End of Daylight Saving Time Brings Comfort and Controversy
to Israeli Jews
While many other nations of the world continue to operate under daylight saving time, Israel elected on September 14 to return to the sun's natural schedule one month early. Daylight saving time was scheduled to last until October 19 in order to save the country's daylight time and therefore save energy that would otherwise be spent on electrical lights and other devices. According to The New York Times, the change was made by Interior Minister Eliahu Suissa for the sake of Israel's Orthodox Jews, who might suffer hardship if the country continued to run under daylight saving time. At this time of year, many Israeli Jews are praying at midnight and dawn in the month preceding the high holy day of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur itself is a fast day that lasts until sunset; shortening the daylight also shortens the fast.
Minister Suissa defended himself against criticism from secular Israelis by saying that daylight savings time has been delayed in the past in order to accommodate Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. "I'm asking for at least the same right so I can fast decently on Yom Kippur," he said.
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson