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Wednesday Sept. 8, 2010 10:16 AM (EST+7)
Turn to winter time stirs debate in Israel

Read more: Judaism, religion, fast, daylight savings time, Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement

RAMALLAH, September 8 (JMCC) - Israel will turn back its clock to winter time at the peak of a hot summer this year. The move, made to accommodate those who will fast from sun up to sun down on Yom Kippur, is stirring controversy in the Jewish state, reports the Washington Post.

Setting back the national clock to accommodate the faithful on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar has generated controversy in the past, but this year the argument is raging with greater intensity because of the early date of the shift, weeks ahead of Europe and the United States. Nearly 200,000 Israelis have signed an online petition urging people to resist the change and not turn back their clocks. The debate has drawn battle lines in the ongoing struggle in Israel over the role of religion in public life, highlighting the power of ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel's governing coalitions.

Critics of the early time shift argue that because of the demands of a religious minority, Israelis will rise when the sun is higher and hotter, come home from work in the dark, and spend more time with their lights turned on, costing the national economy millions of dollars. According to the Manufacturers Association of Israel, the 170 days of daylight saving time this year saved more than 26 million dollars.

The early time shift in Israel has a parallel only in the West Bank areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where the the clock was turned back last month to help people fasting from dawn to sundown during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Read the story at the Washington Post...






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