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Petition Pushes to Extend DST in Israel

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Published 3-Sep-2010. Changed 6-Sep-2010

Update:The petition to extend daylight saving time (DST) in Israel has gained enough attention that the Minister of Interior, Eli Yishai, has proposed to the cabinet that the ministry will consider restoring DST immediately after the end of Yom Kippur. The DST schedule would then end on October 31.

Many object the move to extend DST in Israel because it would make life harder for religious Jews during the Yom Kippur fast. Meanwhile, the move to extend DST is gaining momentum having tens of thousands of people who have already signed the petition within days.

Another approach to the petition is a proposed bill drafted by Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz that will extend DST to the last Sunday of October, which is the same time that most of Europe ends its DST schedule. So far, rabbis have objected the move, while non-observant Jews show their support for the bill. The goal now is to find a solution that will bridge the gaps between the religious and secular groups, and unite the society in time for the holidays. This bill will be debated later this year, thus not affecting the time change for the year 2010. Israel will continue with its current DST schedule and change their clocks back to standard time on September 12.

A legislative procedure will have to take place in order to make any changes to Israel’s DST schedule. However, this type of procedure is not possible to carry out in such a short period of time. timeanddate.com will provide updates about the DST schedule in Israel as the information becomes available.

Israel is scheduled to end their daylight saving time (DST) schedule on September 12, just before Yom Kippur. Thousands have signed an online petition that demands people to ignore the switch back to standard time in hopes that the government will stop prematurely ending DST a month and a half before most of Europe.

Church clock tower in old Jaffa, Israel

A petition to extend daylight saving time in Israel is gaining more support.

©iStockphoto.com/motimeiri

A Push to Synchronize with Europe

The chairman and co-founder of Syneron, Shimon Eckhouse, began an online petition that demands the public to ignore the official time change in Israel in hopes that the elected officials will understand that they work for the people and not the other way around. Over 20,000 people have signed the online petition thus far, though some are not sure whether the people who signed it have thought about the actual consequences. The petition asks schools, businesses, public institutions, and families to continue following DST until the end of October.

The petition argues that the early change to standard time will require millions of Israelis to return from work in the dark that will increase the chances of road accidents due to longer time spent driving in the dark, as well as costing the Israeli economy millions.

The current DST schedule follows a 2005 bill that aims to provide relief for those fasting on Yom Kippur. However, the petition argues that either way the fast lasts 25 hours, and the only result from moving the clock is warmer hours for those fasting and praying.

Israel Debates on DST

The chairman of Knesset Finance Committee, Moshe Gafni, stated that recently there has been a thorough debate about the DST schedule in Israel. All parties had agreed that the dates for the "summer" and "winter" clocks should be laid down in law.

A proposed DST schedule, which is similar to Egypt’s 2010 DST schedule, was introduced by Knesset member, Ronit Tirosh. Her idea suggests that Israel would change back to standard time during the holidays, and then resume DST afterwards for a number of weeks. She claims that this schedule would both save electricity and prevent accidents. However, the head of the United Torah Judaism party, Menachem Moses, shot down the idea on the grounds that it would be too difficult to implement.

History of DST in Israel

Daylight saving time in Israel was operated by an order of the minister of the interior and governed by the Time Act, which is a law inherited by Israel from the British Mandate of Palestine before 1992. The British Mandate of Palestine time act was replaced by the Law Determining the Time in 1992, which is now the law that governs Israeli daylight saving time. According to the law, DST will be in effect for at least 150 days each year, and that the minister of the Interior will decide the final dates, subject to the approval of the Knesset committee for internal affairs.

The start and end of DST has been a big debate in Israel every year until 2005. Religious groups wanted DST to start after Passover and end before Yom Kippur, while secular parties argued for an earlier start and a later ending. Thus, Israel was never able to establish a rule for DST. The debates about a fixed rule for DST went on for years and resulted in a suggested schedule where DST starts on the 2nd day of Passover and ends on the weekend between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This suggestion was rejected because the DST period lasted for only 5 months, but this helped serve as a basis for the final compromise.

Since 2005, Israel’s compromised DST schedule begins every year from 2:00 a.m. on the last Friday before April 2 or around Passover and ends at 2:00 a.m. on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur.

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