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New Daylight Saving Time Act approved: extended to -193 days on average

Home Affairs Committee approved a bill for its second and third calling • Will soon be raised at the plenary session and determined during the election recess • MK Tirosh revealed: I keep Shabbos
Sari Roth, Behadrey Haredim, ב' חשון תשע"ג 18/10/2012 10:49

צילום: יעקב נחומי Photo: Yaakov Nahumi

The Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, headed by MK Amnon Cohen, met today to conclude the discussion of the extension of daylight saving time. Following the discussion, the government bill was approved for second and third calling, which extends the summer time each year until early October.

The exact wording of the law states: "Each year, the period from the Friday before the last Sunday in March at 02:00 until the first Sunday after 1st of October at 02:00, the time in Israel would be moved earlier by one additional hour so that it will precede the universal time aligned by three hours." DST now last for 193 days on average, compared with 182 days in the past.

At the start of discussion, MK Amnon Cohen said that the committee discussed the issue in the past and merged into the government bill private bills of MK's Dalia Itzik and Ronit Tirosh. MK Cohen said that due to various concerns which were raised regarding the report which the Kehat Committee established by the Minister of the Interior MK Eli Yishai, he asked the Research and Information Center Committee to examine the Kehat report.

An examination of the Research and Information Center (a document written by Dr. Yaniv Ronen) brings to light different findings, mainly the lack of coordination between the committee and different government bodies. So, for example, it found that one of the major defects in the Kehat report is that it did not hold consultations with the Ministries of Energy and Health and the National Authority for Road Safety. These factors indicated that extending daylight saving time brings to a fixed saving in electricity consumption and reducing the number of road accidents. However the Kehat report found no scientific studies which affirm or refute the benefits of extending daylight saving time.

Dov Kehat, who presented the report of the committee which he headed, said that the committee did not find clear evidence of benefits of extending daylight saving time in relation to issues such as energy or reducing traffic accidents. He noted that the committee invited 600 public representatives. Kehat added that the main achievements of the government bill are removing the DST from the Hebrew calendar and attaching the start of daylight saving time to the application of this time in Europe.

MK Nitzan Horowitz, who wanted to extend the summer time to early November, as is common in Europe, mentioned that the EU there are 218 days in summer time. He insisted adamantly that DST saves energy and reduces accidents.

MK Dov Hanin said that people feel that hours of light are taken from them for the night. He added that if DST would be extended, "Succos will be with more light."

MK Ronit Tirosh, who suggested a compromise whereby DST will be extended to October 10, said that her proposal took into account worshipers and sunrise, and showed that extending DST will not harm the worshipers regarding sunrise. MK Tirosh said that she recently began to keep Shabbos partly and refrains from lighting a fire on Shabbos. She said that extending DST, will extend the time Shabbos comes in on Friday, which will help make preparations for Shabbos and avoid the desecration of Shabbos. She also said that the short Friday prevented her from riding a bicycle on Fridays, something which is very important to her as someone who has a strict adherence to maintaining physical fitness and doing sports regularly.

Towards the end of the hearing, MK Amnon Cohen, chairman of the committee that he is addressing the Interior Minister and requesting that another committee will be established to examine in depth the issue of daylight saving time in coordination with all ministries. At the end of the debate the government bill was raised to a vote and approved for a second and third vote of three members of the Knesset (Amnon Cohen, Dov Hanin and Ronit Tirosh), with one opposed MK (Nitzan Horowitz).

The bill will soon be determined in a plenary session during the recess of elections and it is expected that it will be approved and enter the legislative books.

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