The World's Shortest Summer

Those poor, wretched Jews of America. And all the other Jews around the world, for that matter. How will they manage to get through Yom Kippur when their clocks are still set on daylight savings time?

Those poor, wretched Jews of America. And all the other Jews around the world, for that matter. How will they manage to get through Yom Kippur when their clocks are still set on daylight savings time? How will they fast without fainting?

The Haredi and religious wheeler-dealers have driven the public here crazy for years, saying that it is impossible to fast when daylight savings time is in effect. It's too hard and it's even inhumane, they've said, and therefore it is incumbent on the state to take action and switch out of daylight savings time prior to the onset of the fast.

It is true that all of the Jews in the world (except for Israel) will be fasting Monday according to daylight savings time. It is true that they are not even dreaming of complaining. But here in Israel we have an "achievement" to mark. Standard time will go into effect on Sunday, so as to make life easier for those fasting.

This "achievement" was notched by Haredi and religious go-getters in 2005. They took improper advantage of their political clout in Knesset in order to abuse the secular and also to put themselves above the commandments. For is it not explicitly written in Leviticus, "Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement ... and ye shall afflict your souls?"

If so, who appointed them "to ease?" In a Knesset debate four years ago, MK David Azoulay of Shas and MK Zevulun Orlev of the National Religious Party made an attempt to tamper with summer time at its starting point, too.

They wanted to begin daylight savings time only after the Passover seder and not at the beginning of April, as is customary, because "by the time we reached the part where the afikoman is stolen, the kids will have already fallen asleep."

In other words, the sleep habits and afikoman games of Azoulay and Orlev's grandchildren were supposed to dictate the clock by which the people of Israel lives its life. Is this not insanity?

Fortunately, they gave in on this bit of lunacy, but did not agree to concede the "easement" on Yom Kippur. And so it is that in hot Israel, winter begins earlier, 35 days before Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and this is perfectly absurd.

This year, the absurdity does not reach its highest heights, but in the future there will be a situation where Yom Kippur begins earlier, in the first third of September, such that standard time will be moved two months earlier than other countries.

Haredim and religious Jews with whom I've spoken cannot manage to comprehend why the Knesset go-getters fought this war. They say that the Haredim and religious suffer the most from curtailing daylight saving's time. There is nothing easier about the fast, they explain, because no matter what you do, it still lasts 25 hours.

But the early start of the fast makes it harder to properly prepare for this special day. Because you have to eat lunch with the entire family, and after that the pre-fast meal, and many people want to go to the Western Wall, and there's not enough time because the afternoon services begin at 4:30 P.M.

This problem also exists on Fridays, they say, because Shabbat begins early, and the change also makes it harder to take excursions on the Sukkot holiday because it begins to get dark by 5:30 P.M.

If so, I ask, why did the wheeler-dealers fight for it so hard? They answer, "We are talking about grade-D wheeler-dealers, who do not understand subjects, who are looking for publicity, who in the end screwed over their own crowd."

Curtailing daylight saving's time by 35 days will cost the Israeli economy tens of millions of shekels through added electricity expenses and lower productivity.

Working hours will be less comfortable, and lighting and air conditioning hours lengthier, because beginning next week, when we wake up in the morning to go to work, the sun will already sit higher in the sky, and when we return home it will already be dusk.

Evidently, the Haredi and religious members of Knesset don't care, either, that the earlier onset of darkness causes many more car accidents and more casualties. Shortening the number of hours of light also does harm to the quality of life of the public at large, because we can no longer take walks in the park with the youngsters or go swimming in the sea.

In another, poorer country, a special law was legislated in 2005 extending daylight savings time "in order to save energy." It happened in the United States, and the law extended daylight savings time such that it begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November.

Poor American wretches. They are compelled to save energy, whereas here there is money growing on the trees and we don't have to save anything. Let them save, so that they can send us aid grants.

Another dismal conclusion is that the public is living an illusion that there is a secular majority in the Knesset. Although secular people constitute 80 percent of the legislature, the 20 percent are having a good time at the expense of the majority. They are always in the coalition and always managing to squeeze and to achieve at the expense of the secular donkey whatever their heart desires, even the very movement of the clock's hands.

We are now at the height of the Days of Awe, during which we should ask forgiveness from God and also from our fellow man. Meaning that the Knesset go-getters now have the opportunity to ask forgiveness from the people of Israel, to recognize the error of their ways, and to cancel the insanity of curtailing daylight saving's time.