Satmar Jews in Brooklyn.
Satmar Jews in Brooklyn. Photo by Archive
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The truth is that this is a huge embarrassment. It is simply not nice living in a country which imposes irrational behavior on its citizens just because of a few capricious Haredi politicians.

On a website that includes details of the daylight saving time in countries around the world, it is listed next to each country the date on which the summer clock goes into effect, and the date it ends. Simple, easy and logical.

Most countries in the world adopt the rule of the European Union, where the winter time clock goes into effect on the last Sunday of October. This year that date will be October 31. But near the name of Israel appears an asterisk: see below.

In the special details, those who run the website take an entire page to explain to the reader the mad reality in Israel. The reasons for which daylight saving time is so short, and the reasons the date is entirely different from all other places.

For a tiny moment it appeared yesterday as if the Interior Minister realized the absurdity and was listening to the public outcry. He announced at the start of the cabinet meeting that he would consider restoring the daylight saving time a week after Yom Kippur. That also sounds a little mad: change the clock twice in two weeks? But we thought that perhaps that would be the start of a return to a more sane reality.

No such luck. In a short while Eli Yishai's bureau let it be know that the idea could not be implemented. Thus, this year too, we will shift to winter time at the peak of summer, when the sun will still be over our heads, hot and blazing.

All this is happening because we have a unique democracy, in which the minority dictates the rules of conduct for the majority.

It happened in 2005 when MK David Azoulay of Shas proposed a bill which called for a short daylight savings clock that lasted a mere 140 days. Countering him was MK Haim Oron of Meretz, who in the end compromised and agreed that the daylight saving clock would end prior to Yom Kippur "to make things easier on those fasting."

The Shas politicians remind us that the compromise was accepted with a broad consensus, which is true, but they forget to tell us that both Labor and Likud have tried to woo Shas for years, and the Haredi party is taking advantage of the situation to ensure it, and only it, tips the balance.

Even Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz does not turn red in embarrassment when he says that the savings to the economy "will not be too bad." But why would he care about the millions lost on electricity bills and other added costs so long as Eli Yishai is happy?

My heart goes out to the Jews of Brooklyn, London, Paris and Antwerp. How do they manage to suffer the fast, which ends very late because of the long days of the daylight saving clock? And how can they face up to this challenge without the assistance of the genius rabbis Eli Yishai and David Azoulay?