EARLY EVENING: The sun setting on a Tel Aviv beach on September 12.
EARLY EVENING: The sun setting on a Tel Aviv beach on September 12. Photo by Nir Kafri
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The high-tech industry is taking a stand against the time change. The telecom firm 102 Smile said yesterday it would continue operating on daylight saving time through late October, and two venture capital firms, IHCV and Walden Israel, have announced they, too, would delay moving their clocks back to winter hours.

Roni Hefetz, a partner at Walden, recently asked the High-Tech Industry Association to encourage its member companies to remain on daylight saving time. Hefetz also wrote in an e-mail to Walden employees that the firm, which invests in Internet technology startups, would continue operating on summer hours through October 30.

Managers at IHCV, which invests primarily in biotechnology startups, said it would also remain on summer time, meaning employees will have to come in at 8 rather than 9 A.M. IHCV representatives said the firm had yet to decide whether to recommend that companies in its investment portfolio follow suit.

Israel switched to standard time yesterday, despite efforts by businessmen and politicians to prolong daylight saving time until the end of October. Earlier this month, more than 220,000 Israelis signed a petition calling for the government to ignore the time change until the European Union moves to standard time on October 30.

Shimon Eckhouse is chairman of the medical devices manufacturer Syneron. He initiated the petition, but yesterday said he feels the campaign against returning to standard time has much further to go. "There are some signs that companies aren't switching to winter hours, but it's not on a large scale. Companies wishing to stay on summer time encounter many difficulties," he said. "I can't say a lot of people have chosen to boycott winter hours."

Yishai lashes out

Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Army Radio yesterday that public debate over daylight saving time is unfair in that that it targets the religious public. He said the "bizarre and comical" debate had unfairly singled out religious people as the main cause for the current situation.

Israel switches to daylight saving each year before Yom Kippur, a move favored by some religious Jews, who say it makes the annual 25-hour fast easier to endure.

"The bill to end daylight saving time before Yom Kippur was passed in 2005, while we were in the opposition. It was based on social and financial considerations and enjoyed a broad political consensus," said Yishai, who chairs the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.

"Once every three or four years, when holidays start in September because of the leap year, we don't need to raise a hue and cry when summer hours are made to begin earlier," he said. "I'm willing to examine any option the public wants, such as changing the clock, then bringing it back two weeks later.

Yishai added: "The fact that the entire world switches its clocks later doesn't obligate us. Not the entire world is Jewish."