Yishai to form c'tee to examine daylight saving time

Public pressure interior minister faced over maintaining abnormally short daylight savings period forces retraction of former stance.

By JONAH MANDEL
February 7, 2011 22:01
2 minute read.
Cabinet meeting

yishai shalom netanyahu cabinet meeting 311. (photo credit: Haim Tzach)

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) has reversed himself and decided to form a professional committee that will examine the possibility of extending daylight savings time, Channel 2 reported on Monday evening.

The shift reportedly came in response to public pressure Yishai faced over his insistence on maintaining the unusually short daylight savings period in Israel.

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According to the report, Yishai announced that daylight savings was a professional, not religious question, and therefore could be deliberated upon by a group of experts from academia and the public sector.

Representatives of those who fast on Yom Kippur, industrialists and the general public will be able to share their suggestions with the committee, which according to Channel 2 will be headed by Interior Ministry directorgeneral Amnon Ben-Amichai.

The committee will publish its conclusions ahead of the end of the summer, to enable the implementation of its recommendations.

A bill sponsored by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) to extend daylight savings time until the end of October is supposed to be voted on in a preliminary reading in the Knesset next week, after the government twice asked to delay the vote.

“I hope Yishai’s announcement, which comes a few days before the vote on my bill, is not a way to avoid a decision on the matter or delay it,” Horowitz said in a statement following Channel 2’s report. “The interior minister and government must address this bill, which reflect the will of the vast majority of the public. After Yishai’s intentions are clarified, I will consider my legislative moves.”

In September, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition calling to ignore the start of standard time and operate according to daylights savings time until November. Yishai faced scathing criticism over his insistence on upholding 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.

Israel has a very short period of daylight savings time, relative to Western countries.

In the United States, daylight savings time lasts for 238 days, in the member states of the European Union it lasts for 218 days, but in Israel, daylight savings time lasts fewer than 180 days every year.


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