Israeli Ministers to Vote on Forbidding Mosques From Using PA Systems

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A mosque in Kafr Azarya next to the Maaleh Adumim settlement. Credit: Emil Salman

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will decide Sunday whether to support a bill that would forbid muezzins from using mosques’ public address systems to call their worshippers to prayer.

Although the bill has wide support in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, the legislation is not expected to pass. In recent years repeated efforts to pass similar bills have failed.

“Freedom of religion does not have to be a factor undermining quality of life,” said the bill’s backers.

The legislation was initiated by MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) and is supported by other Knesset members from his party, along with MKs Miki Zohar and Nurit Koren of Likud and Merav Ben Ari of Kulanu.

“Hundreds of thousands of Israelis – in the Galilee, the Negev, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and other areas in the center of the country – experience regular daily suffering from the noise resulting from the muezzin calls in the mosques,” the bill’s explanatory notes say.

“This noise stems from the use of a PA system that disturbs the other residents several times a day, including in the early morning hours and at night.”

The bill would forbid the use of similar PA systems by all houses of worship of all religions, although the interior minister would have the right to allow their use on an individual basis.

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