Israeli Mayor Bursts Into Mosque During Holiday Prayers, Says Turn Down the Volume

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo entered a mosque in central Israel with police at dawn during Id al-Adha holiday prayers to complain about the loudspeakers' volume

A mosque in the mixed Israeli Arab-Jewish city of Lod, in 2010. (Illustrative photo)
A mosque in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod, in 2010. Nir Kafri

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo entered a mosque in the city early Friday and asked the imam to stop broadcasting over loudspeakers, causing a ruckus that nearly became violent before the police separated the two sides, the police said.

According to the police spokesman’s office, near dawn the imam began to use loudspeakers to broadcast at the Dahamshe Mosque in the old city. At 5:30 A.M., Revivo phoned the police and told them he was outside; he intended to enter and halt the proceedings.

The police, however, asked the mayor to wait for the police to arrive. They told him that the deputy commander of the Lod police station was on his way.

Revivo entered with the deputy mayor and the Lod security chief, and a confrontation broke out with the worshippers, the police said.

Police arrived, separated the city officials from the worshippers, and lowered the volume of the loudspeakers. The imam will be summoned for questioning amid suspicions he violated noise regulations, the police said.

Revivo allegedly took phones away from people who tried to film him, though no complaint has been filed with the police against the mayor.

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In recent days, Revivo had told the police that local imams intended to use loudspeakers for their sermons even late at night and very early in the morning over the Id al-Adha holiday, which began Thursday evening.

The police said they had asked the imams to follow the noise ordinances, adding that they had reached an agreement in which prayers could be broadcast over loudspeakers, but not long sermons.

Earlier this year, Muslim calls to prayer became a key issue in Israeli politics, with many Knesset members seeking to pass a law setting limits on the use of mosque loudspeakers.