Ministerial panel delays vote on daylight saving time

Meretz’s Nitzan Horowitz says he’ll bring bill to plenum without government support.

nitzan horowitz 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
nitzan horowitz 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s vote on MK Nitzan Horowitz’s (Meretz) bill to lengthen daylight saving time was delayed at the last minute Sunday, but Horowitz promised that he would bring the bill to a vote on the plenum floor, with or without government support.
Horowitz complained that the government had “once again decided not to decide” after it explained that a vote on the bill would be delayed for at least an additional month to allow a committee named by Interior Minister Eli Yishai to examine the issue.
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The vote on the bill has been repeatedly delayed in the past, most recently last week, when it was delayed by a week until this Sunday.
Horowitz described the delay as “another attempt to throw sand in the public’s eyes” and said that “the issue of daylight savings time has been examined and checked from every possible angle for years now.”
He complained that Yishai’s committee was yet another attempt to delay a decision on the issue.
If Horowitz’s bill were to pass, Israel would switch to standard time on the last Sunday of October, regardless of when the fall Jewish holidays are celebrated. Currently, Israel turns its clocks back on the Sunday before Yom Kippur.
As a result, daylight saving time can end here weeks before it ends in most western countries.
Because of when the Tishrei holidays fell in 2010, daylight saving time ended early in September, seven weeks before clocks were turned back in Europe and eight weeks before the United States.
Public protest erupted against the current situation in September, when over 300,000 citizens signed a petition calling on the government to extend daylight saving time.
On Sunday, Religious Services Minister Ya’acov Margi (Shas) said that the problem with extending daylight saving time was not merely the length of the Yom Kippur fast. He noted that the later sunrise in October would make it more difficult for religious people to say their morning prayers and still get to work on time.
Nevertheless, the freshman Meretz MK said that he will present the bill for its preliminary reading in the plenum on Wednesday without waiting for the support of the government.
“This will be a test to see how serious the government’s intentions are,” said Horowitz. “If it is really interested, as even the Shas ministers claimed, in supporting daylight savings time, the bill should be advanced. If ultimately Yishai’s committee has any additional recommendations on the issue, they can be integrated within the bill as part of the legislative process.”
Although almost two dozen MKs are co-sponsors of Horowitz’s bill, it is unclear as to whether, without coalition support, the legislation will garner enough votes to pass its preliminary reading.