the winter
clock, and then the next week we could go back.”
Yishai is reportedly
thinking over the idea of reviewing the law following the holiday season, and is
considered likely to move the scheduled date in 2011 to November.
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) also favors delaying the switch. Over the weekend, he
announced that he would submit a bill to extend daylight savings time to the
last Sunday before November 1.
Horowitz emphasized that beyond the
financial benefits of maintaining daylight savings time, it would also increase
road safety, as commuters travel home in daylight.
“Daylight savings time
is the right thing most days of the year,” Horowitz said. “It is correct for our
habits, saves electricity, and increases economic productivity.
no logic in beginning standard time in September, long weeks before the rest of
the world moves the clocks, and in the midst of long, hot days.
unfortunate that this year, too, because of religious coercion – and it is
impossible to understand the connection between religion and this issue –
daylight savings time will end before autumn begins,” Horowitz
“The time has come to stop surrendering to illogical decisions,
and to correct this situation that costs us tens of millions of
But Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkovitz (Habayit
Hayehudi) denied that the clockchanging fight had any connection to
between religious and secular Jews.
“The early transition to the winter
clock does not help religious or traditional people, and I do not see
not to leave daylight savings time and to create savings in the
“It is not clear why the daylight savings time issue has gained the
tenor of a struggle between religious and secular people. It could be
politicians on both sides have climbed up a tall ladder and don’t know
get back down again, but I do not find any element in this debate that
Jewish issue. The vast majority of the nation, for whom the Yom Kippur
important, will fast no matter what, and the time frame of the fast is
Israel has a very short period of daylight savings time,
relative to Western countries. In the United States, daylight savings
for 238 days, in the member states of the European Union it lasts for
but in Israel, daylight savings time lasts fewer than 180 days every
The Manufacturers Association provides data every year on the
damage suffered by the economy as a result of limiting daylight saving
association, however, declined to comment on its view regarding the
“The association does not deal with matters pertaining to
religion and state,” a statement by the group said.