Israel - Daylight Saving Time Bill 'Torpedoed'
Israel - The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs was all set Monday to discuss a bill presented by Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), which would make sure that daylight saving time wouldn’t give way to standard (winter) time before October 10 of each year.
And yet, the bill will mostly likely never make it to the table after the Prime Minister’s Office made it clear to Tirosh that if the proposal were brought before the committee for approval this week it would be rejected. Instead she was promised a well known solution – a special committee to examine the issue.
Tirosh meant to present the bill following the row that erupted around the issue last year when thousands of Israelis signed a petition to shorten the length of time standard time was used in Israel as Israel brings in the use of standard time much earlier than the rest of the world, seemingly without justification.
Supporters of an extended daylight saving time noted that it would save money, increase the quality of life and reduce the number of road accidents.
In response, the Prime Minister’s Office explained the notice they gave Tirosh by saying that a committee was being formed to examine the issue – which is why there is no reason to bring forward a bill on the subject. “We are working at ground level to solve the problems and MK Tirosh was offered the opportunity to join and take part,” they said. The Prime Minister’s Office stated that Tirosh accepted the offer.
But Tirosh sees things differently: “The Prime Minister’s Office called and told me that the bill proposal was being postponed because they were establishing a committee under the leadership of Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser.
“They had already sidelined the bill when they said that they wish to focus on finalizing the budget, but I said that from my point of view, if a committee is established, it should be established tomorrow morning, and convene tomorrow for the first time, and I’ll be there. They are retreating because of coalition concerns and it is unacceptable that Shas will dictate our daily agenda. The Prime Minister’s Office is scared of Shas and the haredim.”
Tirosh stated that if the committee promised by the Prime Minister’s Office wasn’t established, she wouldn’t remain silent. The MK’s bill was, she said, was coordinated with Tzohar organization rabbis and sources within the Shas party.
Tirosh added that the three sides discussed a set date to move the clock which would suit the prayer time needs of the religious public so that they could pray and manage to get to work in time in the morning. She claims that after a suitable date was agreed upon, Shas torpedoed the agreement.
“After three months of meetings and deliberations, they told me it was impossible because Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said no,” Tirosh claimed.
“They believe that they can convince me that next year daylight saving time will be set at a date that is comfortable for everybody involved, and no one will complain, but they should forget about it because who knows what will happen next year. This year we lost, next year we won’t lose and I want to solve this once and for all,” Tirosh added.
Minister Silvan Shalom, who for the past few months has making efforts to promote the initiative, expressed his support for the bill.
The Ministerial Committee is also set to discuss a bill proposed by MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) over the status of couples in civil unions. The tow explained that many citizens weren’t willing or able to marry in a religious ceremony and that the bill would offer a parallel track with the same rights and obligations through which men and women who are citizens of the state can establish a union between them that doesn’t create a marriage according to religious law.
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