JERUSALEM PM backs bill to limit noise from mosques
ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has backed a bill limiting the volume of calls to prayer from mosques, a proposal government watchdogs have called a threat to religious freedom.
Mr Netanyahu, speaking before a ministerial committee adopted the draft bill, said he would support such a move that some have labelled unnecessarily divisive.
The bill now faces three readings in parliament before becoming law. Israeli media said the bill would stop the use of public address systems for calls to prayer.
“I cannot count the times – they are simply too numerous – that citizens have turned to me from all parts of Israeli society, from all religions, with complaints about the noise and suffering caused by the excessive noise coming from the public address systems of houses of prayer,” Mr Netanyahu said.
While the draft bill applies to all houses of worship, it is seen as specifically targetting mosques.
Israel’s population is roughly 17.5 percent Arab, most of them Muslim, and they accuse the Jewish majority of badly discriminating against them.
East Jerusalem is mainly Palestinian and traditional calls to prayer through PA systems can be heard in the city. –
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