Ministers to vote on Daylight Savings Time bill

Bill sponsored by Nitzan Horowitz could lead to changes that may mean Daylight Savings Time would continue until end of October every year.

February 12, 2011 21:52
2 minute read.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)


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After months of quiet, a hot political issue is likely to be reawakened Sunday when the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected to vote on a bill that would make daylight saving time continue until the end of October every year.

The bill, sponsored by Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and co-sponsored by an additional 20 MKs from across the political spectrum, has been delayed for months in accordance with repeated requests by the government.

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Horowitz promised that whatever the committee decides on Sunday, he will place the bill before the Knesset plenum for a preliminary reading on Wednesday.

Horowitz rejected suggestions to delay the legislation after Interior Minister Eli Yishai promised to establish a committee to look into the question of daylight saving.

The bill’s proponents noted that even if the committee determines that such a change is necessary, the only way to change Israel’s clocks is through legislation. Horowitz added that Wednesday’s vote on the bill will be a test of the government’s intent to reform the current situation.

Should the bill be rejected by the ministerial committee, however, it will be very difficult for Horowitz to gain support for the plenum vote among coalition members.

Currently, Israel switches its clocks in accordance with the Jewish fall holidays, before the Yom Kippur fast. As a result, daylight saving time can be reduced in the fall by over six weeks in comparison with most Western countries.

Public protest erupted against the current situation during the 2010 autumn season, when over 300,000 citizens signed a petition calling on the government to extend daylight savings.

“The bill’s intent is to create as much compatibility as possible between our hours of activity and the daylight hours, and thus to save electricity, reduce vehicle collisions and gain another hour of light in the afternoons,” explained Horowitz.

Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, wrote a letter in support of the bill, describing it as “an appropriate step in order to fix an economic distortion that is similar to no other situation in the world.”

Lynn added that extending the daylight saving period would save the economy tens of millions of shekels in production costs, increased productivity and savings in electrical expenses for households.

“Maintaining daylight saving time for most of the year is the right thing to do. It is beneficial to all of the public – children and adults, drivers and pedestrians, religious and secular,” said Horowitz. “The government must listen to the public’s calls and end this situation, which costs us tens of millions and harms everybody’s regular routine.”

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