Scientists urge MK to hold in-depth probe of DST policy

Professional association calls on MK Sheetrit to convene special session on the scientific and engineering aspects of the early end to Summer Time.

pidion kapparot 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
pidion kapparot 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Association of Engineers, Architects and Academics in Technological Professions has called on Knesset Science and Technology Committee chairman MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) to convene a special session on the scientific and engineering aspects of the early end to Summer (Daylight Savings) Time last week.
Prof. Ariel Cohen, chairman of the science, computers and software division of the organization, wrote in his letter on Wednesday that a quarter of a million residents have already signed a petition voicing their opposition to the beginning of Winter (Standard) Time before Yom Kippur because of a law initiated several years ago by religious parties.
He suggested that the session be held in coordination with the Knesset Interior Committee in the upcoming winter session.
“This large group of people expect an independent and scientific examination of the issue that is not influenced by political considerations,” Cohen wrote.
The premature end of Summer Time has been “blamed” on religious Jews who maintain that it is easier to fast on Yom Kippur if it ends earlier in the day; but many argue it makes no difference as it goes on for the same 25 hours, and religious Jews fast on Tisha Be’av in August, when Daylight Saving Time is in effect.
Others claim that moving the clock back an hour makes it easier for the observant to recite prayers before going to work. Religious (including haredi) Jews who have been interviewed in recent weeks have maintained that they prefer Daylight Savings Time as well to enjoy more daylight with their families.
Summer Time is claimed to reduce the number of road accidents, cut the use of electricity and promote economic activity. The length of Daylight Summer Time this year has been extremely short (two months less than in the US) because of the early beginning of the Jewish Year 5771, which is a leap year with two months of Adar.
Cohen said he has appointed a committee headed by him to look into the matter of Daylight Savings Time. The association’s committee sessions will be attended by engineers, scientists, astronomers, meteorologists and urban economics experts. The first session will be held on October 18 at 5 p.m. in Beit Hamehandesim in Jerusalem (35 Rehov Hillel). A lecture on the astronomical aspect of Summer Time will be held, followed by a public discussion.
No response from the Knesset committee was available on Wednesday.